The study was conducted in 20 K–5 or K–6 schools in Hawaii. Five pairs of matched participating schools were from Oahu, three pairs were from Maui, and two pairs were
The study tracked students who started grades K–1 in the 2001–02 academic year. The report reviewed by the WWC examined the outcomes of 2,666 third- and fourthgrade
students at the end of the third year of program implementation. These outcomes included students who had remained in the school since the beginning of the study
as well as new students in the school. About 25% of the students surveyed each year were new to the school. The students were enrolled in 20 elementary schools that were
randomly assigned into conditions. A small percentage of the students were white (13.40% in the intervention school and 17.94% in the comparison). Among the remaining
students the following ethnic groups were represented: Hawaiian, Filipino, Asian (other), Japanese, Samoan, Hispanic, Chinese, Black, and Portuguese. About 60% of the
schools in the sample were Title I schools.
The program consisted of the Positive Action curriculum and additional components that involved school principals, counselors, parents, and community members. The
components addressed school and classroom management, school climate, family and community involvement, and skills and knowledge related to core values.1 The report
reviewed by the WWC presented findings for the end of the third year of program implementation. The authors report that by the third year, two schools were still implementing
at a very low level, three at a moderate-to-high level, and five at a high level. But even the high-implementation schools were still not implementing at the level the program
developer would expect for high-implementation schools. For example, few schools implemented the family- or community-involvement programs.
The comparison schools were drawn from the same school districts as the intervention schools and were matched on demographic characteristics, student behavior, and
academic achievement. Comparison schools did not implement the Positive Action program. The comparison schools had other types of character education activities they
regarded as business-as-usual, which were also practiced (although to a lesser extent) in the intervention schools.1
The study examined students’ outcomes in the academic achievement and behavior domains. Outcomes in the academic achievement domain included percent proficient on the reading and math sections of a state standardized test and daily absences. Outcomes in the behavior domain included students’ reports of use of alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drugs. (See Appendices A2.1 and A2.2 for more detailed descriptions of outcome measures.)
Support for implementation
Prior to each school year, the program developer, Dr. Allred, provided teacher/staff training to each intervention school. The training lasted 3–4 hours the first year and 1–2 hours each of the subsequent years. In addition, Dr. Allred visited each school at least once each year to provide an in-service session (usually 30–50 minutes). Finally, 5–6 representatives from each intervention school participated each winter in a mini-conference to obtain further training on the schoolwide components of the program and to share experiences.