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Program Profile: Rural Education Achievement Project (REAP)

Evidence Rating: Promising - One study Promising - One study

Date: This profile was posted on December 11, 2013

Program Summary

This is a comprehensive, multilevel prevention program that places fourth graders in one of three different programs to teach competencies and skills to prevent later negative outcomes. Placement based on the on a student’s level of assessed risk. The program is rated Promising. Participants in the programs that included family and summer camps made significant improvements in social boding. All participants showed a decrease in externalized behaviors.

Program Description

Program Goals/Target Population
The Rural Education Achievement Project (REAP) was a multilevel prevention program, designed to place fourth graders in three different programs that teach competencies and skills as a technique to prevent later negative outcomes based on students’ level of assessed risk. Each of the three different programs consisted of curricula based on behavior, academic and social competencies, and self-esteem. The goal of REAP was to disrupt the development of potential adverse adolescent and adult outcomes. Adverse outcomes included substance abuse, involvement in the criminal justice system, and mental health issues. The purpose of the multilevel approach of REAP was to target individual and group needs instead of implementing an all-encompassing universal program.

Program Activities/Key Personnel
REAP was comprised of three different programs designed to prevent adverse behavioral outcomes by teaching positive behaviors to children in the fourth grade and their parents. The goal of targetting children at a young age is to eliminate or lessen the opportunity for poor character in adolescence and adulthood.

The first program level, ALL Stars Jr., was a character education and problem behavior prevention program. The concept of ALL Stars Jr. was to draw from an individual’s lifestyle, aspirations, social background, and other existing ideals that are likely to be incongruent with high-risk behaviors, and build or strengthen that perception in the student. The second level, Gearing Up to Success (GUTS), included the ALL Stars Jr. program curricula. GUTS was a selected 6-week protocol-driven, school-based program designed to strengthen academic and social competencies and self-esteem. Lastly, the third level included the Duke Family Coping Power Program, and brought parents of at-risk students together into an educational setting. The content was derived from Social Cognitive Theory, and provided parents with the skills to deal with various aspects of child aggression. The program also included sessions on stress management.

ALL Stars Jr., was taught by the students’ fourth-grade teachers who received direct training by the developer of the program. GUTS was taught by both fourth- and fifth-grade teachers who were recruited as instructors/camp leaders. Additionally, college age mentors were trained to assist in academic sessions, camp activities (camp-like setting where activities occur in summer), and serve as role models for social behavior and self-regulation. The Family Coping Power Program was led by a project staff member. Group meetings were held in community settings (i.e. community center, church fellowship hall, cultural center) and transportation was provided to ensure attendance.

Evaluation Outcomes

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Study 1
Academic Achievement
Findings for academic achievement suggested that participants in the Duke Family Coping Power program and the summer condition [which included the ALL Stars Jr., Gearing Up to Success (GUTS), and the Duke Family Coping Power programs] were more successful than participants who only received the ALL Stars Jr. program. However, this was only true for control conditions in scores on a test of mathematics. Participants in the family and summer camp programs showed significantly higher levels of measured school bonding. Analysis revealed that family and summer conditions made significant improvements in social bonding over time. ALL Stars Jr. and control conditions made no improvements.

Results for self-regulation indicated that the summer camp and ALL Stars Jr. programs had significant effects in decreasing externalizing behaviors.

Social Competence
The results for social competence indicated that the family condition had lower baseline levels of social competence than the other conditions had. No significant differences were found between the groups at follow-up.

Parental Involvement
Parenting program results suggested that the family condition had significant increases in the number of activities between parents and children.
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Evaluation Methodology

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Study 1
The evaluation of the Rural Education Achievement Project (REAP) by Clayton and colleagues (N.D.) used a quasi-experimental design to test the effectiveness of different doses of a multilevel intervention strategy that included three different program levels for participants. Participants, who were fourth grade students, were stratified by levels of risk that were determined based on two factors: (1) academic competency and (2) diagnostic measure of conduct disorders. After students were assessed, they were then assigned to the programs based on level of risk.

The cohort design of 291 fourth graders in Christian County, Ky., was ethnically diverse. Forty-five percent of the sample was of a racial minority group (most of whom were African American), while the other 55 percent were white. The sample was split evenly between males and females. The study took place in nine of the elementary schools in Christian County. The students were assigned to one of four experimental conditions:
  1. a universal prevention program (ALL Stars Jr.)
  2. a universal prevention program plus a selective summer program [ALL Stars Jr. and Gearing Up to Success (GUTS)]
  3. a universal program plus the selective summer program plus the family program (ALL Stars Jr., GUTS, and the Duke Family Coping Power program)
  4. a control condition where students did not participate in any program

Three schools that did not receive the intervention were used as the control group. Furthermore, all students in the control schools were automatically part of the control condition.

The evaluation began in 1997 with the administration of a pretest in the selected schools. Follow-up data was obtained the following year in 1998.

Reported data were collected via individual interviews with students and parents. Teachers completed surveys which assessed the students’ social competence and self-regulation. Parents also completed surveys which assessed their children’s self-regulation, in addition to their own attitudes and behaviors. Survey measures were selected based on:

  1. social competence—Perceived Competence Scale for Children (PCSC)
  2. self-regulation—Youth Self-Report (YSR)
  3. parental involvement—OSLC Family Activities Scale–Child Version; Family Relations Scale; Parenting Practices Scale
  4. school bonding—Wide Range Achievement Test 3 (WRAT3) and Language Processing Test (LPT).

A repeated measures of analysis of variance was used to assess the impact of the REAP programs on the four domains of the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention’s (CSAP’s) Predictor Variables. The CSAP’s four predictor variables were:

  1. academic achievement
  2. self-regulation
  3. social competence
  4. parental investment were selected for the evaluation of REAP.

It is important to note that family and summer camp programs consisted of all high-risk subjects in comparison to the ALL Stars, Jr., program and control conditions, where the at-risk subjects were mixed with children who met the appropriate developmental standards for their peer group.

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There is no cost information available for this program.
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Evidence-Base (Studies Reviewed)

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These sources were used in the development of the program profile:

Study 1
Clayton, Richard R., Nancy Grant Harrington, William Turner, Thomas Miller, and Donna Durden. N.D. Executive Summary: REAP Rural Education Achievement Project. Lexington, Ky.: University of Kentucky, Center for Prevention Research.
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Program Snapshot

Age: 9 - 11

Gender: Both

Race/Ethnicity: Black, White, Other

Geography: Rural, Suburban

Setting (Delivery): School

Program Type: Academic Skills Enhancement, Leadership and Youth Development, Parent Training, School/Classroom Environment

Targeted Population: Families

Current Program Status: Not Active

Listed by Other Directories: Model Programs Guide