Collaborative school-based research: Evaluation of an academically integrated HIV/AIDS prevention curriculum for middle school students
This study chronicles the evaluation of a school-based HIV/AIDS prevention program that was developed through the collaborative efforts of an urban middle school staff, representatives of the American Red Cross, and a university researcher. The goal of the work was to increase the students' knowledge about HIV/AIDS through an interactive, academically integrated curriculum. Three hundred forty-one African American seventh and eighth grade students participated in this two-school site study. Classes of students were randomly assigned to the treatment and control groups. Pre and post-tests were administered to measure students' AIDS knowledge, comfort level in being around a person with AIDS, attitudes about HIV safe behavioral practices, and perceptions of how one might handle situations involving peer pressure. The curriculum successfully increased students' knowledge about HIV/AIDS and comfort level in being around a person with AIDS; however, students' HIV preventative attitudes and perceptions about peer pressure did not change. Information obtained through classroom observations of the lessons showed that the intervention included more interactive rather than didactic activities. This study also qualitatively considered the challenges of collaborative school-based research and critiqued the degree to which the team engaged in a collaborative partnership. Recommendations were proposed for researchers who plan to conduct collaborative school-based investigations.
0525: Educational psychology
0533: Secondary education
0573: Public health