Long-term effects of social-emotional learning

A study published in AERA Open looks at the long-term effects of the INSIGHTS programme – a social-emotional learning intervention that supports children’s ability to self-regulate by enhancing their attention and behaviour management.

Between 2008 and 2012, a total of 22 elementary (primary) schools from three New York City school districts were randomly assigned to participate in the INSIGHTS programme or to an attention-control condition (an after-school reading programme). A previous study found that the INSIGHTS programme reduced children’s disruptive behaviour and increased behavioural engagement by the end of first grade (Year 2). This study uses administrative data for those pupils to examine whether receiving the intervention in kindergarten and first grade (Years 1 and 2) had any impact on provision of special education services or grade retention (whether pupils had to repeat a year) by the end of fifth grade (Year 6). The study also considers whether impacts varied for low- versus high-income pupils.

The findings suggest that pupils in the INSIGHTS programme were less likely to receive special education services between kindergarten and fifth grade (p < .05). In addition, low-income pupils enrolled in the INSIGHTS programme were also less likely to receive special education services between kindergarten and fifth grade compared with low-income children enrolled in the attention-control condition (p < .05).

There were no effects of INSIGHTS on grade retention up to the end of fifth grade and this did not vary according to income.

Source: Long-term effects of social–emotional learning on receipt of special education and grade retention: Evidence from a randomized trial of INSIGHTS (August 2019), AERA Open, DOI. 10.1177/2332858419867290

INSIGHTS on socioeconomic disadvantage and challenging temperaments

A paper on the impact of the INSIGHTS programme looks at its effect on the behaviour of kindergarten and first grade (Year 1 and Year 2) children in the US with high-maintenance temperaments. The goal of the INSIGHTS programme (which we have covered previously) is to train teachers and parents to recognise children’s personality types and adjust the learning environment as needed.

Data collected at five time points using direct observations, teacher reports, and parent reports revealed moderate impacts on reducing disruptive behaviours (effect size 0.42) and off-task behaviours (effect size 0.33) and increasing behavioural engagement (effect size 0.35). These effects were larger than in a previous study, which led the authors to consider whether children at highest risk (such as in the current study) were most likely to benefit from such interventions.

Source: Getting a Good Start in School: Effects of INSIGHTS on Children with High Maintenance Temperaments (2015), Early Childhood Research Quarterly

Programme considering personality traits shows positive results

A recent study published in School Psychology Review investigated the effects of the programme INSIGHTS into Children’s Temperament on the critical thinking, maths, and reading skills of 5- to 7-year-old children compared to a control group of children assigned to a supplemental after-school reading programme. The goal of the INSIGHTS programme is to train teachers and parents to recognise children’s personality types and adjust the learning environment as needed.

While all children in the INSIGHTS programme demonstrated gains, the greatest gains were made in groups of children classified as shy. The study followed 350 kindergarten (Year 1) pupils in 22 urban low-income schools in the US during kindergarten and into first grade (Year 2). Children whose teachers and parents were involved in the INSIGHTS group demonstrated greater gains in critical thinking than control children, and did not lose maths skills during the summertime as the control children did. Reading skills were comparable for both groups.

Shy children can be overlooked in the classroom and INSIGHTS provides strategies to help children who are shy to reach their potential. You can read more about the INSIGHTS programme in the next issue of Better: Evidence-based Education, which will be published soon.

Source: Enhancing Academic Development of Shy Children: A Test of the Efficacy of INSIGHTS, School Psychology Review, 43(3).