National Evaluation

Girls on the Run International has evaluated program efficacy since 2002. Several preliminary descriptive and quasi-experimental studies have been conducted since that time—specific information and findings are included in the evaluation reports provided by Girls on The Run International.

Spring 2014 National Evaluation

In 2014, GOTR International identified a need to update our evaluation measures that have been ongoing for almost a decade. In collaboration with our faculty research consultant (Dr. Maureen Weiss, University of Minnesota) we sought age-appropriate measures that are more closely aligned with the positive youth development framework and specifically the 5Cs + 1 (competence, confidence, connection, character, caring and contribution). As part of the process in determining the suitability of our newly chosen measures, in 2014 we conducted a season-long assessment with 5,124 girls (ages 7-13 yrs.) participating on 270 teams across 28 councils. Girls completed measures of confidence, connection, character, and caring (Fry & Gano-Overway, 2010; Harter, 1985). Competence was measured using records of 5k completion and contribution was assessed using information from community impact projects. Because Girls on the Run is a physical activity-based youth development program, we also assessed pre- to post-season change in physical activity (number of days per week of 60 min or more of moderate activity) and sedentary behavior (number of hours per week watching TV or engaging in screen time that was not part of schoolwork) using the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey (YRBS).

Results showed that the new measures were reliable with our group of girls and that they could be administered in much less time than our past measures. We conducted the analyses with the sample of girls who scored below the national mean on each construct. Girls who started with lower scores on each construct showed statistically significant and meaningful improvements on the 5Cs + 1 and physical activity and sedentary behaviors. For the total sample, percentage improvement across constructs was 31-50.5%, whereas 55.4-74.1% of girls improved who began with lower pre-season scores. Findings provide evidence that the new measures are appropriate for evaluation going forward with girls ages 7-13 years and that Girls on the Run is having a positive impact on youth development, particularly for girls who need the program the most.