Effects of the Positive Action Program on Achievement and Discipline: Two Matched-Control Comparisons
This paper reports on the effectiveness of an integrated comprehensive school model for character development, problem behavior prevention, and academic achievement enhancement. The Positive Action program consists of a school curriculum, together with school-wide climate, family, and community components. As evaluated here, the yearly K-6 curriculum consists of over 140 fifteen-to-twenty-minute lessons per year delivered in school classrooms on an almost daily basis. The program is based on theories of self-concept, learning, behavior, and school ecology.
We use a matched control design and school-level achievement and disciplinary data to evaluate program effects on student performance and behavior in two separate school districts. The program improved achievement by 16% in one district and 52% in another, and reduced disciplinary referrals by 78% in one district and 85% in the other. We discuss implications of these replicated findings for the prevention of substance abuse and violence, the improvement of school performance, and the reform of American schools.