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Cluster-Randomized Trial Demonstrating Impact on Academic Achievement of Elementary Social-Emotional Learning.

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posted on 11.02.2016, 00:00 authored by DJ Schonfeld, RE Adams, BK Fredstrom, RP Weissberg, R Gilman, C Voyce, R Tomlin, D Speese-Linehan
This study evaluated the results of a social and emotional learning (SEL) program on academic achievement among students attending a large, urban, high-risk school district. Using a clusterrandomized design, 24 elementary schools were assigned to receive either the intervention curriculum (Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies, or PATHS) or a curriculum that delivered few if any SEL topics (i.e., the control group). In addition to state mastery test scores, demographic data, school attendance, and dosage information were obtained from 705 students who remained in the same group from the 3rd to the 6th grade. Analyses of odds ratios revealed that students enrolled in the intervention schools demonstrated higher levels of basic proficiency in reading, writing, and math at some grade levels. Although these between-groups differences held for race/ethnicity, gender, and socioeconomic status, significant within-group differences also were noted across these variables. Collectively, these findings indicated that social development instruction may be a promising approach to promote acquisition of academic profi- ciency, especially among youth attending high-risk school settings. Implications of these findings with respect to SEL programs conclude the article.


This study was funded by a research grant (RO1 HD045362: Comprehensive Elementary School Risk Prevention) from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) awarded to David J. Schonfeld.


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This is a pre-copy-editing, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in School Psychology Quarterly following peer review. The definitive publisher-authenticated version Schonfeld, D. J., Adams, R. E., Fredstrom, B. K., Weissberg, R. P., Gilman, R., Voyce, C., Tomlin, R. and Speese-Linehan, D. Cluster-Randomized Trial Demonstrating Impact on Academic Achievement of Elementary Social-Emotional Learning. School Psychology Quarterly. 2015. 30(3): 406-420. 10.1037/spq0000099. is available online at:


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