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Program description

PBL Works, offered by The Buck Institute for Education, provides a teaching practices approach to SEL. It includes programming for grades 6-12 and demonstrates evidence of effectiveness at grade 12.

      • SEL lessons
      • Instructional practices
      • Relationship building
      • Positive classroom management
      • SEL generalization
      • Shared agreements
      • Student voice
      • Systemic support for SEL
      • Adult SEL
      • Student Voice
      • Service-learning
      • Activities and Resources for Home
    • Onsite in-person training
    • Virtual training
    • Offsite training
    • Train the trainer model
    • Administrator support
    • Coaching
    • Technical assistance
    • Professional Learning Communities (PLCs)
    • Online resource library
    • Self-report tools for monitoring implementation
    • Observational tools
    • Tools for measuring student success

Evidence of effectiveness

Results of a randomized control trial (RCT) evaluation conducted in the 2007-2008 academic year (published in 2010) supported the effectiveness of PBLworks or high school students. The evaluation included 3,752 grade 12 students (Latinx = 41%; White = 37%; 40% of students at school eligible for FRPL). The evaluation found that students who received the program had significant increases in self-reported academic self-efficacy, as well as higher economic literacy test scores compared to control group students (outcomes reported 17 weeks after baseline while controlling for outcome pre-test).

  • Evidence shown in grades
    School characteristics
      • Rural
      • Urban
      • Southwest
      • West
    Student characteristics
    • Hispanic / Latinx
    • White
    • Low income
    Percentage Low Income
    • Eligible for FRPL: 40%
    Study design type
    • RCT
    Greater than 350 students included in study design type
    • Yes
    Multiple school districts included at study design type
    • Yes
    • Improved academic performance
    • Reduced emotional distress
    • Improved identity development and agency
    • Reduced problem behaviors
    • Improved school climate
    • Improved school connectedness
    • Improved social behaviors
    • Improved teaching practices
    • Improved other SEL skills and attitudes

How does PBLWorks support SEL implementation across multiple settings?

“PBLWorks supports the systemic implementation of SEL within project-based learning, Teachers are encouraged to involve parents by inviting them to lend expertise they might have, and/or by attending exhibitions. Additionally, the PBL focus on authenticity results in the regular connection of students to community experts and supporters.”
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