Evaluation: Evaluating Ohio’s Tractor Certification Program: Traditional and Novel Approaches

Project Title: Evaluation: Evaluating Ohio’s Tractor Certification Program: Traditional and Novel Approaches

Principal Investigator: J. R. Wilkins, III, DrPH

Affiliation: Ohio State University

City & State: Columbus, Ohio

Grant Number: 1 R01 CCR514370-01

Start & End Dates: 09/30/97 – 09/29/00


The proposed evaluation will consist of two separate studies conducted over a three-year time frame designed to, first, estimate the extent of participation in the OTMCP (Specific Aim 1) and, second, to estimate the extent to which participation results in enhanced safety knowledge, behavior changes, and increased protection motivation concepts (Specific Aim 2) through a quasi-experimental design using pre- and post-test measurements.

In Study 1, which will occur in Years 1 and 2, an estimate of the number of youth who are eligible to take the OTMCP based on specific criteria (see Specific Aim 1) will be determined by conducting a pre_assessment screening in a minimum of 10 randomly-selected counties in Ohio (see section 4.3, Sample Size Estimates). A screening survey will be administered to rural youth age 13-16 who participate in Ohio 4-H or vocational agriculture education. The screening survey (a draft is provided in the Appendix, item 6) will elicit information on current tractor and farm machinery operation and future plans for tractor and farm machinery operation before age 17. The estimate of eligible youth will serve as the denominator for the estimated proportion of youth who participate in the OTMCP. The numerator will be the number of youth who actually complete the course, which will be determined one year after the screening.

In Study 2, which will be conducted during Years 2 and 3 of the project, youth in all of the counties in Ohio that plan to offer the OTMCP within the next year will be screened for eligibility for the study. Inclusion criteria are: (a) 4-H member or vocational agriculture student; (b) 4-H member or vocational agriculture student between the ages of 13 and 16 (inclusive); and (c) currently operates tractor or other hazardous farm machinery OR intends to operate such equipment before age 17. In those counties that did not participate in Study 1, eligible 4-H members and vocational agricultural students will complete the pre_assessment screening survey described above.

A questionnaire measuring safety knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors will be administered four times: at the beginning of the school year, in the late winter after approximately half the OTMCP courses have been given, at the end of the school year, and at the end of the following school year. Since the OTMCP is taught at different times of the year in both 4-H and vocational agriculture education, there will be a natural staggering in the time period when students are actually taking the course, which will allow investigators to concurrently measure the responses of individuals who (a) have taken the course, (b) will eventually take the course but have not yet taken it, and (c) did not take the course. Although the data collection methods for 4-H and vocational agriculture may differ somewhat due to operational differences in the two programs, the same basic design tenets apply to both. The advantage of this design is that not only will it allow comparisons to be made between individuals who take the course versus those who do not, which may be a potentially biased comparison in that the latter group may contain persons who never intend to take it, but it will also provide a comparison group of persons who intend to take the course but have not yet taken it.

Page last reviewed: August 30, 2001