Thursday, June 9, 2011

Impacts of a Violence Prevention Program for Middle Schools - A US Gov Study

The U.S. Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences just released a study on school violence programs in middle schools.

The report, Impacts of a Violence Prevention Program for Middle Schools: Findings After 3 Years of Implementation, presents findings from an IES-sponsored study of a violence prevention strategy - implemented at middle schools over the course of three years, and found there wasn't a significantly different effect on the rates of violence or victimization reported by students.

The strategy focuses on a violence-prevention effort combining two programs:
  1. Classroom curriculum-based approach (Responding in Peaceful and Positive Ways, RiPP) and
  2. Whole-school approach (BEST Behavior).
Here are some of the highlighted findings taken from the IES abstract:
  • There were no statistically significant differences between intervention and control schools on self-reported student violence or victimization measures. On average, 8th-graders in the intervention and control schools reported engaging in 2.8 and 2.7 violent acts at school in the past 30 days, respectively; and, on average, 8th-graders in both the intervention and control schools reported being victimized 4 times in the past 30 days.
  • There were no statistically significant impacts on violence or victimization for students who were at risk for engaging in violence but who either had or had not previously engaged in violence. For example, 8th-graders in both the intervention and control schools who were categorized as being at a high risk for violence but who had not self-reported any of eight serious acts of violence ever at baseline (nonperpetrators) reported that, on average, they had engaged in just over 3 violent acts at school in the past 30 days. For the victimization measure, high-risk, nonperpetrator 8th-graders in the intervention and control schools reported being victimized an average of 4 times at school in the past 30 days.
  • In a majority of intervention schools, students were exposed to the full set of 16 RiPP lessons in each of the 3 years of implementation although the curriculum was not fully delivered with fidelity. Between 61 percent and 72 percent of schools delivered all 16 lessons to all classrooms in each year of program implementation. However, 88 percent of teachers interviewed in year three mentioned difficulties with implementing at least one of five RiPP techniques or approaches.
  • By the end of the third year, 83 percent of intervention schools instituted behavioral rules and 78 percent instituted a reward system. In addition, 87 percent of teachers agreed that the rules were well defined and 64 percent agreed that the consequences of breaking school rules were clear.