Choosing the Best is research-based.

A peer-reviewed study published in March 2012 found that Choosing the Best successfully delays sexual initiation. The research, which utilized a rigorous, randomized, controlled study design, evaluated the Choosing the Best high school curriculum among 1,200 9th grade students. The results showed that students who received Choosing the Best were 1.5 times more likely to delay the onset of sexual behavior than students in the control group who did not receive the program, at the end of the school year. These results were achieved in an actual school setting among a diverse student population, and are consistent with earlier studies on a Choosing the Best middle school program, which was found to reduce the initiation of teen sex by 47% versus the control.

Choosing the Best programs are medically accurate.

The Administration for Children, Youth and Families (ACYF) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has completed a thorough and objective review of the medical and scientific information in Choosing the Best programs and found them to be medically accurate.

Choosing the Best is committed to being medically accurate and to providing the latest medical information. All medical information presented in Choosing the Best is obtained from current and highly respected sources such as research from peer-reviewed, published journals and government agency (e.g. CDC) publications that are clearly noted. Additionally, Choosing the Best utilizes a Medical Advisory Board, a team of medical experts, to review and approve all curricula. Finally, because medical information continually evolves, Choosing the Best regularly updates its materials to reflect the latest medical facts available.

An abstinence-centered program, Choosing the Best provides students with a compelling message that abstinence is their BEST choice.

Over 90% of parents and teens agree that teens should be given a strong message about the importance of abstinence, at least until they are out of high school.3 Choosing the Best strongly emphasizes that abstinence is students’ best choice for their health and futures. Specifically, Choosing the Best programs:

  • Help teens understand and protect themselves from the damaging and often overlooked emotional consequences of premarital sexual involvement such as worry, regret, guilt, declining self-esteem, depression, and distraction from important personal goals.
  • Help teens understand and protect themselves from serious and widespread STDs by understanding the nature of these STDs, their prevalence and mode of transmission, as well as the effectiveness and limitations of condoms to prevent the transmission of certain STDs. Specific STDs covered include HIV as well as genital herpes, an incurable viral infection, and human papilloma virus (HPV), which can cause genital warts and leads to over 90% of all cervical cancer.4 Also covered are syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia, which if left untreated can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and infertility.5
  • Help students understand and protect themselves from the emotional, social, and economic consequences of teen pregnancy for the teen, the child, and the community.
  • Help teens understand how to choose healthy relationships, including how to recognize the differences between infatuation and love.
  • Help teens understand the benefits of choosing abstinence in terms of providing the best foundation for marriage, freedom to focus on and pursue personal goals, and freedom from worrying about all of the negative emotional and physical effects of premarital sex mentioned above.
  • Help teens understand how to set boundaries and learn specific methods for keeping those boundaries, including assertiveness skills and strategies for overcoming pressure. These skills are important in achieving abstinence until marriage and in avoiding other high-risk behaviors such as alcohol/drug abuse.

Choosing the Best educates students about contraception.

Choosing the Best does educate about contraceptives; however, Choosing the Best does not advocate or demonstrate contraceptive use. Contraceptive methods are presented, including data about efficacy rates with respect to pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. Choosing the Best shows, for example, that when used consistently and correctly, condoms are most effective at reducing the risk of HIV (85%) but are less effective in protecting against STDs such as chlamydia, herpes, and HPV.6 The facts presented are supported by the CDC, illustrating the CDC’s conclusion that “condom use cannot guarantee absolute protection against any STD7” and teaching that only abstinence offers complete, 100% protection against both STDs and pregnancy.

Please click here to view how Choosing the Best LIFE presents contraception to 8th grade students. (~875KB)

Choosing the Best effectively addresses teens that have previously been sexually active.

A: Each Choosing the Best program encourages sexually active students to make a choice to be abstinent from this point forward, as the best and healthiest choice for their future. Teachers continually report that teens that have already been sexually active are particularly receptive to the abstinence message. According to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, the majority of teens — 66% — who've had sex regret it,8 so the message about the benefits of delaying sex makes sense to them. They've experienced first-hand the negative emotional and/or physical consequences of casual sex and can readily see that choosing abstinence is best for their health and future."

Choosing the Best offers five age-appropriate curricula in a scope and sequence program that covers nine critical learning areas.

Choosing the Best WAY (6th grade), PATH (7th grade), LIFE (8th grade), JOURNEY (9th/10th grade) and SOUL MATE (11th/12th grade) span the critical middle and high school years. These programs provide sex and relationship education content in nine areas: Risks (emotional, STDs, teen pregnancy), Rewards (decision making, goal setting and achievement, marriage planning), Relationship Education (friendships, understanding guys and girls, healthy vs. unhealthy relationships, preventing sexual abuse and date rape), Alcohol (dangers of mixing alcohol and sex), Refusal Skills (setting boundaries, developing verbal skills and assertiveness skills), Pledge (making a commitment to abstinence), Character Development (responsibility, self-respect, courage, perseverance, compassion, respect), Parent Involvement (parent training and homework interviews), and Building Self-esteem (identifying and appreciating unique qualities, interests or skills).

Choosing the Best programs are dynamic and highly engaging for students.

Each lesson begins with a video vignette featuring real-life teens talking about their personal experiences. These videos capture students’ attention and serve as a basis for lively discussion. Age-appropriate, interactive activities, role plays, and group discussions further engage students to powerfully illustrate key teaching points. Additionally, each student receives his/her own Student Manual that further allows for experiential learning and knowledge reinforcement, while also serving as a personal journal for goal reinforcement.

Choosing the Best curricula are teacher-friendly.

Choosing the Best has been specifically designed to be easy for teachers to use. Each program is all-inclusive, containing everything a teacher needs to easily and effectively teach the curricula. For example, each program provides a detailed Leader’s Guide that includes lesson objectives and specific guidelines about what to say, ask, and do throughout the entire lesson. The time allotted for each topic is provided as well as detailed instructions about how to conduct interactive group activities and role-plays. Further, each Leader Guide displays the Student Manual pages in a “wrap around” format so that teachers can easily follow along with students as they teach the program.

The response to Choosing the Best from parents, teachers, and students nationwide has been overwhelmingly positive.

Since 1994, over 3,000,000 students have completed Choosing the Best nationwide. Parents and teachers continually express how well students respond to Choosing the Best and students themselves communicate what a difference the program has made in their lives. Of over 40,000 students surveyed through post course evaluations, 72% indicate that “as of the present time, I choose to wait to have sex until I am married.” To learn more about the positive impact Choosing the Best has had on school districts and in communities around the country, please see “Success Stories” on our website at www.choosingthebest.org/testimonials/success-stories


1 Weed, Stan, Institute for Research and Evaluation, 2005.

2 Lieberman, 2010.

3 The National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, 2007.http://www.thenationalcampaign.org/national-data/pdf/WOV2007_fulltext.pdf

4 CDC, http://www.cdc.gov/std/hpv/HPVSupplement99.pdf

5 CDC, http://www.cdc.gov/std/Trends2000/Trends2000.pdf

6 National Institutes of Health, 2001. See also CDC, http://www.cdc.gov/nchstp/od/condoms.pdf

7 CDC, http://www.cdc.gov/nchstp/od/condoms.pdf

8 NCTPTP, 2004.