First-year Self-Report Outcomes of a Character Education Experiment with Elementary Students
Harak, Elise Touris
Gottfredson, Gary D
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Instruction in social competence in elementary grades may provide a means of preventing later problem behaviors. Previous studies indicate that school-based social competency curricula sometimes lead to decreases in problem behaviors. This randomized, controlled trial measures the efficacy of the Second Step program in twelve schools. The assessment of efficacy is based on 11 scales in a pre- and post- test, student self-report survey. These scales measure: (a) outcomes directly targeted by the curriculum, (b) school climate, and (c) other related outcomes. Results for students in six intervention schools are compared to students in six randomly equivalent control schools. After the first of three years of intervention, there is a statistically significant main effect for treatment on Engagement in Learning, an interaction of treatment with individual characteristics on Sense of School as a Community and Self-Restraint, and positive but not significant effect sizes on Self-Restraint and Hostile Attribution Bias.