Topic One - Academic Acheivement

Brigman, G., & Webb, L. (2007). Student success skills: Impacting achievement through large and small group work. Group Dynamics: Theory, Research, and Practice.Special Issue: Groups in Educational Settings, 11(4), 283-292. doi:10.1037/1089-2699.11.4.283

Abstract (from PsycINFO):
A structured group intervention, Student Success Skills (SSS), targeting academic and social outcomes, involving over 1,100 students in grades 5, 6, 8, and 9 is described. The goal of the project was to evaluate a combination guidance/psychoeducational and counseling/interpersonal problem-solving group model using rigorous research methods. Results from a series of four studies that consistently demonstrate the effectiveness of the SSS intervention are presented along with a sample large group lesson and sample small group session. A discussion of effective group work practices supporting effective implementation of the SSS intervention and other structured group interventions follows. The article concludes with tips for helping professionals in schools who want to show they make a difference in academic and social outcomes for students.

A brief summary of the research results of five studies is provided below. For the interested reader, the SSS program original studies offer a thorough explanation of the theoretical and empirical basis for the SSS Program, as well as detailed descriptions of the interventions (see Brigman & Campbell, 2003; Campbell & Brigman, 2005; Webb et al., 2005; Brigman, Webb, & Campbell, 2007).

Four separate studies involving 50 school counselors in 36 schools in two school districts, with 1,123 students in grades 5, 6, 8, and 9 were conducted to evaluate the impact of the SSS program on student performance on state mandated achievement tests. All four studies targeted students who scored below the 50th percentile on the previous year's Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) in reading or math. All four studies used a pretest–posttest control group design with randomization. The dependent variables were reading and math scale scores on the FCAT. The FCAT is the mandated state test administered each spring for grades 3 through 10. The independent variable was the SSS program. Posttest means for the treatment and comparison students were compared by using analysis of covariance. The .05 level of significance was chosen for all four studies. All four studies showed a consistent pattern of treatment students significantly outperforming comparison students.

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