Effective and Reliable.

Outcomes that last:

Positive Action has the strongest evidence of effectiveness of any Social and Emotional Learning program and has been the subject of three randomized-controlled trials. The data from these trials has been reviewed by multiple research authorities, including the U.S. Department of Education. The results range from extraordinary improvements in academic achievement to dramatic reductions in problem behaviors in elementary settings:


Reduction in violence


Reduction in tobacco use


Reduction in bullying


Reduction in marijuana use


Reduction in absenteeism


Improvement in math achievement


Reduction in suspensions


Improvement in reading achievement


Reduction in disciplinary referrals


Reduction in unhealthy body mass idx


Reduction in alcohol use

The longitudinal effects of Positive Action have also been documented. Students graduating from elementary schools with Positive Action outperformed their peers who did not attend a Positive Action elementary school, on nearly every metric. Even without the implementation of Positive Action at the middle school level, Positive Action elementary graduates continued to exhibit better behavior and perform better on academic achievement tests:


Reduction in violence-related incidents


Improvement in math achievement


Reduction in drug, alcohol and tobacco


Improvement in reading achievement


Reduction in truancy

These effects continued beyond middle school and into high school and beyond:


Improvement in academic achievement


Reduction in drug, alcohol and tobacco


Reduction in droupout rates


Academic pursuits after high school


Reduction in suspensions


Being employed after highschool


Reduction in violence

These results have been replicated and analyzed by a variety of scientists. Researchers also learned how important training and implementation fidelity is for success. They found a direct correlation between the amount of training and the number of lessons taught. This correlation continued as the number of lessons taught increased the effect size of the outcomes.

More Training

More Lessons Taught

Greater the Outcomes

Researchers have theorized that the durability of these effects is directly related to the approach of Positive Action. Many behavior programs and systems rely on a system of extrinsic rewards, where certain behaviors are rewarded with a prize or some other incentive. Positive Action promotes intrinsic motivation in students, where their innate desire to achieve their goals and aspirations is fomented in a systematic way. Psychologists have long understood the advantages of intrinsic motivation over extrinsic motivation but very few studies have been able to observe this dynamic in a trial setting. Positive Action’s longitudinal research is a testament to the reliability of intrinsic motivation.

The process of self-improvement is a lifelong goal and Positive Action provides students with the skills, vocabulary and opportunities to practice setting attainable goals and reaching them in an incremental fashion. Through this process, students will discover who they are and what they want to achieve. And along the way, they will become better students, better siblings, and eventually better adults and citizens.

Positive Action challenges students to think about themselves and those around them. It challenges teachers to think about themselves and how they manage their classrooms and teach their students. It challenges parents to consider the bonds that bind their family together. It challenges communities to organize behind a unified goal of making their community a welcoming place for all. There is no shortcut to achieving these goals. To define, address and confront these challenges is how Positive Action achieves effects that stand the test of time.

To learn more about Positive Action’s research, please visit positiveaction.net/research

Do you want to learn more about how Positive Action can be uses in different settings?