WWC review of this study

Progress report of the randomized trial of Positive Action in Hawaii: End of third year of intervention.

Flay, B., Acock, A., Vuchinich, S., & Beets, M. (2006). Available from Positive Action, Inc. 264 4th Avenue South, Twin Falls, ID 83301.

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
     examining 
    2,660
     Students
    , grades
    K-4
At least one statistically significant positive finding
Meets WWC standards without reservations

Reviewed: April 2007

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

Grade retention

Positive Action vs. Business as usual

Posttest

Grade 5;
2,660 students

N/A

N/A

Yes

 
 
36
More Outcomes

Hawaii Content and Performance Standards test (HCPS): Reading (percentage reaching proficiency)

Positive Action vs. Business as usual

Posttest

Grade 5;
2,660 students

52

44

Yes

 
 
8

Hawaii Content and Performance Standards test (HCPS): Math (percentage reaching proficiency)

Positive Action vs. Business as usual

Posttest

Grade 5;
2,660 students

26

21

Yes

 
 
7
Behavior outcomes—Statistically significant positive effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
index

Illegal drug use

Positive Action vs. Business as usual

Posttest

Grade 5;
2,660 students

0

2.39

Yes

 
 
36
More Outcomes

Being drunk

Positive Action vs. Business as usual

Posttest

Grade 5;
2,660 students

0.74

3.35

Yes

 
 
32

Suspensions

Positive Action vs. Business as usual

Posttest

Grade 5;
2,660 students

N/A

N/A

Yes

 
 
29

Serious violence

Positive Action vs. Business as usual

Posttest

Grade 5: Boys;
1,330 students

10.8

23.5

Yes

 
 
21

Alcohol use

Positive Action vs. Business as usual

Posttest

Grade 5;
2,660 students

9.63

14.83

Yes

 
 
12

Tobacco use

Positive Action vs. Business as usual

Posttest

Grade 5;
2,660 students

3.33

4.78

Yes

 
 
9

Serious violence

Positive Action vs. Business as usual

Posttest

Grade 5: Girls;
1,330 students

5.8

3.6

Yes

-12
 
 

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.


  • 59% Free or reduced price lunch
  • Race
    Asian
    33%
    Black
    1%
    Native American
    1%
    Pacific Islander
    41%
    White
    15%
  • Ethnicity
    Hispanic
    2%
    Not Hispanic
    98%
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    Hawaii

Setting

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 from Molokai.

Study sample

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.

Intervention Group

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.

Comparison Group

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

Outcome descriptions

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.

 

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This download will include data files for study and findings review data and a data dictionary.

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