STANDARD PROGRAM EVALUATION PROTOCOL (SPEP)
Dr. Mark Lipsey et al. conducted a groundbreaking meta-analysis of the characteristics of effective delinquency interventions, with the goal of providing a solid foundation for improving delinquency programs and services. Based on his analysis of approximately 700 controlled studies of interventions with juvenile offenders, Lipsey developed the Standardized Program Evaluation Protocol (SPEP). The SPEP is a validated, data-driven rating system for determining how well a program matches what research tells us is effective for that particular type of program in reducing the recidivism of juvenile offenders.
More specifically, the SPEP creates a metric by assigning points to programs according to how closely their characteristics match those associated with similar programs shown, in research studies, to have the best recidivism outcomes. The body of research on programs for juvenile offenders indicates that several general characteristics are most strongly related to their effects on juvenile delinquency:
- the type of program
- the service quantity or dosage
- the risk levels of the youth served by the program
- the quality with which the program is implemented.
Lipsey’s work provides specific research-based profiles of program characteristics that can be used both as “best practice” standards against which to evaluate juvenile justice programs and as roadmaps for improving the programs. The more closely programs resemble those that research has shown to be effective, the more points they receive.
While the initial SPEP score is certainly of interest, it more importantly establishes a baseline for program improvement. The difference between the scores for the individual components of the SPEP and the maximum possible point values for each component provide information about where program ratings can improve. The resulting program improvement process must be a collaborative effort between probation departments and service providers.
* * It is strongly recommended you review the information explaining SPEP prior to reviewing participating programs and earned scores.
The below links provide:
1) a more detailed explanation of the SPEP and what it is designed to do; and
2) programs that have participated in the SPEP process.
SPEP Activity Map:
If you have any questions regarding the SPEP or in need of contact information of staff: