2019 Evaluation

Power Up, Speak Out! works, and with help from Montana educators, we’re ready to prove it with an evidence-based evaluation!

*This project is funded in whole or in part under a Contract with the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services. The statements herein do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Department.

Evidence-based Evaluation

We are excited to announce that Power Up, Speak Out! has partnered with the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) to implement a statewide evaluation. Created in cooperation with the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the five-year evaluation began in January 2019. We anticipate it will establish Power Up, Speak Out! as an evidence-based intervention for unhealthy relationships.

Early Intervention is Key

At Power Up, Speak Out!, we believe that middle school is the ideal age to teach children the basics of healthy relationships and consent. It’s a time when they are exploring deeper relationships and power dynamics within their peer groups and when unhealthy relationships and bullying tend to peak for most kids. Students are receptive to the lessons in Power Up, Speak Out! because they teach them what TO DO rather than what NOT to do. Not only will this study validate the effectiveness of Power Up, Speak Out!, it could also help to establish the importance of early intervention.

Expected Outcomes

We expect that after participating in Power Up, Speak Out! lessons, students will have an increased understanding of the characteristics of healthy relationships and will gain the skills necessary to recognize and form healthy relationships. We also believe that with continued use of Power Up, Speak Out! curriculum, school systems will see a decrease in bullying, sexual violence, and teen dating violence. Our ultimate goal as creators of Power Up, Speak Out! is to end the generational cycle of violence through early intervention. 

How the Study will be Conducted

The study invited Montana teachers and school counselors to deliver Power Up, Speak Out! lessons to approximately 25 percent of all seventh graders – about 2,800 kids – across the state. At the start of the study, all necessary training, materials, and ongoing support were provided to participating educators. They’ll be expected to adhere to reporting requirements for a five-year period, and an annual $1,000 stipend is offered for participation. The evaluation plan was established by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health graduate studies program based on CDC standards. Montana DPHHS will oversee data collection.

Power Up, Speak Out! is already research-informed

The Montana DPHHS study isn’t the first time Power Up has been evaluated. In 2012, pretest and posttest surveys were conducted by MEM Consultants, based in Seattle, Wash., and again in-house by DSVS staff in 2014. Both the 2012 and the 2014 studies suggest that Power Up is already educating students about healthy relationships and changing their attitudes toward bullying, sexual violence, and teen dating violence.