Social Decision Making/Problem Solving Program

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Program description

The Social Decision Making/Problem Solving Program, offered by Rutgers University, provides a lesson-based approach to SEL. It includes programming for grades K-8 and demonstrates evidence of effectiveness when implemented in grades 4-5. Translated materials are available in Spanish.

      • SEL lessons
      • SEL generalization
      • Shared agreements
      • 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 from a quasi-experimental evaluation conducted in the 1980s (published in 1991) supported the effectiveness of Social Decision Making / Problem Solving delivered to elementary school students on high school outcomes. This follow up evaluation included 426 grade 4 and 5 students enrolled in suburban schools in the US Northeast (predominantly white). This evaluation found that when students were in grade 9 through 11, those who participated in the program engaged in significantly less self-reported problem behaviors, and had higher standardized achievement test scores compared to students in the comparison group (outcomes reported six years after baseline while controlling for pretest).

  • Evidence shown in grades
    4, 5
    School characteristics
      • Northeast
    Student characteristics
    • White
    Percentage Low Income
    • Not Specified
    Study design type
    • QE
    Greater than 350 students included in study design type
    • No
    Multiple school districts included at study design type
    • No
    • 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 Social Decision Making/Problem Solving Program support SEL implementation across multiple settings?

“The Social Decision Making/Problem Solving Program uses a skills-based framework with robust embedded practices across school, home, and community settings to promote students’ skills development. Multiple, ongoing opportunities to practice helps students internalize the skills, thus making them more likely to use these skills in real-world scenarios.”
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