|Evaluation of Ohio's School Conflict Management Program
|Field Initiated Evaluations of Education Innovations [Program Details]
|5 years (9/1/2005-8/31/2010)
|Efficacy and Replication
Purpose: At the time of this study, interpersonal conflict and aggressive behavior occurred at unacceptably high rates in many U.S. schools, which not only threatened students and teachers but also harmed academic performance. In this project, researchers examined the Ohio school conflict management program, a well-established and promising program that addresses interpersonal conflict and aggressive behavior. The Ohio school conflict management program aimed to improve both behavioral and academic outcomes among middle school students. Researchers anticipated that the results at the end of the project would show whether implementation of the Ohio school conflict management program in schools throughout the stated reduced student-to-student and student-to-teacher conflict and improved attendance and academic performance.
THE FOLLOWING CONTENT DESCRIBES THE PROJECT AT THE TIME OF FUNDING
Setting: There are 50 Ohio middle schools participating in the project.
Sample: The participants are students in grades 6–8.
Intervention: The Ohio school conflict management program is a promising program that has been designed around principles of conflict resolution drawn from the broader professional contexts of dispute resolution and conflict management in ways that give it coherence and credibility. The program has been developed and shaped by the demands of practice and is widely implemented in Ohio.
The school conflict management program requires requires 6 to 8 representatives of each school to participate in a 3-day off-site training. The school representatives then implement the program by training other staff, integrating conflict management into the academic curriculum, organizing special school events, and involving parents. Trainers provide on-site consultations to the school. There will be two years of implementation in the school to allow for fine-tuning of the program and sustainability.
Research Design and Methods: The researchers are conducting a randomized controlled trial with 25 schools randomly assigned to receive the conflict management program (treatment) and 25 schools assigned to the control condition. Approximately 150 students per grade in each school will be surveyed. If the school has fewer than 150 students, then all students will be sampled, if a school has more than 150 students, then 150 will be randomly selected.
Implementation will be monitored extensively through evaluating the written documents produced by schools, telephone interviews of selected school personnel, and reports from the trainer during consulting visits to the school.
Control Condition: Schools in the control condition will be given the opportunity to send one representative to a regional conference or workshop on school conflict management. Control schools may elect to adopt and pay for another conflict management program other than the Ohio school conflict management program.
Key Measures: A survey of students will be the primary measure of aggressive and hurtful student behaviors. School records and teacher, principal, and staff surveys will also be used to measure interpersonal conflict. School attendance records will be used to measure attendance and truancy. School achievement testing data in reading and math for students in grades 6–8 will be used to measure academic achievement. Administrative data on program costs will also be collected.
Data Analytic Strategy: Analyses will include hierarchical linear models to examine the overall impact of the program on the following outcomes: (a) student-student and student-teacher interpersonal conflict, including both verbally and physically aggressive and disruptive behavior; (b) the academic performance of the students; and (c) attendance and truancy. In addition, HLM models will examine differences in outcomes associated with program implementation and the characteristics of the participating schools. A descriptive cost-benefit analysis will also be conducted.
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