Positive Action was able to scientifically prove its program has “strong evidence of positive effects” on behavior and academic achievement. No other program received this top rating in either category.
Research has shown that schools using PA have verifiable improvement on standardized test scores for reading, writing, and math, as well as reductions in violence, disciplinary referrals, and drug, alcohol, and tobacco use.
Out of 267 programs reviewed for Character Education, Elementary Reading, and Elementary Math, only thirteen programs made the WWC list. In the "academic achievement scores" category, Elementary Reading had only one program with "positive effects" and the Elementary Math had none. Character Education had one program, Positive Action, with "positive effects" in academics and behavior. Positive Action is not an academic program but it improves academics. Clearly, something esle is at work.
The WWC rating validates the Positive Action method of teaching positive thoughts, actions, and feelings and for the physical, intellectual, social and emotional areas of the whole self. The program, which has offices in Twin Falls, Idaho and Corvallis, Oregon, has been successfully used for over 25 years in more than 13,000 schools, and 2,000 social services and communities across the country.
WWC's chart of effectiveness ratings for Character Education programs in three domains
Of all the character education programs reviewed, Positive Action was the only one to show positive effects in both the behavior domain and academic achievement.
PA Research Results
Positve Action earned its top rating based on two studies: a randomized experimental trail in Hawaii and a high quality matched-control study in a large school district in the southeastern United States. Both research studies evaluated academic progress and behavior in schools using PA.
The research was conducted by Dr. Brian Flay, a professor in the Department of Public Health at Oregon State University. Flay’s research compared elementary schools participating in the PA to comparable elementary schools not using the program. Below are the results according to the WWC Improvement Index (see page 4).
Standardized achievement test scores in reading and math: average of +16.5 percentile points
Grade retention: +36 percentile points
Suspension rates: average of +19.5 percentile points
Substance use outcomes: average of +22.25 percentile points
Violence rates: +18 percentile points
Absentee rates: +10 percentile points
Carol Gerber Allred, Ph.D., President and Developer of the Positive Action program, believes these results are because the program’s philosophy taps into the intrinsic need all people have to feel good about what they do. Says Allred, “Our program teaches that you feel good about yourself when you think and do positive actions, and there is always a positive way to do everything. Positive Action is a comprehensive character education program that teaches a full range of positive behaviors – creating a safe and encouraging environment. It gives students the skills and motivation to become effective achievers.”
What Teachers Are Saying About PA
Educators from participating schools have heralded PA as a program that gives students skills for a lifetime of achievement. Suzee Fujihara, a teacher from Lihikai Elementary in Maui, Hawaii, applauded the effects of PA. She notes the program, “…gives children strategies to change negative attitudes to positive ones. The children are actually taught how to help themselves, and others, to be positive when negative thoughts and actions are present. Positive Action…makes them more independent in solving their problems and gives them the feeling of power to change their attitudes and actions themselves.”
Moreover, the positive effects of the program are enduring. Fujihara continues, “Teaching Positive Action does not end only in the first 15 minutes the lessons are taught – children learn how to be positive and empathetic to others. What a wonderful world we would have if everyone learned that they should treat others the way they want to be treated.”
For 25 years, the Positive Action program has offered K-12 evidence-based character education kits. The kits contain instructor’s manuals with 15-minute lessons designed to be taught several days a week throughout the school year, as well as hands-on student materials. In recent years, the program has been expanded for use in social service agencies, family counseling and juvenile justice systems. The program is used in all 50 states, serving approximately 13,000 schools in 2,500 school districts and about 2,000 community groups and agencies.
In addition to the WWC rating, PA has earned a place on many prestigious national lists of effective education programs, including: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration/Center for Substance Abuse Prevention’s (SAMHSA/CSAP) National Registry of Evidence-based Programs, Safe and Drug-Free Schools, and Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.