Characteristics and Effectiveness of the Driver Improvement Schools Within the Fairfax ASAP, 1973

Report No: 75-R9

Published in 1974

About the report:

Descriptive data concerning the objectives of the Driver Improvement Schools (DIS) are presented to emphasize the specialized nature of the subgroups within this modality. These subgroups include the Northern Virginia Community College Driver Improvement School (NVCC-DIS), the Fairfax County High School Driver Improvement School (FCHS-DIS), and the Weekend Driver Improvement School (WDIS). Subspecialties within these groups are also described. For the purposes of evaluation and on the basis of recommendations from past reports, a knowledge test was developed concerning the effects of alcohol, and this instrument was refined by means of item analysis. Test scores among the various types of DIS were compared to determine the relative effectiveness of each type in imparting knowledge. Scores for defendants who were double staffed to the Fairfax Alcohol Community Education program (FACE) prior to entering the DIS were compared with those for defendants attending only the DIS. For the purposes of this study, two types of FACE classes were used; previous classes were didactic in nature while more recent ones employed a concurrent discussion group. Along with these analyses, scores for recidivists were compared with those of non-recidivists to further validate the use of the test. While both types of eight week DIS (Fairfax County High School or FCHSDIS and Northern Virginia Community College DIS or NVCC-DIS) were effective in significantly increasing alcohol knowledge, the High School program (FCHSDIS) was somewhat more effective. The WDIS was not effective in imparting knowledge as measured by the new test. However, the sample upon which this finding was based was extremely small. Double staffed defendants scored higher than single staffed, thus offering some evidence as to the validity of the instrument. No significant differences were found between scores for defendants attending the older didactic FACE program and those attending the newer discussion centered one. There were no significant differences between recidivist and non-recidivist scores. Again, the sample size for this comparison was extremely small (n=8) and may not have been representative.

Disclaimer Statement:The contents of this report reflect the views of the author(s), who is responsible for the facts and the accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Commonwealth Transportation Board, or the Federal Highway Administration. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. Any inclusion of manufacturer names, trade names, or trademarks is for identification purposes only and is not to be considered an endorsement.


  • Cheryl W. Lynn

Last updated: February 5, 2024

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