Faculty of Education

Faculty of Education
Faculty of Education

Social Program Evaluation Group (SPEG)

The social development of disadvantaged groups, for the optimal achievement of their opportunities and capacities, is the core purpose of the Social Program Evaluation Group (SPEG) at Queen’s University. SPEG is an applied research, development, and evaluation unit within Queen’s University, supported by the Faculty of Education. Supported by contracts and grants since 1980, SPEG is recognized nationally and internationally for multidisciplinary applied research and program evaluation projects designed to inform social policy and programs. Many of these projects are participatory with communities, collaborative with colleagues and involve a variety of disciplines at Queen’s, other universities, and the private sector.

SPEG's expertise lies across the broad spectrum of social programs: education, health, disability, social services, and program evaluation training. Projects are conducted at local, provincial, regional, national, and international levels. SPEG uses a variety of survey, interview, database, observational participatory, and document review techniques to assemble information. It puts a high priority on developing effective communication and dissemination strategies for its products, including training and policy advice.

Commitment to quality research has earned SPEG national and international acclaim. It has a distinguished place as one of the University-Based Centers of Excellence in Evaluation; among reputable international institutions, listed at the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat.


SPEG Staff


Benjamin Kutsyuruba

Benjamin Kusyuruba

Associate Director of the Social Program Evaluation Program (2011–present)

Benjamin is an Assistant Professor in Educational Policy Studies with Expertise in Legal Issues in Education, Educational Policy and Leadership at the Faculty of Education, Queen's University. His research interests include educational policymaking; educational leadership; mentorship and development of teachers; trust, moral agency, and ethical decision-making in education; transnationalization of higher education; school safety and discipline; and, educational change, reform, and restructuring. His areas of teaching are educational leadership, school law and policy, educational policy studies, and policymaking in education.

Matt King

Project Manager (1993present)

A senior research associate with SPEG with over 20 years of applied experience, Matthew King is responsible for the sampling, data collection, data entry coordination, database design and management for large-scale surveys. He has also been involved in maintaining the sample integrity, assisting in data analyses, contributing to instrument refinement, and communicating with the university and college application centers and other relevant data sources. He worked extensively with the negotiation, development, and analysis of integrated data files for the Double Cohort and the Who Doesn’t Go to Post-Secondary Education? studies, which relied on data from the Ontario Ministry of Education (OME), the Ontario College Application Service, and the Ontario University Application Centre. Mr. King has also been a prominent researcher in studies funded by the WHO, PHAC, the OME, the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, and Colleges Ontario.

Diane Yocum

Administrative Secretary (2002present)

Diane Yocum is the Social Program Evaluation Group’s administrative secretary and has over 25 years of administrative experience. She has been working with SPEG since 2002.

Research Collaborators

Will Pickett

Will Pickett

Dr. William Pickett is Professor and Head of the Department of Public Health Sciences at Queen’s University, with an appointment also in the Department of Emergency Medicine. He and his colleagues have an active program of research that focuses upon injury control, pediatric health, agricultural medicine, and applied emergency medicine research. With Dr. Freeman, Dr. Pickett is the co-Principal Investigator on the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) survey in Canada. His particular HBSC interests lie in the fields of injury and violence, as well as determinants of adolescent health more broadly. He has been an active member of the international HBSC network for the past 15 years. Dr. Pickett also holds multiple grants as a Principal Investigator from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. He teaches and supervises a large number of trainees in the field of epidemiology. His office is in Carruthers Hall on the main campus of Queen's University.

Frank Elgar

Frank Elgar

Dr. Frank Elgar is a developmental psychologist with expertise in social inequalities in health and in family influences on child mental health. He has worked in university and government settings in Canada and the United Kingdom. At McGill University, Dr. Elgar is an Associate Professor in the Institute for Health and Social Policy and Department of Psychiatry (Douglas Institute) in the Faculty of Medicine and holds a Canada Research Chair in Social Inequalities in Child Health. His research is a blend of health psychology and social epidemiology and explores the social and economic determinants of adolescent health.

Wendy Craig

Wendy Craig

Dr. Craig is a Professor in the Department of Psychology at Queen’s University. Her research program, and that of her students, focuses on healthy relationships among children, adolescents, and adults and the risk and protective factors associated with bullying, aggression and victimization. In addition, Dr. Craig focuses on translating science into practice and policy. Dr. Craig's work is funded by Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), and the Networks Centres of Excellence (NCE). In recognition of her work on bullying and victimization, Dr. Craig won an Investigator Award from the CIHR, the Canadian Psychological Association Award for Distinguished Contributions to the Public and Community Services, the York University Alumni Bryden Award: Redefining the Possible, the Queen's Excellence in Research Prize, and the Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal. She is an elected Fellow to the Canadian Psychological Association. Dr. Craig is co-leading PREVNet, NCE Knowledge Mobilization network that focuses on promoting healthy relationships and preventing bullying through leading-edge research and transferring research knowledge into practise. PREVNet (www.prevnet.ca) is a unique collaboration of more than 70 researchers, 100 graduate students, 21 universities and 58 national partners working together to bridge the science-policy-practise gap in bullying and victimization.

Colleen Davison

Dr. Davison is a Global Population Health Researcher and Social Epidemiologist in the Department of Public Health Sciences at Queen’s University. She has a Bachelor of Science, Honours Bachelor of Outdoor Recreation and Bachelor of Education from Lakehead University (1995,1996), a Master of Public Health from University of Glasgow (2000), and a PhD in Community Health Sciences (Population Health) from the University of Calgary (2007). Her overarching research interests are in health equity and global child health. She studies issues of social justice and public health, child protection and child rights, and the social determinants of health in situations of adversity globally.

Ian Janssen

Ian Janssen

Dr. Janssen received his PhD in Exercise Physiology and completed his postdoctoral training in Epidemiology. He is currently a Professor and the Canada Research Chair in Physical Activity and Obesity at Queen's University. He is appointed to the School of Kinesiology & Health Studies and the Department of Public Health Sciences. Dr. Janssen's research program focuses on the surveillance, determinants, outcomes, and measurement of obesity and physical inactivity and their associated health risks. He has published more than 200 peer-reviewed papers and book chapters in these topic areas. Dr. Janssen is a member of the Canadian Obesity Network where he serves as the Scientific Advisory Board. He is also an active member of the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology and was the society’s Young Investigator Award recipient in 2007. Dr. Janssen is a past recipient of a CIHR New Investigator Award and an Early Researcher Award from the province of Ontario.

Affiliates & Partners

Rebecca Luce-Kapler

Rebecca Luce-Kapler

Dean of Education, Queen’s University

Dr. Luce-Kapler’s research interests focus on the integral role of literary practices, particularly writing, in the development of human consciousness and identity. This work has contributed to understanding the normative power of cultural forms and the importance of interpretive reading and writing practices for generative learning and teaching. Her most recent SSHRC research involves senior-aged women reading and writing literary memoirs, investigating how literary practices can deepen learning and interpretation of experience.

Elizabeth M. Saewyc

Professor, School of Nursing & Division of Adolescent Health and Medicine
Director, Stigma and Resilience Among Vulnerable Youth Centre
Research Director, McCreary Centre Society

Professor of Nursing and Adolescent Medicine, University of British Columbia Dr. Saewyc holds one of Canada's 15 national CIHR/PHAC Applied Public Health Chairs, hers focused on Youth Health. She leads the interdisciplinary Stigma and Resilience Among Vulnerable Youth Centre. She is also Research Director for the McCreary Centre Society, a community-based youth health research and youth empowerment organization, and in 2013, became a co-Investigator on the Health Behaviour of School-aged Children Canadian team. She was named a Fellow in the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine in 2011.

Dr. Saewyc's research focuses on sexual health, mental health, and substance use issues of youth, primarily at the population level, and examines how stigma, violence, and trauma influence teens' health, coping and risk behaviours, and what protective factors in relationships and environments can buffer this trauma for young people. She draws on a variety of research methods, including large-scale population-based surveys, ethnography, photo-elicitation and video diaries, randomized trials and quasi-experimental intervention studies, participatory epidemiology, policy analysis, and critical discourse analysis. Much of her research incorporates gender and sex-based analyses, especially around health issues for boys and young men that are commonly considered "female" issues, such as teen pregnancy involvement, or sexual abuse and exploitation. She also focuses on the intersections between gender, sexual orientation, and ethnic identity in risk behaviours and health inequities. The majority of her studies have been funded by CIHR or the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

Scott Leatherdale

Associate Professor, CIHR-PHAC Chair in Applied Public Health Research

Dr. Scott Leatherdale is an Associate Professor and CIHR-PHAC Chair in Applied Public Health Research in the School of Public Health and Health Systems at the University of Waterloo. His work focuses on advancing a systems science approach to primary prevention activities, developing and evaluating population-level health interventions across multiple risk factor domains, and creating research infrastructure to facilitate large population studies in chronic disease prevention. His work is purposefully designed to actively engage numerous stakeholders at multiple-levels (regional, provincial, national), and is designed to have an impact on improving the health of large segments of the Canadian population. The core foundation project for his current program of research is the COMPASS System; a prospective cohort study following 65,000+ Canadian youth to evaluate how ongoing and real-world changes to programs, policies, or built environment resources surrounding youth impact multiple health behaviours and outcomes over time. Dr. Leatherdale was the inaugural winner of the CIHR-IPPH Trailblazer Award in Population Health Solutions.

Michael McIsaac

Associate Professor, School of Mathematical and Computational Sciences

Dr. Michael McIsaac is a statistician who works primarily on statistical methods for the efficient design and analysis of studies with incomplete data, though his research interests broadly include the development and application of statistical methods for health studies. Dr. McIsaac works collaboratively with physicians and epidemiologists in the design and analysis of studies related to, among other things, cancer, rheumatology, vasculitis, retinal diseases, dental readiness, adolescent health, and mental health.


Genevieve Gariepy

Assistant Professor, Dept of Social and Preventive Medicine
Research Scientist, Montreal Mental Health University Institute Research Center
Research Fellow, Quebec National Public Health Institute

Dr. Genevieve Gariepy is a social epidemiologist and assistant professor at the University of Montreal, School of Public Health. Her research program focuses on the social and environmental determinants of youth mental health, well-being, and sleep. Dr Gariepy received her PhD in epidemiology for her work on neighbourhoods, mental health, and chronic illnesses and pursued postdoctoral work on the social determinants of youth mental health at the Institute for Health and Social Policy (McGill University). Dr Gariepy has expertise in youth health, psychiatric epidemiology, advanced epidemiological methods, and multilevel and longitudinal data modelling.

Advisory Council

Reports, Grants & Contracts

Education Reports

Kutsyuruba, B., Deluca, C., Butler, A., Godden, L.,  Hussain, A., Youmans, A., Stroud Stasel, R., Shewchuk, S. & Nesbitt, H. (2019). Needs of NEET youth: Pathways to positive outcomes.
The purpose of the literature review was two-fold: (1) to inform the evaluation design and work plan, and (2) to contextualize the evaluation of YJC and YJC-S programs. To fulfill the purpose of this review, our team examined the literature on employment challenges and responding program interventions of youths who face multiple and/or complex barriers to seeking and sustaining employment, and whom are the target population of YJC and YJC-S programs. Most often, this youth population is termed at-risk (i.e., youth who are most vulnerable or at risk of disparities in access, service use, and outcomes) and NEET (i.e., youth who are "Not in Education, Employment, or Training").

Khanna, N., MacCormack, J., Kutsyuruba, B., McCart, S. & Freeman, J. (2013). Youth that Thrive: A review of critical factors and effective programs for 12-25 year olds.
The purpose of this report was to analyze the critical factors that support youth, ages 12 to 25, through critical life stage transitions and thriving throughout life. We adapted the most salient theoretical premises of Developmental AssetsTM, the Five Cs Model, and Self-Determination Theory to create a youth thriving model. We used an 8-stage process: identifying key search words, collecting academic and non-academic articles, establishing inter-rater reliability (Kapa score (k=.77)), selecting 257 academic and 223 non-academic articles to be reviewed, extracting initial data into tables, writing a scoping report for client review, creating appropriate standards of evidence criteria, analyzing critical factors and outcomes with a secondary review of literature, and identifying promising practices. Through a review of the major relevant theory and frameworks, we identified three critical factors as consistent and recurring: autonomy, relatedness, and competence. These critical factors are congruent in terminology with the three basic psychological needs posited by Self-Determination Theory but are supported by additional evidence from Developmental AssetsTM and the Five Cs Model, and are furthermore not conceptualized as needs (i.e., innate and required for survival). These critical factors change in prominence through critical transitions to promote long-term thriving. Eighteen direct interventions (evidence-based and promising) and relevant studies and reviews of interventions are detailed, six for each critical factor, in terms of key aspects of program design, key program components critical to success, impact measures, and applications for informing future program design. The report concludes with a synthesis and possibilities for next steps.

Vanderlee, M.-L., Peters R. & Youmans, S. (2012). Evaluation of the Implementation of the Ontario Full-Day Early Learning-Kindergarten Program.
In response to a growing body of evidence about the importance of early childhood education, Ontario is moving towards implementation of the Full-Day Early Learning Kindergarten (FDELK) Program in every school across the province. During the first phase of implementation, the Ontario Ministry of Education contracted SPEG at Queen's University in conjunction with Brock University to evaluate the implementation of the new kindergarten program during the first two years of implementation. The intention of the evaluation was to identify key successes and challenges associated with implementation in order to generate recommendations for future phases of implementation.

Craig, W.M., Freeman, J.G. & Hussain, A. (2012). Development of an Evaluation Framework: Ontario's Healthy Schools Strategy.
The goal of this report was to develop an Evaluation Framework for Ontario's Healthy Schools Strategy that was informed by a review of healthy schools evaluations internationally, across Canada, and in Ontario and by interviews with key informants from school board representatives across Ontario.

Freeman, J., Mansfield, D., Deir, E., French, L. & Lowry, M. (2010). Review of benchmarking to support the curriculum review in Social Studies Grades 1 to 6, Geography Grades 7 and 8, and the Geography component of the Canadian and World Studies Grade 9 to 12.
This study supported the Ontario Ministry of Education's curriculum review process. A literature review of emerging curriculum trends focused on the following topics: Equity and Inclusion, Assessment and Evaluation, Global Citizenship, Critical Thinking, Geotechnology, and Environmental Education. Curriculum comparisons of six jurisdictions included two international locations (New South Wales and Great Britain) and four provinces (British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia). Benchmarking criteria were applied to each jurisdiction and grade.


King, A.J.C., Klinger, D., Freeman, J., Saab, H. & Warren W.K. (2010). Ontario Longitudinal Student Survey.
The purpose of the study was to design a longitudinal survey of Ontario students tracing them from Grade 10 over seven years to their secondary/post-secondary destinations through to college, university, apprenticeship, and the workplace. One aspect of the survey design would be to identify social, personal, and financial factors affecting their post-secondary and career decisions.

King, A.J.C., Warren, W.K., King, M.A., Brook, J.E. & Kocher P.R. (2009). Who doesn’t go to post-secondary education? Colleges Ontario.
This study was designed to develop a better understanding of the characteristics of the young people who do not pursue post-secondary education directly after leaving secondary school, and the factors that shaped their decision making.

King, A.J.C. & Warren, W.K. (2006). Transition to college: Perspectives of secondary school students. The Association of Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology of Ontario.
This research report represents the first phase of a multi-year collaborative research initiative of ACAATO. The initiative is designed to develop a cohesive picture of the pathways from secondary school to college. The major purpose of this phase of the research was to identify secondary school students' perceptions of Ontario colleges and of college as a possible post-secondary educational destination for them, and to determine the factors that have shaped these perceptions. A second purpose was to identify secondary school student achievement patterns, graduation rates and course enrolments in order to consider their influence on current and future college enrolments.

King, A.J.C., Warren, W.K. & Miklas, S.R. (2004). Study of accessibility to Ontario law schools: Report.
his study was commissioned by the Law Deans from five Ontario universities, and funded by the Law Society of Upper Canada and the Law Foundation of Ontario. The five law schools were York University, University of Ottawa, Queen’s University, the University of Western Ontario, and the University of Windsor. The overall purpose of this study was fourfold: 1) to describe the demographic characteristics of law school students in five Ontario law schools; 2) to determine whether the demographic characteristics of law students have changed since tuition deregulation; 3) to determine whether there have been changes in the types and amounts of student financial support since tuition deregulation; and 4) to examine the amount of debt incurred by students in law school and the impact of debt on their lives.

King, A.J.C. & Peart, M.J. (1994). The numbers game: A study of evaluation and achievement in Ontario schools. Educational Services Committee (Research) and the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation.
The purpose of this study was twofold. First, it was to determine the extent to which student grades fairly represent student learning. Second, it was to explore how grades sort students into courses and programs as the basis for determining which students will go to university, college, or work directly from secondary school. The report uses data from questionnaires administered to a sample of students in Grades 8 through OAC (Grade 13) and a sample of teachers of these same grades.

King, A.J.C. & Peart, M.J. (1990). The good school: Strategies for making secondary schools effective. Educational Services Committee (Research), the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation.
A follow up to two prior studies (The Adolescent Experience, 1986; and The Teaching Experience, 1988), this study examined sixteen schools to test the feasibility of measuring the elements that make the atmosphere in a school positive for both students and teachers. Of the sixteen, fourteen schools that appeared to have incorporated one or more of these elements were selected for in-depth study. Elements were based on the results of the two prior studies. Predictors of positive school atmosphere were: leadership style, teacher relationship with students, student services (guidance), and program/extracurricular activities.

King, A.J.C., Warren, W.K. & Peart, M.J. (1988). The Teaching Experience. The Research Committee of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation.
This book represents a comprehensive profile of secondary school teachers in Ontario: who they are, their backgrounds, what influences their career decisions, their teaching methods, educational views and relationships in and out of school. From information in the form of responses to interview and survey questions by 5,896 secondary school teachers and administrators. Descriptions are provided of what teaching means to teachers and how their approach to teaching differs depending on their age and gender, the subjects they teach, and their background. The main purpose of the book is to describe teachers and how they teach, and identify the satisfactions and strains they experience.

King, A.J.C. (1986). The Adolescent Experience. The Research Committee of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation.
The subject of this book is the in-school and out-of-school experiences of 44,744 young people aged 13 to 19 years. Many social scientists see the time covered by this age range as a period of considerable stress. This stress can be associated with the emotional and physical changes that accompany puberty, and with the need to establish some career direction in a time of great uncertainty. The primary source of information about adolescents is adolescents themselves. SPEG asked adolescents to tell us about their background and activities and to give us their views on such topics as school, teachers, courses, marks, social issues and relationships with friends and parents. Responses were analyzed to identify trends and patterns.


Double Cohort study: Phase 4 (2005)
Double Cohort study: Phase 3 (2003)
Double Cohort study: Phase 2 (2002)
Double Cohort study: Phase 1 (2001)

The Double Cohort studies were financed by the Ontario Ministry of Education with advisory communication from the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities. They were implemented over a five year period and designed to: a) project enrolments in college and university in order to provide for financing for university expansion; and b) to evaluate the impact of the reorganized secondary school program which was designed to graduate the majority of students in four years rather than five. The studies were very complex and involved analysis of student record data files from the Ministry of Education, OCAS, and OUAC.


King, A.J.C. & Peart, M.J. (1992). Teachers in Canada: Their work and quality of life. A national study for the Canadian Teachers’ Federation by the Social Program Evaluation Group.
This study was commissioned to obtain a comprehensive analysis of the teaching profession and the quality of life of Canadian teachers. The study provides detailed information on what it is like to teach in primary and secondary schools in every province and territory in Canada. The objective was to identify, on the basis of independent research, both the satisfying and unsatisfying aspects of the role of teachers.


King, A.J. & Coles, B.J. (1980). Holding power II: A study of factors related to student retention in Ontario Secondary Schools. The Provincial Research Committee of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation.
This project was designed as a two-part study for the purpose of identifying factors which may influence the retention rates of students in Ontario secondary schools. Answers to three main questions were sought: (1) What factors contribute to differences in holding power from school to school (i.e., the extent to which schools retain students to Grade 12); (2) Is it possible to predict holding power in a given school? and (3) Can policies, programs, and procedures be identified which will enable schools to encourage more students to complete Grade 12 successfully? The first part of the study – Holding Power I – examined general school-related and demographic factors in 501 schools; the second part – Holding Power II – was an in-depth analysis conducted in 20 schools: ten with high holding power and ten with low holding power matched in pairs on as many factors as possible.


King, A.J.C, Warren, W.K. & MacNab, S.Z. (1979). Program evaluation: A manual of procedures. College and Program Review Instruments (CAPRI): The Committee of Presidents of the Ontario Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology.
This manual is designed to explain the procedures for a program evaluation which will provide information to determine the extent to which a program is meeting its goals. This is not an evaluation that is supervised by an external team; the emphasis in the CAPRI model is upon the cooperative assessment of a program by those involved in it. It was never intended to be used to make staff or program cutbacks. The principle of “self-evaluation” is based on the assumption that faculty would more likely make effective use of evaluation results if they had primary responsibility for conducting the evaluation than if they evaluation was conducted externally.


Better Beginnings, Better Futures (Better Beginnings) is one of the most ambitious research projects on the long-term impacts of early childhood prevention programming for disadvantaged children in Canada. This project has received wide national and international attention, interest and support. From 1993 to 2003, data were collected from over 1500 children living in economically disadvantaged neighbourhoods in Ontario with multiple high risks for poor child development. Children’s parents and teachersalso worked on the project collaboratively with researchers. Outcome goals were measured for children, parents/families, and neighbourhood/community. Better Beginnings is a unique opportunity to apply knowledge about Canadian community-driven solutions that are countering the negative effects for at risk children living in poverty through early childhood intervention. The diversity of the participating communities (Francophone, Aboriginal, recent immigrants, and multicultural) increases the likelihood that findings will be applicable to children across Canada. A full list of publications is available on the BBBF website.

Health Reports


The goal of the HBSC study is to increase understanding of the health-related attitudes and behaviours of young people and the context in which they develop. Ultimately, the researchers aim to improve the quality of health promotion programs and health education for youth. There is ample evidence that Canadian youth engage in health-related behaviours that put them at risk. Health professionals and educators have long sought strategies that would improve the fitness of young people and convince them to avoid using harmful addictive substances. In addition, the schools have provided opportunities for these professionals to educate young people in appropriate health behaviour. Nevertheless, more information about the health, knowledge, attitudes, and behaviour of youth is required, and more powerful strategies to ensure the long-term health of young Canadians need to be developed. A group of researchers in Europe began working together to collect information about the health status of the children in their countries in 1982. The original European collaboration involved only three countries: England, Finland, and Norway. Shortly after the first survey in 1982, the project was adopted by the World Health Organization (WHO), European division, as a collaborative study. Over the next several years, the cross-national survey was expanded to be conducted in 16 countries, including Canada, as of the 1989-1990 school year. The survey is administered every four years and has expanded to include over 40 countries from North America and Europe as of the survey’s most recent administration in 2017-2018.


Freeman, J., King, M. & Pickett, W. (2016). Health Behaviour in School-aged Children in Canada: Focus on Relationships.
The 2014 Report differs from the previous 2010 Report in three significant respects. First, unlike the previous report, in which no young people from New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island participated, this survey includes data from all 10 Canadian provinces and all three Canadian territories. Second, this report includes information about a broader range of topics, such as sleep health, spiritual health, use of social media, and chronic conditions. Finally, whereas the previous report focused on mental health, the 2014 Report uses support from contexts (home, school, peers, and community) as its lens to answer the question: Do relationships matter? (The answer certainly appears to be yes.)

Freeman, J.G., King, M. & Pickett, W. (2011). The Health of Canada's Young People: A Mental Health Focus.

There are now 43 participating countries and regions from North America and Europe. The study aims to contribute to new knowledge about the health, well-being, and health behaviours of young people (aged 11 to 15 years). This report presents key findings from the 2010 cycle of HBSC. Current priorities for the public health system in Canada are particularly emphasized. As the HBSC study has traditionally focused upon the importance of social settings and conditions as potential determinants of health, this focus continues in the current report. In addition, this report examines the mental health of young Canadians as a primary theme.

Boyce, W.F., King, M.A. & Roche, J. (2008). Healthy Settings for Young People in Canada.

This report presents key findings from the 2006 cycle of HBSC. There are now 41 research teams from WHO Europe countries and regions and from North America. The study aims to contribute to new insight and increased understanding with regards to the health, well-being, and health behaviours of young people (aged 11 to 15 years) and their social settings and conditions, especially the school environment.

Boyce, W.F. & King, M.A. (2004). Young people in Canada: Their health and well-being.

This report uses the population health framework, promoted by WHO and Health Canada, and recognizes the broad sets of determinants of health and health behaviours in children and youth. Three age groups (11-, 13-, and 15-year-olds) are included as being representative of critical periods of early adolescent development. More than 7,000 students from five grades (6, 7, 8, 9, and 10) were selected to represent these age groups across Canada in 2001-2002. The main purpose of the HBSC study was to examine patterns in the determinants of health of these age groups as well as selected trends in their health behviours and attitudes.

King, A.J.C., Boyce, W.F. & King, M.A. (1999). Trends in the health of Canadian youth. Health Behaviour in School-aged Children: A WHO Cross-National Study.
This report presents Canadian trends in youth health attitudes and behaviours based on WHO collaborative cross-national study Health Behaviour in School-aged Children surveys conducted in 1989-1990, 1993-1994, and 1997-1998. Over 6,000 students in Grades 6, 8, and 10 (6e année, Secondaire II, and Secondaire IV in Québec) were sampled for each of the surveys. The 1998 findings from ten other countries were used to illustrate notable similarities and differences across countries and compared to those of Canada.

King, A.J.C., Wold, B., Tudor-Smith, C. & Harel, Y. (1996). The health of youth: A cross-national survey. WHO Regional Publications, European Series Number 69.
This report presents the basic findings and preliminary analyses from Health Behaviour in School-aged Children surveys administered by research teams in 24 countries in the 1993-1994 school year.

Peart, M.J. & King, A.J.C. (1996). Health behaviours, attitudes and knowledge of young people in the Northwest Territories: Territorial report.
This is the territorial-wide report of a study that describes the health behaviours, attitudes and knowledge of students from grades 4 to 10 in the Northwest Territories. It was designed to identify the characteristics of young people who engage in health-risk behaviours and to explore factors that are related to high-risk activities. Its purpose was to help those directly involved in the daily life of young people to plan and take action to prevent high-risk behaviours among youth. It is useful to parents and community members, teachers and councillors, community health representatives, nurses, drug and alcohol counsellors and social workers.

King, A.J.C. & Coles, B. (1992). The health of Canada’s youth: Views and behaviours of 11, 13, and 15 year olds from 11 countries.
This report presents the basic finding and preliminary analyses from Health Behaviour in School-aged Children surveys administered by research teams in 16 countries, including Canada, during the 1989-1990 school year.


Boyce, W., Craig, W., Freeman, J., Janssen, I., Kalnins, I., Milton, P., Peters, R., Pickett, W., Shortt, S., Steele, C. & Walsh, P. (2006). Canadian Adolescents At Risk Research Network (CAARRN) Final Report.
The CAARRN program of research and policy support uses the World Health Organization’s Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) survey as a core database to provide evidence on key issues in adolescent health nationally and internationally. Other Canadian databases supplement the HBSC survey, including the Canadian Youth Sexual Health HIV/AIDS survey. CAARRN specifically focuses on seven content areas: injuries, disabilities, and chronic conditions; bullying and victimization; obesity; social capital; school setting; and, sexual health.


Freeman, J., DeLuca, C., Dalton, C.J., Ingersoll, M. & Coe, H. (2015). Ophea Smoke-Free Ontario Pilot Program: Evaluation.
The adverse health and economic consequences of youth smoking have led the government of Ontario to renew its Smoke-Free Ontario strategy. Ophea conducted an Ontario school-based tobacco use prevention pilot project during the 2013-14 and 2014-15 school years, emphasizing health promotion across a range of indicators. The purpose of the program evaluation was to understand the effects of Ophea's Smoke-Free Ontario Pilot Program on the prevention of youth tobacco use and the promotion of healthy schools in 24 participating Ontario schools. Meaningful evaluations are often conducted in partnership with program developers, administrators, implementers, and advisory committees. This evaluation used a developmental, collaborative approach to help Ophea meet the intended and emergent goals of its Smoke-Free Ontario Pilot Program. The overall goal was to reduce susceptibility to smoking behaviour through youth-led strategies for tobacco prevention in Ontario schools.

Hussain, A., Christou, G., Reid, M.-A. & Freeman, J. (2013). Development of the Core Indicators and Measurements Framework for School Health and Student Achievement in Canada.
Comprehensive School Health (CSH) in Canada is a planned, integrated, holistic framework to improve the health of students and concurrently promote student achievement. The Pan-Canadian Joint Consortium for School Health (JCSH) is a partnership of 12 provincial and territorial governments (excluding Quebec), supported by the Public Health Agency of Canada, working together to promote the CSH framework. To further support this framework, the JCSH was interested in evaluating the impact of CSH initiatives across the country. Therefore, the goal of the project was to determine a set of Core Indicators and Measures (CIM) to measure the effectiveness of CSH initiatives in enhancing student achievement.

Boyce, W., Davies, D. & Gallupe, O. (2006). Impact of Urban Environments on Youth Health: Scoping Paper.
The Canadian Population Health Initiative commissioned SPEG at Queen's University to scope out the state of research knowledge and policy experience related to the impact of urban environments on youth health.

Giacaman, R., Boyce, W., Saab, H. & King, M. (2004). Palestinian Adolescents Coping with Trauma: Initial Findings.
This study is the product of a joint initiative completed by the Institute of Community and Public Health, Birzeit University and SPEG at Queen's University. The research, quantitative, qualitative, and documentative components seeks to highlight the impact of intensified conflict on the lives, mental health, perceptions, and aspirations of an important but perhaps one of the least understood groups within the Palestinian population. Young people between the ages of 15-17 years have been targeted for study partly because they are at a particularly vulnerable age as they make the transition from adolescence to early adulthood. The focus here is on mental health and psychological distress and their determinants, during an exceptional period of acute uncertainty and distress in the West Bank.

Warren, W.K., Samuel, E., King, M.A. & Yealland, J.A. (1997). Study of adolescents in selected ethnocultural groups: School, health, and home (Preliminary Findings).
This report summarizes the preliminary findings from a 168 page report of a study conducted in six secondary schools. The study was funded by the Department of Canadian Heritage and conducted by the SPEG at Queen’s University as the second phase of a two-phase study. Its purpose was to understand the background and health attitudes and behaviours of secondary school students from five broad ethnocultural groups.


Social Program Evaluation Group. (2005). Labour force participation and social inclusion for people living with HIV and other episodic disabilities: A policy review and analysis.
SPEG was contracted by the Canadian Working Group on HIV and Rehabilitation (CWGHR) to conduct a literature-based review of key aspects and ingredients of effective labour policies and programs affecting people with Episodic Disability, and to make preliminary policy recommendations. It was completed as part of a more encompassing project called Labour force participation and social inclusion for people living with HIV and other episodic disabilities, by CWGHR for Social Development Canada, completed in 2007.

Boyce, W., Doherty, M., Fortin, C. & MacKinnon, D. (2003). Canadian youth, sexual health, and HIV/AIDS study: Factors influencing knowledge, attitudes, and behaviours.
This study was undertaken to increase our understanding of the factors that contribute to the sexual health of Canadian youth. This was done by exploring the socio-cultural, socio-environmental, and interpersonal determinants of adolescent sexual behaviour. To understand how three primary determinants (psycho-social-environmental determinants, sexuality variables, and sexual health) influenced adolescent sexuality and sexual health and different developmental stages, the study included students in Grades 7, 9, and 11 (approximately ages 12, 14, and 16) from all provinces and territories, with the exception of Nunavut. Two questionnaires were developed with incorporated an array of closed-end items from selected existing scales and new items for certain concepts.

Warren, W.K. & King, A.J.C. (1994). Final Report: Development and evaluation of an AIDS/STD/Sexuality program for Grade 9 students.
The demonstration program, Skills for Healthy Relationships (SHR), is based on a global view of AIDS/STD education and on a conceptual model that places accent on the acquisition of knowledge, responsible attitudes (including behavioural intentions), motivational supports and skills development – all factors which are believed to influence behavioural change (Ajzen & Fishbein, 1980). The program was conceptualized after a careful examination of the available literature on HIV/AIDS (e.g., Valdiserri, 1989; Yarber, 1989), as well as of all the provinces and territories’ Ministry of Education guidelines, and consultation with advisors and teachers of health education across Canada. The conceptual framework is based on health educators’ generally accepted principle that the development of healthy behaviours requires not only the transmission of knowledge but also depends upon the adoption of healthy attitudes and appropriate skills. The program was developed specifically to accomplish four principal goals: (1) to prolong decisions by non-sexually active youth to remain abstinent; (2) to change the sexual behaviour of sexually active youth so that they revert to abstinence; (3) to decrease the risks/increase protective measures taken by sexually active youth; and, (4) to develop in students tolerance towards homosexuality and compassion towards people with HIV/AIDS.

Radford, J.L., King, A.J.C. & Warren, W.K. (1989). Street Youth & AIDS.
This report presents the findings of a study of street youth which was originally part of the Canada Youth and AIDS Study. The study was undertaken to determine how young Canadians were responding to the AIDS epidemic. It became very clear early in the data collection phase that street youth merited further attention. These young people are particularly vulnerable to contracting and transmitting AIDS and there is evidence that HIV, the virus responsible for the development of AIDS, has already begun to infect this group of adolescents. To prepare a separate report on this special population, SPEG was funded by a grant from National Health Research and Development Program, Health and Welfare Canada, in collaboration with the Federal Centre for AIDS and the Expert Interdisciplinary Advisory Committee on Sexually Transmitted Diseases in Children and Youths (EIAC).

King, A.J.C., Beazley, R.P., Warren, W.K., Hankins, C.A., Robertson, A.S. & Radford, J.L. (1988). Canada Youth & AIDS Study. The subject of this report is the knowledge, attitudes, and behaviour of over 38,000 Canadian youth (aged 11 to 21) with respect to AIDS and other STDs. Its purpose is to assist those developing and implementing appropriate educational and social programs to prevent the spread of these diseases among adolescents, and as such is directed primarily to individuals involved in health education and the promotion of health across Canada. The study was designed to produce findings on a national basis as well as for each province and the territories. Briefer reports for each province and the territories compare their results with the national data.

Accessibility Reports


Social Program Evaluation Group (2006). Project Acceso: Third Report Canada-El Salvador Technology Transfer Fund (TTF) and the Canadian International Development Agency.

A partnership between Canadian- and El Salvadoran-based consultants with project partners in both countries, Project Accesso works to support people with disabilities in a technical and community-based capacity. Some of the project’s activities are as follows: prosthetics are made available, wheelchairs are designed to accommodate use in rural El Salvador, community events organized and run to raise awareness about disability, community planning meetings for non-profits and non-governmental organizations, as well as school integration for students with disabilities. This report is a record of the project’s accomplishments from April to September 2006, as Project Acceso headed into its last few months. Efforts focused on ensuring the sustainability of their achievements and maintaining the momentum in El Salvador.


Pazderka, B., King, A., Warren, W. & Abbott, M. (1986). Review of the literature related to the evaluation of employment programs for social assistance recipients.
This review of the literature was commissioned by the Ministry of Community and Social Services, Province of Ontario, and performed by the Social Program Evaluation Group, Queen’s University. Forty-one documents have been reviewed, principally program evaluations of monograph length, as well as some journal articles, unpublished papers, and government reports. Very few Canadian evaluations existed before this one; accordingly , the program evaluations reviewed in this report dealt with U.S. employment and training programs.

Grants & Contracts

Below is a sample of the research grants and contracts awarded to the Social Program Evaluation Group over the years. If you are interested in working with SPEG on a research project in health, education, or accessibility, please contact us.


Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC)
Health Canada
Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC): A National Study 
of the Health of Young People in Canada
Dr. William Pickett & Dr. John Freeman (Co-Principal Investigators); 
Dr. Wendy Craig, Dr. Ian Janssen, Dr. Don Klinger, 
& Dr. Frank Elgar (Co-Investigators)




Ontario Physical & Health Education Association (OPHEA)
Smoke-Free Ontario School Pilot Program


YMCA of Greater Toronto
Improving the Impact of Youth Programs and Services: Developing a shared evidence base on developmental needs, outcomes, and promising interventions for 12 to 25 year olds

Joint Consortium for School Health (JCSH)
Common Indicators and Measures on Student Achievement


Ontario Ministry of Education (OME)
Healthy Schools Strategy Evaluation Framework


Ontario Ministry of Education (OME)
Evaluation of the Full-Day Early Learning Kindergarten Program During the First Two Years of Implementation


Ontario Ministry of Education (OME)
Review and benchmarking to support the curriculum review in 
Social Studies (Grades 1-6), Geography (Grades 7 & 8), and the 
Geography component of the Canadian and World Studies (Grades 9-12)


Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) & Health Canada
Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC): A Monitoring Tool for School Health in Canada


Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO)
Longitudinal Survey of Ontario Youth


Colleges Ontario
Who doesn’t go to college? A quantitative study


Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC)
Report on Health of Canadian Youth


Canadian Population Health Initiative (CPHI)
Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI)
Impact of Urban Environments on Youth Health


Colleges Ontario
Transition to College Study


Canadian Population Health Initiative (CPHI)
Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI)
Improving the Health of Young Canadians

Canadian Working Group on HIV and Rehabilitation (CWGHR)
Labour Force Participation & Social Inclusion for People Living with HIV and Other Episodic Disabilities


Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)
Risk Behaviour and Injury Study in Canadian Youth


Ontario Ministry of Education
Double Cohort Survey (Phases 3 and 4) of 4


Health Canada
Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (Dissemination)


Ontario Law Faculty Association
Ontario Law Schools Accessibility Study

International Development Research Centre
Palestinian Adolescents Coping with Trauma


Health Canada
Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (2002)


Canadian Population Health Initiative
Canadian Adolescent At Risk Research Network


Ontario Ministry of Education
Double Cohort survey (Phase 2) of 4


Histori.ca Foundation
YouthLinks congruency study: 
Canadian Heritage Learning Resources Project

Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care
Better Beginnings, Better Futures (Research Coordination Unit)


Council of Ministries of Education
Canadian Youth, Sexual Health and HIV/AIDS Study


Ontario Ministry of Education
Double Cohort survey (Phase 1) of 4


Histori.ca Foundation
YouthLinks: Summer teachers’ program
, Canadian Heritage Learning Resources Project


Department of Canadian Heritage
Impact of bias activities on adolescent involvement an identity formation 
on ethocultural groups


Health Canada
Trends in the Health of Canadian Youth

CRB Foundation
Canadian Heritage Learning Resources Project


Health Canada
Youth Smoking Behaviour: A Sociocultural Investigation
Health Behaviour in School-Aged Children: Canadian Trends


Health Canada
Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (1997)


The CRB Foundation
The Canadian Heritage Learning Resources Project 
(2nd phase: secondary school components)

Government of the Northwest Territories
Factors Influencing the Health Knowledge, Skills, and Attitudes of Children 
and Youth in the Northwest Territories


The Corporation of the Council of Ministers of Education Canada (CMEC)
Health and Welfare Canada
The development and evaluation of an AIDS/Sexuality Program 
for Grade 9 students

The CRB Foundation
Canadian Heritage Learning Resources Project 
(1st phase: Grade 7 & 8 components)


Canadian Teachers’ Federation
The Quality of Life of Canadian Teachers

Multiculturalism and Citizenship Canada
The Multiculturalism Analysis of the Canada Health Attitudes 
and Behaviours Study

Ministry of Community and Social Services
Better Beginnings, Better Futures (Research Coordination Unit)


Canadian Teachers’ Federation
Teachers and Literacy

The CRB Foundation
Impact Assessment of Drop-out Prevention Programs

World Health Organization Cross National Study
A Survey of Health Behaviours in Canadian School Children

Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council
Youth’s transition to work: An inter-regional analysis


Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation
The Good School


Health and Welfare Canada
Canada Youth & AIDS

Street Youth & AIDS


Ministry of Community and Social Services
Review of the Ontario Child Abuse Register

Ontario Public Teachers’ Federation
Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation
A study of the recruitment of Ontario teachers

Contact SPEG

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The SPEG offices are open from 8:30 am to 4:00 pm, Monday to Friday.

Social Program Evaluation Group
Queen's University
511 Union Street, Room B164
Kingston, ON K7M 5R7

Tel: (613) 533-6255
Fax: (613) 533-2556
Email: spegmail@queensu.ca