Program

Classroom-Centered (CC) Intervention of Early Risk Behaviors: Good Behavior Game and Mimosa Mathematics Program

Sep 29, 2017

OVERVIEW

This classroom-centered intervention (CC), targeted towards students in elementary school, combines two pre-existing interventions for academic and behavioral improvements (the Mimosa mathematics program and the Good Behavior Game, respectively) with the aim of reducing early risk behaviors such as poor achievement, concentration problems, aggression, and shy behavior.  A two-year, randomized controlled design in Baltimore city public schools comparing students in the CC intervention to students in classes with the standard school curriculum found that multiple behavioral and academic outcomes improved for both boys and girls by the end of first year and by the end of second year.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PROGRAM

Target population:  Students in first and second grade

The classroom-centered intervention consists of two components providing academic and behavioral additions to the standard elementary school curriculum for first- and second-grade students. The academic component is the Mimosa mathematics program, which implements the most up-to-date National Council on Teaching of Mathematics standards, includes broad areas of math such as geometry, data analysis, and probability. In the Mimosa mathematics program, students build math skills by relating them to concepts they already know. The Good Behavior Game, which provides the behavioral component, is a whole-class strategy to increase concentration and reduce behavioral problems. In the behavioral component, students in each classroom are divided into three teams; points are given to the teams for accomplishing defined goals and are taken away for aggressive or shy behavior. The points can then be used to exchange for social and material rewards like class activities, stickers, erasers, and other tangible things.

EVALUATION (S) OF PROGRAM

Ialongo, N. S., Werthamer, L., Kellam, S. G., Brown, C. H., Wong, S, & Lin, Y. (1999). Proximal impact of two first-grade preventive interventions on the early risk behaviors for later substance abuse, depression, and antisocial behavior. American Journal of Community Psychology, 27(5), 599-641.

Evaluated population:  Nine Baltimore City public schools were contacted for participation in this study, with children who were entering first grade making up the evaluated population. Of the 678 children in these schools who were entering first grade at the beginning of the study, consent was available for 97 percent, or 653 students. The population of students had slightly more boys than girls at 53 percent, was 87 percent African American and 13 percent Caucasian, and ranged in age from five to eight years old.  Two-thirds of the children received free or reduced-price lunch.  There were no statistical differences between those who participated and those who did not participate in the study.

Approach: This evaluation was a randomized controlled trial involving nine urban elementary schools in which three first grade classrooms from each school received one of the interventions:  control, the CC intervention, and the Family-School Partnership intervention.  The control group received the standard curriculum for Baltimore City public school first graders. Randomization happened at the classroom level.  Data was collected from the beginning of first grade to the end of second grade for participating students. The CC intervention added two components to the standard Baltimore School curriculum: Mimosa math program and Good Behavior Game. The evaluation measured outcomes for academic achievement and behavioral problems.  The behavioral outcomes were measured by Teacher Observation of Classroom Adaptation-Revised (TOCA-R), Parent Observation of Child Adaptation (POCA), and Peer Assessment Inventory (PAI).  The TOCA-R and POCA provided measures for the teacher and parent reported total behavior problems, respectively. the PAI assessment provided peer rates of aggressive or shy behavior in the classroom. and the Comprehensive Test of Basic Skills provided math and reading outcome measures during the fall and spring semester of first and second grade. All outcomes were analyzed by gender.  For academic achievement, the outcomes were specifically for reading and mathematics outcomes and were tested by the Comprehensive Test of Basic Skills.

Results: The results reported in this write up compare the outcomes of the students in the classroom-centered intervention classrooms with students in the control classrooms. There were significant increases in reading skills for boys in the CC intervention classrooms by the end of first grade compared to their baseline scores at the beginning of the first grade, but there were no significant changes in reading levels in second grade. Boys in the CC intervention classrooms were found to have significant improvements in math scores by the end of second grade, though no significant improvements were observed in first grade. Compared to boys in the control classrooms, however, boys in the CC intervention classrooms were not found to have a significantly higher or lower academic outcomes in either first or second grade. Similarly, there were no statistically significant difference between the academic outcomes of girls in the intervention classroom and those in the control classroom in either first or second grade.

For the behavioral outcomes, total problem behaviors rated by teachers were significantly improved by end of first grade and by the end of second grade for boys and girls in the CC intervention compared to those in the control classrooms.  There were statistically different outcomes for boys’ aggressive behavior in the treatment group compared to the control group. No other significant differences were found, e.g. for shy behavior or peer ratings on classroom behaviors and participation.

SOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION

References:

Ialongo, N. S., Werthamer, L., Kellam, S. G., Brown, C. H., Wong, S, & Lin, Y. (1999). Proximal impact of two first-grade preventive interventions on the early risk behaviors for later substance abuse, depression, and antisocial behavior. American Journal of Community Psychology, 27, 599-641.

KEYWORDS: Children (3-11), Elementary, Males and Females (Co-ed), White/Caucasian, Black/African American, Urban, School-based, Achievement/Grades, Education, Mathematics, Social Skills/Life Skills, Aggression

Program information last updated on 9/25/17.

 

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