Title Page
 Table of Contents
 List of Tables
 Review of the related literatu...
 Methods and procedures
 Research findings
 Summary, conclusions, limitations,...
 Biographical sketch

Group Title: student facilitator program
Title: A student facilitator program
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00097428/00001
 Material Information
Title: A student facilitator program fifth graders helping primary-grade problem-behavior students
Physical Description: 1 online resource (x, 103 leaves) : ;
Language: English
Creator: Bowman, Robert P
Publisher: s.n.
Place of Publication: Gainesville FL
Publication Date: 1982
Copyright Date: 1982
Subject: Peer counseling of students   ( lcsh )
Genre: bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Thesis: Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Florida, 1982.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references (leaves 96-101).
Statement of Responsibility: by Robert P. Bowman.
General Note: Typescript.
General Note: Vita.
General Note: Description based on print version record.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00097428
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: alephbibnum - 004799229
oclc - 497781311


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Table of Contents
    Title Page
        Page i
        Page ii
        Page iii
        Page iv
    Table of Contents
        Page v
        Page vi
        Page vii
    List of Tables
        Page viii
        Page ix
        Page x
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
    Review of the related literature
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
    Methods and procedures
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
    Research findings
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 73
        Page 74
    Summary, conclusions, limitations, recommendations and implications
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 81
        Page 82
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 85
        Page 86
        Page 87
        Page 88
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
        Page 92
        Page 93
        Page 94
        Page 95
        Page 96
        Page 97
        Page 98
        Page 99
        Page 100
        Page 101
    Biographical sketch
        Page 102
        Page 103
        Page 104
Full Text







This dissertation is dedicated to

Dr. and MIrs. R. S. Bowman, my parents.


In this section, I wish to acknowledge those people who

contributed to the completion of this study.

Dr. Robert D. Myrick and I shared the excitement of

this topic for the past three years. His encouraging

interest, timely suggestions and attention to detail were

very important to this investigation. They became a

sustaining force so that a high quality could be maintained

in my work. The time and effort he gave to me went far

beyond his responsibilities as chairperson of my doctoral


Also, other committee members, Dr. Paul Fitzgerald and

Dr. John M. Newell, reacted to parts of this study and gave

valuable suggestions. In addition, Dr. Robert Algozzine

reviewed the investigation and offered several insightful


I also wish to draw attention to the fact that my wife,

Denise Jud Bowman, was supportive and helped me to make time

for planning, implementing and writing this investigation.

In addition, my parents, Dr. Richard and Mrs. June Bowman

were instrumental in many ways to the completion of this

dissertation. Their caring and guidance throughout my life

instilled in me the strength and desire to achieve this


goal. Further, their strong belief in the value of helping

others inspired me to choose the counseling profession and

to focus on teaching others the merits of becoming helpers.


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS . . . . . . . . .

LIST OF TABLES . . . . . . . . .

ABSTRACT . . . . . . . . . . .


Purpose . . . . . . . . . .
Need for the Study . . . . . . .
Definition of Terms . . . . . . .
Organization of the Study . . . . .


Student Facilitator Programs . . . .

Development . . . . . . .

The Bell-Lancaster method . . .
Cross-age tutoring . . . .
The emergence of peer facilitator
programs . . . . . .
Elementary school programs . .

The Support for Elementary School Facili
Programs . . . . . . . .

Student Helpers and Recipients . . . .

Students Who Have Become Facilitators

Selection criteria . . . .
School grade levels . . . .
Numbers of boys and girls . . .

Those Whom the Facilitators Attempted to
Help . . . . . . . . .

Student volunteers . . . .
Classrooms . . . . . .



. viii

S. ix





. 10

. 12

ta. .to 3r
. . 2

. . 2

. . 22
. . 2

. . 9

. . 9

. . 25
. . 11
. . 12


. . 21

. . 22
. . 22

. . 23
. . 25
. . 25

. . 25

. . 26
. . 26

Adults in the school
Students with special ne

Problem-Behavior Students . .

The Concern . . . .

Intervention Strategies .

Behavior management stra
Stimulant drug treatment

Other methods . . .
Peer interventions .


Populations and Samples . . .

Populations . . . .
Samples . . . . .

Fifth-grade students
Second- and third-grade

Hypotheses . . . . . .
Research Design . . . . .

The Impact of the Program on
Students . . . . .
The Impact of the Program on
Third-Grade Students . .

Instruments . . . . . .

Piers-Harris Children's Self


. . . . . 26
eds . . . 27

. . . . . 28

. . . . . 28

. . . . . 29

tegies .. .. 30
. . . . 31
. . . . . 32
. . . . . 32

. . . . . 35

. . . . . 35

. . . . . 35
. . . . . 36

. . . . . 36
students . . 37

. . . . . 38
. . . . . 39


Second- an


. .

. .

Inventory . . . . . .
Student Attitudes Toward Others Survey
(SATOS) . . . . . .
Walker Problem Behavior Identification
Checklist (WPBIC) . . . . .
Primary Student School Attitude Test (PSSAT)

Procedures . . . . . . . . . .

Pre-Training (Weeks 1-2) . . . . .
Student Facilitator Training (Weeks 3-9)
The Special Friend Project (Weeks 10-13)
Post-Testing (Week 14) . . . . . .

. 39

. 41

. 41

. 42

. 44

. 46
. 48


. 52
. 54


Analyses . . . . . . . . ... . 55

Testing the Effects on Student Facilitators. 55
Testing the Effects on Problem-Behavior
Students . . .. . . . . . 55


Self-Concept of Student Helpers . . . . .. .62
Student Helpers' Attitudes Toward Others ... .64
Problem Behaviors of Second and Third Graders . 66
School Attitude of Second and Third Graders . . 71


Summary . .. . . . . . . . . 75
Conclusions . . . . . . . . . .. 78
Limitations . . . . . . . . . .. 81
Recommendations .. . . . . . . . 82
Implications . . . . . . . . ... 83

BEGINNING PROGRAM . . . . . . . . . 86


(SATOS) . . . . .. . . . . . . 91

(PSSAT) . .. . . . . . . . . . 94

REFERENCES .. . . . . . . . . . . 96

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH . . . . . . . .. .102



Table Page

3-1 SUMMARY OF RESEARCH DESIGN . . . . . .. 40

3-2 SUMMARY OF PROCEDURES . . . . . . .. 51

WPBIC AND PSSAT . . . . . . . . 58

FOR ANCOVAS . . . . . . . . ... 61

PHCSCI . . . . . . . . . . .. 63

SATOS . . . . . . . . ... . . 65

WPBIC TOTAL SCORES . . . . . . . .. 67


SUBSCALES . . . . . . . . ... . 70


Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate Council
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy



Robert P. Bowman

August 1982

Chairman: Dr. Robert D. Myrick
Major Department: Counselor Education

This study investigated the effects of a student

facilitator program on student helpers and on children who

received their help. First, effects of a training program

and helping project on fifth-grade student facilitators were

examined, with attention to self-concept (Piers-Harris

Children's Self Concept Inventory) and student attitudes

toward others (Students Attitudes Toward Others Survey).

Second, the effects facilitators had on second- and

third-grade problem-behavior students were examined

regarding classroom behavior (Walker Problem Behavior

Identification Checklist) and school attitude (Primary

Student School Attitude Test).

A randomized pre-posttest control group design was used

with 108 fifth graders and 108 second and third graders

from nine schools. Subjects were randomly assigned to

experimental or control groups (E=54, C=54). Fifth grade

students in the experimental groups received training and

then each met with a problem-behavior student 12 times in a

helping project. Data were analyzed using an analysis of

covariance and four null-hypotheses were tested.

No significant differences (.05 level) were found in

fifth graders' self-concepts (Ho ) and attitudes toward

other people (Ho2) and these null-hypotheses were not

rejected. However, significant differences (.05 level) were

found in classroom behaviors (Ho3) and school attitudes

(Ho4) of second- and third-grade students who received help

from the fifth-grade facilitators and Ho3 and Ho4 were

rejected. Further, an analysis of covariance on five

subscales of the behavior checklist indicated significant

differences on subscales One (Acting-Out) and Three

(Distractibility). No significant differences were found

using sex as a variable.

This investigation provided evidence that fifth-graders

can learn to be effective peer facilitators and help

primary-grade children to improve their behavior and school

attitude. Peer facilitator programs appear to be valuable

guidance components in elementary schools.



There is nothing so personally strengthen-
ing on both sides . as for one student
to help another, and for each to grow in
the process. (Rogers, 1971, p. 217)

As children grow, there are many people and events that

influence their development. They live in a world where

parents or guardians, teachers, and other adults attempt to

help them mature into well-adjusted and capable adults.

However, adults are not the only influencers of young people.

Children learn many of their behaviors, skills, concepts,

and beliefs from other children.

Children can be important resources to other children

and make significant contributions to learning. Sometimes,

young students help each other spontaneously in the class-

room or on the playground. In some instances, help is

solicited in stressful times when children seek the under-

standing and counsel of others near their own age. Other

times, children help children as a planned component of the

educational process when school professionals utilize peer

influence with student assistants, tutors, special friends,

and small group leaders.

Educators have recognized the importance of peer influ-

ence with young people. Teachers have used children to help

other children for thousands of years (Allen, 1976). In the

past decade, special school programs hove been implemented

which utilize systematic procedures for teaching children

how to become more effective helpers to their peers. Called

peer facilitator or peer counselor programs, they help stu-

dents to learn to use positive relationships to enhance the

learning of others.

Some successful student facilitator programs in elemen-

tary schools have been described in the literature. The

enthusiasm of these reports has encouraged others to imple-

ment similar programs. As a result, there has been a grow-

ing number of peer facilitator programs in the schools.

This growth has become part of the "peer facilitator move-

ment" and it promises to be a significant force in education

within the next ten years.


The purpose of this research will be to investigate the

effects of a student facilitator program on student helpers

and on those who receive help from student helpers. First,

the effect of participating in a student facilitator train-

ing program and a helping project will be examined. Fifth-

grade students will complete a 10-session training program

and then work with second- and third-grade students for

12 meetings in a project. Second, the effects of student

facilitators working with the second- and third-grade prob-

lem behavior students was investigated.

The following research questions received attention.

1. Will the self-concept of fifth-grade students be

affected when they receive training and participate in a

student facilitator program?

2. Will fifth-grade students' attitudes toward others

be affected when they participate in a student facilitator


3. Will the classroom behavior of second- and third-

grade problem-behavior students be affected by working with

fifth-grade student facilitators?

4. Will the school attitude of second- and third-grade

problem-behavior students be affected by working with fifth-

grade student facilitators?

Need for the Study

Within the past ten years, the professional literature

reported successful student facilitator programs in elemen-

tary schools (e.g., Bowman & Myrick, 1980; Gumaer, 1973;

Mastroianni & Dinkmeyer, 1980; Weise, 1976). However, most

of these reports were anecdotal accounts and included little

or no research about the effects of the programs. Only

four experimental studies (Briskin & Anderson, 1973; Gumaer,

1975; Kern & Kirby, 1971; Vogelsong, 1978) were reported in

the literature on elementary school peer facilitator pro-

grams. More research is needed to provide information about

the impact of these programs. More specifically, studies

are needed of the effects of elementary school peer facili-

tator programs on the student-helpers and on those with whom

they work.

Children Helping Children (Myrick & Bowman, 1981b) is a

handbook for coordinators of elementary or middle school

student facilitator programs. Becoming a Friendly Helper

(Myrick & Bowman, 1981a) is a book for young students. The

authors recommend beginning, intermediate, and advanced

facilitator programs. While some components of these pro-

grams have been researched (Bowman & Myrick, 1981), studies

are limited and there is a need for more rigorous investi-


More work is also needed on methods of working with

students who have behavior problems in school. Some stu-

dents exhibit too little control over their behaviors (e.g.,

disruptive). Other students are inhibited and exert too

much control over their behaviors (e.g., withdrawn). These

under- or over-controlled behaviors can handicap student

potential for academic success (Victor & Halverson, 1976).

Some suggestions have been made for working with prob-

lem behavior students. For example, the following strate-

gies have been reported: behavior management (Heady &

Niewoehner, 1979; Walker & Holland, 1979); stimulant drug

treatment (Barkley, 1979); prosocial television (Elias,


1979); dietary approach (O'Banion, Armstrong, Cummings, &

Strange, 1978); cognitive behavior modification (Meichenbaum

& Burland, 1979); and punishment (Shaefer, 1976). However,

problem-behavior students continue to be a major concern

in the schools as evidenced by the attention they receive

in the professional literature (Walker & Holland, 1979).

There is a need for more development and research.

One possible approach which is receiving more attention

in the literature is the use of peer facilitators. Problem-

behavior students might be trained as peer facilitators and

work to help other students. In the process, the problem-

behavior students might improve in their own behaviors

(Bowman & Myrick, 1980). Or, other students, trained as

facilitators, might use their helping concepts and skills to

assist the problem-behavior students. Research is needed to

investigate the effectiveness of student facilitator pro-

grams to affect change in problem-behavior students.

Definition of Terms

The following terms appear in this study. They are

applied according to the subsequent definitions.

Student Facilitators: 'Young people who successfully

complete basic preparation or training in helping concepts

and interpersonal skills and who work in special projects to

assist other students, and sometimes adults, to promote

personal and academic growth. The term is used synonymously

with other titles such as peer facilitators and peer coun-


Facilitator Program: An organized set of procedures

and activities designed to train and supervise students in

interpersonal skills and concepts which will help them

become effective student facilitators.

Problem Behaviors: Student behaviors that interfere or

actively compete with successful academic performance. For

this study, five categories might be considered as types of

problem behaviors: acting-out, withdrawn, distracted, dis-

turbed peer relations, and immature.

Self-Concept: The evaluations which one makes and

maintains about one's self which indicate the extent one

sees one's self as capable, significant, successful, and


Attitude Toward Others: One's perceptions and beliefs

about other people.

School Attitude: A student's perceptions and beliefs

about school.

Organization of the Study

The remainder of this investigation is organized in the

following manner. A review of the related literature

appears in Chapter II. In Chapter III, the details of the

study's methodology are presented. The results of the

study appear in Chapter IV. Finally, a summary of this


study, limitations, and possible implications are dis-

cussed in Chapter V.



The following chapter presents a review of the profes-

sional literature related to elementary school student

facilitator programs and their potential to affect problem-

behavior students. The beginning section includes a review

of the development of and support for student facilitator

programs. In the next section, students who have become

facilitators and those whom they have attempted to help are

described. Finally, the literature on problem-behavior

students is examined, intervention strategies are reviewed,

and the use of peers as treatment receives attention.

Student Facilitator Programs

Children have assisted other children in educational

settings since ancient times. Teaching students to help

other students was used by the Hindus and formed part of

the Jesuit method (Saettler, 1968). However, in the past

decade professional educators have reconsidered and examined

the use of children as helpers. As a result, student facil-

itator programs have emerged which use systematic procedures

to prepare children to be better helpers to others.

These facilitator programs have received wide spread

support in the professional literature. For example, the

American School Counselor Association (ASCA) published a

position statement on peer counseling (ASCA, 1979). This

statement concluded,

It is imperative that all Guidance and
Counseling Departments in the schools
plan, initiate and implement a peer
counseling program. Well-trained peer
counselors can have a positive effect
on students that no one else can pro-
vide. . Peer counselors can create
a tremendous positive impact on the
student population. (p. 13)


Educators have used students to assist the learning of

other students throughout much of the recorded history of

education. However, the current use of training programs

for student-helpers probably received early impetus from

the Bell-Lancaster method of instruction (Allen, 1976).

The Bell-Lancaster method. Between 1800 and 1850, the

Bell-Lancaster method of teaching was used extensively in

Europe and in the United States. It involved giving teach-

ing and supervising responsibilities to specially selected

students. Called "monitors," each of these students was

responsible for the learning and behavior management of his

or her own small group of other students (Allen, 1976).

This method of teaching allowed a few teachers to

instruct a large number of students. In one variation, a

teacher presented the lesson each morning to a group of

50 student monitors who, in turn, each instructed 10 other

students during the day. Thus, one teacher was able to

teach and be responsible for 500 students (Allen, 1976).

The teaching efficiency of the Bell-Lancaster method

contributed to its extensive use for more than 50 years.

However, by the end of the 17th century its use had lost

popularity among educators. One possible reason for the

decline of the method was that teachers had to assume that

each student monitor would be an effective teacher. The

lack of some basic training in instructional skills forced

the student-instructors to rely on their own abilities.

Consequently, the effectiveness of some of the monitors was


The decline of the Bell-Lancaster method was also

caused by the increase in the number of professional edu-

cators during the period. This resulted in an educational

movement toward professionalism. Many educators became

critical of the Bell-Lancaster approach because it relied

too much upon nonprofessional instruction (Allen, 1976).

Cross-age tutoring. Another historical root of stu-

dents helping students was cross-age tutoring. One-room

school houses were once prevalent in the United States. In

these schools it was common for a teacher to assign older

students, who had mastered their lessons, to assist younger

students with their schoolwork. Cross-age tutoring enabled

more individualized instruction for the younger children.

Students who were tutors also benefited from the experience

(Devin-Sheehan, Feldman, & Allen, 1976).

As urban centers developed, the one-room school houses

were replaced by larger schools where students were grouped

by age into different grade levels. In these more spe-

cialized schools, cross-age tutoring was more difficult to

implement. Like the Bell-Lancaster method, this approach

gradually lost its prominence in education.

The emergence of peer facilitator programs. The first

peer facilitator or peer counselor programs for students

were implemented at the college level (Scott & Warner, 1974).

For example, Brown (1965) reported a 40-hour training pro-

gram which prepared students to be paraprofessional coun-

selors to college freshmen. Student-counselors were trained

to assist with orientation, academic instruction, and educa-

tional planning. Research results indicated that freshmen

who met with the student counselors showed more improvement

in study behavior than freshmen in a control group.

In another investigation, Zunker and Brown (1966)

compared the effectiveness of college student-counselors to

professional counselors. Both groups of counselors com-

pleted the same 50-hour training program and used identical

materials and counseling activities with counselees.

Results indicated that counselees of the student-counselors

made greater gains than counselees of the professional


Later, peer-helper programs in secondary schools were

reported. For example, Vriend (1969) studied the effective-

ness of high school students in helping other students.

Students who were selected to be helpers provided some of

their peers with information about careers, self-evaluation,

and self-improvement. Post-measures indicated that students

who worked with the student-helpers improved more than

students in a control group in academic achievement, atten-

dance, and punctuality.

In 1972 Hamberg and Varenhorst's high school peer

facilitator program received national recognition. For the

training phase of the program, students met in small groups

with a professional supervisor. Required skills-practice

was an integral part of preparation. Perhaps the most

notable contribution of this program was its establishment

of the principle that peer facilitators needed training and

supervision (Myrick & Erney, 1979).

The work of Hamberg and Varenhorst was followed by

others who developed similar programs in high schools.

Examples of these programs appeared in the professional

literature for the past ten years (e.g., Gray & Tindall,

1978; Leibowitz & Rhodes, 1974; Myrick & Erney, 1978,

1979; Samuels & Samuels, 1975; Sprinthall & Erickson, 1974).

Elementary school programs. Soon after the emergence

of peer facilitator programs for high school students, peer

programs were described which trained elementary school

students to be facilitators. The first of these programs

to be reported in the professional literature was Kern and

Kirby's "peer-helper" program (1971). This program was

unique not only because of the age of students involved,

but also because it presented one of the few experimental

studies of elementary school peer programs that have

appeared in the professional literature.

In their program, 12 fifth and sixth graders who scored

high on a "social power" inventory were selected to receive

training. Preparation consisted of three phases: under-

standing behavior, techniques of changing behavior, and

learning the role of peer helpers. In addition, trainees

learned how to analyze simple case studies of students with


After training, three peer helpers were assigned to

each of four groups of poorly adjusted fifth- and sixth-grade

students. During each of the group sessions, a professional

counselor was present. The role of the peer helpers was to

explain to the target students the purpose of their behaviors

using Adlerian concepts. Also, the peer helpers sometimes

offered suggestions of more acceptable behavioral alterna-


The effectiveness of the trained students was investi-

gated using a randomized pretest-posttest control group

design. The poorly adjusted fifth and sixth graders were

randomly assigned by classroom units to one of three types

of treatment: (a) those who work in the groups with the

counselor and peer helpers, (b) those who work in groups with

the counselor only, and (c) those who did not participate in

the group counseling sessions. Students met for the group

counseling in 50-minute periods, one day each week for

nine weeks.

Pre- and posttest data were collected on the poorly

adjusted students using the Walker Problem Behavior Identi-

fication Checklist (WPBIC) (Walker, 1970, 1976) and the

California Test of Personality (CTP) (Thorpe, Clark, & Tiegs,

1953). Data were then analyzed using a multiclassification

analysis of variance with intelligence scores as a covariate.

Results indicated that students who were involved in groups

with peer helpers made significantly higher gains in class-

room behavior than students in the other two types of groups.

An analysis of the personality test yielded nonsignificant

differences between the three groups. Kern and Kirby con-

cluded that trained peers can increase a counselor's effec-

tiveness in working with children who have adjustment

problems (i.e., students whose teachers score them high on

the WPBIC).

Briskin and Anderson (1973) reported an investigation

of the effects of sixth-grade boys as contingency managers

to disruptive third-grade students. From teacher recommen-

dations, six boys were selected to become the managers.

These students participated in six thirty-minute training

sessions and were called "learning assistants." After

six half-hour training sessions, they managed contingencies

in a behavior modification program designed to reduce the

frequency of disruptive behaviors of the two third-grade


The intervention continued for eighteen school days.

At the conclusion of the program, one student's inappropriate

behaviors were reduced from 104 per hour to 1.2 per hour.

The other student's inappropriate behaviors were reduced

from 64 per hour to .7. In addition, reports from the

sixth-grade teachers indicated that the program was helpful

to the students who were learning assistants.

Gumaer (1973) described a program which introduced the

term "peer facilitator" into the literature. Fifth-grade

students selected as "leaders" participated in twelve

training sessions. They learned how to clarify, reflect,

give feedback, and discuss racial prejudice. After train-

ing, the facilitators led discussions in a second-grade

classroom on the same topics they had experienced in their

training sessions. A pre- and posttest using a Likert-type

scale were completed by teachers to study the program.

Results suggested that students became more involved in

class discussions and in some cases "more thoughtful and

sensitive to others" (p. 10).

In 1975 Gumaer researched the effects of becoming a

student facilitator using a randomized pretest-posttest

control group design. Sixty-four low performing fifth-

grade students were randomly selected from four schools.

In each school, eight of the low performing students were

assigned to an experimental group and became student

facilitators. The other eight students were assigned to a

control group. Before and after the program, students were

administered the following criterion measures: the School

Attitude Inventory, the Coopersmith Self-Esteem Inventory

(Coopersmith, 1967), the Devereux Elementary School Behavior

Rating Scale (Spivack & Swift, 1967), and a class sociogram.

In addition, data were collected on classroom performance;

assignments given, handed in, and completed; and school


A three-week training program prepared students in

basic skills and understanding of self-disclosure and facil-

itation. After training, the peer facilitators led small

group discussion groups in third-grade classrooms. These

peer-led meetings occurred twice each week for three weeks

and lasted 20 minutes each. Following the discussion ses-

sions, the facilitators met with their respective counselors

for supervision.

A multivariate regression analysis of the data revealed

no significant differences between the experimental and con-

trol groups. However, Gumaer noted a positive trend in that

teachers, administrators, and students offered positive

comments and felt encouraged by the program. Gumaer later

described his facilitator training model (PFT) in other

publications (Duncan & Gumaer, 1980; Gumaer, 1976).

Another student facilitator program was reported by

McCann (1975) in which sixth-grade students were trained in

eight one-hour training sessions. These sessions gave

attention to listening skills, nonverbal communication,

self-disclosure, reflective listening, and developing alter-

native courses of action when problems arise. After train-

ing, students worked in a school "drop-in center" where they

were visited by other students who wanted to discuss their

concerns. McCann reported that the program was helpful in

several ways including the development of positive student

attitudes toward mental health.

In 1976, a special issue of the Elementary School

Guidance and Counseling (ESGC) journal was published on the

topic of peer facilitators. Myrick recommended in the

editorial of this issue that elementary school counselors

initiate peer facilitator programs in their schools. Also

in this publication, several accounts of successful elemen-

tary school peer programs were described. For example,

Edwards (1976) reported that students, teachers, and parents

strongly supported one such program. In another example,

Hoffman (1976) described how comments from parents, teachers,

and participants suggested positive results for her program.

Also appearing in this issue of the journal was a

report of Kum and Gal's program which trained sixth-grade

students to be peer-helpers to other students with "minor

concerns" (ESGC, 1976). The student helpers participated in

10 one-hour training sessions which focused on communication

and decision-making skills. A self-report questionnaire was

later administered to the peer helpers. Student responses

indicated an improvement in their attitudes toward school,

teachers, and other people. Also the student participants

reported that the program had helped them understand them-

selves better.

Vogelsong (1978) investigated a training program which

focused on teaching empathic skills to fifth-grade students.

A randomized pretest-posttest control group design was

used to determine the effectiveness of the training. Six-

teen students were randomly assigned to skill-training and

no-training groups. Training consisted of 10 45-minute ses-

sions conducted once per week. In the first four sessions,

students learned about nonverbal communication and empathic

acceptance. The following six sessions provided students

with practice.

An analysis of variance was used to test hypotheses.

Results indicated that the skills-training group improved

more in empathic acceptance than the control group children.

Further, a contrast of the two student groups revealed sig-

nificant differences past the .01 level. Vogelsong concluded

that effective education in elementary schools might include

active and specific skill training of students.

A program was reported by Mastroianni and Dinkmeyer

(1980) in which 12 fifth-grade students were selected to

become facilitators. Training consisted of 10 30-minute

sessions which emphasized facilitative skills and on learn-

ing to become involved with others. Though no systematic

research was involved, a case report was described of a

fifth-grade boy who was behaviorally disruptive in school.

During his participation in the program as a student helper,

the boy's behavior and attitude "improved considerably."

Bowman and Myrick (1980) described a facilitator pro-

gram which prepared students from grades 3-6 to become

"junior counselors." Training involved 14 45-minute ses-

sions which focused on the nature of helping, feelings,

listening, responding, and problem-solving. After training,

students were assessed on their skills and knowledge of

helping. Then, junior counselors became involved in indi-

vidual and group projects to help students as well as

teachers. The program was assessed with pre- and posttests

using the Piers-Harris Children's Self Concept Scale.

Results suggested that all student helpers in the program

improved in self-concept.

A systematic facilitator training program for students

in grades 5-8 is presented in two books, Children Helping

Children (Myrick & Bowman, 1981b) and Becoming a Friendly

Helper (Myrick and Bowman, 1981a). The former is a handbook

for school professionals interested in coordinating student

facilitator programs. The latter is a companion student

workbook. The purpose of these materials is to assist

students in learning some basic helping concepts and commu-

nication skills so they might help others learn more

effectively and efficiently. Twenty training sessions are

presented on the topics of helper characteristics, careful

listening, helpful responding, problemsolving, feedback,

assessment, and helper roles.

Three categories of programs are described. A begin-

ning program incorporates the first 10 of the 20 training

sessions and allows students to participate in some struc-

tured and supervised helping projects. An intermediate

program incorporates more training sessions and allows

student facilitators to work in less structured projects.

An advanced or comprehensive program includes 20 or more

sessions and allows students to work in some unstructured

and less supervised projects. These training sessions were

developed as a result of previous facilitator programs,

workshop feedback, and pilot studies (e.g., Bowman & Myrick,


In addition, several facilitator projects were pre-

sented in Children Helping Children. One of these, "The

Gainesville Project" involved student helpers as discussion

leaders with small groups of younger students. Four ses-

sions of structured "go around" discussions were led by the

facilitators where the younger students shared their ideas

about friendship. As the children took turns speaking,

facilitators used their listening and responding skills.

Some of the objectives of the project were to help the chil-

dren express themselves and learn from each other.

This project was investigated in a pilot study (Bowman

& Myrick, 1981) using 10 elementary schools, 60 student

facilitators, and 300 second-grade children. Results indi-

cated that the facilitators gained in self-concept and

school attitude, and the younger students indicated that the

experience was beneficial and enjoyable.

The Support for Elementary School Facilitator Programs

Reports in the professional literature have recommended

the implementation of student facilitator programs in ele-

mentary schools. In addition, research has generally upheld

hypotheses that elementary school student facilitator pro-

grams benefit students. For example, three of the four

experimental studies of student facilitator programs indi-

cated that students benefit when these programs are imple-

mented in schools (e.g., Briskin & Arderson, 1973; Kern &

Kirby, 1971; Vogelsong, 1978).

Only one study (Gumaer, 1975) failed to show any sig-

nificant differences between experimental and control

groups. However, the investigator cited possible reasons

for these results. For example, the students selected to

become facilitators were all "low-performing" achievers.

These students might have been more difficult to train.

Regardless of the results of this study, Gumaer continued

to support elementary school student facilitator programs

in later publications (Duncan & Gumaer, 1980; Gumaer, 1976).

Later, a statement was reported in the professional

literature which was not generally supportive of elementary

school peer facilitator programs. It appeared in a train-

ing manual for high school peer counseling programs (Gray &

Tindall, 1978). One paragraph describing elementary school

programs was included in the book which was generally

unfavorable. To illustrate, the final statement of this

paragraph concluded, "support of a peer counseling program

at the elementary-school level is marginal" (p. 25).

Student Helpers and Recipients

When elementary school children were involved in student

facilitator programs, observers tended to conclude the

experience was positive and productive. More specifically,

both the student facilitators and those whom they assisted

seemed to benefit. First, this section examines the differ-

ent kinds of students who have become facilitators in

elementary schools. Second, a review of the people whom the

facilitators have attempted to help is presented.

Students Who Have Become Facilitators

When student facilitator programs have been implemented

in schools, careful attention has been given to the selec-

tion of students (e.g., Bowman & Myrick, 1980; Edwards,

1976; Hoffman, 1976). This subsection surveys the profes-

sional literature regarding the characteristics of students

chosen to be helpers in student facilitator programs.

Attention is given to criteria for selecting students.

Then, a summary of the grade levels from which students have

been drawn for the programs is reported. Also, the ratio

of girls to boys who have become student facilitators is


Selection criteria. A variety of selection criteria

have been used to determine which students will participate

as helpers in elementary school facilitator programs.

Though it has been most common for the school counselors to

select students who will be involved, teachers have some-

times assisted in the decision process (e.g. Briskin &

Anderson, 1973; Hoffman, 1976).

The most common criterion for selecting students to

become facilitators has been leadership ability. For

example, Kern and Kirby (1971) selected students who scored

high on the Social Power Inventory (SPI), which they

extracted from an article by Lippitt & Gold (1959). The

SPI measures student leadership in terms of ability to

influence others in the classroom setting. McCann (1975)

chose student leaders for a facilitator program using a

sociogram. Each student was asked to name a peer with whom

he or she would feel most comfortable discussing problems.

Those who were selected the most number of times by their

peers became peer-helpers in the program.

Student leadership was also the criterion for selection

in Gumaer's first reported program (1973). However, no

specific definition of leadership was described. Later,

Weise (1976) used "leadership ability" to select students.

Weise specified the term using the following student char-

acteristics: respect from classmates, ability to express

themselves, and being in touch with their feelings.

In Hoffman's program (1976), the teachers identified

students in their classrooms who displayed "leadership

among their classmates." To understand this construct,

teachers were asked to think of students who initiated

small group interactions and activities.

A second criterion for selecting facilitators has been

student motivation. For example, the only requirements for

becoming a helper in Edwards' program (1976) were the desire

to work with younger children and agreement to give up some

recess time. In another program, Bowman and Myrick (1980)

gave special attention to limiting the number of potential

students to those who were more enthusiastic about partici-

pating. Also, Mastroianni and Dinkmeyer (1980) selected

student facilitators according to their willingness to

participate in the program.

Three programs in the literature involved selecting

student facilitators who had some difficulties in school.

In one program, Mosley (1972) chose students with social

or academic needs. "Low-performing" students were selected

by Gumaer (1975) to become facilitators. In another

example, Bowman and Myrick (1980) included a few behavior-

problem students in a facilitator training program.

Other programs did not attempt to select students

individually. Instead, they involved intact groups of

children as facilitators. For example, Vogelsong (1978)

used a classroom of students as facilitators. Also,

Rashbaum-Selig (1976) selected the members of a student

safety patrol to be the helpers.

School grade levels. Most of the elementary school

student facilitator programs described in the professional

literature used students in upper grades as facilitators

(e.g., Briskin & Anderson, 1973; Gumaer, 1973; Kern & Kirby,

1971; Mastroianni & Dinkmeyer, 1980; Mosley, 1972). How-

ever, other reports indicated success in training younger

students (e.g., Bowman & Myrick, 1980; Weise, 1976). Of the

eleven programs which reported the grade levels of the

student facilitators, six programs used sixth-grade stu-

dents, nine programs used fifth-grade students, two

programs used fourth-grade students, and one program used

third-grade students.

Numbers of boys and girls. Of the elementary school

programs that reported numbers of males and females selected

as peer helpers, most indicated approximately equal propor-

tions of each sex. For example, Hoffman (1976) included

four boys and three girls. In another example, Bowman and

Myrick (1980) reported involving nine boys and eight girls.

However, Briskin and Anderson (1973) reported a unique

program which used boys exclusively.

Those Whom the Facilitators Attempted to Help

After student facilitators had been trained, they used

their helping concepts and skills to assist others in the

school. The coordinator of each program selected those who

were to receive student facilitator assistance according to

the goals and objectives of program described by Myrick and

Bowman (1981a, 1981b). Elementary school facilitator pro-

grams reported in the professional literature described

facilitator projects in which student helpers assisted

student volunteers, classrooms, and adults in the school.

Also, facilitators have worked with other students who had

special needs.

Student volunteers. In one program, facilitators met

with and assisted other students who volunteered for the

help. McCann (1975) described how these facilitators took

turns meeting with students in a school "drop-in center."

This center consisted of a room open two days each week to

fifth and sixth graders. Any of these students could

meet with a facilitator in the center on an individual basis

during lunch or recess.

Classrooms of students. In other cases, student facili-

tators worked in helping projects which involved intact class-

rooms of students. For example, Gumaer's facilitators led

small-group discussions in a classroom on the topic of racial

conflict (1973). Later, Gumaer (1975) used facilitators to

lead small-group discussions in third-grade classrooms.

Weise (1976) reported using fourth-grade facilitators to

lead a second-grade class through an SRA story (Anderson,

Lang & Scott, 1970) and a DUSO session (Dinkmeyer, 1970).

Adults in the school. Student facilitators have also

used their helping concepts and skills to assist others in

the schools besides their peers. For example, one elemen-

tary school program was reported in which student facilita-

tors used listening and problem-solving skills to assist

teachers with some of their classroom concerns (Bowman &

Myrick, 1980). In another instance cited in the report,

one of the third-grade student facilitators used listening

skills to assist the school counselor who had arrived one

day at school experiencing some unpleasant feelings.

Students with special needs. In several programs, the

facilitators have assisted other students who had special

needs or problems which might be helped by the involvement

of peers. For example, the program described by Hoffman

(1976) used student helpers to give cooperative attention to

one boy, who was having particular difficulty with "personal


In another case, Edwards (1976) reported primary-grade

students with special needs were helped when they worked

with student facilitators. Once the student helpers com-

pleted a training program, they were matched with younger

students who needed assistance in handwriting, fine muscle

coordination, reading skills, math concepts, verbal expres-

sion, attending behavior, or playing behavior.

Student facilitators have been successful in helping

other children with several kinds of special needs. How-

ever, one need in particular has been of particular concern

to professional educators and mental health specialists.

Though there has already been a large amount of development

and research, it is well-documented that a major concern

still exists for the problem-behavior student.

Problem-Behavior Students

Problem-behavior students handicap their own learning

in school (Heady & Niewoehner, 1979). By definition, they

exhibit behaviors that interfere, or actively compete, with

academic learning (Walker, 1970). Some of these students

are inhibited and might receive little individual attention

from teachers or peers. Others are aggressive and can dis-

rupt the learning in a whole classroom (Victor & Halverson,


The Concern

Walker and Holland (1979) reported a current trend in

schools towards increased frequency and severity of child

behavior problems. They suggested that, "the management of

child behavior in school has emerged as one of the most

pressing issues facing educators in recent years" (p. 25).

This issue poses a challenge for mental health specialists

and professional educators. Better methods and strategies

need to be developed for working with problem-behavior

children in schools.

Longitudinal studies of behavioral problems among

children indicated that as many as one out of three boys

and as many as one out of five girls exhibit behavior prob-

lems. For example, Rubin and Balow (1978) found that

34 percent of the second-grade boys and 19.6 percent of the

second-grade girls exhibited behavior problems in schools

according to teacher reports. Rubin and Balow reported

similar findings for third-grade students. In another

investigation (Kelly, Bullock & Dykes, 1977), results indi-

cated that 20.4 percent of the children in grades K-12 were

perceived by their teachers to exhibit behavioral disorders.

Another difficulty in working with problem-behavior

students has been the impracticality of some of the methods.

For example, some of the behavioral management strategies

that have been recommended and supported by numerous

research studies are not used on a wide-spread basis in the

schools (Walker & Holland, 1979). Though the effectiveness

of these methods has been demonstrated in many research

studies, some teachers perceive them to require too much

time for the behavior changes they are able to make (Walker

& Holland, 1979). Changing a child's problem behaviors can

be a time-consuming process which is sometimes difficult or

impossible for teachers to achieve alone. More strategies

need to be developed for working with problem-behavior

students which are effective and practical when implemented

in the schools.

Intervention Strategies

Major advances have been made in recent years in

developing and researching treatment approaches for child-

hood disorders (Kazdin, 1979). Further, many of these

advances have been in the area of problem behaviors. A

variety of methods and procedures used to work with students

with dysfunctional behaviors have been reported.

Behavior management strategies. Perhaps the treatment

strategies which have been researched the most have been

techniques of behavioral management. Walker and Holland

(1979) stated that, "literally hundreds of studies have been

reported in the professional literature, documenting the

effectiveness and precision of systematic behavior management

techniques used in the educational setting" (p. 26).

Further, this article defined and elaborated on several

behavioral strategies that might be used with problem-

behavior students. They included the following examples:

setting rules, teacher praise, ignoring, contingency con-

tracting, earning and losing privileges, point systems,

time-out, contingency, and combinations of techniques.

However, Cooke and Apolloni (1976) listed some prob-

lems that are experienced in some of the behavior management

programs. First, they require large amounts of time by an

attentive adult to continuously supervise target students.

Second, they are difficult to implement effectively because

teacher assignments do not allow consistency of supervision.

Third, research indicates that when teachers are the sole

managers of the contingencies changes in student behavior

might not be maintained in the teachers' absences (Lovaas &

Simmons, 1969; Redd, 1970).

Other reports have been made of behavior-management

programs which have circumvented many of these problems.

Most of these programs involve other people from the target

child's environment in the behavior-management process.

For example, Barth (1979) described a home-based reinforce-

ment program. Parents were informed each day or week of

their children's school performances. Then, reinforcements

were given at homes for positive school behaviors.

Stimulant drug treatment. Another strategy for inter-

vening with problem-behavior students has been the use of

stimulant drugs. Barkley (1979) reported stimulant drug

treatment to be the treatment most commonly used for

"hyperactive" children. At the time of his report, stimu-

lants such as Ritalin, Dexedrin, and Cylert were used by

approximately 500,000 to 600,000 children especially for

behavior management in classroom settings.

Studies of the effectiveness of using stimulants with

hyperactive children have indicated that the treatment has

been very effective in improving children's classroom

behaviors. In addition, studies which compared stimulant

drug treatment to behavior-modification programs reported

that the two interventions produced similar improvements in

on-task behavior of hyperactive children.

However, Barkley warns that school personnel should

understand the nature of the side effects which accompany

the use of these drugs with children (1979). The most

common side effects in children are insomnia and decreased

appetite. In addition, some children might exhibit

depression, weepiness, agitation, fearful behavior, and

extreme social withdrawal.

It appears that there is widespread support for the

use of stimulant drugs with hyperactive children. Though

this treatment is often effective in improving children's

behaviors, stimulant drugs have many side effects. This

intervention for problem-behavior students seems risky when

compared with alternative approaches.

Other methods. In addition to behavior management

techniques and stimulant drug treatment, several other

methods have been reported as successful in improving

behavior problems in students. For example, Elias (1979)

used "prosocial television." A dietary approach was

recommended by O'Banion, Armstrong, Cummings, and Strange

(1978). Cognitive behavior modification techniques were

described and suggested for use with behavior-problem

students by Meichenbaum and Burland (1979). Also, Shaefer

(1976) offered recommendations for effective punishment.

Peer interventions. Another approach to working with

problem-behavior students has been to use peers to assist

in the intervention. Cooke and Apolloni (1976) cited

several advantages of using peers to modify children's

behaviors over adult-implemented reinforcement programs.

First, employing peers in behavioral programs with problem

children will allow increased attention for the target

children. Second, peers can provide more consistent

reactions to problem behaviors of the children throughout

the school day. Third, the peers of a problem-behavior

student can manage the contingencies in their teacher's

absence. Four behavior modification strategies that could

be used by peers to help the students were also described:

modeling, peer reinforcement, cooperative programming, and


In another report, Hegerle, Kesecker and Couch (1979)

used a "behavior game" to reduce inappropriate behaviors

among children in a self-contained classroom. The game used

peer pressure and team competition as motivators to improve

classroom behaviors. The authors implemented the game in

one classroom and concluded that it was effective in reduc-

ing problem behaviors of the students.

A systematic approach to using children as peer-helpers

has been student facilitator programs. Several of these

programs reported using trained peer-helpers to assist stu-

dents with behavior problems. For example, Kern and Kirby

(1971) used trained fifth-grade students to help other stu-

dents in the same grade level who had problem behaviors as

indicated by their scores on the Walker Problem Behavior

Identification Checklist. In another example, Briskin and

Anderson (1973) reported a program which trained students to

be contingency managers to two third-grade students

described as disruptive, aggressive, hyperactive, and dif-

ficult to control. Rashbaum-Selig (1976) focused the

efforts of her peer-helpers on one second-grade boy who

exhibited behaviors such as fighting, throwing chairs, and

destroying other students' work papers.

Student facilitator programs have shown some value as

intervention strategies for problem-behavior students. They

have advantages over exclusively teacher directed interven-

tions. They also have not produced adverse side effects

such as those from stimulant drug treatments. Research is

needed to investigate further the impact of facilitator

programs which attempt to improve problem behaviors in




Children can help other children and benefit themselves

in the process. Student facilitator programs are based on

this concept and some are being implemented in elementary

schools in the United States. This study attempted to

collect more information on the effects of a student facil-

itator program on student helpers and on problem-behavior

students whom they attempt to help.

Chapter III consists of the methodology for the study.

Population and sampling procedures are described. Four

major hypotheses and the design used to test them are out-

lined. In addition, the criterion instruments, procedures,

assumptions, and analyses of the data are explained.

Populations and Samples


Two student populations from nine elementary schools in

Alachua county, Florida, participated in this study. An

organized facilitator program was implemented in each

school and assessed on its effects with both fifth-grade

students (N=108) and primary grade problem behavior students

(N=108). Each school is racially integrated and has about

a 70% white and 30% black population (with a 10% variance

between schools). All schools involved in this study serve

children between kindergarten and fifth grade.


Fifth-grade students. From a population of fifth-

grade students, counselors in each of the nine schools

identified 14 students for the study. Teachers assisted

in the selection and students were chosen who fit the

following selection criteria:

1. Availability--can participate in the program and


2. Verbal Ability--can express ideas well and in an

organized manner.

3. Intellectual Ability--can grasp ideas quickly and

be trained in a relatively short period of time.

4. Leadership Potential--have student respect and

others listen willingly to them.

5. Motivation--are enthusiastic about becoming a


6. Responsibility--can initiate and complete projects

with minimal supervision.

Counselors, with the assistance of the investigator,

used a table of random numbers to assign the fifth-

grade students to two groups. Six students from each school

were randomly assigned to the experimental group (E) and

were trained as facilitators. Another six were assigned

to a control group (C) and received facilitator training

during this study. The remaining two names were alternates

and assigned, if needed, before protests are administered.

Second- and third-grade students. From the second- and

third-grade classes that were available to participate in the

study, each counselor randomly selected two of the class-

rooms. One class provided six problem-behavior students

for the experimental group (E') and the other classroom

provided six problem-behavior students for the control group


Students were selected for the study who exhibit

at least one of the following behavioral categories (adapted

from Walker, 1970):

1. Acting-Out: Disruptive, aggressive, or defiant

(e.g., teasing, provoking fights, interrupting


2. Withdrawal: Restricted functioning or avoidance

behavior (e.g., does not initiate relationships

with other children).

3. Distractibility: Short attention span, inadequate

study skills, or non-attending (e.g., frequently

stares blankly into space).

4. Disturbed Peer Relations: Inadequate social

skills, negative self-images, or compulsive (e.g.,

expresses concern about being lonely, unhappy).

5. Immaturity: Dependent or regressive (e.g., reacts

to changes in routine with head or stomach aches).

Second- and third-grade students in the experimental

group participated in a "special friend" project with

the fifth-grade students. Those second- and third-grade

students in the control group did not participate in the

project during this study.


The following major null hypotheses were tested.

Hol: There will be no significant difference between

experimental and control groups of fifth-grade students in

self-concept, as measured by the Piers-Harris Children's

Self Concept Inventory.

Ho2: There will be no significant difference between

experimental and control groups of fifth-grade students in

attitudes toward others, as measured by the Student Atti-

tudes Toward Others Survey.

Ho3: There will be no significant difference between

experimental and control groups of second- and third-grade

problem-behavior students in classroom behavior, as measured

by the Walker Problem Behavior Identification Checklist.

Ho4: There will be no significant difference between

experimental and control groups of second- and third-grade

problem-behavior students in school attitude as measured by

the Primary Student School Attitude Test.

Research Design

The hypotheses were tested based upon data derived

from a randomized pretest-posttest control group design

(Campbell & Stanley, 1963). A summary of this experimental

design is presented in Table 3-1.

This design has many advantages and is frequently used

in research (Kerlinger, 1973). It controls for all eight

threats to internal validity (Campbell & Stanley, 1963).

However, it has some limitations which decrease the exter-

nal validity of the experiment.

The source of limitation for the design is the pretest-

ing which could sensitize the subjects to the treatment.

However, protesting is believed by the investigator to be

justified in this study because of its usefulness as a co-

variate for analyses and because of its capacity to provide

descriptive information on the initial groups.

The Impact of the Program on Fifth-Grade Students

The effects of a program on fifth-grade students as

facilitators were investigated using the design described

above. Students were first randomly assigned to experi-

mental and control groups and pretested (Weeks 1-2). The

experimental treatment for the fifth-grade students began

with the student facilitator training program (X1: Weeks

3-9). The experimental treatment continued as the

facilitators then work with second- and third-grade
















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problem-behavior students in the project (X1: Weeks 10-

13). The control groups of fifth-grade students received

no treatment. Finally, posttests were administered to

experimental and control groups of fifth-grade students

(Week 14).

The Impact of the Program on Second- and Third-Grade Students

The effects on second- and third-grade students were

also studied using the randomized pretest-posttest control

group design. Problem-behavior students were selected and

classrooms were randomly assigned to experimental and

control conditions and protests were administered (Weeks 8-

9). The experimental treatment for second- and third-grade

students consisted of a project with the fifth-grade student

facilitators (X2: Weeks 10-13). The control groups of

second- and third-grade students did not receive the

treatment. Finally, the experimental and control groups of

younger students were posttested (Week 14).


This study included four criterion measures. Two

instruments were administered to each student population.

The Piers-Harris Children's Self Concept Inventory

measured self-concepts of the fifth-grade students. The

Student Attitude Toward Others Survey was developed by the

researcher. It measured the attitudes of the fifth-

grade students toward other people.

The Walker Problem Behavior Identification Checklist

was completed by teachers of the second- and third-grade

problem-behavior students. It measured the behaviors

of the children which interfere or compete with learning.

The Primary Student School Attitude Test was developed

by the investigator to measure the attitudes of younger

students toward their schools. What follows is a more

detailed description of each of these instruments.

Piers-Harris Children's Self Concept Inventory

The Piers-Harris Children's Self Concept Inventory

(Piers, 1969) was developed by Ellen Piers and Dale Harris

and was designed to measure self-concept of students

in grades three through twelve. The inventory was

intended primarily for research on children's attitudes

and correlates of these attitudes. Fifty statements are

included which are read aloud and repeated to the children

as they follow along and respond with a "yes" or "no" to

each statement. Administration requires approximately

15-20 minutes. An answer key is provided in the PHCSCI

manual and high scores indicate positive self-concepts.

Content validity for the PHCSCI was built into the

scale using children's self-reports as the universe for

test items. Convergent validity was tested using other

self-concept instruments. For example, Piers reported a high

correlation between the PHCSCI and the Coopersmith Self-

Esteem Inventory. A pearson r of .85 was reported.

The majority of reliability data provided for the

PHCSCI came from the original standardization sample. The

internal consistency was tested using the Kuder-Richardson

Formula 21, which resulted in coefficients ranging from

.78 to .93. Stability of the revised scale was tested

using 244 fifth graders. Two-month and four-month test-

retest coefficients of .77 were found. More recent studies

of the inventory's stability confirmed correlates greater

than .70 for five months or less. Studies of the PHSCI

using shorter periods of time have reported test-retest

correlates of .80 and over.

Buros' The Seventh Mental Measurements Yearbook pro-

vided a generally favorable review of the PHCSCI. It

stated, "The authors not only have produced a psychometri-

cally adequate scale, but have written about it in a direct

and honest manner" (Bentler, 1972, p. 386).

However, the review also described some limitations of

the inventory. For example, the standard error of measure-

ment requires at least a 10-point change of a student's

score before a significant difference in self-concept can

be concluded. Self-concept is a construct which refers to

a set of self-attitudes that are relatively stable. As a

result, it has been difficult for interventions to make

significant changes in student scores on the PHCSCI.

Several studies have failed to show significant changes

using this instrument (Bentler, 1972).

However, the instrument is considered appropriate for

this study because the experimental treatment is intensive.

Though the intervention is of relatively short duration,

pilot studies have suggested that the student facilitator

program might change student self-concept enough to make

a significant score change on this instrument (Bowman &

Myrick, 1980, 1981).

Student Attitudes Toward Others Survey (SATOS)

The Student Attitudes Toward Others Survey is an

instrument designed by the investigator to measure third-

through eighth-grade students' attitudes toward other people.

A copy of this survey appears in Appendix C. Twenty-four

test items are included which are read to the students while

they read them silently. After each item, students respond

on a Likert-type scale of strongly agree, agree, unsure,

disagree, and strongly disagree.

The SATOS was developed using the following procedures.

Eight categories of student attitudes toward others were

identified using a review of the literature and the investi-

gator's experience in schools. Then, test items were

written for the categories of attitudes toward people who

are "different from me," which include Sex (items 2, 8);

Race (items 20, 21); Beliefs (items 4, 24); and Physical

Appearance (items 12, 18). Other categories included

attitudes toward People With Problems (items 16, 17, 19,

23); People of Varying Age Levels (items 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 15,

17); People I Don't Know (items 3, 13); and People in

General (items 1, 11, 14, 22). Half the items for each

category were phrased positively and half negatively.

Finally, the test items were randomly ordered using a table

of random numbers.

The reliability of the SATOS was investigated prior

to use in this investigation. A test-retest correlation

study was performed to determine the stability of the SATOS.

Fifty children from two fifth grade classrooms were admin-

istered the SATOS and readministered the same instrument

one week later. These students were selected from a school

which was independent of those participating in the investi-

gation of the facilitator program. A Pearson r of .75 was


Personality tests, interest inventories and other

similar instruments usually have test-retest coefficients

averaging in the range of .70-.80 (Noll, 1965). The relia-

bility of the SATOS might therefore be considered average

for instruments of its kind. However, the true reliability

of the SATOS is probably higher than .75 since this value

was most likely depressed by the limited variance of indi-

vidual differences between subjects. That is, since the

test-retesting was administered only to children of one

grade level from one school, the calculated Pearson r was

probably lowered.

Reliability coefficients of at least .75 may be con-

sidered sufficient to make fairly accurate comparisons

between groups (Noll, 1965). Therefore, the Pierson r

obtained for the SATOS suggests that the instrument is

stable enough over time to be useful for this research.

In addition, the standard error of measurement was

calculated to provide an additional value to use in making

interpretations of research results. The following formula

was used (Noll, 1965):

SEmeas = SD 1 rtt

The SATOS was found to have a standard error of measurement

of .21.

Walker Problem Behavior Identification Checklist (WPBIC)

The Walker Problem Behavior Identification Checklist

was developed by Hill Walker for use in the elementary

school (1970, 1976). Fifty observable and operational

statements are included which describe student behaviors and

which are responded to by the classroom teacher. Each

statement is responded to by indicating in the right hand

column whether or not the behavior has been observed in the

child's response pattern during the last two-month period.

The instrument may be hand-scored and the following

interpretations are made. If subjects receive a total score

of 21 or higher they are classified as disturbed. Scores

of less than 21 suggest students are not disturbed. The

manual points out that a student's scores should also be

examined on each of five categories listed in the manual.

A Profile Analysis Chart is provided with the test to help

the test administrator focus on student scores for each


These five categories or factors were identified in

the test as a result of a Varimax Orthogonal rotation factor

analysis. Data were obtained from a normative sample of

534 pupils. The factors resulting were identified as

(a) Acting-out (disruptive, aggressive, defiant); (b) With-

drawal (restricted functioning, avoidance behavior);

(c) Distractability (short attention span, inadequate study

skills, non-attendance); (d) Disturbed Peer Relations

(inadequate social skills, negative self-image, compulsive);

and (e) Immaturity (dependent).

Contrasted-group validity was established for the

WPBIC by defining and comparing two independent groups of

students on the construct of behavior disturbance. From a

sample of 534 pupils, 38 were identified as behaviorally

disturbed according to nontest criteria. These 38 subjects

were matched with students from the normative sample. When

the WPBIC had been administered to all the students, a

significant difference was found between the groups which

surpassed the .01 level.

Criterion validity was also reported for the WPBIC. A

biserial correlation was used to assess the degree of rela-

tionship between the WPBIC scores and the behavior dis-

turbance construct as measured by nontest criteria. A

significant difference was found between two such groups of

students at the .01 level. In addition, the author reports

a predictive efficiency index of .33 for the instrument.

This supports the use of the instrument to predict behavior

disturbance in school children.

The reliability of the Walker Problem Behavior Identi-

fication Checklist was estimated by the Kuder-Richardson

split-half method. This procedure yielded a coefficient of

.98 with a standard deviation of 10.53 and a standard error

of measurement of 1.28. Thus, the instrument is considered

to have high reliability.

Primary Student School Attitude Test (PSSAT)

The Primary Student School Attitude Test was designed

by the investigator to measure the school attitudes of

primary grade students. A copy of the instrument appears in

Appendix D. Twenty-eight items are included which are each

read and re-read to the students. After listening to a

statement, students respond on a Likert-type scale consist-

ing of drawings of faces with different expressions.

Students listen to each statement and respond to it by

placing an "X" on one of five faces to show if they strongly

agree, agree, are unsure, disagree, or strongly disagree.

The X is placed on the face with the big smile if they

strongly agree with the statement. The face with the little

smile is chosen if they agree. If the student is unsure,

the X is put on the middle face with the horizontal mouth.

Students show that they disagree by placing the X on the

face with the little frown. They select the face with the

big frown if they strongly disagree.

In developing items for the test, the investigator drew

upon a similar instrument that was used in a pilot study

(Bowman & Myrick, 1981). In addition, seven categories were

identified using a review of the literature on school atti-

tude and from the researcher's experiences in schools.

These categories were attitudes toward My Teachers (items

5, 6, 16, 11), My Abilities to Succeed in School (items 4,

22, 24, 28), My Behavior in School (items 2, 7, 8, 9), My

School When I Have Problems (items 17, 18, 20, 27), My

Learning in School (items 3, 13, 14, 19), Other Students

(items 1, 12, 15, 25), and My School in General (items 10,

21, 23, 26). Four test items were developed for each cate-

gory, two phrased positively and two phrased negatively.

Then, a table of random numbers was used to arrange the

order of the test items.

The reliability of this instrument was estimated

using similar procedures described in this chapter for the

Student Attitudes Toward Others Survey. However, the PSSAT

was administered to 40 second-grade students from two class-

rooms. A Pierson r of .78 was obtained.

For reasons similar to those stated in the description

of the SATOS, this coefficient is probably lower than the

true value. Therefore, the stability coefficient .78 can

be considered average to moderately high for instruments of

this type and is considered stable enough for this research.

The standard error of measurement was also calculated

in the same manner used in the SATOS study. The PSSAT was

found to have a standard error of measurement of .24.


This study began in November, 1981. It encompassed

approximately 14 school weeks and was completed in March,

1982. A summary of the procedures and the weeks they took

place is presented in Table 3-2.

The elementary school counselors involved in the study

were coordinators of the student facilitator programs.

Before the study, counselors attended two half-day workshops

which familiarized them with setting-up, implementing, super-

vising, and evaluating student facilitator programs. These

workshops also described the counselors' responsibilities in

the study.

Later, the researcher met with the counselors to

(a) assist in randomly assigning fifth-grade students and

clarify test administration of fifth-grade students,



Week # Events

1-2 Counselors meet to assign fifth-grade stu-
dents and to review information on testing.
Pre-testing of fifth-grade students.
Orientation meeting for student facilitators.

3 Training sessions 1 and 2.

4 Training sessions 3 and 4.

5 Training sessions 5 and 6.

6 Training sessions 7 and 8.

7 Training session 9.
Review session and preparation for Christmas

Christmas Vacation

8 Counselors meet to receive more testing
information and to examine procedures for
the facilitator project.
Review sessions for student facilitators.

9 Training session 10 and final preparations
for the project.
Pre-testing of the problem behavior students.

10 Project meetings 1-4 and supervision session
for facilitators.

11 Project meetings 5-8 and supervision session
for facilitators.

12 Project meetings 9-10.

13 Project meetings 11-12.

14 Posttesting of both student populations.
Counselors assemble for a final meeting.

(b) provide information on testing of the younger students

and make preparations for the peer facilitator project, and

(c) collect final data on both student populations.

Pre-Training (Weeks 1-2)

Before beginning the sessions for training the student

facilitators, counselors randomly assigned fifth-grade

students to experimental and control groups. These students

were pretested using the Piers-Harris Self Concept

Inventory and the Student's Attitude Toward Others Survey.

Then, those who are assigned to the experimental groups will

meet with their counselors for an orientation session. The

agenda for this session is outlined in Children Helping

Children in Chapter V (Myrick & Bowman, 1981b).

Student Facilitator Training (Weeks 3-9)

Training of student facilitators followed the

10 sessions of the Beginning Program described in Children

Helping Children (Myrick & Bowman, 1981b) and is outlined in

Appendix A of this report. As described in these training

sessions, each student facilitator received a copy of

Becoming a Friendly Helper (Myrick & Bowman, 1981a) and

worked through the first three chapters. These sessions

occurred approximately two times each week with 30-45 minutes

for each session. Fifth-grade students in the control group

did not receive this treatment during the study.

The first eight training sessions were completed with

two sessions each week. Session 9 and a review meeting

occurred the following week and provided time for assessment

and review of the concepts and skills taught in the program.

When the students returned to school in January (Week 8) at

least one more review session occurred.

During the ninth week of this investigation, the coun-

selors prepared facilitators for working with the second-

and third-grade students in Training Session 10. Also,

counselors collected pretest data on second- and third-grade

problem behavior students using the Walker Problem Behavior

Identification Checklist and the Primary Student School

Attitude Test.

The Special Friend Project (Weeks 10-13)

After training, student facilitators became

involved in a project in which they worked to assist the

second- and third-grade problem behavior students in the

experimental group (E'). The control group of fifth-grade

students and the control group of younger students did not

receive this treatment during the study.

The Special Friend Project involves 12 meetings between

the facilitators and their younger "special friends." These

meetings are described in Appendix B and require four weeks

to complete. First, counselors matched each facilitator

with a problem behavior student in the experimental

classroom. Then, these pairs of students met for four

group sessions (two occurred in Week 10 and two in

Week 11) and eight individual sessions (two occurred each

week). In addition, student facilitators met with their

counselor each week of the project for supervision.

The four group sessions followed the procedures of

the "Gainesville Project" which is described in Chapter VI

of Children Helping Children (Myrick & Bowman, 1981b).

Facilitators led small groups of second- and third-

grade students in "go around" discussions of friendship.

These discussions occurred in the experimental second- and

third-grade classrooms with facilitators and their "special

friends" in the same groups.

The student facilitators met with their second-

or third-grade students for the eight individual sessions

and attempted to utilize positive relationships to help

the younger students explore and make some changes in their

school experiences. These meetings were partially

structured by providing student facilitators with specific

tasks to complete during each meeting (see Appendix B).

Post-Testing (Week 14)

One week after concluding the project, the fifth-grade

students in the experimental and control groups were

administered the posttests. Also, posttesting of second

and third graders in experimental and control groups was



Following collection of the data, the hypotheses were

tested using analyses of covariance (ANCOVA). The ANCOVA

will allow tests for significant differences between means

for posttest data. It adjusts initial mean differences

between the groups by taking in account the correlations

between pretreatment data (one or more covariates) and the

dependent variable (Kerlinger, 1973). The purpose of this

analysis is to reduce error variance in the final measures.

This is accomplished by eliminating from the posttest vari-

ance the proportion of criterion variance that existed prior

to the experiment (Roscoe, 1975). In using the ANCOVA, the

investigator assumes that the adjusted error components will

be distributed independently, normally, and with homogenous

variances among the treatment population.

Testing the Effects on Student Facilitators

Ho and Ho2 were tested using analyses of covari-

ance. For each hypothesis, the pretest measures served

as covariates.

Testing the Effects on Problem-Behavior Students

Ho3 and Ho4 were also tested using analyses of

covariance. The ANCOVA is recommended for research involv-

ing intact groups such as classrooms (Kerlinger, 1973) and

is therefore supported for testing differences between the


groups sampled from this population. The pretest measures

served as covariates for the analysis of each hypothesis.



This study investigated the effects of a student

facilitator program on fifth-grade students trained as

helpers and on second- and third-grade problem-behavior

children who worked with the student helpers. Two

dependent measures were used to assess each student

population. The fifth-grade peer facilitators were pre-

and posttested using the Piers-Harris Children's Self

Concept Inventory (PHCSCI) and the Student Attitudes

Toward Others Survey (SATOS). The younger students who

received help from the peer facilitators were pre- and

posttested using the Walker Problem Behavior Identifica-

tion Checklist (WPBIC) and the Primary Student School

Attitude Test (PSSAT).

The experimental procedures were implemented in nine

elementary schools by the respective school counselors and

data were gathered from randomly selected experimental and

control groups for both student age levels. Pretest data

were complete for all 108 fifth graders and 108 second and

third graders.

Posttest data were not complete for some students.

Consequently, data were collected from 91 students (E=49,

C=42) on the PHCSCI and 91 students (E=49, C=42) on the

SATOS (see Table 4-1). Also, data were analyzed from 91

students (E=46, C=45) on the WPBIC and 86 students

(E=45, C=41) on the PSSAT. Four events apparently

contributed to the reduction in number of collected data

between pre- and posttestings. First, three fifth-grade

students and four primary-grade students left school during

the study because their families moved. Second, one fifth-

grade student and two primary-grade students were absent

from school during posttesting and did not return in time to

complete the tests. Third, one fifth-grade girl was removed

from group training after the first training session because

her behavior was not indicative of criteria for becoming a

peer facilitator. She was not posttested. Fourth, some

posttests were invalidated and not included in the data

analyses because of incompleteness or improperly marked

answer forms. This accounted for six students on the

PHCSCI, six students on the SATOS, three students on the

WPBIC and seven students on the PSSAT.

The four instruments used in this study provided

data to be used in testing four null-hypotheses related

to the effects of the facilitator program on respective

student populations. An analysis of covariance (ANCOVA)

provided a test for significant differences between experi-

mental and control groups for each hypothesis. Pretests

served as covariates and the four null-hypotheses were

tested at the .05 level of significance.



Experimental Group Control Group

Standard Standard
Instrument N Mean Deviation N Mean Deviation

Pretests: 49 61.98 10.54 42 62.98 11.70

Posttests: 49 65.12 9.61 42 66.31 9.35

Difference: 3.14 3.33

Pretests: 49 3.96 0.49 42 3.86 0.53

Posttests: 49 4.07 0.40 42 3.99 0.44

Difference: 0.11 0.13

Pretests: 46 21.23 8.86 45 26.47 12.92

Posttests: 46 14.89 10.71 45 24.29 9.71

Difference: -6.34 -2.18

Pretests: 45 3.50 0.51 41 3.45 0.53

Posttests: 45 3.71 0.64 41 3.42 0.64

Difference: 0.21 -0.03

One assumption of the analysis of covariance is that

the regression line slopes on the predictability of post-

test scores from protests are equivalent for each of the

populations beings studied. This common regression slope

can be estimated using the following formula (Roscoe, 1975):

b = SP /SS
w v wx

where b = The common within-groups regression
coefficient estimate.

SP = Sum of products within groups.

SS = Sum of squares within groups.

The test for homogeneity of regression slopes determines

whether or not significant differences occur between the

regression slopes of each group in the study. According to

Roscoe (]975), the analysis of covariance is robust with

respect to the assumption of regression homogeneity. When

this assumption is violated the ANCOVA test for significant

differences tends to be more conservative.

Levels of significance of .10 or .25 are sometimes set

for testing regression homogeneity to reduce the probability

of making a Type II error. A significance level of .10 was

used in this study to test the null-hypothesis that there

were no significant differences between regression slopes of

the experimental and control groups. The results of testing

this hypothesis for groups on each of the four instruments

are summarized in Table 4-2.



Instrument F p

PHCSCI 1.40 0.2462

SATOS 0.67 0.5780

WPBIC 1.19 0.3182

PSSAT 0.46 0.7137

The regression slope null-hypothesis was not rejected

when data were used from any of the four instruments. This

suggested that regression slopes were not significantly

different for the experimental and control groups. Thus,

data from all instruments in this study met the assumption

of regression-slope homogeneity. It was then possible to

proceed with the analysis of covariance.

Self-Concept of Student Helpers

Hol: There is no significant difference between
experimental and control groups of fifth-grade
students in self-concept, as measured by the
Piers-Harris Children's Self Concept Inventory.

Both experimental and control groups of fifth-grade stu-

dents increased their unadjusted group means on the PHCSCI

(See Table 4-1). Both groups, therefore, moved in a positive

direction with respect to self-concept. The experimental

group mean increased from 61.98 to 65.12 indicating a posi-

tive change of 3.14 points. The control group mean in-

creased from 62.98 to 66.31 which gives a positive change

of 3.33 points.

An analysis of covariance was performed on data from

the PHCSCI and is summarized in Table 4-3. The p value of

.7250 suggested that there was not a significant difference

between experimental and control groups at the .05 level.

Therefore, the null-hypothesis relating to self-concept of

student helpers was not rejected.



Source of
Variance df SS F p

Group 1 11.21 0.12 0.7250

Sex 1 68.95 0.77 0.3839

Group X Sex 1 110.30 1.23 0.2713

Error 87 7830.68

In addition, the analysis of covariance on data from

the PHCSCI was extended to test if the treatment had a

variable effect on boys and girls. No significant differ-

ences were found with sex as an independent variable at the

.05 level which was suggested by the p value of .3839.

Further, a test for possible interaction between treatment

group and sex was performed at the .05 level. The p value

of .2713 suggests no significant interaction between these


Student Helpers' Attitudes Toward Others

Ho2: There is no significant difference between
experimental and control groups of fifth-grade
students in attitudes toward others, as measured
by the Student Attitudes Toward Others Survey.

As illustrated in Table 4-1, students in both experimen-

tal and control groups had increased unadjusted group means

on the SATOS. Therefore, both groups had a positive change

with respect to attitudes toward others. The mean for the

experimental group increased from 3.96 to 4.07 suggesting

a positive change of .11 points. The control group mean

increased from 3.86 to 3.99 suggesting that this group

increased its mean by .13 points.

A summary of the analysis of covariance on data from

the SATOS is presented in Table 4-4. The p value of .3171

suggests that there was not a significant difference between

experimental and control groups at the .05 level. Therefore,

the null-hypothesis relating to student helpers' attitudes

toward others was not rejected.



Source of
Variance df SS F p

Group 1 0.18 1.01 0.3171

Sex 1 0.09 0.05 0.8220

Group X Sex 1 0.11 0.63 0.4278

Error 87 15.65

Further, Table 4-4 includes results of an extension

of the analysis to include sex as another independent

variable. When tested at the .05 level, no treatment

effect (p = .8220) or interaction (p = .4278) was found.

Problem Behaviors of Second and Third Graders

Ho3: There is no significant difference between
experimental and control groups of second- and
third-grade problem-behavior students in class-
room behavior, as measured by the Walker Problem
Behavior Identification Checklist.

Students in both experimental and control groups

decreased in their unadjusted means on the WPBIC as sum-

marized in Table 4-1. This indicated that both groups had a

reduction in the numbers of problem behaviors as perceived

by their teachers. The experimental group decreased from

21.23 to 14.89 giving a difference of -6.34 points. The

control group decreased from 26.47 to 24.29 providing a

difference of -2.18 points.

The analysis of covariance on data using the WPBIC

(total scores) is summarized in Table 4-5. The E value of

.0002 suggests that there was a significant difference

between experimental and control groups at the .05 level.

Therefore, the null-hypothesis relating to problem behaviors

of second and third graders was rejected.

When the analysis of covariance was extended to test

for the differential effects using sex as an independent

variable, no significant differences were found at the .05



Source of
Variance df SS F p

Group 1 1580.37 15.38 0.0002*

Sex 1 134.38 1.31 0.2560

Group X Sex 1 250.03 2.43 0.1224

Error 87 8937.88

*Significant at the .05 level of confidence.

level (p = .2560). Further, no interaction was found

between treatment group and sex (p = .1224).

Since significant differences were found between experi-

mental and control groups using the WPBIC total scores, data

from each of the five subscales of the WPBIC were analyzed

individually. This analysis was an attempt to determine

which categories of behavior might have been affected.

Tables 4-6 and 4-7 provide summaries of unadjusted group

means, standard deviations and ANCOVAs for each of the five

subscales on the WPBIC.

Subscale 1: Acting-Out. On the first subscale (Acting-

Out) of the WPBIC the experimental group reduced its unad-

justed group mean by 2.42 points while the control group

reduced by .13 points (Table 4-6). An analysis of covariance

using data from experimental and control groups provided a

p value of .0002 which was significant at the .05 level

(Table 4-7).

Subscale 2: Withdrawal. The second WPBIC subscale

measured behaviors of student withdrawal. As Table 4-6

reveals, the experimental group mean was reduced by 1.48

points while the control group gained .96 points. An analy-

sis of covariance provided a p value of .1147 (Table 4-7)

which was not significant at the .05 level.

Subscale 3: Distractibility. The third subscale mea-

sured student distractibility. The experimental group had a

reduction in group means of 1.48 points while the control



Experimental Group Control Group
Subscale Mean SD Mean SD

1: Acting-out

Pretests 7.31 6.19 11.13 7.95
Posttests 4.89 6.30 11.00 7.38
Difference -2.42 -0.13

2: Withdrawal

Pretests 3.06 4.14 1.89 3.04
Posttests 1.58 2.90 1.93 3.44
Difference -1.48 0.96

3: Distractibility

Pretests 6.15 3.04 7.91 3.24
Posttests 4.67 2.70 6.96 3.07
Difference -1.48 -0.95

4: Disturbed
Peer Relations

Pretests 2.17 2.40 2.83 3.70
Posttests 1.73 2.57 2.39 2.91
Difference -0.44 -0.44

5: Immaturity

Pretests 2.69 2.83 2.83 2.90
Posttests 1.79 2.16 1.89 2.47
Difference -0.90 -0.94



Subscale F p

1: Acting-out 14.74 0.0002*

2: Withdrawal 2.54 0.1147

3: Distractibility 6.72 0.0111*

4: Disturbed Peer
Relations 0.63 0.4302

5: Immaturity 0.00 0.9442

*Significant at the .05 level of confidence.

group mean had a reduction of .95 points (Table 4-6). An

analysis of covariance provided a p value of .0111 which

was significant at the .05 level (Table 4-7).

Subscale 4: Disturbed Peer Relations. The fourth

WPBIC subscale (disturbed peer relations) showed a reduc-

tion in group means of .44 for both the experimental and

control groups. Results of an analysis of covariance of

data on this subscale are presented in Table 4-7. A p value

of .4302 was found which suggested that there were no

significant differences between experimental groups at the

.05 level.

Subscale 5: Immaturity. The fifth subscale of WPBIC

measured behaviors categorized as immaturity in students.

As Table 4-6 reveals, the experimental group mean reduced by

.90 points while the control group mean reduced by .94

points. An analysis of covariance provided a p value of

.9442 for data in this subscale (Table 4-7). This suggests

that there were no significant differences between experi-

mental and control groups at the .05 level using data from

this subscale.

School Attitude of Second and Third Graders

Ho4: There is no significant difference between
experimental and control groups of second- and
third-grade problem-behavior students in school
attitude as measured by the Primary Student
School Attitude Test.

Among other data, a summary of unadjusted group means

on pre- and posttests using the PSSAT is presented in

Table 4-1. The experimental group increased in score from

3.50 to 3.71 indicating a positive change of .21 points.

The control group decreased in score from 3.45 to 3.42

indicating a decrease of .03 points.

The analysis of covariance on data provided from

the PSSAT is summarized in Table 4-8. The p value of .0369
suggests that there was not a significant difference between

experimental and control groups at the .05 level. Therefore,

the null-hypothesis related to school attitude of second and

third graders was rejected.

Extending the analysis of covariance to include sex as

an independent variable revealed no significant differences

at the .05 level (p = .0797). In addition, no interaction

was found between treatment group and sex (p = .3993).

Based on analysis of the data, null-hypotheses relating

to self-concept (Hol) and attitude toward others (Ho2) of

peer facilitators were not rejected. However, null-

hypotheses relating to behavior and school attitude of

primary grade students were rejected. Further analyses

using sex as an independent variable revealed that there

were no significant differences in treatment effect and no

significant interaction with sex and group using any of the

four instruments. In addition, further analyses using the

WPBIC data revealed significant differences in primary-grade



Source of
Variance df SS F p

Group 1 1.82 4.50 0.0369*

Sex 1 1.27 3.15 0.0797

Group X Sex 1 0.29 0.72 0.3993

Error 82 33.15

*Significant at the .05 level of confidence.


children in the areas of acting-out and distractibility.

However, no significant differences were found in with-

drawal, disturbed peer relations and immaturity.




This study investigated the effects of a student

facilitator program on student helpers and on children who

received help from the student helpers. First, the effects

of a training program and helping project were examined on

fifth-grade student facilitators, with attention to the

variables of self-concept and student attitudes toward

others. Second, the effects the trained student

facilitators had on second- and third-grade problem-behavior

students were examined regarding classroom behavior and

school attitude.

A total of 108 fifth-grade students were identified in

nine schools (12 per school) and randomly assigned in each

school to either an experimental or a control group.

Students in the experimental groups (E=54) participated in a

10-session training program followed by 12 project meetings

with second- or third-grade problem-behavior students.

Control group students from the fifth-grade (C=54) did not

participate in either the training or the helping project.

Twelve problem-behavior students from two second- or

third-grade classrooms were also identified in each of the

same nine schools (N=108). One classroom in each school was

randomly assigned to experimental conditions and the other

served as the control. Six problem-behavior students from

the experimental classroom met for 12 meetings with the

trained fifth-grade student facilitators, while those from

the control group did not. Thus, there were

108 problem-behavior students in the study (E' = 54,

C' = 54).

The research study lasted 14 weeks. Counselors first

assigned students to treatment conditions and then pretested

fifth graders during the third week. Weeks three through

six were used to complete the first eight training sessions

for student facilitators. Weeks seven through nine were

interrupted by two weeks of school vacation, but used to

complete the ten-session training program. In week nine,

counselors pretested the experimental and control groups of

primary-grade students. During weeks ten through thirteen,

student facilitators met with the second- and third-grade

students from the experimental groups. Finally, week

fourteen provided time to posttest all students involved in

the study.

All fifth-graders were pre- and posttested using the

Piers-Harris Children's Self Concept Inventory (PHCSCI) and

Students Attitudes Toward Others Survey (SATOS). The

primary-grade problem-behavior students were assessed using

pre- and posttests with the Walker Problem Behavior

Identification Checklist (WPBIC) and the Primary Student

School Attitude Test (PSSAT). The resulting data were

analyzed using the analysis of covariance to test

significant differences between experimental and control

groups. Pretests served as covariates and data were used to

test four null-hypotheses at the .05 level of confidence.

The first two null-hypotheses related to student

self-concept (HoI) and attitudes toward other people (Ho2)

of fifth-grade student helpers. These hypotheses were not

rejected. The second two null-hypotheses related to

classroom behaviors (Ho3) and student school attitude (Ho4)

of second- and third-grade students who received help from

the fifth-grade facilitators. In this case, both

null-hypotheses were rejected (.05).

Since the Walker Problem Identification Checklist

(WPBIC) provides five subscales which can be used to study

categories of behavior, an analysis of covariance was

performed on data from each subscale. Significant

differences were found at the .05 level on subscales One

(Acting-out) and Three (Distractibility). No significant

differences were found on subscales Two (withdrawal), Four

(Disturbed Peer Relations) and Five (Immaturity).

In addition, sex was analyzed as an independent

variable and no significant differences were found using

data from any of the four instruments. Further, no

significant interactions were found between sex and group on

data from any of the instruments.


Some conclusions were reached as a result of this

study. First, fifth-grade students can be trained to be

effective student facilitators in a relatively short time.

Following a systematic training program, the facilitators

can implement what they learn and can be effective in making

positive changes in other students.

More specifically, peer facilitators can bring about

positive changes in the school attitudes of problem-behavior

children. In this study, the facilitators helped make

changes in the perceptions and beliefs of the primary-grade

students who were viewed as classroom problems. As a

result, these problem-behavior students' attitudes toward

teachers, peers and themselves as learners changed in a

positive direction.

Students with negative school attitudes often react in

negative ways in the school environment. Their unfavorable

perceptions of school frequently predispose them to adopt

behaviors that are counter-productive to learning. As a

result, some of these students act-out in the classroom

while others withdraw. If peer facilitators meet with

primary-grade problem-behavior students, the young students

can experience changes in their attitudes toward school and

learn to perceive their teachers, peers and own potentials

more favorably.

If peer facilitators can have a positive affect on the

school attitudes of problem-behavior students, can they also

influence the behavior of such students? In this study,

fifth-grade facilitators helped change the behavior of

primary-grade students. It appears that peer facilitators

can specifically help problem-behavior students reduce their

tendency to be distracted and their acting-out behavior.

Further, when problem-behavior students improve their

classroom behavior, it follows that some of them will be

less disruptive to other students. Concurrently, students

who improve their classroom behavior might also become more

successful in school.

Becoming a peer facilitator and working with

problem-behavior students can also be beneficial to students

who are trained. Although no significant differences were

found in peer facilitators' self-concepts or attitudes

toward others, the increased group means indicated some

positive directions for the fifth graders. Further, the

nature of the training program and helping project was such

that the facilitators learned some valuable skills and ideas

which they might use to benefit themselves. For example,

when the student helpers learned and practiced careful

listening and helpful responding, they improved their own

abilities to understand and communicate with others.

In addition, the experience of working with younger

students was a positive one for peer facilitators.

Counselors reported that while facilitators were sometimes

frustrated and annoyed with the behavior of the younger

students, especially in the beginning sessions of the

project, they generally found the experiences to be

rewarding and fun. The following quotes from student

facilitators were shared by the counselors:

Sam: When I first met Harold (his special friend) in
the circle group he was bad. He kept rolling
around the floor when I tried to talk with him.
But it didn't take long 'til he started to really
like me. Now we're real good friends and we
listen good to each other.

Mary: I felt so sorry for Jimmy. He didn't have any
friends and no one seemed to want to play with
him. Since I helped him make two new friends, I
see him at recess playing with them. That's what
makes it fun for me.

Tina: I'm so happy that I got to be special friends with
Dori. I wish I had a special friend like that
when I was Dori's age.

Leon: At first I wasn't sure about Paul. I couldn't get
him to say anything. But about the third time I
saw him, he showed me a drawing of a spaceship and
we talked about it. Now I have to work to keep
him from talking too much.

Younger students also found working with the peer

facilitators to be a positive experience. Having a special

friend to talk with about their thoughts and feelings was a

unique experience for many of these children. During

sessions with facilitators, they were able to share feelings

and thoughts about school and other topics of interest. In

each session, the facilitators used their skills to help the

younger students perceive them as caring, accepting,

understanding and trustworthy. As a result, the

primary-grade students liked their special friends and were

receptive to their influence. For example, counselors

shared the following quotes from the primary-grade

problem-behavior students:

Carlos: I like my peer facili . or what ever you
call them. His name is Tim and he's real

Jeniffer: Christy is my special friend who I talk to
about my friends and school and stuff. She
is nice and I love her.

Terry: I used to get in lots of trouble with Mrs.
Robinson, but I don't any more 'cause Lynn
helped me not to. But I still get into
trouble . a little.

Jimmy: Kevin is my special friend. We talk about
anything I like and it's fun.


This study had the following possible limitations:

1. Training of student facilitators was extended

because of interruptions in the schools. For data to be

collected from all counselors, an extra two weeks were

allowed for three counselors to complete the data

collection. However, training procedures and the project

were not significantly changed.

2. The fifth-grade peer facilitators selected for this

study were already high in self-esteem and attitudes toward

others. To show significant gains on these variables using

such students might require instruments more sensitive or

specific than the two used in this study.

3. One of the instruments used with primary-grade

students in this study, the Walker Problem Behavior

Identification Checklist, required that teachers indicate

their perceptions of student problem behaviors. Therefore,

this instrument measured student problem behavior based on

teacher perceptions. It was not possible to know if some

teachers were influenced by other variables, such as

knowledge of the study.


Based on this investigation, the following are


1. Peer facilitator programs should be implemented in

all elementary schools.

2. Facilitator training should include systematic

training procedures, careful supervision and planned


3. Further research is needed on peer facilitator

programs in the following areas:

How might students trained as facilitators change in

academic behaviors, attendance, achievement scores, or

sociometric status?

How long will the effects of peer help last?

What is the comparative effectiveness of peer

facilitators with other methods of working with

problem-behavior students?

What impact would additional training sessions have?

For example, how will the addition of the 10 advanced

training sessions (11-20) in Children Helping Children

(Myrick & Bowman, 1981b) influence peers and their special


What other helping projects might be effective with

young students?


Student facilitators can be important resources to

teachers and counselors. With classroom sizes often

exceeding 30 students and counselor case-loads of over

500 students, some children are not able to receive the

attention they might need. However, with a group of trained

students to assist professionals in the schools, academic

and guidance services can be expanded to reach more students

more of the time.

Also, peer facilitators can deliver relatively

short-term interventions which are effective. The time

required to make significant changes in students with

difficulties might be reduced when peer facilitators

participate in the intervention. Further, when peer

facilitators are involved in helping projects, significant

changes can be made without the cost of additional certified


In addition, the peer facilitator training program

described in Children Helping Children (Myrick & Bowman,

1981b) is a valuable resource to counselors and other

educators interested in developing peer helper programs in

their schools. The trainer's manual was well received by

the counselors in this study. They reported that it was

easy to follow and full of suggestions and ideas. Also, the

student's handbook, Becoming a Friendly Helper (Myrick and

Bowman, 1981a), was helpful to the counselors in that it

gave students an additional resource to draw upon outside

training sessions. The stories, activities and tasks

included in the student book were motivating to the

facilitators and saved counselors time in creating many of

the training activities themselves.

This study provides evidence that elementary school

student facilitator programs can be valuable in education.

By drawing upon one of the schools' most valuable resources,

the students themselves, these programs enhance learning and

offer other benefits to children, counselors and teachers.

All elementary schools should implement peer facilitator




(Adapted from Myrick & Bowman, 1981)



Friendly Helpers

The Helping

Skills for Listen-

More Listening

Looking at

Asking Open

Clarifying and


Looking at the
Helping Process

Preparing for
Beginning Projects


Topics Included
Program; purpose; procedures;
introductions; student re-
actions; assignment of books
and materials.

Friendship; sharing; helping.

Student helpers; four helping

Listening; two of the four
guidelines for careful listen-

Pleasant and unpleasant feel-
ings; the other two guidelines
for careful listening.

Helping statements.

Open vs. closed questions;
practicing open questions.

Making responses which show
understanding of ideas and
events that are expressed;

Showing understanding of feel-
ings that are expressed;

Summary and review; practice
of helping concepts and skills.

Description of a project;
facilitator roles and func-
tions; procedures for a

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