Development of the "4R Success" Program Aimed at Improving Elementary School-Aged Children Social and Scholastic Competence

Research project

Description

In response to the Social and Behavioral Context for Academic Learning initiative, and consistent with Goal Two, the purpose of this project is to develop a new program for improving childrens social skills and behaviors that support academic learning. Specifically, our aim is to develop an innovative, class-wide program called 4R-SUCCESS (4Rs = Reading, Riting, Rithmetic, and Relationships; Students Using Collaborative Curricula to Enhance Social- Scholastic Skills). We propose that children would derive greater benefit from peer-mediated learning (PML) activities if they were: (a) prepared to collaborate and interact productively with classmates (i.e., had requisite collaborative skills (CS) for PML and could inhibit negative or counter-productive behaviors) and (b) encouraged to establish and maintain collaborative learning relationships with PML partners (i.e., ties that foster a shared sense of responsibility and commitment and that supply resources for learning). Development of 4R-SUCCESS is predicated on principles articulated within a cognitive-social learning model of social skill learning (see Ladd et al., 2003)the theoretical foundation for coaching interventions. Our aims are to: (1) further develop and refine program components (e.g., develop coaching scripts, coaching manuals and training materials; identify effective ways to interface 4R-SUCCESS with PML tasks), (2) test and refine instructional procedures through multiple iterative applications until it is evident that: (a) all stipulated coaching principles have been operationalized, (b) all procedures are feasible and practical for teachers to implement on a class-wide basis, and (c) program components are functioning as intended (e.g., improve childrens CS usage, promote collaborative learning relationships, and co-facilitate social and scholastic competence). Schools in metropolitan Arizona and rural Western New York were selected to be representative of a broad array of U.S. public schools. Specifically, participating schools are diverse in terms of race/ethnicity (13 to 74% White; 17 to 65% Hispanic/Latino; 4 to 16% Black; 0 to 10% Other races), socio-economic levels (range from 4 to 84% of students receiving free or reduced price lunches) populations, and overall academic performance (under/low to high). Roughly equal numbers of boys and girls attend each school. In Year 1, when the primary aims include developing coaching curricula and identifying barriers to feasibility, the sample will include 6 3rd and 5th grade teachers and about 150 students from three schools. In Year 2, when the principal aims are to develop/refine teacher training procedures and materials and to evaluate the feasibility of the program and fidelity of treatment by having teachers implement a prototype of 4R-SUCCESS, 8 3rd and 5th grade teachers and about 200 children from two new schools will participate. In Year 3, the feasibility of the program in a broader range of grades (grades 2 through 5) will be evaluated with 12 teachers and about 300 students from three schools. In addition to observational methods and focus groups, self-, peer- and teacher-report measures of children's collaborative skills, collaborative learning relationships, and so forth will be used to ensure that the components of the program are functioning as intended--and to make modifications to the program as necessary. 4R-SUCCESS would help children: (1) acquire and improve proficiency at CSs that are essential for PML activities and known to promote positive classroom interactions, (2) desist from engaging in negative social behaviors, such as aggression, exclusionary, dominating tactics, and (3) improve childrens scholastic skills via PML activities (e.g., reading skills). At the end of the three years, it is anticipated that a fully developed 4R-SUCCESS prototype (e.g., all manuals, procedures and supplemental materials) will be ready for IES Goal 3 effi
StatusFinished
Effective start/end date7/1/096/30/13

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elementary school
learning
school
teacher
coaching
student
school grade
curriculum
sense of responsibility
cognitive learning
social learning
social behavior
teacher training
tactics
aggression
ethnicity
commitment
supply
classroom