Research and Evaluation - SVPDP

The School Violence Prevention Demonstration Program employs a quasi-experimental design by comparing treatment and control group classes based on pretests and posttest of knowledge and attitudes.  The knowledge component of the test is based on the history and principles of the United States Constitution.  The attitudinal component deals with a students' sense of civic responsibility, tolerance for the ideas of others, respect for authority and the law, and inclusion for all people in the social and political process.  Experimental groups receive regular district social studies or history classes integrated with civics components.  Both quantitative and qualitative measures are used to determine the effect of the program during the course of the school year.  Qualitative measures are assessed through focus groups, teacher questionnaires, and classroom observations.

The findings of the research program touched not only on the changes made in the students but also in the faculty.

  • There was a 15% to 20% gain in knowledge for the experimental students over the control group students.
  • There were gains in tolerance for the ideas of others and inclusion for all people in the political and social process.
  • There were gains between experimental and control groups in students' sense of civic responsibility.
  • There was a clear improvement in teacher confidence in teaching about the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
  • Teachers indicated that their students demonstrated greater interest in civics, government, and social studies as a result of the program.
  • Teachers indicated they gained appreciation for the power of performance-based assessment strategies.
  • New teachers acquired skills and experienced teachers indicated they felt renewed by their participation in the program.

Program Evaluation

"School Violence Prevention Demonstration Program School Climate Study - Ritter Elementary School Allentown, Pennsylvania
     Jayme A Sokolow
     President, The Development Source, Inc.
     This report is a school climate study of the Center for Civic Education’s School Violence Prevention Demonstration Program at Ritter Elementary School in Allentown, Pennsylvania for the academic year. According to statewide and district test results, there is a positive correlation between high implementation classrooms and high state scores in reading and writing. The more involved students are in the program at all grade levels from kindergarten through fifth grade, the better they master these skills as measured on state standardized tests.

School Violence Prevention Demonstration Program: Preliminary "We the People" Study on Academic Growth for the Year 2002-2003
     Diane M. Holden
     Director of Research, Planning and Accountability
     Allentown School District
     September 29, 2003

School Violence Prevention Demonstration Program: Year One Report, May 1999 - June 2000
     School Violence Prevention Demonstration Program
     Center for Civic Education
     [Executive Summary]

Prevention of School Violence Through Civic Education Curricula: Year One of a National Demonstration Program
     Kenneth W. Tolo
     Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs
     University of Texas at Austin
     Policy Research Project Report No. 136


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