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IES Grant

Title: Effectiveness of the Social Skills Improvement System Classwide Intervention Program (SSIS-CIP) in the Primary Grades
Center: NCER Year: 2017
Principal Investigator: DiPerna, James Awardee: Pennsylvania State University
Program: Social and Behavioral Context for Academic Learning      [Program Details]
Award Period: 4 years (07/01/2017–06/30/2021) Award Amount: $3,799,833
Type: Effectiveness Award Number: R305A170047

Co-Principal Investigator: Pui-Wa Lei

Purpose: The purpose of this project is to test the effectiveness of the Social Skills Improvement System Classwide Intervention Program (SSIS-CIP) in helping all students in early elementary school develop the social skills and behaviors that teachers have identified as critical to classroom success. This project builds on theory and correlational research which suggest that the presence of social skills, rather than the absence of disruptive behavior alone, supports long-term positive effects on academic performance. An IES-funded efficacy trial provided support for this idea with evidence that SSIS-CIP improves first and second grade students' prosocial skills (e.g., cooperation, responsibility, empathy) and academic motivation and engagement compared to students in a no-treatment control group. The current project builds on this efficacy study by conducting an independent evaluation of the SSIS-CIP's effectiveness when implemented under routine classroom conditions by teachers in schools interested in adopting universal classroom programs to promote positive social behaviors.

Project Activities: To carry out this independent evaluation, the researchers will use a multi-site cluster randomized trial to determine whether the SSIS-CIP program (1) improves first and second grade students' classroom social behavior, (2) increase their motivation and engagement during classroom instruction, and (3) enhances their learning of fundamental academic skills when implemented under routine conditions. The research team will also explore practical implementation considerations, such as timing of implementation (first or second grade) and acceptability of this program to teachers and students. They will also conduct a basic cost analysis to identify the resources necessary for routine implementation of the SSIS-CIP at these grade levels.

Products: Researchers will produce evidence of the effectiveness of the Social Skills Improvement System Classwide Intervention Program (SSIS-CIP) for improving first and second grade students' prosocial skills, academic motivation and engagement, and academic performance; information about the ways schools implement a newly adopted social skills curricula in first and second grade classrooms; and peer reviewed publications.

Structured Abstract

Setting: This study will take place in urban and suburban school districts in Virginia, North Carolina, and Oregon, with additional districts recruited as necessary through an agreement with SSIS-CIP's publisher.

Sample: In total, 192 first and second grade teachers and 1920 of their students (10 per classroom) from at least 24 schools will participate in this effectiveness study.

Intervention: The Social Skills Improvement System Classwide Intervention Program (SSIS-CIP) was developed for general education teachers to promote 10 classroom skills that teachers have identified as important to success in school: (1) listening to others, (2) following directions, (3) following classroom rules, (4) ignoring peer distractions, (5) asking for help, (6) taking turns in conversations, (7) cooperating with others, (8) controlling temper in conflict situations, (9) acting responsibly with others, and (10) showing kindness to others. The program consists of a structured curriculum delivered in 10 units (one per week) corresponding to each targeted classroom skill. Each unit includes scripted teacher lesson plans, video vignettes, student workbook activities, progress monitoring tools, and information for parents. Since 2010, the SSIS-CIP has been purchased for use in more than 6,500 schools across 48 states and the District of Columbia.

Research Design and Methods: The research team will recruit 24 classrooms at each grade level in each study year (for a total of 192 classrooms), randomly assign them by grade level to implement SSIS-CIP for a 10 week period or continue with their typical classroom practices, document practices related to social skills in SSIS-CIP and comparison classrooms, and collect student outcome data from 10 students per classroom three times during the school year: fall (pretest), winter (immediate post-test), and spring (follow-up).

Control Condition: Classrooms randomly assigned to the control condition will continue with their typical practices.

Key Measures: Primary outcome measures include teacher-completed standardized rating scales (Social Skills Improvement System Rating Scale, Academic Competence Evaluation Scales), direct observations of student behavior in the classroom (Cooperative Learning Observation Code for Kids-2 (CLOCK-2)), computer-adaptive assessments of early academic skills (STAR Early Literacy and STAR Mathematics), and school records (grade promotion, support service utilization, and discipline). Measures of potential moderators include classroom quality (Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS)) and composition (teacher report) and other teacher characteristics (teacher report of demographic information and professional development experiences). Teachers will complete checklists and questionnaires and researchers will observe classrooms to assess fidelity, feasibility, and acceptability of the SSIS-CIP.

Data Analytic Strategy: The research team will use three-level hierarchical linear modeling to test the impact of SSIS-CIP on each of the key outcome measures at different points in time (immediate post-test, end-of-year follow-up). They will also analyze potential mediation effects using multilevel structural equation modeling.

Related IES Projects: The Social Skills Improvement System Classwide Intervention Program: Social, Behavioral, and Academic Outcomes in Elementary School (R305A090438)