Welcome to Parsimony’s blog, where we help K-12 educators identify evidence based ways to maximize student outcomes.

This blog post is part of our What Works Clearinghouse review series. The What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) is an initiative by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) which is the independent statistics, research, and evaluation arm of the United States Department of Education. WWC estimates the effectiveness of programs by evaluating the quality and quantity of evidence for that program.

This week’s blog post is about the evidence behind Positive Action’s impact on students. Here’s the short version:

Positive Action is a K–12 program, aims to promote character development, academic achievement, and social-emotional skills, and to reduce disruptive and problem behavior. All lessons are scripted and use classroom discussion, role-play, games, songs, and activity sheets or text booklets.

The evidence for Positive Action covers students in kindergarten through 6th grade.

The outcomes examined include: academic achievement and behavior. Here’s what the evidence suggests about Positive Action’s impact on each outcome:

  • Academic achievement: Positive impact (an average student would be expected to improve by 14 percentile points)
  • Behavior:  Positive impact (an average student would be expected to improve by 19 percentile points)

The studies looking into Positive Action had student samples that were in areas in Hawaii, had students who were Asian, White, Black, Native America, Pacific Islander and Hispanic, and received free & reduced price lunch.

You can find the full report from the What Works Clearinghouse here:


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