Bachelor of Science – Health and Human Performance
School or Department
Public and Community Health Sciences
Health and Human Performance – Community Health
Dr. Lauren Collins
Objective: The study aims of this study is to gather information about sex education in Missoula County Schools for students graduating 2016-2019. The purpose of gathering this information is to evaluate what students recall from their sex education and gain insight into their perspectives of sex education. This is important for understanding what students perceive as their unmet needs in sex education within Missoula County schools so that the gap can be filled between what the current sex education is and what students need it to be. What students need sex education includes what they perceive as relevant in terms of what content they need to make decisions going forward and what teaching methods are most effective for them. This research is limited to the participants located in Missoula and is only evaluating Missoula County high schools from years 2016-2019.
Methods: This study was conducted by performing informational interviews with former high schools’ graduates of Missoula County high schools from years 2016-2019. Interviews were conducted via Zoom with audio only to protect the confidentiality of the students. Interviews were then transcribed. Questions asked were aimed to gain insight into what students recalled from their sex education and what their perspectives were on sex education in regard to when it should be offered, what content is included, and how it should be taught.
Results: The findings of this study included content topics that the participants recalled from their own sex education, their view of sex education in general and within Missoula County schools and what they think is important to change about sex education. Topics recalled included anatomy and physiology of reproductive systems, sexually transmitted diseases, reproduction, abstinence, consent and healthy relationships. The topics that students though were important to include were gender and sexual orientation, decision making, communication around sex and all birth control options. In terms of teaching methods, students recalled learning via PowerPoint lectures and textbooks and diagrams for anatomy. Students explained that a variety of teaching methods would increase engagement in sex education, including videos, more guest speakers and class discussions or activities.
Conclusion: This study aimed to learn more about sex education in Missoula County schools and led to future directions for research before practical action can be taken. This includes further research on the connection between what students can recall from their sex education and how effective that sex education was, the effectiveness of the use of a variety of teaching methods in sex education and how relevance effects student’s engagement in sex education.
Honors College Research Project
GLI Capstone Project
Bigelow, Sara Lindsay, "An Evaluation of Sex Education in Missoula County Schools from Students Perspectives" (2021). Undergraduate Theses, Professional Papers, and Capstone Artifacts. 312.
© Copyright 2021 Sara Lindsay Bigelow