Positive Action is an integrated, comprehensive program designed to improve the academic achievement and multiple behaviors of children and adolescents 5 to 18 years of age. The program is grounded in a theory of self-concept that asserts that people determine their selfconcepts by what they do; in other words, actions determine self-concept, and making positive and healthy behavioral choices results in feelings of self-worth. The program includes school, family, and community components that work together or stand alone. Schools integrate the program units in a sequenced classroom curriculum and a school climate program. Positive Action was developed by Carol Gerber Allred of Positive Action, Inc.
The target audience for Positive Action is youth in grades kindergarten through 12th grade in elementary, middle, and high schools. The program has also been successfully implemented in a variety of non-school settings.
The program has been delivered to and found effective with diverse ethnic and racial groups and has also been found effective with court-mandated family groups. The K–4, 7–8, the Middle School Drug Program, and Conflict Resolution curricula are also available in Spanish.
Positive Action is made up of the following program components:
- K–12 Instruction Kit: This curriculum is age appropriate and teaches the philosophy that you feel good about yourself when you do positive actions. K–12 lessons are being aligned with language arts, social studies, science, and math standards for 49 states.
- Drug Education Supplement Instructor’s Kit: The drug education curriculum is available for fifth grade and middle school classrooms. This curriculum builds on the focus of the regular Positive Action curriculum and approaches drug education from a positive point of view.
- Conflict Resolution Kit: The Conflict Resolution Kit includes seven lessons, teaching students the concepts behind resolving conflicts peacefully.
- Climate Development Kit: The climate program includes everyone involved with the school, and it expands the effect of the classroom lessons. The kit includes site-wide tools used to create and maintain a positive culture.
- Counselor Kit: This is a tool for counselors to use with individuals, small groups, regular classrooms, families, and for parenting classes. The kit includes multiage lessons, and a guide that directs counselors in their role of supporting the Positive Action program within the school.
- Family Kit: This component includes a kit that coordinates family activities with the Positive Action school curriculum and school climate activities.
- Community Kit: The Community Kit provides community members with the tools to plan and cultivate positive actions in every aspect of the community.
The developers offer several training options, including (1) implementation training by Positive Action trainers; (2) training of trainers at school/district; (3) training of trainers sponsored by Positive Action, Inc.; (4) attendance at another organization’s training; and (5) self-training.
The on-site implementation training by Positive Action trainers and the training of trainers each cost $1,200 per day and $700 per full travel day, plus travel expenses. The training of trainers workshop sponsored by Positive Action, Inc., costs $125 per participant, plus the cost of training materials. Attending another school or agency’s training costs $125 per participant and is based on availability at the sponsoring agency. The self-training costs are based on the cost of materials, which start at $200. Those who are interested in attending a training can view the developer’s training and conference schedule at http://www.positiveaction.net/flash/read.asp. Positive Action materials may be ordered online, at http://www.positiveaction.net/miva/merchant.mvc.
Positive Action has been researched and evaluated in many types of schools and locations nationwide, including urban, suburban, and rural settings, and in areas with high and low minority representation, mobility rates, and poverty. Evaluation designs have included experimental/control group, national comparison group, matched control, and long-term followup studies. Findings included positive improvements in achievement scores, problem behaviors, school absenteeism, family functioning, discipline, delinquency, self-concept, and parental involvement in school activities. Additional key findings include:
- Academic achievement improved by up to 75%
- Absenteeism reduced by up to 45%
- Self-concept improved by up to 43%
- Violence and drug, alcohol, and tobacco use reduced by up to 63%
- Criminal bookings reduced by up to 94%
- Suspension reduced by up to 80%
The developer, Positive Action, Inc., offers a variety of evaluation services for a fee, including conducting a needs analysis, designing the project, creating site-specific survey instruments, data entry and analysis, and report writing. For sites who want to conduct their own evaluation of the program, Positive Action, Inc., offers surveys at no cost. Sites can use PDF versions of Positive Action’s pretest/posttest surveys, implementation/process surveys, training surveys, needs assessment surveys, and Center for Substance Abuse Prevention surveys (including GPRA measures). Surveys are available at http://www.positiveaction.net/services/index.asp?ID1=2&ID2=500&ID3=501.
- U.S. Department of Education’s What Works Clearinghouse: Positive Effects
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration: Model Program
- Safe and Drug-Free Schools: Promising Program
- Title I Comprehensive School Reform: Model Program
- Education Commission of the States for Comprehensive School Reform: Promising Practices
- National Crime Prevention Council: Promising Practice
- Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention: Effective Program
Allred, C. G. (1984). The Positive Action Program: An Evaluation. Honolulu, Hawaii: Royal School, Honolulu School District.
College of Southern Idaho. (1979). Evaluation of the Twin Falls Primary Positive Action Program 1978–79. Twin Falls, Idaho: College of Southern Idaho.
Flay, B. R., Acock, A. C., Vuchinich, S., & Beets, M. (2006). Progress Report of the Randomized Trail of Positive Action in Hawaii: End of Third Year of Intervention. Corvallis, Oregon: Oregon State University.
Flay, B. R., & Allred, C. G. (2003). Long-term effects of the Positive Action program. American Journal of Health Behavior, 27(1), S6–S21.
Flay, B. R., Allred, C. G., & Ordway, N. V. (2001). Effects of the Positive Action program on achievement and discipline: Two matched-control comparisons. Prevention Science, 2(2), 71– 90.
Flay, B. R., & Ordway, N. V. (1999). Evaluation of an Integrated Comprehensive Model for Improving School Performance and Reducing Disciplinary Problems. Report to Positive Action, Inc., University of Illinois at Chicago.
Flay, B. R., & Phil, D. (2001). An Intensive Case Study of the Positive Action Program as a Comprehensive School Reform Demonstration Program: Year 2 Results. Health Research and Policy Centers: University of Illinois at Chicago.
Flay, B. R., & Slagel, M. (2006). The Positive Action Family Program: A Pilot Randomized Trail and Replication. Corvallis, Oregon: Oregon State University.
Shaver, J. P. (1982). Independent Evaluation of Four Replicated Sites for the Positive Action Program—Final Report. Logan, Utah: Wasatch Institute for Research and Evaluation.
Stephenson, D. (1978). Evaluation of the Twin Falls Positive Action Program 1977–78. Twin Falls, Idaho: College of Southern Idaho.