What Works

Article Tools
  • PrintPrinter-Friendly
  • EmailEmail Article
  • ReprintReprints
  • CommentsComments

In 1995, Douglas Kirby, one of the nation's leading experts on adolescent health and director of research at ETR Associates, a nonprofit education and research group, analyzed close to 50 studies on the effectiveness of school-based sex education curricula. He identified nine classroom strategies that can help reduce risky sexual behaviors among young people. Programs should:

  • Focus on risk-taking behaviors that may lead to HIV infection and unwanted pregnancy.
  • Provide a theoretical understanding of how behavior can change.
  • Include at least 14 hours of instruction and small-group exercises.
  • Employ a variety of teaching methods--such as role-playing, field trips, and interviewing--that help students personalize information.
  • Offer basic, accurate information about the risks of unprotected sex and the methods of avoiding intercourse.
  • Address social factors, such as peer pressure and media influences, that influence youngsters' sexual behavior.
  • Reinforce clear and appropriate values to strengthen cultural attitudes against unprotected sex.
  • Help students practice communication, negotiation, and refusal skills.
  • Train teachers so they can effectively teach the curricula.

More information about these strategies is provided in Kirby's report, A Review of Educational Programs Designed To Reduce Sexual Risk-Taking Behaviors Among School-Aged Youth in the United States. Copies are available for $10 each from ETR Associates, Research Department, P.O. Box 1830, Santa Cruz, CA 95061-1830; (408) 438-4060.

Web Only

Related Stories
Notice: We recently upgraded our comments. (Learn more here.) If you are logged in as a subscriber or registered user and already have a Display Name on edweek.org, you can post comments. If you do not already have a Display Name, please create one here.
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.

Back to Top Back to Top

Most Popular Stories