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 Pub Number  Title  Date
Project “Graduation Really Achieves Dreams” (GRAD) is an initiative for students in economically disadvantaged communities that aims to reduce dropping out and increase rates of college enrollment and graduation by increasing reading and math skills, improving behavior in school, and providing a service safety net. At the high school level, Project GRAD provides four-year college scholarships and summer institutes to promote attending and completing high school. Project GRAD also provides services in those elementary and middle schools that feed in to the participating high schools.
WWC TRCE07 Character Education Topic Report
Character education is a fairly new and rapidly evolving topic for curriculum interventions. It is also broad, often overlapping with other program areas.

Character can encompass such moral and ethical values as respect, fairness, and caring--as well as responsibility, trustworthiness, and citizenship. And it can refer to the demonstration of these values in behavior, reasoning, and emotions.

Some character education programs integrate activities in social studies, English, and math. Some create communities of students, teachers, and parents to foster respect and caring. And some use in-class stories, games, songs, and activity books to encourage the acceptance of other cultures.

To set some bounds on this evolving topic, the WWC identified programs that deliberately attempt to develop students' character by teaching core values and that had most if not all of their lesson plans or prescribed activities directly related to instilling those values. Most programs did not enter our review because of this criterion. For programs that did, most had only one or two small studies that met our evidence standards. For these studies, student outcomes were measured in three domains: behavior, academic achievement, and knowledge, attitudes, and values.
WWC IRCEPA07REV Positive Action
Positive Action, a K–12 program, aims to promote character development, academic achievement, and social-emotional skills and to reduce disruptive and problem behavior. The program is based on the philosophy that you feel good about yourself when you think and do positive actions, and there is always a positive way to do everything. The curriculum includes six units; some grades have a review for a seventh unit. All lessons are scripted and use classroom discussion, role-play, games, songs, and activity sheets or text booklets. Optional components that may or may not be implemented as part of the program are: site-wide climate development; drug education for grade 5 and middle school; conflict resolution; counselor, parent, and family classes; and community/coalition components.
WWC IRCECSC07REV Caring School Community™ (CSC) (formerly, The Child Development Project)
Caring School Community™ (CSC) is a modified version of a program formerly known as the Child Development Project. The Caring School Community ™ program has been recently revised to eliminate some elements of the Child Development Project that were shown in evaluation studies to be inconsistently or poorly implemented. CSC is a multiyear school improvement program that involves all students in grades K–6. The program aims to promote core values, prosocial behavior, and a schoolwide feeling of community. The program consists of four elements originally developed for the Child Development Project: class meeting lessons, cross-age "buddies" programs, "homeside" activities, and schoolwide community. Class lessons provide teachers and students with a forum to get to know one another, discuss issues, identify and solve problems collaboratively, and make a range of decisions that affect classroom life. Cross-age buddies activities pair whole classes of older and younger students for academic and recreational activities that build caring cross-age relationships and create a schoolwide climate of trust. Homeside activities, short conversational activities that are sent home with students for them to do with their parent or caregiver and then to discuss back in their classroom, incorporate the families' perspectives, cultures, and traditions, thereby promoting interpersonal understanding. Schoolwide community-building activities bring students, parents, and school staff together to create new school traditions.
WWC IRCELQA06 Lions Quest—Skills for Adolescence
Lions Quest Skills for Adolescence is a schoolwide program designed for middle school students (grades 6–8). The program was designed to promote good citizenship skills, core character values, and social-emotional skills and discourage the use of drugs, alcohol, and violence. The program includes a classroom curriculum, schoolwide practices to create a positive school climate, parent and family involvement, and community involvement. The curriculum may vary in scope and intensity, lasting from nine weeks to three years. The lessons use cooperative group learning exercises and classroom management techniques to improve classroom climate. A related program is reviewed in the intervention report on Skills for Action.
WWC IRCELQ06 Lions Quest—Skills for Action
Skills for Action, a program to build positive character values and life and citizenship skills for students in grades 9–12, includes classroom lessons and service learning. The program, with more than 100 lessons focused around 26 personal, social, and thinking skills, ranges from one semester to four years in length. Students explore personal stories highlighting values and behavior through teachers’ questions and group discussion and resource pages in the curricular materials. For service learning, students perform school-based or community-based projects and reflect on their experiences. Optional components include a student magazine, an Advisory Team, and supplemental units on drug use prevention. A related program is reviewed in the What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) intervention report on Skills for Adolescence.
WWC IRCEVL06 Voices Literature and Character Education (Voices LACE)
Voices Literature and Character Education Program (Voices LACE; formerly known as Voices of Love and Freedom and Literacy and Values) is a K–12 program that aims to promote positive character and citizenship values, literacy skills, and social skills. The program contains a curriculum that can be used over any length of time. During classroom lessons, students read books about such everyday issues as ethnic discrimination, fighting, and bullying, and elaborate on central themes through role-playing and discussions practiced in school and at home. Emphasis is given to promoting caring relationships between teachers and students and among students and to connecting the values taught through students’ personal stories. Voices LACE may also be implemented as a schoolwide improvement program. Optional components of the program include schoolwide events and restructuring of school organization and practices (establishing student assemblies and creating small learning communities), parental involvement (home visits and family nights), and community support (joint campaigns with supporting organizations and business).
WWC IRCEV06 Too Good For Violence (TGFV)
Too Good for Violence promotes character values, social-emotional skills, and healthy beliefs of elementary and middle school students. The program includes seven lessons per grade level for elementary school (K–5) and nine lessons per grade level for middle school (6–8). All lessons are scripted and engage students through role-playing and cooperative learning games, small group activities, and classroom discussions. Students are encouraged to apply these skills to different contexts. Too Good for Violence also includes optional parental and community involvement elements. Two related programs are addressed in the intervention reports on Too Good for Drugs and Violence (high school) and Too Good for Drugs™ (K–8).
WWC IRCEDV06 Too Good for Drugs and Violence (TGFD & V)
Too Good for Drugs and Violence is designed to promote high school students’ prosocial skills, positive character traits, and violence- and drug-free norms. The curriculum consists of 14 core lessons and an additional 12 lessons that can be infused into other subject areas (such as English, science, and social studies). Students engage in role-play and cooperative learning activities and are encouraged to apply the skills to different contexts.
WWC IRCELC06REV Lessons in Character
Lessons in Character is designed to promote elementary and middle school students' knowledge about core character education values and, through that knowledge, shape children's positive behaviors and support academic success. It consists of 24 lessons organized around weekly themes, taught through stories, writing activities, and class projects. Teachers introduce the theme with a story that shows a value in action; students then engage that topic with a variety of activities. The program also includes daily oral language development and weekly writing assignments, optional parts of the program's implementation.
WWC IRCEHEC06REV Heartwood Ethics Curriculum/An Ethics Curriculum for Children
An Ethics Curriculum for Children, a read-aloud literature-based curriculum, aims to teach elementary school students seven universal attributes of good character. Lessons and home assignments are organized around multicultural stories. The program activities are designed to connect the experiences of characters in the stories to students' own lives. Heartwood Ethics Curriculum for Children also includes integration of character education themes across curricular topics and parental notification and involvement, optional parts of the implementation of this program.
WWC IRCEFH06REV Facing History and Ourselves
Facing History and Ourselves aims to promote core character education values and to help middle and high school students develop moral reasoning skills. Students examine historical events, in particular the events that led to World War II and the Holocaust. Teachers participate in professional development seminars and apply the content and approaches to their own teaching or school program. Facing History and Ourselves also includes schoolwide components (such as guest speakers and videos), an optional part of the program evaluated.
WWC IRCEBDS06REV Building Decision Skills
Building Decision Skills aims to raise middle and high school students' awareness of ethics, help them gain practical experience in developing core values, and give them practical strategies for dealing with ethical dilemmas. Building Decision Skills consists of 10 lessons that can fill two consecutive weeks of daily lessons or be drawn out over a longer period. Using readings, handouts, and overheads, the teacher covers key concepts. Students are encouraged to think about the key concepts through small-group activities, class discussions, and homework assignments. The program also includes schoolwide components (such as group discussions, seminars, and assemblies). And it can be combined with service learning.
WWC IRCECK06 Connect with Kids
Connect with Kids aims to promote prosocial attitudes and positive behavior of elementary (grades 3–5) and secondary (grades 6–12) school students by teaching core character values. Lesson plans include videos, story summaries, discussion questions, student games, and activities for both core and supplemental character traits. The classroom curriculum is reinforced by a website component and a schoolwide and community outreach components. The program can be incorporated into an existing curriculum or used as a standalone program. The school or teacher decides on the number of character traits covered in each session, so the program duration may vary from one semester to an entire academic year. Connect with Kids aims to promote prosocial attitudes and positive behavior of elementary (grades 3–5) and secondary (grades 6–12) school students by teaching core character values. Lesson plans include videos, story summaries, discussion questions, student games, and activities for both core and supplemental character traits. The classroom curriculum is reinforced by a website component and a schoolwide and community outreach components. The program can be incorporated into an existing curriculum or used as a standalone program. The school or teacher decides on the number of character traits covered in each session, so the program duration may vary from one semester to an entire academic year.
NCES 2006328 The Adult Lives of At-Risk Students: The Roles of Attainment and Engagement in High School
Previous analysis of NELS:88 data found that students who are at-risk of school failure, but who are engaged and participate in school, achieve educational success. The 1993 study was a cross-sectional examination of the differences among successful versus unsuccessful students at-risk of school failure, particularly with respect to participation and engagement in school. The current study is a longitudinal investigation of the power of participating in high school and later educational outcomes. High school noncompleters, with the highest level of academic risk, stood out in each case. In postsecondary education programs, noncompleters earned the fewest credits; the mean number of credits earned by noncompleters who entered a postsecondary program was 17.0, compared to 49.4 credits for marginal completers and 87.8 credits for successful completers. High school noncompleters were less likely to be employed in 2000 (77 percent) than were successful completers (88 percent) or marginal completers (86 percent).
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