The study took place in 24 schools located in six urban, suburban, and rural districts and serving diverse student populations. The 10 schools included in this review were
from three districts: one district on the West Coast, one in the South, and one in the Southeast. Two schools (one intervention and one comparison) were from a rural school
district. Four schools (two intervention and two comparison) were located in an urban school district, and four schools (two intervention and two comparison) were located in a
suburban school district.
Participants of the study were students in the upper elementary grades in 12 intervention schools and 12 matched comparison schools in six districts (grades 3–5 in four
districts and grades 4–6 in the two other districts). This review includes only five intervention schools with meaningful progress toward program implementation and their
matched comparison schools.1 The composition of the student population was similar at the intervention and comparison schools. Two of the schools in the sample reviewed
and their matched comparison schools served a predominantly low-socioeconomic status population. In four pairs of schools, most of the school population was white; in one
pair of schools, most of the students were African-American. The students began with the study in 1991–92 when they were in the third or fourth grade and were followed
until the end of elementary school.
The intervention schools implemented the Child Development Project (CDP) program. (For details about the connection between the CDP and the CSC, see the CSC intervention
report). The CDP program consisted of classroom discussions and activities, a schoolwide component, and a family involvement component. Class meetings included activities
designed to promote core values. In the classrooms, students learned group interaction skills and relevant values and worked in small groups toward mutual academic and
nonacademic goals. Teachers identified and discussed exemplary behavior using examples from the classroom, television, literature, and movies. Developmental discipline, a
classroom management approach, was applied to teach prosocial norms and values. In addition, children were encouraged to help others by doing classroom chores, tutoring
younger students as part of the “buddies” programs, performing charitable community activities, and helping with activities in the school at large. Classroom observations and
interviews with school staff indicated an adequate level of program implementation.
The comparison schools were drawn from the same school districts as the intervention schools and matched with the intervention schools with respect to school size and
student characteristics. The comparison schools did not implement the program.
The study investigated students’ drug use and other types of problem behavior, core values (acceptance of people in outgroups, concern for others, altruistic behavior), and
academic attitudes and motives (sense of the school as a community, task orientation, frequency of reading self-chosen books outside of school, frequency of reading self chosen
books in school, enjoyment of class, preference for challenging tasks). (See Appendices A2.1–A2.3 for more detailed descriptions of the outcome measures.)
Support for implementation
Professional development was conducted at both the district and the school levels. At first, the program was introduced to 8–15 member “implementation teams” in each
district. In the three subsequent years of the study, schoolwide training was also conducted. Each year, the implementation teams participated in summer workshops delivered
by the developer. Implementation team members took increasing responsibility for the within-district workshops and for other support to teachers implementing the program.
Teachers were also encouraged to meet regularly in small “partner study and support groups” to discuss and help each other with implementation issues.