Fidelity of Implementation

In this session, Hulleman discusses the advantages of assessing fidelity of implementation, elaborates a procedure for systematically assessing fidelity, and invites participants to discuss applications to their work.


A program’s effectiveness is judged by whether it produces positive outcomes for participants, with the randomized experiment being the gold standard for determining the efficacy of an intervention. However, there are many ways to evaluate program effectiveness, including design-based and implementation methods. The intervention implemented usually differs—to a greater or lesser degree—from the program that was designed, making it unclear whether unfavorable results are due to an ineffective program model or implementation failure. It is therefore vital to accurately assess fidelity of implementation and, where possible, to incorporate fidelity data in the analysis of outcomes.

The objectives of this workshop are to (1) elaborate a five-step procedure for systematically assessing fidelity in the context of program evaluation, (2) describe the advantages of assessing fidelity with this approach when conducting evaluations of educational programs, and (3) use examples to illustrate how this procedure can may be applied.