WWC review of this study

A randomized efficacy trial of the second step early learning (SSEL) curriculum [Second Step: Social-Emotional Skills for Early Learning vs. business as usual (Creative Curriculum)]

Upshur, C. C., Wenz-Gross, M., Rhoads, C., Heyman, M., Yoo, Y., & Sawosik, G. (2019). Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 62, 145–159. Retrieved from: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED593534

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
     examining 
    770
     Students
    , grade
    PK

Reviewed: July 2022

No statistically significant positive
findings
Meets WWC standards with reservations
Reading & Literacy Related outcomes—Indeterminate effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

Woodcock-Johnson III Tests of Achievement (WJ-III) Letter-Word Identification Subtest

Second Step Early Learning (SSEL) vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Full sample;
770 students

95.80

97.28

No

--


Evidence Tier rating based solely on this study. This intervention may achieve a higher tier when combined with the full body of evidence.

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.


  • Female: 49%
    Male: 51%
  • Race
    Asian
    2%
    Black
    26%
    Other or unknown
    30%
    White
    42%
  • Ethnicity
    Hispanic    
    41%
    Not Hispanic or Latino    
    59%
  • Eligible for Free and Reduced Price Lunch
    Other or unknown    
    100%

Setting

The study was conducted across seven community-based preschools and six Head Start programs.

Study sample

The analytic sample was 50.8 percent male; the overall mean age was 53.0 months. Of these students, 42 percent are reported as Anglo-American, 26 percent are African American, 2 percent are Asian American, 3 percent are classified as ‘other race,’ and no race information was provided for the remaining 27 percent of children and families. About 41 percent of the students were Hispanic.

Intervention Group

Students assigned to the intervention condition received the Second Step Early Learning Curriculum (SSEL), which aims to develop social-emotional competencies and self-regulation skills among students considered at risk. SSEL includes five units and has scripted, five day-a-week, brief large and small group lessons with 28 weekly themes; there are also suggested extension and generalization activities. Intervention teachers implemented SSEL in addition to the existing curriculum, Creative Curriculum. SSEL does not provide specific instruction on pre-math or pre-literacy skills.

Comparison Group

Comparison teachers continued the business-as-usual curriculum, which was Creative Curriculum.

Support for implementation

Teachers assigned to implement Second Step participated in monthly, 2-hour cross-site training sessions during their first year. During their second year of implementation, teachers attend bi-monthly meetings to ask questions and share successes and challenges regarding the program. Members of the intervention development team also visited classrooms monthly to lead a SSEL lesson and provide coaching to teachers. The program developers also provided all training session materials, curriculum kits, and related story books.

 

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

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