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Improving Elementary School Quality through the Use of a Social-Emotional and Character Development Program: A Matched-Pair, Cluster-Randomized, Controlled Trial in Hawai'i
Journal of School Health
Format: Journal Article
Publication Year: 2012
Pages: 11 - 20
Source ID: shanti-sources-90916
Abstract: Background: School safety and quality affect student learning and success. This study examined the effects of a comprehensive elementary school-wide social-emotional and character education program, Positive Action, on teacher, parent, and student perceptions of school safety and quality utilizing a matched-pair, cluster-randomized, controlled design. The Positive Action Hawai'i trial included 20 racially/ethnically diverse schools and was conducted from 2002-2003 through 2005-2006. Methods: School-level archival data, collected by the Hawai'i Department of Education, were used to examine program effects at 1-year post-trial. Teacher, parent, and student data were analyzed to examine indicators of school quality such as student safety and well-being, involvement, and satisfaction, as well as overall school quality. Matched-paired "t"-tests were used for the primary analysis, and sensitivity analyses included permutation tests and random-intercept growth curve models. Results: Analyses comparing change from baseline to 1-year post-trial revealed that intervention schools demonstrated significantly improved school quality compared to control schools, with 21%, 13%, and 16% better overall school quality scores as reported by teachers, parents, and students, respectively. Teacher, parent, and student reports on individual school-quality indicators showed improvement in student safety and well-being, involvement, satisfaction, quality student support, focused and sustained action, standards-based learning, professionalism and system capacity, and coordinated team work. Teacher reports also showed an improvement in the responsiveness of the system. Conclusions: School quality was substantially improved, providing evidence that a school-wide social-emotional and character education program can enhance school quality and facilitate whole-school change. (Contains 4 tables and 1 figure.)