To What Extent Are Effective Skills Training Practices Being Used?
Effective skills training practices associated with positive social, behavioral, and academic outcomes are SAFE (Sequenced, Active, Focused, and Explicit):
- Sequenced. This feature relates to the ordering of activities. Sequenced activities are those that follow a logical and natural order.
- Active. This feature relates to the amount of participation required by each activity. Activities that require the active participation of youth are most likely to result in high levels of program engagement, which is critical to program success.
- Focused. This feature relates to a strong focus on personal and social skill development.
- Explicit. This feature relates to the targeted outcomes of the program. Programs with explicitly identified outcomes are more likely to achieve positive effects.
Programs using these practices have been found to affect a range of outcomes from problem behaviors and self perceptions to academic performance and bonding to school (Durlak, Weissberg, & Pachan, 2010).
The tools provided here can be used to assess the extent to which the above practices are used in your program. Data collected on these practices can be used to assess if program facilitators are using the techniques as often as intended and then analyzed to assess whether use of these practices relates to better participant outcomes. Collecting data on the use of best practices can be done periodically, such as every quarter, but data may also be collected after every session to measure more regularly the extent to which services are delivered as intended (this may be more needed at the beginning of a new program). If these skills training practices are not being used, further investigation is needed to uncover the reasons why. In some cases, additional training may be needed.
Survey / Assessments
- Promising Practices Rating System (PPRS): Activity Promising Practices Rating Form
- Program Quality - AITEPYD
Durlak, J.A., Weissberg, R. P, & Pachan, M. (2010). A Meta-Analysis of After-School Programs that Seek to Promote Personal and Social Skills in Children and Adolescents. American Journal of Community Psychology, 45, 294-309. Available at http://casel.org/wp-content/uploads/A-meta-analysis-of-after-school-programs-that-seek-to-promote-personal-and-social-skills-in-children-and-adolescents.pdf