- The purposes of the study were to: 1) evaluate health knowledge competencies,
2) assess health skills, and 3) determine interrelationships among health knowledge,
health skills, and self-reported behavioral demographic variables for Oregon
entry-level college freshmen who had graduated from Oregon schools. An instrument,
the "Health Education Survey," was developed with the assistance of two Delphi
panels, consisting of (1) nationally known health educators and (2) recognized Oregon
health educators. The first panel contributed to the health knowledge competency part
of the survey, including issues of community health, consumer health, environmental
health, family life, mental and emotional health, injury prevention and safety, nutrition,
personal health, prevention and control of disease, and substance use and abuse.
The second panel contributed to the health skills part of the survey, including safe-living,
stressor/risk-taking management, physical fitness, and nutrition, as defined by
the Oregon Department of Education. Based upon health information derived from
the first two parts, the third survey section considered various demographic and
behavioral variables, including substance use, eating habits, and physical fitness.
The data derived from administration of the survey were evaluated by criterion-
referenced and empirical (analysis of variance, t-test, chi-square) measurements
at the .05 alpha level of significance. Data analysis disclosed that: 1) the subjects did
not meet the 85% mastery standard for criterion-referenced measures for any of the
health knowledge competencies or essential health skills; 2) there were significant differences
among the subjects for the content areas of consumer health and the health
skills of safe-living, physical fitness, and nutrition, as well as the behavioral areas of
marijuana use, fitness level, and wearing auto seatbelts; and 3) gender differences existed
for the content areas of family life and nutrition.
From analysis of the research findings, it was recommended that there is need
for additional collaboration among secondary school health educators, education and
health agencies, and appropriate higher education personnel to improve the health
knowledge and skill needs of Oregon students. It was suggested that cooperative efforts
at the secondary and university level to form coordinated, on-going evaluation
and research projects would be one means to achieve this goal.