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A Preliminary Study of the Strong Start SEL Curriculum. Sara Whitcomb, Ph.D. University of Massachusetts Presented at the Annual Meeting of the National Association of School Psychologists March 5, 2010. Name that Emotion. Appreciations. For helping me to start this work:

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A preliminary study of the strong start sel curriculum

A Preliminary Study of the Strong Start SEL Curriculum

Sara Whitcomb, Ph.D.

University of Massachusetts

Presented at the Annual Meeting of the

National Association of School Psychologists

March 5, 2010



Appreciations
Appreciations

  • For helping me to start this work:

    • Dr. Kenneth Merrell, University of Oregon (contributing author)

    • Dr. Cynthia Anderson, University of Oregon

    • Dr. John Seeley, Oregon Research Institute

  • To The Melissa Institute For Violence Prevention and Treatment for funding this study


Agenda
Agenda

  • Problem Statement/Relevant Literature

  • Research Questions

  • Method

  • Results

  • Discussion

  • Questions


The problem

(Coie, Miller-Jackson, Bagwell 2000; Merrell 2001; Rimm-Kaufman, Pianta, & Cox, 2000; Roeser & Eccles, 2000)

The Problem

  • 12-22% of school-aged children with social-emotional difficulties significant enough to require services.

  • 1 in 5 children get needed services.

  • Many children enter elementary school and do not display academic or social-emotional readiness skills.

  • Current national mandates make it difficult to find time and resources to address issues other than academics.


Designing School-Wide Systems for Student Success Rimm-Kaufman, Pianta, & Cox, 2000; Roeser & Eccles, 2000)

Academic Systems

Behavioral Systems

Intensive, Individual Interventions

-Individual students

-Assessment-based

-High Intensity

Intensive, Individual Interventions

-Individual students

-Assessment-based

-High Intensity

1-5%

1-5%

5-10%

5-10%

Targeted Group Interventions

-Some students (at-risk)

-Rapid Response

Targeted Group Interventions

-Some students (at-risk)

-Rapid Response

80-90%

80-90%

Universal Interventions

-All settings, all students

-Preventative, proactive

Universal Interventions

-All settings, all students

-Preventative, proactive

Sugai, Horner & Gresham (2002)


Social emotional learning sel ensuring the health of all children

(Denham & Weissberg, 2004; Elias, Zins, Greenberg, Weissberg, 2003)

Social-Emotional Learning (SEL): Ensuring the health of all children

  • Coordinated instructional programming that focuses on individual social and emotional skill development and integration of skills across contexts

  • Is developmentally appropriate

  • Spans multiple years

  • Based on research and systematically evaluated


The role of the adult in the sel of young children
The Role of the Adult in the SEL of Young Children Weissberg, 2003)

  • To effectively deliver carefully-designed lessons

  • To model appropriate self-management, empathic response, and problem-solving

  • To prompt students to practice skills

  • To acknowledge students when they spontaneously utilize skills learned


Components of the re aim framework

(Glasgow; Merrell & Buchanan, 2006) Weissberg, 2003)

Components of theRE-AIM Framework

  • R each(proportion of the target population that participates in intervention)

  • E fficacy(success rate if implemented as in guidelines—positive outcomes minus negative outcomes)

  • A doption(proportion of settings, practices, and plans that will adopt this intervention)

  • I mplementation(extent to which intervention is implemented as intended in “real world”)

  • M aintenance(extent to which a program is sustained over time)


Strong start is
Strong Start is… Weissberg, 2003)

  • Developmentally appropriate for younger students (grades K-2)

    • Emphasizes activity-based (“think-pair-share”) and children’s literature-based components and “Henry Bear”

    • Includes specific strategies for infusing skill practice throughout the day

    • Emphasizes emotional education and behavioral engagement.

    • Emphasizes communication with families, through newsletters developed for each lesson

  • Not Resource intensive


Developing strong start
Developing Strong Start Weissberg, 2003)

  • Year 1

    • Read articles on emotion development

    • Began with general lesson topics

    • Developed lessons/literature list appropriate for k-2 (based on research, professional judgment/clinical experiences)

  • Year 2

    • Kept detailed notes from those piloting across U.S. and Canada

    • Edited lessons based on feedback

    • Developed prototype for Content Knowledge Measure


Developing strong start cont
Developing Strong Start (Cont.) Weissberg, 2003)

  • Year 3

    • Piloted Strong Start in first grade general education classroom

    • Observed Strong Start implementation in k-2 Structured Learning Center

    • Piloted Strong Start Content Knowledge


Developing strong start cont1
Developing Strong Start (cont.) Weissberg, 2003)

Year 4

  • Recruit participants.

  • Evaluate acceptance of intervention.

  • Assess feasibility of intervention.

  • Assess treatment integrity.

  • Evaluate impact of intervention on acquisition and application of young children’s emotion knowledge skills


Research questions
Research Questions Weissberg, 2003)

  • Does systematic implementation of Strong Start result in increased knowledge of social and emotional skills among first graders?

  • Does systematic implementation of Strong Start result in teachers’ perceived improvement in social behavior and affect among children in their classrooms?


Research questions1
Research Questions Weissberg, 2003)

  • Do teachers infuse into their classroom routines the concepts presented in Strong Start over time?

  • Do teachers, students, and parents find Strong Start to be a socially valid intervention?

  • To what extent is student performance on an assessment of social and emotional knowledge skills correlated with teacher report of social behavior and affect?


Participants
Participants Weissberg, 2003)

  • 88 first grade students from 1 Northwestern district

    • School 1- (Class 1, Class 2, Class 3)

    • School 2- (Class 4)

  • 5 Interventionists

    • School 1-(counselor and teachers from 3 classes)

    • School 2-(teacher)


Participants cont
Participants (cont.) Weissberg, 2003)


Procedures
Procedures Weissberg, 2003)

  • Interventionist Training

    • 2.5-hour meeting in December 2007

    • Introduction to study’s significance, conceptual framework of SEL, and Strong Start

  • Intervention

    • 10 Strong Start lessons implemented one time per week during January-April 2008

  • Assessment

    • 3 waves—Pretest1 (October), Pretest 2 (January), posttest (April)

    • Fidelity of implementation



Measures intervention monitoring
Measures-Intervention Monitoring Design

  • Observations of Strong Start implementation

    • 50% (School 1)/40% (School 2) of lessons observed

    • Included implementation of lesson components and behavioral observations

    • IOA on lesson components and behavioral observations ranged from 88-100%

    • IOA on behavioral observations (individual behaviors) ranged from 71%-100%

  • Email Description of Infusion of Skills over time and across contexts


Fidelity
Fidelity Design


Mean behaviors observed across lessons
Mean Behaviors Observed Across Lessons Design

OTR-Opportunity to Respond RSR-Relevant Student Response

PR-Praise REP-Reprimand



Implementation outcomes
Implementation Outcomes Design

  • Teachers required flexibility to implement lessons over multiple days (some with support of counselor).

  • 1-2 books from literature list were read each week.

  • Interventionists are offered an average of 2 Opportunities to Respond (OTRs) per minute and students responded approximately 2-3 times per minute.


A hint of acceptability
A Hint of Acceptability Design

  • ‘I really liked the "leanness" of this program. I find that I refer to parts of it all the time...especially during Reading time. Lots of opportunities for the kids to apply it in much of the literature I use....not to mention general life in first grade!’

    –Classroom Teacher


Measures dependent variables
Measures—Dependent Variables Design

  • Social-emotional knowledge skills

    • Strong Start Content Knowledge

    • Assessment of Children’s Emotion Skills (ACES)

  • Teacher report of social behavior and affect

    • Peer Relations subscale from SSBS (Merrell, 2002)

    • Problem Behavior subscale from SSRS (Gresham & Elliot, 1990)

  • Social Validity

    • Teacher, Parent and student questionnaires


Data analyses
Data Analyses Design

  • Descriptives

  • Analyses of Variance

  • Chi-Square Analysis (Problem Behavior)

  • Difference Scores Analyses

  • Magnitude of Effects

  • Correlations Between Measures



Anovas

*p < .05 Design

ANOVAs


Patterns of externalizing and internalizing behavior

*p < .05 Design

Patterns of Externalizing and Internalizing Behavior


Problem behavior chi square

*p < .05 Design

Problem Behavior Chi-Square


Difference scores analyses

*p < .05 Design

Difference Scores Analyses



Social validity
Social Validity Design

  • Interventionists

    • 100% thought students learned important skills, curriculum was easy to teach, would use curriculum again.

    • 80% felt they had adequate time to teach and materials were easy to access.

  • Students

    • 78% liked Strong Start.

    • 68% learned a lot.

  • Parents/Guardians

    • 100% of respondents were aware of what children were learning and found parent newsletters helpful

    • 64% tried tips provided in newsletters

    • Few respondents


Intercorrelations
Intercorrelations Design

Pretest 2

Pretest1

Posttest


Discussion
Discussion Design

  • Lesson components implemented with fidelity.

  • Teacher responsiveness in tracking infusion of skills was variable.

    • Prompted use of skills ~1 time per day

  • Curriculum perceived as useful and worth future use.


Discussion behavioral change
Discussion:Behavioral Change Design

  • Strong Start may have contributed to increased emotion knowledge across varied situations.

  • Strong Start may have had an intervention effect for students likely to engage in problem behavior.

  • Strong Start may have contributed to a decrease in internalizing symptoms among a significant number of students.


Limitations
Limitations Design

  • Finding feasible, efficient, reliable methods for assessing young children

  • Behavioral indicators of teacher “buy in”


Future research
Future Research Design

  • Replicate study procedurally and include:

    • Larger sample

    • Comparison group

    • Technically sound emotion knowledge measures/direct observation

    • Varied grade levels (including pre-k)

  • Directly observe the extent to which teachers prompt/acknowledge use of skills across contexts and time.

  • Directly observe the impact of curriculum on student behavior, particularly those in need of targeted support.

  • Examine how consultation may improve infusion of skills and overall effectiveness

  • Identify outcomes to target over longer time period.

    • E.g. transition to school


Contact info
Contact Info Design

  • Sara [email protected]


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