Can Computers Teach Social Skills to Children? Examining the Efficacy of “The Social Express” in an African-American Sample

  • S. Kathleen KrachEmail author
  • Michael P. McCreery
  • Kanessa Miller Doss
  • Dasha M. Highsmith


This study examined the efficacy of a computer-based social skills training program, The Social Express. Independent researchers evaluated the program at both a school-wide level (Tier 1) and at a referred group level (Tier 2). The sample included third-, fourth-, and fifth-grade students in a Title 1 public school with a 100% African-American population. At the Tier 1 level, pre-post (immediate) comparisons on a social skills rating scale indicated statistically significant differences by group at the α = .10 level (p = 0.058). A significant Tier 1 quadratic effect for time (pre-test, post-test (immediate), post-test [delayed]) was found (p = 0.029) as well. At the Tier 2 level, pre-post comparisons indicated no statistically significant group improvement. Pre-post comparisons at the individual level found that about 39% of the children had statistically significant improvement in social skills, with 9% indicating a decrease in problem behaviors.


Technology Social-emotional learning Social skills training School-based interventions Positive behavioral interventions and supports (PBIS) 



This study was funded by a material grant from The Social Express. The grant consisted of the option to use (free of charge) the software program in one, Title-1 elementary school for 2 years. No funds were provided. No requirements were placed on the researchers other than the software be used as part of a research project.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Research Involving Human Participants and/or Animals

IRB approval was granted for both Troy University and Florida State University for this project.

Informed Consent

All children had access to the software programs. Parents provided written informed consent for researchers to be able to use their child’s/children’s data in this study.


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Copyright information

© California Association of School Psychologists 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Educational Psychology and Learning SystemsFlorida State UniversityTallahasseeUSA
  2. 2.Department of Teaching and LearningUniversity of Nevada Las VegasLas VegasUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyTroy UniversityMontgomeryUSA

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