Program Fidelity Evaluation

Fidelity evaluation is the “extent to which delivery of an intervention adheres to the protocols and program model originally developed” (Mowbrey et al., 2003). This is going beyond implementation assessment whereby what is measured is the extent of transpired intervention that is put in place. Fidelity assessment is “the extent to which interventions as realized are “faithful” to the pre-stated interventions.”

“According to Dane and Schneider (1998) there are five aspects of program fidelity:

  • Adherence – program components are delivered as prescribed;
  • Exposure – amount of program content received by participants;
  • Quality of the delivery – theory-based ideal in terms of processes and content;
  • Participant responsiveness – engagement of the participants; and
  • Program differentiation – unique features of the intervention are distinguishable from other programs (including the counterfactual)

According to David Cordray there are various types of program fidelity evaluation including:

  • Monitoring and Retraining
  • Implementation “Check”” based on small sample observations
  • Integration of fidelity measures into outcome analysis:

(a) Moderator

(b) Mediator 

In the process of fidelity assessment the core components of a program need to be identified and measured. Core components are the resources, activities and processes that an organization engages in. Multiple indicators are usually used in a fidelity assessment. These indicators measure and show the core components discrepancies from the ideal.  Assessing fidelity is important in making sense of unsuccessful outcome, to determine whether the failure reflect the unsuitability of the model or shortcoming in the implementation process.