Results of a Randomized Controlled Trial of Student Success SkillsReport as inadecuate

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Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness

Numerous authors have reviewed research to determine which skills are considered fundamental to successful academic and social outcomes for students (Hattie, Briggs, & Purdie, 1996; Masten & Coatworth, 1998; Wang, Haertel, & Walberg, 1994; Zins, Weissberg, Wang, & Walberg, 2004). These skills include: (1) cognitive and meta-cognitive skills such as goal setting, progress monitoring, organization and memory skills; (2) social skills such as interpersonal, social problem-solving, listening, and team-work skills; and (3) self-management skills such as managing attention, motivation, and anger. If students are taught these fundamental cognitive, social, and self-management skills in a caring, supportive, and encouraging environment where they feel safe to take risks as they try new strategies, their confidence in their abilities increases, as does their effort in the classroom, eventually leading to improved academic outcomes. The Student Success Skills (SSS) classroom-based intervention was developed to systematically teach students fundamental social, emotional, and learning skills. The purpose of the project described here was to allow for rigorous research to evaluate both the proximal and distal outcomes resulting from classroom level student participation in SSS when facilitated by school counselors and reinforced by classroom teachers. Participants were 4,321 fifth grade students in 235 classrooms in 60 schools across two school districts (15 treatment and 15 control in each district). The study employed a hierarchical design, often referred to as a cluster-randomized design, where schools (i.e., clusters) were randomly assigned to either treatment or control conditions. Therefore, the unit of randomization was the school. Hierarchical Liner Modeling (HLM) results suggest that Student Success Skills (SSS) has a beneficial effect on student academic-related behavior. Specifically, these results suggest that participation in the SSS program resulted in lower levels of test anxiety, higher levels of engagement in classroom work, higher levels of appropriate assertion in classroom interactions, and higher levels of cooperation. In addition, participation in Student Success Skills prevented a rise in disruptive behavior over the school year that was observed in Control students. These results indicate that SSS enhanced students' ability to perform under pressure, increased students' motivated engagement in school-work, enhanced classroom social skills, and decreased students' disruptive behavior. Data analysis tables are appended.

Descriptors: Randomized Controlled Trials, Success, Cognitive Ability, Metacognition, Goal Orientation, Progress Monitoring, Organization, Memory, Interpersonal Competence, Problem Solving, Listening Skills, Teamwork, Self Management, Attention, Motivation, Emotional Response, Skill Development, Intervention, Program Evaluation, Program Effectiveness, Grade 5, Elementary School Students, Hierarchical Linear Modeling, Student Behavior, Behavior Problems, Self Efficacy

Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness. 2040 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208. Tel: 202-495-0920; Fax: 202-640-4401; e-mail: inquiries[at]; Web site:

Author: Webb, Linda; Carey, John; Villares, Elizabeth; Wells, Craig; Sayer, Aline


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