WWC review of this study

Effects of the Child Development Project on students' drug use and other problem behaviors.

Battistich, V., Schaps, E., Watson, M., Solomon, D., & Lewis, C. (2000). Journal of Primary Prevention, 21 (1), 75–99.

  • Quasi-Experimental Design
     examining 
    2,675
     Students
    , grades
    3-6
At least one statistically significant positive finding
Meets WWC standards with reservations

Reviewed: April 2007

Academic achievement outcomes—Indeterminate effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
index

State-developed test

Caring School Community (CSC) vs. None

Posttest

Grade 3: Southern district;
351 students

0.22

-0.03

Yes

 
 
16
More Outcomes

Inductive reasoning

Caring School Community (CSC) vs. None

Posttest

Grades 5–6;
643 students

2

1.51

No

--

SRA Achievement Series

Caring School Community (CSC) vs. None

Posttest

Grades 2-6: West Coast district;
1,044 students

-1.52

-0.7

No

--

SAT-9

Caring School Community (CSC) vs. None

Posttest

Grade 1-5: Southeastern district;
2,675 students

1.38

4.69

Yes

-8
 
 
Behavior outcomes—Statistically significant positive effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
index

Had property stolen from desk

Caring School Community (CSC) vs. None

Posttest

Grades 5–6;
635 students

0.49

0.67

Yes

 
 
12
More Outcomes

Taken a car without permission

Caring School Community (CSC) vs. None

Posttest

Grades 5–6;
635 students

0.03

0.09

Yes

 
 
9

Had property damaged on purpose on purpose

Caring School Community (CSC) vs. None

Posttest

Grades 5–6;
635 students

0.44

0.56

Yes

 
 
9

Use of marijuana

Caring School Community (CSC) vs. None

Posttest

Grade 5-6;
635 students

0.04

0.07

No

--

Been physically attacked

Caring School Community (CSC) vs. None

Posttest

Grades 5–6;
635 students

0.28

0.34

No

--

Altruistic behavior

Caring School Community (CSC) vs. None

Posttest

Grade 3-6;
1,986 students

0.04

-0.03

No

--

Damaged property on purpose

Caring School Community (CSC) vs. None

Posttest

Grade 5-6;
635 students

0.23

0.27

No

--

Been in a gang fight

Caring School Community (CSC) vs. None

Posttest

Grades 5–6;
635 students

0.1

0.14

No

--

Had money or property taken by force or threat taken by force or threat

Caring School Community (CSC) vs. None

Posttest

Grades 5–6;
635 students

0.17

0.22

No

--

Use of alcohol

Caring School Community (CSC) vs. None

Posttest

Grade 5-6;
635 students

0.27

0.29

No

--

Been threatened with harm

Caring School Community (CSC) vs. None

Posttest

Grades 5–6;
635 students

0.45

0.47

No

--

Run away from home

Caring School Community (CSC) vs. None

Posttest

Grade 5-6;
635 students

0.09

0.1

No

--

Thrown objects at people

Caring School Community (CSC) vs. None

Posttest

Grades 5–6;
635 students

0.22

0.23

No

--

Been made fun of or called names

Caring School Community (CSC) vs. None

Posttest

Grades 5–6;
635 students

0.98

0.99

No

--

Use of cigarettes

Caring School Community (CSC) vs. None

Posttest

Grade 5-6;
635 students

0.13

0.12

No

--

Skipped school

Caring School Community (CSC) vs. None

Posttest

Grade 5-6;
635 students

0.16

0.15

No

--

Stolen money or property

Caring School Community (CSC) vs. None

Posttest

Grades 5–6;
635 students

0.26

0.25

No

--

Carried a knife, gun, or other weapon

Caring School Community (CSC) vs. None

Posttest

Grades 5–6;
635 students

0.24

0.23

No

--

Threatened to hurt someone

Caring School Community (CSC) vs. None

Posttest

Grades 5–6;
635 students

0.45

0.43

No

--

Hurt someone on purpose

Caring School Community (CSC) vs. None

Posttest

Grades 5–6;
635 students

0.4

0.37

No

--
Knowledge, attitudes, & values outcomes—Statistically significant positive effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
index

Sense of community

Caring School Community (CSC) vs. None

Posttest

Grades 3–6;
1,986 students

0.09

-0.2

Yes

 
 
18
More Outcomes

Outgroups discrepancy score (deviation from friend)

Caring School Community (CSC) vs. None

Posttest

Grades 3–5;
1,265 students

0.02

-0.09

Yes

 
 
9

Conflict resolution skills

Caring School Community (CSC) vs. None

Posttest

Grades 3–6;
1,986 students

0.3

0.07

Yes

 
 
9

Democratic values

Caring School Community (CSC) vs. None

Posttest

Grades 3–5;
1,265 students

0.13

0.03

Yes

 
 
7

Concern for others

Caring School Community (CSC) vs. None

Posttest

Grades 4–5;
568 students

0.02

-0.08

No

--

Acceptance of outgroups

Caring School Community (CSC) vs. None

Posttest

Grades 3–5;
1,265 students

0.04

0

No

--

Sense of efficacy

Caring School Community (CSC) vs. None

Posttest

Grades 3–6;
1,986 students

0.19

0.13

No

--

Enjoyment of helping others learn others learn

Caring School Community (CSC) vs. None

Posttest

Grades 4–5;
568 students

-0.04

-0.08

No

--

Social competence

Caring School Community (CSC) vs. None

Posttest

Grades 4–5;
568 students

-0.06

-0.08

No

--

General self-esteem

Caring School Community (CSC) vs. None

Posttest

Grades 4–5;
568 students

0.01

-0.02

No

--

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.


  • Rural, Suburban, Urban
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    South, West

Setting

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.

Study sample

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.

Intervention Group

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.

Comparison Group

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.

Outcome descriptions

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.

 

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