Program

Nov 01, 2006

OVERVIEW

The social skills and academic skills training programs
are designed to increase positive social interactions of socially isolated or
rejected children. Children were randomly assigned to one of four
treatment groups: academic skills training, social skills training, both
academic and social skills training, or a control group. In the social
skills training program, children received direct instruction on interaction
techniques. Instruction was followed up with role-playing situations in
which the children demonstrated the interaction techniques in realistic
settings. A follow-up interview was conducted after the role-play to
reinforce and review interaction techniques. The academic skills training
program consisted of twice weekly tutoring sessions and focused on development
of math and reading skills. The study outlined below found that social
skills training was effective in increasing social preference ratings by peers
as well as increasing scores on reading comprehension measures. However,
academic skills training was equally or more effective and had greater
sustained impacts when compared with the Social Skills Training program.

DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAM

Target population: Socially rejected,
low-achieving populations of elementary school-aged children

Social
skills training consists of three main steps within each session. First,
a short description of possible interaction techniques is explained to the
child, then a short play period follows, lastly, a short review of play session
interaction ends the session. Each session of Social Skills Training
lasts approximately 30 minutes and is designed to be given once or twice weekly
for a period of 4-6 weeks. Academic skills training involves one-on-one
tutoring sessions on math and reading which are 45 minutes each and occur twice
weekly for 16 weeks.

EVALUATION(S) OF PROGRAM

Coie,
J. D. Krehbiel, G. (1984). Effects of academic tutoring on the
social status of low-achieving, socially rejected children. Child
Development, 14,
1465-1478.

Evaluated population: 40 fourth grade
children from Durham, North Carolina public elementary
schools. These children were selected because they received low social
preference scores from peers. An additional criterion for selection in
the study was a score below the 36th percentile on the California
Achievement Test (CAT). The schools sampled were predominantly
African-American, and students were from lower SES backgrounds. All 40
students in the study were African-Americans.

Approach: Student selection was based on low social preference scores on a test of
social rejection. To qualify for the study, students also had to be below
the 36th percentile of the CAT. Children who matched both
criteria were randomly assigned to one of four conditions: academic skills
training, social skills training, combined academic and social skills training,
or a control group. Children in the academic skills groups met with
tutors for 45 minutes twice a week for 16 weeks. Children in social
skills groups met in groups with a social skills trainer weekly for 6
weeks. Children in control groups received no additional training than
what was provided to all students during class time.

To
measure social skills, students were assessed on a peer-rating scale of social
desirability. To measure development of academic skills the students were
assessed using the CAT. Additionally, at one year after the conclusion of
the interventions, students were again assessed using these measures.

Results: Students in all three intervention groups received higher social acceptance
scores based on the peer rejection scales; but only students in the academic
training programs improved past social rejection status. While students
in the academic skills treatment received higher scores than students in the
social skills treatment, this may reflect the more intensive nature of the
academic skills program. Retesting of students after one year showed that
all intervention groups performed better than control groups on reading
comprehension tests. Academic skills groups also retained gains in social
preference scores compared with the control group.

SOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION

References

Coie,
J. D. Krehbiel, G. (1984). Effects of academic tutoring on the
social status of low-achieving, socially rejected children. Child
Development, 14,
1465-1478.

KEYWORDS: Middle Childhood (6-11), Children,
Elementary School, School-Based, Mentoring, Tutoring, Skills Training, Life
Skills Training, Education, Academic Achievement, Social/Emotional Health,
Behavioral Problems, African-American, Peer Rejection

Program
information last updated 11/01/06

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