Beyond Unproven Trends: Critically Evaluating School-Wide Programs

  • David N. Miller
  • Kristin D. Sawka-Miller


School psychologists should be committed to enhancing the academic success and behavioral competence of all students (Ysseldyke et al., 2006). Comprehensive school-wide prevention and intervention programs designed to promote these conditions, however, are frequently not successful despite the concerted efforts of school personnel. Unfortunately, schools have historically been and largely continue to be institutions in which highly-touted interventions and prevention programs are frequently adopted despite little or no evidence of their effectiveness (Merrell, Ervin, & Gimpel, 2006). Short-term fads and unproven trends often develop and flourish, only to be eventually replaced by other well-intentioned but typically fleeting educational initiatives (Sarason, 1996). Not only are many of these faddish trends and programs (colloquially known as “bandwagons”) implemented with little or no research support, in many cases they also are ineffectively evaluated or not evaluated at all (Merrell et al., 2006).


School Psychologist School Personnel Social Validity Disruptive Behavior Problem Suicide Prevention Program 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Berman, A. L., Jobes, D. A., & Silverman, M. M. (2006). Adolescent suicide: Assessment and intervention. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Berninger, V. W. (2006). Research-supported ideas for implementing reauthorized IDEA with intelligent professional psychological services. Psychology in the Schools, 43, 781–796.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Brown, J. H. (2001). Youth, drugs and resilience education. Journal of Drug Education, 31, 83–122.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Burke, M. R. (2002). School-based substance abuse prevention: Political finger-pointing does not work. Federal Probation, 66, 66–71.Google Scholar
  5. California Task Force to Promote Self-Esteem and Personal and Social Responsibility. (1990). Toward a state of self-esteem: The final report of the California Task Force to Promote Self-Esteem and Personal and Social Responsibility. Sacramento, CA: California State Department of Education.Google Scholar
  6. Chall, J. S. (2000). The academic achievement challenge: What really works in the classroom? New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  7. Crone, D., Horner, R., & Hawken, L. (2004). Responding to problem behavior in schools: The Behavior Education Program. New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  8. Curtis, M. J., & Stollar, S. (2002). Best practices in system-level change. In A. Thomas & J. Grimes (Eds.), Best practices in school psychology IV (pp. 223–234). Bethesda, MD: National Association of School Psychologists.Google Scholar
  9. Deno, S. L. (2002). Problem solving as “best practice”. In A. Thomas & J. Grimes (Eds.), Best practices in school psychology IV (pp. 37–56). Bethesda, MD: National Association of School Psychologists.Google Scholar
  10. Dunlap, G., & Kern, L. (1996). Modifying instructional activities to promote desirable behavior: A conceptual and practical framework. School Psychology Quarterly, 11, 297–312.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Eckert, T. L., & Hintze, J. M. (2000). Behavioral conceptions and applications of acceptability: Issues related to service delivery and research methodology. School Psychology Quarterly, 15, 123–148.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Eckert, T. L., Miller, D. N., DuPaul, G. J., & Riley-Tillman, T. C. (2003). Adolescent suicide prevention: School psychologists’ acceptability of school-based programs. School Psychology Review, 32, 57–76.Google Scholar
  13. Elias, M. J., Zins, J. E., Graczyk, P. A., & Weissberg, R. P. (2003). Implementation, sustainability, and scaling up of social-emotional and academic innovations in public schools. School Psychology Review, 32, 303–319.Google Scholar
  14. Engelmann, S., & Carnine, D. (1982). Theory of instruction. New York: Irvington.Google Scholar
  15. Furlong, M. J., Morrison, G. M., & Jimerson, S. R. (2004). Externalizing behaviors of aggression and violence and the school context. In R. B. Rutherford, M. M. Quinn, & S. R. Mathur (Eds.), Handbook of research in emotional and behavioral disorders (pp. 243–261). New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  16. Gould, M. S., Marrocco, F. A., Kleinman, M., Thomas, J. G., Mostkoff, K., Cote, J., et al. (2005). Evaluating iatrogenic risk of youth suicide screening programs: A randomized control trial. Journal of the American Medical Association, 293, 1635–1643.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Grimes, J., Kurns, S., & Tilly, D. W. (2006). Sustainability: An enduring commitment to success. School Psychology Review, 35, 224–244.Google Scholar
  18. Hawken, L., & Hess, R. (2006). Special section: Changing practice, changing schools. School Psychology Quarterly, 21(1), 91–111.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hawken, L., & Horner, R. (2003). Evaluation of a targeted intervention within a school-wide system of beahvior support. Journal of Behavioral Education, 12(3), 225–240.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Irvin, L. Tobin, T. J., Sprague, J. R., & Sugai, G. G. (2004). Validity of office discipline referral measures as indices of school-wide beahvioral status and effects of school-wide behavioral interventions. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 6(3), 131-147.Google Scholar
  21. Kern, L., Bambara, L., & Fogt, J. (2002). Class-wide curricular modification to improve the behavior of students with emotional and behavioral disorders. Behavioral Disorders, 27, 317–326.Google Scholar
  22. Kratochwill, T. R., & Shernoff, E. S. (2004). Evidence-based practice: Promoting evidence-based interventions in school psychology. School Psychology Review, 33, 34–48.Google Scholar
  23. Lewis, T. J., & Sugai, G. (1999). Effective behavior support: A systems approach to proactive school-wide management. Focus on Exceptional Children, 31(6), 1–24.Google Scholar
  24. Maag, J. W. (2001). Rewarded by punishment: Reflections on the disuse of positive reinforcement in schools. Exceptional Children, 67, 173–186.Google Scholar
  25. Manning, M. A., Bear, G. G., & Minke, K. M. (2006). Self-concept and self-esteem. In G. G. Bear & K. M. Minke (Eds.), Children’s needs III: Development, prevention, and intervention (pp. 341–356). Bethesda, MD: National Association of School Psychologists.Google Scholar
  26. Mazza, J. J. (1997). School-based prevention programs: Are they effective? School Psychology Review, 26, 382–396.Google Scholar
  27. McDougal, J. L., Clonan, S. M., & Martens, B. K. (2000). Using organizational change procedures to promote the acceptability of prereferral intervention services: The school-based intervention team project. School Psychology Quarterly, 15, 149–171.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Merrell, K. W., & Buchanan, R. (2006). Intervention selection in school-based practice: Using public health models to enhance systems capacity of schools. School Psychology Review, 35, 167–180.Google Scholar
  29. Merrell, K. W., Ervin, R. A., & Gimpel, G. A. (2006). School psychology for the 21st century: Foundations and practices. New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  30. Miller, D. N., Eckert, T. L., DuPaul, G. J., & White, G. P. (1999). Adolescent suicide prevention: Acceptability of school-based programs among secondary school principals. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, 29, 72–85.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. Miller, D. N., George, M. P., & Fogt, J. B. (2005). Establishing and sustaining research-based practices at Centennial School: A descriptive case study of systemic change. Psychology in the Schools, 42, 553–567.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Miller, D. N., & McConaughy, S. H. (2005). Assessing risk for suicide. In S. H. McConaughy (Ed.), Clinical interviews for children and adolescents: Assessment to intervention (pp. 184–199). New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  33. Nagle, R. J. (2002). Best practices in planning and conducting needs assessment. In A. Thomas & J. Grimes (Eds.), Best practices in school psychology IV (pp. 265–279). Bethesda, MD: National Association of School Psychologists.Google Scholar
  34. Nation, M., Crusto, C., Wandersman, A., Kumpfer, K. L., Seybolt, D., Morrissey-Kane, E., et al. (2003). What works in prevention: Principles of effective prevention programs. The American Psychologist, 58, 449–456.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. National Association of School Psychologists. (2000). Standards for training and field placement programs in school psychology. Bethesda, MD: Author.Google Scholar
  36. Nelson, J. R., Benner, G. J., Reid, R. C., Epstein, M. H., & Currin, D. (2002). The convergent validity of office discipline referrals with the CBCL-TRF. Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, 3(1), 181–188.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Polsgrove, L., & Smith, S. W. (2004). Informed practice in teaching self-control to children with emotional and behavioral disorders. In R. B. Rutherford, M. M. Quinn, & S. R. Mathur (Eds.), Handbook of research in emotional and behavioral disorders (pp. 399–425). New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  38. Power, T. J., DuPaul, G. J., Shapiro, E. S., & Kazak, A. E. (2003). Promoting children’s health: Integrating school, family, and community. New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  39. Pressley, M. (2002). Reading instruction that works: The case for balanced teaching (2nd edition) New York. New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  40. Rossi, P. H., & Freeman, H. E. (1993). Evaluation: A systemic approach (5th ed.). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  41. St. Pierre, T. L., & Kaltreider, L. D. (2004). Tales of refusal, adoption, and maintenance: Evidence-based substance abuse prevention via school-extension collaboration. American Journal of Education, 25, 479–491.Google Scholar
  42. Sarason, S. B. (1996). Revisiting the culture of the school and the problem of change. New York: Teachers College Press.Google Scholar
  43. Schaughency, E., & Ervin, R. (2006a). Building capacity to implement and sustain effective practices to better serve children. School Psychology Review, 35, 155–166.Google Scholar
  44. Schaughency, E., & Ervin, R. (Eds.). (2006b). Building capacity to implement and sustain effective practices [Special issue]. School Psychology Review, 35(2).Google Scholar
  45. Scherff, A., Eckert, T. L., & Miller, D. N. (2005). Youth suicide prevention: A survey of public school superintendents’ acceptability of school-based programs. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, 35, 154–169.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Shaffer, D., & Craft, L. (1999). Methods of adolescent suicide prevention. The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 60, 70–74.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  47. Shapiro, E. S. (2004). Academic skills problems: Direct assessment and intervention. New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  48. Sheridan, S. M., & Gutkin, T. B. (2000). The ecology of school psychology: Examining and changing our paradigm for the 21st century. School Psychology Review, 29, 485–502.Google Scholar
  49. Stage, S. A., & Quiroz, D. R. (1997). A meta-analysis of interventions to decrease disruptive classroom behavior in public education settings. School Psychology Review, 26, 333–368.Google Scholar
  50. Stollar, S. A., Poth, R. L., Curtis, M. J., & Cohen, R. M. (2006). Collaborative strategic planning as illustration of the principles of systems change. School Psychology Review, 35, 181–197.Google Scholar
  51. Tilly, W. D. (2002). Best practices in school psychology as a problem-solving enterprise. In A. Thomas & J. Grimes (Eds.), Best practices in school psychology IV (pp. 21–36). Bethesda, MD: National Association of School Psychologists.Google Scholar
  52. Walker, H. M. (2001). Invited commentary on “Preventing mental disorders in school-age children: Current state of the field.” Prevention and Treatment, 4, Article 2. Retrieved March 21, 2007, from Scholar
  53. Wandersman, A., & Florin, P. (2003). Community interventions and effective prevention. The American Psychologist, 58, 441–448.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Weiss, B., Catron, T., Harris, V., & Phung, T. (1999). The effectiveness of traditional child psychotherapy. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 67, 82–94.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Weiss, C. H., Murphy-Graham, E., & Birkeland, S. (2005). An alternate route to policy influence: How evaluators affect D.A.R.E. American Journal of Evaluation, 26, 12–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Weissberg, R.P., & Kumpfer, K.L. (Eds.). (2003). Prevention that works for children and youth [Special issue]. American Psychologist, 58(6/7).Google Scholar
  57. Witt, J. C., & Elliott, S. N. (1985). Acceptability of classroom management strategies. In T. R. Kratochwill (Ed.), Advances in school psychology (Vol. 4, pp. 251–288). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  58. Worthen, B. R., Sanders, J. R., & Fitzpatrick, J. L. (1997). Program evaluation: Alternative approaches and practical guidelines (2nd ed.). New York: Longman.Google Scholar
  59. Ysseldyke, J., Burns, M., Dawson, P., Kelley, B., Morrison, D., Ortiz, S., et al. (2006). School psychology: A blueprint for training and practice III. Bethesda, MD: National Association of School Psychologists.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of AlbanyAlbanyUSA

Personalised recommendations