The primary aim of our Goal 3 efficacy study is to determine whether Social-Emotional Learning Foundations (SELF), a theoretically based social-emotional learning intervention, improves outcomes related to social-emotional competence and successful school adjustment for children at risk for emotional and behavioral disorders (EBD), compared to a business-as-usual (BAU) comparison condition. Through a cluster randomized trial, we will evaluate the efficacy of SELF in general education Kindergarten (K) and 1st grade classrooms under routine conditions. SELF incorporates instructional strategies designed to promote children’s social-emotional language development and emotional and behavioral self-regulation in support of learning.
In our previous Goal 2 project, we developed and piloted SELF through an iterative process in consultation with general education K and 1st grade teachers in two large elementary schools serving high-risk populations. Our pilot data indicated that teachers can implement the SELF curriculum in its entirety, with a high degree of adherence and quality. Pilot data also suggested that SELF has positive effects on children’s social-emotional learning related vocabulary and teacher-rated self-regulation compared to BAU.
Research questions about intervention efficacy are:
For children in grades K-1 at risk for EBD, compared to BAU,
- Does SELF improve social-emotional competence as evidenced by
- Knowledge related to social-emotional learning?
- Ratings of social-emotional competence?
- Does SELF improve social-emotional language development?
- Does SELF improve self-regulatory skills?
- Does SELF improve outcomes related to successful school adjustment, as evidenced by
- Ratings of behavior?
- Academic achievement?
Exploratory research questions are:
- Is treatment fidelity (adherence) related to outcomes specified in Research Questions 1-4?
- Does language development indirectly mediate intervention effects on measures of social-emotional competence and successful school adjustment through its effect on self-regulation?
- Does quality of social-emotional learning instruction mediate intervention effects on measures of social-emotional competence and successful school adjustment?
- Do teachers’ emotional support, classroom organization, and/or instructional support (components of classroom interaction quality) moderate the relation between SELF and measures of social-emotional competence and successful school adjustment?
- Does identification as having internalizing versus externalizing problems at baseline moderate the relation between SELF and measures of social-emotional competence and successful school adjustment?
- Does baseline language proficiency moderate the relation between SELF and measures of social-emotional competence and successful school adjustment?
Year One Activities (2016-2017):
- Setting and Sample: 19 schools, 51 kindergarten classrooms (184 students), 41 first grade classrooms (141 students)
Year Two Activities (2017-2018):
- Setting and Sample: 20 schools, 73 kindergarten classrooms (259 students), 58 first grade classrooms (195 students)
Third Year Activities (2018-2019):
- Setting and Sample: Pending