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ERIC Number: ED497153
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2007-May
Pages: 40
Abstractor: ERIC
Review of Comprehensive Sex Education Curricula
US Department of Health and Human Services
This evaluation was undertaken by the Administration for Children and Families within the Department of Health and Human Services to inform federal policymakers of the content, medical accuracy, and effectiveness of comprehensive sex education (CSE) curricula currently in use. Nine curricula were chosen based on the frequency and strength of endorsement received from leading and recognized sexuality information organizations and resources identified in notes. These curricula were chosen for this study if they were school-based, widely available, and described as "comprehensive" or "abstinence-plus." Additional weight was given to curricula described as evidence-based or as a "program that works." The curriculum review consisted of four components: (1) extensive content analysis, i.e. a word-by-word count of instances in which more than 80 designated words or themes are mentioned; (2) the stated purposes of the curricula were compare to the actual emphases of the curricula, as demonstrated by the content analysis; (3) curriculum content was evaluated for medical accuracy, primarily the accuracy of statements about condoms; and (4) evaluations of each curriculum, offering insights into curriculum effectiveness at delaying sexual debut and increasing condom use, were located and summarized. These components are further detailed in appendices which include a summary of the first point, and curriculum-by-curriculum review of the other criteria. Review concludes that research on the effectiveness of the selected CSE curricula demonstrates that, while such curricula show small positive impacts on increasing condom use among youth, only a couple of curricula show impacts on delaying sexual debut; moreover, effects most often disappear over time. The fact that both the stated purposes and the actual content of these curricula emphasize ways to lessen risks associated with sexual activity, not necessarily avoiding sexual activity, may explain why research shows them to be more effective at increasing condom use rather than delaying sexual debut. Lastly, although the medical accuracy of CSE curricula is nearly 100%, efforts could be made to more extensively detail condom failure rates in context. The following are appended: (1) Content Analysis; and (2) Curriculum-by-Curriculum Review. (Contains 62 footnotes.)
US Department of Health and Human Services. 200 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20201. Tel: 877-696-6775; Tel: 202-619-0257; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Policymakers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Administration for Children and Families (DHHS), Washington, DC.
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A