Dr. Caroline Ebanks
Through the Social and Character Development research program, NCER, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (NCIPC), Mathematica Policy Research, Inc. (MPR), and seven research institutions funded by Institute grants, are collaborating in a multi-site evaluation of the efficacy of seven school-based programs. At each site, a grantee is implementing and evaluating the impact of a school-wide program utilizing character education, violence prevention, social-emotional learning, and/or behavior management strategies on children's social and emotional competence, positive behavior, problem behavior, and academic achievement and on school climate.
In 2001, students were victims of some 2 million crimes while at school (NCES, 2003). Although support services, intervention curricula, and discipline management strategies are commonly used in schools to promote social and character development and prevent problem behavior, evidence of the effectiveness of these strategies is limited. Thus, educators facing choices about adopting these programs have little scientifically sound information on which to base their decisions. The Social and Character Development (SACD) Research Program was created in response to the need for systematic evaluations of promising current school-based programs and to provide rigorous evidence of their efficacy.
At each site, 12 to 18 schools have been randomized to either implement a school-wide program utilizing character education, violence prevention, social-emotional learning, and/or behavior management strategies, or continue with standard educational practice. As each of the 7 grantee research teams implements school-based programs and carries out complementary studies focused on answering program-specific research questions, the national evaluation team, including NCER, NCIPC, and MPR engage in consistent data collection across sites. A core set of common outcome measures is utilized to assess students' social and emotional competence, positive behavior, problem behavior, and academic achievement; school climate; and instructional practices implemented in intervention and control-group schools. Children are assessed longitudinally over three years with baseline child, parent, and teacher surveys conducted at the beginning of the third grade. Impacts (intervention-control differences) will be analyzed at the end of third grade, the end of fourth grade, and at the conclusion of the children's fifth grade experience. Analyses will also focus on fidelity to the program models, program exposure, and economic costs of program implementation.
SACD website: http://www.sacdprojects.net/
To browse the Executive Summary of this report and to view, download and print the report as a PDF file, please visit: http://ies.ed.gov/ncer/pubs/20112001/index.asp.
IES funds additional research on social and character development as part of its Social and Behavioral Context for Academic Learning research program.
Publications from this project:
Social and Character Development Research Consortium (2010). Efficacy of Schoolwide Programs to Promote Social and Character Development and Reduce Problem Behavior in Elementary School Children (NCER 2011-2001). U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Research. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.