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Grant Program: Social and Behavioral Context for Academic Learning
Contact: Dr. Emily J. Doolittle
(202) 245-7833
Emily.Doolittle@ed.gov
Description:

REQUEST FOR APPLICATIONS: PDF File FY 2019 84.305A (PDF: 1.6 MB) CLOSED

The Social and Behavioral Context for Academic Learning (Social-Behavioral) topic supports research on social-behavioral competencies (i.e., social skills, attitudes, and behaviors) that improve student achievement and progress in the K to 12 education system. The long-term outcome of this research investment includes a richer understanding of ways to improve or assess students' social-behavioral competencies, and teacher practices that support them, that over time will improve student academic achievement and successful progression through school.

PORTFOLIO SUMMARY
Between 2008 and 2018, NCER has invested over $245,000,000 in the Social-Behavioral topic to support 120 research projects that explore, develop, test, or evaluate interventions or assessments to improve the social and behavioral context for learning in schools from kindergarten through high school.

18 Exploration Projects
44 Development and Innovation Projects
50 Efficacy and Replication Projects
1 Effectiveness Project
7 Measurement Projects

HISTORY/BACKGROUND
Social-Behavioral began as a topic area in fiscal year (FY) 2008 following an earlier IES investment in a multi-site evaluation of social and character development programs. The primary question for the multi-site evaluation was: can universal school-based programs that aim to promote positive social skills and character improve 3rd, 4th and 5th grade students' social-behavioral competencies and academic achievement relative to typical school practice?

Three important findings emerged:

  • Schools randomly assigned to implement a social and character development program (i.e., the treatment group) reported increases in social and character development practices.
  • Schools randomly assigned to continue their typical practice (i.e., the business-as-usual control group) also reported high levels of social and character development practices.
  • There were no differences between the treatment and control groups in students' social and emotional competence, behavior, academic performance, or perceptions of school climate.

Why didn't these well-designed, evidence-based programs have their intended impacts? Do schools really engage in social-behavioral practices in the absence of formal programs? Questions like these led NCER to create this topic to learn more about ways to help schools support students' social-behavioral competencies.

The 120 research projects in this portfolio explore, develop, test, or evaluate ways to:

  • Teach all students social-behavioral skills to support learning;
  • Provide additional support to students with specific mental health needs; and
  • Help teachers create organized, responsive, and nurturing classroom environments.

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