Our annual evaluations indicate that the Healthy NewsWorks program gives the participating student reporters more confidence and pride in their writing, as well as a thorough understanding of the health topics introduced.
We have maintained an active qualitative and quantitative evaluation program since 2007 to help shape and inform our programming. We have presented our program to The College of Physicians, Section on Public Healthy and Preventive Medicine (2014), Pennsylvania Public Health Association (2011), and the American Public Health Association (2009).
Interviews with teachers and principals have found:
- Healthy NewsWorks publications are a tool for reading enrichment.
- Students enjoy reading what their peers write and apply it personally.
- The program reinforces Pennsylvania literacy standards.
In a systematic review of a sample of papers, an evaluator found that a typical edition issue addresses six of the eight National Health Education Standards.
“I learned that there [are] a lot of ways to keep people and yourself healthy and safe.” – Sixth grade student reporter
- In pre/post-assessments of 70 students to capture program-specific knowledge over the 2015-16 school year, on average students were able to provide more correct, detailed answers on all five questions of the post-assessment versus the pre-assessment. Students improved especially on identifying how a website is trustworthy, providing examples of good sources, interviewing skills, and keeping teeth healthy. For more details, click here.
- In pre/post evaluations of 56 reporters, heart health comprehension test scores rose across the board, and correct answers more than doubled for questions addressing high cholesterol foods, cardiovascular disease, and the benefits and dangers of cholesterol. (2013-14 results)
- 90% of student reporters who participated in medicine safety lessons were able to correctly define a medicine, able to explain at least one way medicines can help people, and provide at least one safety rule to follow when taking a medicine (2012-13 results)
- 95% of student reporters who participated in medicine safety lessons were able to identify who can give medicine safely (2012-13 results)
- 83% of reporters surveyed expressed an improvement in their writing (2012-13 results)
- 72% of students in participating schools read, enjoyed and learned something from their Healthy NewsWorks newspaper (2008–2009 results)
- 73% of students learned something about being healthy from reading the newspaper (2008–2009 results)
- 83% of student reporters said participating in the program improved writing skills including writing, creativity and vocabulary (2009–2010 results)
- 80% of student reporters identified the importance of sourcing information they used (2009–2010 results)
“I read about a teacher . . . she runs every day. I think I should get outside more than I usually do.”
- 80% would recommend that other schools have a Healthy NewsWorks paper (2008–2009 results)
- 73% said they learned something about being healthy from reading the paper (2008–2009 results)
- 72% enjoyed their school’s newspaper (2008–2009 results)
“Students are learning about health/wellness and applying it to their lives”
- 100% of the teachers closely engaged with the Healthy NewsWorks program at their school would recommend the program to another school (2016-17 results)
- 91% expressed that the program enhanced a skill or skills they use as teachers and that the program benefits the students in the broader school environment (2016-17 results)
- Of 11 teachers who were engaged as editors, 100% said they would recommend the Healthy NewsWorks program to another school, and 100% expressed that the program enhanced a skill or skills they use as teachers (2015-16 results)
- In a survey of 10 teachers across schools who are not newspaper editors, 90% said they use the newspapers in their classrooms and 64% said they were interested in having their students contribute content to the newspaper (2015-16 results)
- In a survey of 12 teachers who were engaged as editors, 100% said they would recommend the Healthy NewsWorks program to another school; 78% said participation in the program enhanced/strengthened their teaching skills (2014-15 results)
- Of the 15 non-editor teachers responding to the survey, nearly all said they would like their students to contribute content to the paper (2014-15 results)
- 76% of teachers surveyed expressed interest in having their students participate in the newspaper in the future (2012-13 results)
- 71% of teachers expressed that students bring the newspaper home to their families (2012-13 results)
- 81% of teachers believe the newspaper has positive impact on health beliefs and attitudes of their students (2008-09 results)
- 100% of teachers recommended that other schools have a Healthy NewsWorks paper (2008-09 results)
- 96% of participating teachers recommend Healthy NewsWorks paper to others (2006-07 results)
- 56% of teachers have used Healthy NewsWorks as a classroom instructional tool (2007-08 results)
“My son has become more aware of what’s healthy and what’s not”
- Two-thirds of parents who read the newspaper reported a positive impact on the eating habits or attitudes of their children (2007–2008 results)
- 90% of parents recommended that other schools have a Healthy NewsWorks paper (2007–2008 results)
- 70% of parents discuss the newspaper with their children (2006–2007 results)
In 2009, the Healthy NewsWorks program in Upper Darby was highlighted in the “Promising Practices” report, compiled by Project PA, a collaboration between the Pennsylvania Department of Education, Division of Food and Nutrition, and the Penn State University Department of Nutritional Sciences. These “Promising Practices” were submitted by Pennsylvania schools related to Coordinated School Health. Coordinated School Health is an initiative of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention which includes eight components which work together to address students’ health needs and contribute to improvements in health and learning.
Read the Results (Upper Darby on p. 25)