Positive Action provides a lesson-based approach to SEL. Positive Action includes programming for grades preK-12 and demonstrates evidence of effectiveness in 1-5. Translated materials for Positive Action are available in Spanish.
Strategies supporting educational equity
Positive Action provides strategies for working with bias. This includes explicit guidance during training and ongoing support that focuses on teachers and school staff increasing their awareness of their own biases and assumptions.
- SEL lessons
- Systemic support for SEL
- Group structures
- Peer mentoring
- Student supports
- Family Intervention Component
- Activities and Resources for Home
- Onsite in-person training
- Virtual training
- Offsite training
- Train the trainer model
- Administrator support
- 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 from a longitudinal, randomized control trial conducted from 2001 – 2006 (published in 2009) supported the effectiveness of Positive Action for elementary school students. This evaluation included 1,714 students who were followed from grades 1 and 2 through grade 5 (Pacific Islander = 26%, Asian = 21%, multi-racial = 23%; eligible for FRPL = 25%). This evaluation found that grade 5 students who participated in the program self-reported lower lifetime prevalence rates of problem behaviors (including substance use, violence, sexual activity behaviors) and had lower teacher-reported violent behaviors compared to students in the control group (outcomes reported 3-4 years after baseline, controlling for theoretically relevant pretest scores).
Results from a randomized controlled trial conducted during the 2002–2003 through 2005–2006 school years, with a 1-year follow-up in 2007 (published in 2010), supported the effectiveness of Positive Action (PA) for elementary school students. This evaluation included grade 4 and 5 students enrolled in many schools in the US West region (Pacific Islander = 32%; 56% of the student bodies at participating schools eligible for FRPL). This evaluation found that students enrolled in schools participating in Positive Action had higher grade 5 and 6 standardized mathematics and reading scores compared to control schools (outcomes were school-level data collected each year from 2002 to 2007).
Results from a randomized control trial published in 2011 supported the effectiveness of Positive Action (PA) for elementary school students. This evaluation included 510 students who were followed from grade 3 to 5 (Black = 46%, Latinx = 27%, multi-racial = 17%; 75% eligible for FRPL). This evaluation found that students who participated in the program self-reported lower lifetime prevalence rates of substance use and violence, as well as fewer bullying behaviors compared to students in the control group (outcomes reported 3 years after baseline while controlling for theoretically relevant pretest scores).
- Asian / Asian American
- Black / African American
- Hispanic / Latinx
- Multi-racial / other
- Low income
- Percentage of students eligible for free or reduced price lunch: 75%
- 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
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Beets, M. W., Flay, B. R., Vuchinich, S., Snyder, F. J., Acock, A., Li, K.-K., Burns, K., Washburn, I. J., & Durlak, J. (2009). Use of a social and character development program to prevent substance use, violent behaviors, and sexual activity among elementary-school students in Hawaii. American Journal of Public Health, 99, 1438-1445.
Li, K.-K., Washburn, I., DuBois, D. L., Vuchinich, S., Ji, P., Brechling, V., Day, J., Beets, M. W., Acock, A. C., Berbaum, M., Snyder, F., & Flay, B. R. (2011). Effects of the Positive Action Programme on Problem Behaviors in Elementary School Students: A Matched-pair Randomised Control Trial in Chicago. Psychology and Health, 26, 187-204.
Snyder, F., Flay, B., Vuchinich, S., Acock, A., Washburn, I., Beets, M., & Li, K.-K. (2010). Impact of a social-emotional and character development program on school-level indicators of academic achievement, absenteeism, and disciplinary outcomes: A matched-pair, cluster-randomized, controlled trial. Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness, 3, 26-55.
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- Other references
Flay, B. R. & Allred, C. G. (2003). Long-term effects of the Positive Action program. American Journal of Health Behavior, 27(Supplement 1), S6-S21.
Flay, B. R., Allred, C. G., & Ordway, N. (2001). Effects of the Positive Action program on achievement and discipline: Two matched-control comparisons. Prevention Science, 2, 71-89.