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additional schools were later selected from the alternates list in an attempt to increase the volume of students participating in the program.

Administration of Instruction Methods

  • Every driving school participating in the study was required to administer all four types of driver education instruction: (a) classroom instruction, (b) a computer CD- ROM home-study course, (c) a workbook home-study course, and (d) the Private Educational Network (PEN) workbook/internet home-study course.

  • The content of all four courses was based on a standardized driver education curriculum created by subject matter experts from the California DMV and California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.

  • The provider schools determined which type of driver education instruction each student was to receive using random assignment methods created by the department.

Outcome Measures for Study Comparisons

  • After students in the study completed their driver education course, they were required to return to the provider’s school site within 2 weeks to take a DMV- proctored exit examination. The exams were proctored every 2 weeks at most school sites.

  • The 60-item exit examination was created by the department for use in the study and contained three different sets of items: (a) 40 items to measure knowledge of rules of the road and safe driving practices as presented in the standardized curriculum, (b) 15 items to measure driver attitudes, and (c) 5 items to evaluate the students’ opinions about the courses. The exit test represented the best and most reliable criterion for evaluating the relative effectiveness of the different courses because of its closer proximity to course completion, the high level of security in its administration, the fact that it contained subject matter sampled from the entire driver education curriculum, and there being more students who completed the study exam than completed the DMV written test by the end of the study.

  • The second criterion measure used to compare the relative effectiveness of each of the courses was the students’ first-attempt pass rates for the 46-item DMV written knowledge test.

  • It was also intended to compare the students completing the various courses on their pass rates for their first-attempt drive tests, but too few subjects (4.6%) completed a drive test by the end of the study to make comparisons among the courses feasible. This low percentage is likely due to the mandatory 6-month waiting period required by California’s graduated licensing law prior to teens being able to take a behind- the-wheel drive test.


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