Program

Jan 15, 2009

OVERVIEW

A school-based intervention to prevent school failures for a
population of adolescents judged to be high-risk was implemented in an urban
middle school. The goal of the intervention was to prevent an increase in
school failure experiences as measured by attendance, promptness, discipline
referrals and grades. Students judged to be high risk based on low academic
motivation, family problems, and frequent serious discipline referrals were
randomly assigned to either the treatment or control group. Students in the
treatment group participated in a two-year program that incorporated teacher
and parent involvement as well as small sessions that focused on the students’
behavior. After the completion of the program there were significant
differences in the changes in students’ grades and attendance between the
groups.

DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAM

Target population: Urban middle school students with
school adjustment problems.

Bry and George’s school-based intervention to prevent an
increase in school failure experiences among high-risk adolescents was based on
an intervention developed by S.D. Rose (Rose, 1972) that incorporates
behaviorally oriented group meetings of five to seven students with teacher and
parent support. The four major components of the intervention program were:
keeping track of students’ attendance, tardiness, disciplinary and academic
records; providing feedback to students and parents about students’ actions;
providing incentives to students by “points” for encouraged behavior; and
providing assistance and discussion on how to earn more “points.” The program
was incorporated into the students’ daily school schedule for two academic
years.

EVALUATION(S) OF PROGRAM

Bry, B.H. & George, F.E. (1980).The preventive Effects of Early Intervention on the
Attendance and Grades of Urban Adolescents. Professional Psychology,
11, 252-260.

Bry, B.H. (1982). Reducing the Incidence of Adolescent
Problems Through Preventive Intervention: One- and
Five-year Follow-up. American Journal of Community Psychology, 10(3),
265-276.

Evaluated population: A total of 24 male and 16
female adolescents were recruited to participate in the study. There were 12
males and 8 females each in the intervention and the control groups.

Approach: Forty seventh-graders were selected from a
class of 555 students in a large, urban, and racially mixed middle school on
the basis of low academic achievement, family problems, and discipline
referrals on the recommendation of school personnel. The 40 participating
students were assigned to intervention and control groups through a
yoked-control design. Students were matched into pairs based on similarities,
such as classroom, academic track, attendance and grades. Then one member
of the group was randomly assigned to the intervention group and the other
placed in the control group. Students in the control group received no
special treatment and school personnel were not informed of the identities of
the students in the control group.

Students in the intervention group participated in the
program for the next two years. The four major components of the
intervention program were: keeping track of students’ attendance, tardiness,
disciplinary and academic records; providing feedback to students and parents
about students’ actions; providing incentives to students by “points” for
encouraged behavior; and providing assistance and discussion on how to earn
more “points.” Teachers were interviewed monthly to track student’s
progress, and parents were contacted after instances of tardiness or absences.
Points were distributed for positive behavior as mentioned in teacher
interviews and in group meetings. Points were then used to allow students to take
an extra school trip every semester. After point tallies, group session leaders
engaged with students in discussions on how more points could be earned.

School failures were measured by absences, tardiness, grades
and disciplinary actions.

Results: Analyses of the grades and attendance
records of the students prior to the intervention program showed no significant
differences between the intervention and control group.

Since five students left the school system, analyses are
based on 15 pairs of students who remained. The authors note that impacts
were not found after one year of the program, but only after two years.
After the two-year program, tests showed significant differences between the
changes in the program students’ grades and attendance and those of the control
group. There were no significant differences in the tardiness and disciplinary
actions of the two groups.

One year after the intervention was completed, significant
differences between the intervention and control group persisted in the number
of adolescents in the group who had ever been employed, and in drug abuse and
criminal behavior. There were no between group differences in alcohol abuse or
rating of honesty.

Five years after the intervention was completed, a record-check
study examined county records for all 60 youth found that there was no evidence
of intervention effects upon drug-related arrests. However, significantly fewer
students from the intervention group had records of delinquency compared with
the control group.

SOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION

References:

Bry, B.H. & George, F.E. (1980).
The preventative Effects of Early Intervention on the
Attendance and Grades of Urban Adolescents. Professional Psychology,
11, 252-260.

Bry, B.H. (1982). Reducing the Incidence of Adolescent
Problems Through Preventative Intervention: One- and
Five-year Follow-up. American Journal of Community Psychology, 10(3),
265-276.

KEYWORDS:
Adolescence (12-17), School-based, Adolescents (12-17), High-Risk, Co-ed, Urban, White
or Caucasian, Black or African American, Middle School, School-Based, Conduct/Disruptive Disorders,  Delinquency, Academic Achievement/Grades, Academic Motivation/Self Concept/Expectations/Engagement, Alcohol Use, Marijuana/Illicit/Prescription Drugs, Attendance

Program information last updated on
1/15/09.