The study was designed as a group-randomized control experiment in 40 middle schools serving grades 6 through 8. Twenty schools were randomly assigned to receive the combined intervention, and 20 schools were randomly assigned to serve as control schools (with no intervention beyond that which schools were already implementing). The intervention was delivered schoolwide by school staff trained annually by the program developers. Best Behavior was implemented by school management teams formed at each school, while RiPP was delivered by teachers in specific classes (e.g., science, social studies). School staff also received technical assistance and were monitored throughout implementation by trained site liaisons under the guidance of Tanglewood Research.
The study was designed to estimate the impact of the RiPP and Best Behavior programs relative to what is being offered in the control schools. Most schools have ongoing violence prevention activities; therefore, the study compared the combined Best Behavior and RiPP intervention to extant school programs or the status quo. Schools that were implementing the Best Behavior or RiPP intervention (or a few other very similar programs listed on national registries as exemplary or model programs) prior to the study were excluded.