Evaluating a Safety Net for At-Risk Students: Impact of Research-Based Interventions on Non-Cognitive and Cognitive Measures.
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An outcome evaluation was conducted for seven Project SHIELD (Supporting Healthy Individuals and Environments for Life Development) research-based and best practices interventions using secondary data from the 26th largest school district in the nation. The SHIELD program is designed to provide students and schools with enhanced infrastructure and comprehensive prevention and early intervention through education, mental health, and social services that promote healthy childhood development and prevent violence, alcohol, and other drug abuse. This study reports the short-term (one-year) and long-term (two-year) results of a three-year program and examines whether there are interim effects of the interventions on K-12 non-cognitive and cognitive outcomes. Non-cognitive outcome measures were the unexcused absences, unexcused tardiness, and disciplinary actions. Cognitive outcomes consisted of grade point average. The evaluation used a scientifically rigorous research design in which students in the various interventions were matched with students in control schools, who were chosen based upon similarities in school-level characteristics (e.g., percentage of students in the free lunch program and school standing on academic achievement tests). A quasi-experimental design was used for the evaluation. Results indicated that the majority of the interventions produced some small positive effects. (Contains 18 references.) (Author/CR)