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using modern, interactive, and self-paced teaching and testing technology (Lonero, 2001; Lonero & Clinton, 1996; Simpson, 1996). As stated above, computer-based learning and other self-instruction materials could be an integral part of first-stage driver education in the multi-stage system that has been advocated for integrating driver education and training with graduated licensing programs (Lonero, 2001; Lonero & Clinton, 1996; Lonero et al., 1995; Mayhew & Simpson, 1999, 2002; McKnight, 1984; NHTSA, 1994; Robinson, 2001; Williams, 2001). Because of the low cost associated with home-study courses, they may make such a two-stage driver education and training process more acceptable to parents and legislators. To this end, the findings of this study do provide some information about the relative effectiveness of using interactive multimedia technology and testing to teach driver education.


The evaluation mandated by Senate Bill 946 (Vasconcellos, Chapter 206, 1999–2000, CVC §12814.8) specifically requires the department to compare safe driving knowledge and attitude exit examination scores, DMV written test results, and DMV drive test results for teens administered driver education through one of the following methods: (a) classroom instruction, (b) an interactive computer program, (c) a printed home- study course, and (d) a preexisting home-study course. The procedures used to select driver education provider schools and collect the information necessary for the evaluation are described below.

Selection of Participating Driving Schools

Solicitation of Schools

The law permitted only commercial driving schools to be considered for participation as education providers in the study. Letters were sent to all California commercial driver education schools in February 2000. This letter introduced the study and provided information on how participating schools were to be selected, how the instruction methods were to be administered, the requirement that the same fee amount be charged for each method of instruction in the study, and the data collection and reporting procedures. The schools were asked to respond to an attached survey questionnaire if they were interested in possibly being selected as a provider school. The questionnaire was also used to obtain information relevant to the subsequent selection of the sample schools, such as their monthly training volumes.

In March 2000 another letter was sent to all commercial driving schools inviting them to attend one of three industry meetings held in Los Angeles, Fresno, and Dublin, California at the end of March 2000. At these meetings the department presented the implementation plan for the study and the requirements of participating schools. Comments from the schools were gathered at the meetings and considered by the department in establishing the final study plan and procedures. The schools interested in participating were given an application form at the meetings. Application forms were also mailed to all schools responding to the February 2000 questionnaire. The


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