Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

First Advisor

Kieran . Killeen

Second Advisor

Steve . Zdatny


Critics of youth sports in the United States have lamented a system that creates issues of access and could be detrimental to the physical and mental health of its young participants. In response to these concerns, USA Hockey, using Long Term Athlete Development Theory (LTAD) as a key theoretical framework, created the American Development Model (ADM) to improve the delivery of youth hockey in the US. While USA Hockey has invested greatly in bringing ADM to scale across its constituents, it is not known to what extent the model is being implemented in its member organizations. Implementation fidelity of a prescribed treatment or curriculum is tied to better outcomes. This study leverages key concepts of program evaluation theory and survey development to produce a valid and reliable survey instrument that can be used to assess the implementation fidelity of ADM at the 12U age group across the nation.

A survey instrument was developed through three waves of development. The first wave included local pilot testing and cognitive interviews. The second wave including a regional sample and utilized factor analysis coupled with item analysis to improve the instrument and to create composite scores of key constructs. The third and final wave included a national sample of 214 parents of 12U hockey players.

The results of the survey produce psychometric properties indicating good reliability and validity of the instrument including face and content validity, internal reliability, and factor analysis. Analysis of composite scores for each construct of the model identified strong implementation of much of the on-ice components but was lacking in other areas such as physical development and mental skill development. The final ADM scale demonstrated statistically significant positive associations with two subscales of the Athlete Engagement Questionnaire, further validating the study and demonstrating an important association with the delivery model to key outcomes. The study concludes with a discussion of ADM’s implementation fidelity and policy recommendations regarding how the ADM curriculum may be improved given key findings.



Number of Pages

144 p.