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Ask A REL Response

December 2021

Question

What research has been conducted on the relationship between non instructional strategies, like school climate, and literacy achievement?

Response

Following an established REL Southeast research protocol, we conducted a search for research reports as well as descriptive study articles on teaching phonological awareness using print at the same time. We focused on identifying resources that specifically addressed teaching phonological awareness using print at the same time. The sources included ERIC and other federally funded databases and organizations, research institutions, academic research databases, and general Internet search engines (For details, please see the methods section at the end of this memo.)

We have not evaluated the quality of references and the resources provided in this response. We offer them only for your reference. These references are listed in alphabetical order, not necessarily in order of relevance. Also, we searched the references in the response from the most commonly used resources of research, but they are not comprehensive and other relevant references and resources may exist.

Research References

  1. Ashdown, D. M., & Bernard, M. E. (2012). Can explicit instruction in social and emotional learning skills benefit the social-emotional development, well-being, and academic achievement of young children? Early Childhood Education Journal, 39(6), 397–405. http://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ953693
    From the abstract: “This study investigated the effect of a social and emotional learning skills curriculum, the "You Can Do It! Early Childhood Education Program" (YCDI), on the social-emotional development, well-being, and academic achievement of 99 preparatory and grade 1 students attending a Catholic school in Melbourne, Australia. One preparatory and one grade 1 class were randomly chosen to receive structured lessons in YCDI, delivered by their classroom teachers over a period of 10 weeks, while the remaining preparatory and grade 1 class served as the control group. The lessons were designed to teach young children confidence, persistence, organisation and emotional resilience. The educational program consisted of explicit, direct instruction lessons drawn from the YCDI Early Childhood Curriculum taught three times a week, supported by a variety of additional social and emotional teaching practices. The results indicated that YCDI had a statistically significant positive effect on levels of social-emotional competence and well-being for the preparatory and grade 1 students, a reduction in problem behaviours (externalising, internalising, and hyperactivity problems) for the grade 1 students, and an increase in reading achievement (decoding text) for the lower achieving grade 1 students. These findings are discussed with regard to issues concerning the role of explicit instruction in social and emotional learning for the early years.”
  2. Jones, S. M., Brown, J. L., Hoglund, W. L. G., & Aber, J. L. (2010). A school-randomized clinical trial of an integrated social-emotional learning and literacy intervention: Impacts after 1 school year. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 78(6), 829–842. http://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ907069
    From the abstract: “Objective: To report experimental impacts of a universal, integrated school-based intervention in social-emotional learning and literacy development on change over 1 school year in 3rd-grade children's social-emotional, behavioral, and academic outcomes. Method: This study employed a school-randomized, experimental design and included 942 3rd-grade children (49% boys; 45.6% Hispanic/Latino, 41.1% Black/African American, 4.7% non-Hispanic White, and 8.6% other racial/ethnic groups, including Asian, Pacific Islander, Native American) in 18 New York City public elementary schools. Data on children's social-cognitive processes (e.g., hostile attribution biases), behavioral symptomatology (e.g., conduct problems), and literacy skills and academic achievement (e.g., reading achievement) were collected in the fall and spring of 1 school year. Results: There were main effects of the 4Rs Program after 1 year on only 2 of the 13 outcomes examined. These include children's self-reports of hostile attributional biases (Cohen's d = 0.20) and depression (d = 0.24). As expected based on program and developmental theory, there were impacts of the intervention for those children identified by teachers at baseline with the highest levels of aggression (d = 0.32-0.59) on 4 other outcomes: children's self-reports of aggressive fantasies, teacher reports of academic skills, reading achievement scaled scores, and children's attendance. Conclusions: This report of effects of the 4Rs intervention on individual children across domains of functioning after 1 school year represents an important first step in establishing a better understanding of what is achievable by a schoolwide intervention such as the 4Rs in its earliest stages of unfolding. The first-year impacts, combined with our knowledge of sustained and expanded effects after a second year, provide evidence that this intervention may be initiating positive developmental cascades both in the general population of students and among those at highest behavioral risk. (Contains 4 tables and 3 figures.)”
  3. Jones, S. M., Brown, J. L.,& Lawrence A. J. (2011) Two-year impacts of a universal school-based social-emotional and literacy intervention: An experiment in translational developmental research. Child Development, 82(2), 533–554. http://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ927881
    From the abstract: “This study contributes to ongoing scholarship at the nexus of translational research, education reform, and the developmental and prevention sciences. It reports 2-year experimental impacts of a universal, integrated school-based intervention in social-emotional learning and literacy development on children's social-emotional, behavioral, and academic functioning. The study employed a school-randomized, experimental design with 1,184 children in 18 elementary schools. Children in the intervention schools showed improvements across several domains: self-reports of hostile attributional bias, aggressive interpersonal negotiation strategies, and depression, and teacher reports of attention skills, and aggressive and socially competent behavior. In addition, there were effects of the intervention on children's math and reading achievement for those identified by teachers at baseline at highest behavioral risk. These findings are interpreted in light of developmental cascades theory and lend support to the value of universal, integrated interventions in the elementary school period for promoting children's social-emotional and academic skills.”
  4. Reynolds, K. J., Lee, E., Turner, I., Bromhead, D., & Subasic, E. (2017). How does school climate impact academic achievement? An examination of social identity processes. School Psychology International, 38(1), 78–97. http://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ1129971
    From the abstract: “In explaining academic achievement, school climate and social belonging (connectedness, identification) emerge as important variables. However, both constructs are rarely explored in one model. In the current study, a social psychological framework based on the social identity perspective (Turner, Hogg, Oakes, Reicher, & Wetherell, 1987) is introduced that provides a way to integrate these two areas of enquiry. Using this framework, the current study (N = 340 grade 7 and 9 students) investigates: (a) school climate and social identification as distinct predictors of academic achievement; and (b) social identification as a mediator of the school climate and achievement relationship. Achievement in reading, numeracy and writing was assessed by a national standardized test. The three variables most significantly associated with achievement were parental education, socio-economic status, and school identification. In line with predictions, school identification fully mediated the relationship between school climate and academic achievement in numeracy and writing, but not reading. The research highlights the importance of feeling psychologically connected to the school as a group for academic success.”
  5. Schonfeld, D. J., Adams, R. E., Fredstrom, B. K., Weissberg, R. P., Gilman, R., Voyce, C., Tomlin, R., & Speese-Linehan, D. (2015). Cluster-randomized trial demonstrating impact on academic achievement of elementary social-emotional learning. School Psychology Quarterly, 30(3), 406–420. http://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ1167885
    From the abstract: “This study evaluated the results of a social and emotional learning (SEL) program on academic achievement among students attending a large, urban, high-risk school district. Using a cluster-randomized design, 24 elementary schools were assigned to receive either the intervention curriculum ("Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies", or "PATHS") or a curriculum that delivered few if any SEL topics (i.e., the control group). In addition to state mastery test scores, demographic data, school attendance, and dosage information were obtained from 705 students who remained in the same group from the 3rd to the 6th grade. Analyses of odds ratios revealed that students enrolled in the intervention schools demonstrated higher levels of basic proficiency in reading, writing, and math at some grade levels. Although these between-groups differences held for race/ethnicity, gender, and socioeconomic status, significant within-group differences also were noted across these variables. Collectively, these findings indicated that social development instruction may be a promising approach to promote acquisition of academic proficiency, especially among youth attending high-risk school settings. Implications of these findings with respect to SEL programs conclude the article.”
  6. Wang, M-T., & Degol, J. L. (2016). School climate: A review of the construct, measurement, and impact on student outcomes. Educational Psychology Review, 28(2), 315–352. http://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ1100678
    From the abstract: “The construct of school climate has received attention as a way to enhance student achievement and reduce problem behaviors. The purpose of this article is to evaluate the existing literature on school climate and to bring to light the strengths, weakness, and gaps in the ways researchers have approached the construct. The central information in this article is organized into five sections. In the first, we describe the theoretical frameworks to support the multidimensionality of school climate and how school climate impacts student outcomes. In the second, we provide a breakdown of the four domains that make up school climate, including academic, community, safety, and institutional environment. In the third, we examine research on the outcomes of school climate. In the fourth, we outline the measurement and analytic methods of the construct of school climate. Finally, we summarize the strengths and limitations of the current work on school climate and make suggestions for future research directions.”

Methods

Keywords and Search Strings
The following keywords and search strings were used to search the reference databases and other sources:

  • relationship between non-instructional strategies and literacy achievement
  • social and emotional learning, literacy achievement
  • social and emotional learning, reading achievement
  • whole child approach, reading achievement

Databases and Resources
We searched ERIC for relevant resources. ERIC is a free online library of over 1.6 million citations of education research sponsored by the Institute of Education Sciences. Additionally, we searched Google Scholar and PsychInfo.

Reference Search and Selection Criteria

When we were searching and reviewing resources, we considered the following criteria:

  • Date of the publication: References and resources published for last 15 years, from 2003 to present, were include in the search and review.
  • Search Priorities of Reference Sources: Search priority is given to study reports, briefs, and other documents that are published and/or reviewed by IES and other federal or federally funded organizations, academic databases, including ERIC, EBSCO databases, JSTOR database, PsychInfo, PsychArticle, and Google Scholar.
  • Methodology: Following methodological priorities/considerations were given in the review and selection of the references: (a) study types - randomized control trials,, quasi experiments, surveys, descriptive data analyses, literature reviews, policy briefs, etc., generally in this order (b) target population, samples (representativeness of the target population, sample size, volunteered or randomly selected, etc.), study duration, etc. (c) limitations, generalizability of the findings and conclusions, etc.

This memorandum is one in a series of quick-turnaround responses to specific questions posed by educational stakeholders in the Southeast Region (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, and South Carolina), which is served by the Regional Educational Laboratory Southeast at Florida State University. This memorandum was prepared by REL Southeast under a contract with the U.S. Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences (IES), Contract ED-IES-17-C-0011, administered by Florida State University. Its content does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of IES or the U.S. Department of Education nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.