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PLUS Program Qualifies as an Evidence-Based Intervention Under the ESSA Guidelines.

The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) has consistently directed educators to implement interventions grounded in research.

Evidence-based interventions are practices or programs that have evidence to show that they are effective at producing results and improving outcomes when implemented. The kind of evidence described in ESSA has generally been produced through formal studies and research. Under ESSA, there are four tiers, or levels, of evidence:

  • Tier 1 – Strong Evidence: supported by one or more well-designed and well-implemented randomized control experimental studies.
  • Tier 2 – Moderate Evidence: supported by one or more well-designed and well-implemented quasi-experimental studies.
  • Tier 3 – Promising Evidence: supported by one or more well-designed and well-implemented correlational studies (with statistical controls for selection bias).

Interventions applied under Title I, Section 1003 (School Improvement) are required to have strong, moderate, or promising evidence (Tiers 1–3) to support them.

 Published in the Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness Youth Participatory Action Research in the High School 
Curriculum: Education Outcomes for Student Participants in a District-Wide Initiative
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Tier 2 (Moderate Evidence) Intervention

The PLUS Program is the formal YPAR Program curriculum in the quasi- experimental research study. View the letter of reference from authors of research study crediting the PLUS Program as the formal curriculum of the study. View Here

Research Article Authors

Adam Voight
2121 Euclid Avenue, JH377, Cleveland, OH 44118 USA.
Cleveland State University

Valerie Velez
2085 West Acacia Avenue, Hemet CA 92545
Hemet Unified School District

This study employed a quasi-experimental design to examine the effects of a school-based youth participatory action research program on the education outcomes of participating high school students. The program was a year-long elective course in six high schools in the same California district whose student population is predominantly low-income youth of color. A propensity score matching approach compared the reading achievement, attendance rates, and discipline referral rates of 153 students who participated in the program to nonparticipating peers with similar demographics and baseline scores on the outcomes. Results showed that the program significantl improved students’ attendance rates with less compelling evidence for its effect on reading achievement. These findings suggest that youth participatory action research may be an effective pedagogical practice for high school students, particularly low-income students of color.

Journal of Prevention and Health Promotion 2022, Vol. 3(2) 1–29 © The Author(s) 2022

Preventing Bullying and Improving School Climate Through Integrating Youth Participatory Action Research Into School-wide Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports: An Illustration Using a Multiple Case Study Approach

Journal of Prevention and Health Promotion

Research Article Authors

Michelle Abraczinskas |University of Florida, Gainesville, USA

Emily J. Ozer |University of California Berkeley, USA

Mariah Kornbluh

University of South Carolina, Columbia, USA

Alexandrea R. Golden

 Cleveland State University, OH, USA

Jillian Glende

Stockton Unified School District, California, USA

Valerie Velez

Hemet Unified School District, California, USA

Erin Vine

University of Florida, Gainesville, USA


Bullying is a persistent problem in schools today, with developmental and socioemotional consequences. Multi-tiered interventions, such as School-wide Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (SW-PBIS), have been developed to decrease bullying by improving school climate. However, effects of SW-PBIS are stronger in elementary school than middle and high school, and effects are weaker for marginalized student groups. Aligning SW-PBIS with adolescent developmental needs and promoting systems change through youth participatory action research (YPAR) may improve the developmental fit of SW-PBIS for middle and high school students and strengthen its equity impact. In YPAR, youth conduct research on areas that are important to them and take data-driven action to improve their lives. In this paper, we utilize a qualitative instrumental multiple case study approach to identify similarities between YPAR and SW-PBIS and the value added of YPAR to SW-PBIS implementation. The two cases are from school districts chosen for their unique implementation of YPAR with SW-PBIS in middle and high schools. We used a general inductive approach to analyze field notes, documents, and interviews with school and district staff. We found that YPAR enhanced SW-PBIS implementation at the middle and high school level through alignment with adolescent developmental needs. Youth participatory action research also promoted equity through youth-led or youth–adult partnered assessment and data-driven decision- making, providing YPAR with the opportunity to improve the challenges SW-PBIS faces in decreasing disproportionality in academic outcomes for marginalized students. We provided examples to integrate YPAR with SW-PBIS at Tiers One through three.

Evidence & Policy • vol xx • no xx • 1–13 • © Policy Press 2019 | Print ISSN 1744-2648 • Online ISSN 1744-2656 • | Accepted for publication 03 August 2019 • First published online 17   September 2019 - Opportunities for youth participatory action research to inform school district decisions

Opportunities for Youth Participatory Action Research to Inform School District Decisions

Research Article Authors

Alison K. Cohen | University of San Francisco, USA

Emily J. Ozer |University of California Berkeley, USA

Michelle Abraczinskas | Arizona State University, USA

Adam Voight | Cleveland State University, USA

Ben Kirshner | University of Colorado Boulder, USA

Molly Devinney | University of California Berkeley, USA


Background Youth participatory action research (YPAR) is an equity-focused approach intended to generate local knowledge and democratise the production of research evidence.Aims/objectives We explore the promise and challenges of YPAR to inform education policy decision making. We focus on California’s Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF)’s Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) initiative, which requires districts to engage with diverse stakeholders to make decisions. We provide a case example of California’s Stockton Unified School District. Stockton currently uses the Peer Leaders Uniting Students’s YPAR curriculum to inform their LCAP work.Key conclusions YPAR offers opportunities for new insights, and can be implemented successfully at scale. While Stockton was doing YPAR before LCFF and LCAP existed, they enabled Stockton to expand its YPAR programming, with the goal of using YPAR evidence to provide useful information for educational decision making, policies, and programmes. For example, one YPAR project focused on student tardiness and, using data from multiple sources, proposed lengthening the passing period so that it was physically possible to walk to class in the time permitted. Here, YPAR supports those people most affected by education policy – the students – to have the power to inform decisions that affect them. YPAR can broaden the set of evidence and perspectives that decision makers review to inform policy decisions. We encourage researchers and practitioners to study and create policy structures that support using YPAR to inform policy. We also encourage policy makers to develop more policies that can facilitate the use of YPAR, in education and beyond.

The Peer Leaders Uniting Students (PLUS) Program: The Impact on School Climate, 
Student Engagement, and Student Mentoring. Published by Concordia University 
Irvine, ProQuest Dissertations Publishing, 2017.The Peer Leaders Uniting Students (PLUS) Program: 
The Impact on School Climate, Student Engagement, and Student Mentoring
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Article Author

Reyes Gauna
1530 Concordia West, Irvine, CA 92612
Concordia University Irvine

Published by Concordia University Irvine, ProQuest Dissertations Publishing, 2017.

Educators are always evaluating how students connect to their school, trying to identify strategies and intervention programs that will help students be success and linked to their school. A school’s culture and student engagement opportunities provide areas that can be impacted, especially when mentoring is added to the model being implemented. Educators go into the profession with the goal of having an impact on the lives of students. Key to the success of making an impact is the importance of connecting with students, providing student engagement opportunities, and maximizing mentoring with younger peers. Peer Leaders Uniting Students program is helping districts address day-to-day issues in a collaborative manner using data. This study evaluated the impact the PLUS Program had from the perception and knowledge of adults (teachers,counselors, administrators, and support staff), assessing school climate, student engagement, and student monitoring. The researcher used quantitative and qualitative measurement instruments. A survey was provided to teachers, counselors, administrators, support staff, and PLUS advisors. The survey was followed by interviews that had questions created using data from the adult participants’ survey responses. This grounded theory approach guided the researcher to conclude that even though the PLUS Program is proving to be effective for students, adults need additional training to use the program data.