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EFFECTS OF GRADE LEVEL AND TARGET STATUS ON THE ACQUISITION OF
KNOWLEDGE OF PROBLEM-SOLVING STRATEGIES IN A UNIVERSAL
A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
MASTER OF ARTS IN EDUCATION
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
I would like to thank Dr. Nancy Waldron for her guidance and support throughout
the completion of this project and throughout my graduate studies. I also extend sincere
thanks to Dr. David Miller for granting me the opportunity to work with him and for his
assistance on this project. Also, I would like to thank Dr. Ann Daunic for her flexibility,
her tolerance, and her frequent reminders that I was making a valuable contribution.
I am grateful to all of the teachers and support personnel in the Bradford County
Public School District who supported and assisted me with this project.
I also would like to thank my mother, Judy Moruzzi, for her wisdom, her
friendship, and her quiet insistence that success was the only option. I also offer my
sincere appreciation to Richard Moruzzi for his support and encouragement throughout
my adult life.
I would especially like to thank the three people I admire the most, my children,
Erin, Emily Ann and Abby. They continue to amaze and inspire me. I am grateful to
them for teaching me so much about life, for their unwavering love and belief in me
throughout the years, and for the reflection I see in their eyes.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
A C K N O W L E D G M E N T S ......... .................................... ...............................................iii
LIST OF TABLES .................. ............ .......................... ..... vi
1 IN T R O D U C T IO N ............ ................................................ ... ........ ................ ... 1
2 REVIEW OF LITERATURE ........................... ....... ................................... 5
School Violence .............................................. ................................ 6
Aggressive Behavior and Achievem ent.......................... .............. .... ............. 7
P rev en tio n ...................................................... 9
R eview of Social Skills Program s............................................ ......................... 11
Theoretical Foundations to Social Skills Programs......................... .............. 17
Tools for G getting A long ........................................................... ... .............. 20
Problem Statem ent .................. ........... ............ ........ .. .......... ..........21
3 METHOD..................................... ..... .............. 23
P articip an ts ...............................23..............................
Program Description ............ .............. .............. ....... ........... 24
Teacher Training ........... ................................ ......... ..... ......... .. 25
Instrum ents .................. ............... ............................................ 25
Procedure ................................. ............................................. 26
4 R E S U L T S ............................................................................. 2 7
D escriptiv e Statistics............................................................ ............. .... .......... 2 7
Analysis of Variance .......... ............. ..... ........ ............................ 28
5 DISCUSSION .................................. ................................ ........ 29
Lim stations of the Study .................. ........... ...................... .... ... ...... 31
D directions for Future R research ......... ............................................... .............. 32
A PA R EN T CON SEN T FO RM ................ ................................................................. 35
B STUDENT NOMINATION FORM ............................ 36
C PROBLEM SOLVING QUESTIONNAIRE .............................. 37
L IST O F R E F E R E N C E S .................................................................................................. 43
B IO G R A PH IC A L SK E TC H .................................................................................... 49
LIST OF TABLES
4-1 Means and standard deviations by grade........... ............. ................... 27
4-2 Means and standard deviations by target/nontarget status .................................... 28
Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts in Education
EFFECTS OF GRADE LEVEL AND TARGET STATUS ON THE ACQUISITION OF
KNOWLEDGE OF PROBLEM-SOLVING STRATEGIES IN A UNIVERSAL
Chair: Nancy Waldron
Major Department: Educational Psychology
The current study investigated the effects of grade level and target status on the
acquisition of knowledge of problem-solving strategies in a universal cognitive-
behavioral intervention. Twenty-six students in grades three and four received the 15-
lesson social skills curriculum Tools for Getting Along. Of the 26 students participating
in the study, 15 were targeted by their teachers as exhibiting or being at risk for the
development of aggressive and/or disruptive behavior.
The Problem-solving Questionnaire (PSQ), consisting of multiple-choice items
taken directly from the curriculum, was used to assess how well students learned
curriculum content. All students completed the PSQ prior to the implementation of the
curriculum and within one week after the entire curriculum had been completed.
Consistent with previous research, all participants made gains in knowledge of
problem-solving strategies from pre- to post-test measures. Using ANCOVA, no
significant difference was found by grade level or by target/nontarget status.
Results of this study support the use of social skills training programs as primary
prevention in the early grades. The escalation of school violence, the link between
aggressive behavior and school achievement, and implications for future research are
In recent years, teachers have reported a dramatic increase in a variety of
aggressive and disruptive behaviors among students at the elementary school level.
Problems in peer and other interpersonal relationships in elementary school have been
shown to predict long-term maladjustment, including juvenile delinquency, school drop
out, and criminal behavior in adulthood (Lochman, Dunn & Klimes-Dougan, 1993).
Instructing students in problem-solving and pro-social skills in an attempt to reduce these
problematic behaviors may play a significant role in assisting them to become accepted
and respected members of society, both in school and in the community at large.
The Individuals with Disabilities Act of 1995 (IDEA) clearly established the goal
of educating children with disabilities, including children with behavioral disorders, in
the general education classroom. As such, general-education teachers are requesting
programs through which they can address and attempt to remediate disruptive and
aggressive behaviors in all students. The findings of a survey using the Social Skills
Rating System highlights the importance teachers place on a student's ability to regulate
anger and exhibit appropriate social skills in the classroom (Gresham & Elliot, 1984). In
this survey, a nationally representative sample of general education teachers rated the
item "controls temper in conflict situations" as one of the top ten most important social
skills for classroom success. Further, increasing numbers of general education teachers
are requesting the assistance of school psychologists to provide guided instruction in
social problem-solving and the development of social skills (Possell & Abrams, 1993).
Many would agree with Elliott, Racine, & Bruces' (1995) assertion that one of the
critically important goals of childhood is the development of socially successful
relationships. Elliott et al. (1995) encourage school psychologists to address the
treatment of social skills in their daily practices. In fact, it has been suggested (Goldstein,
1999) that school psychologists should not only be involved, but should be major
decision makers in terms of selection and implementation of social skills programs.
Whether the role of the school psychologist is direct provision of problem-solving
curricula in the classroom or the training of teachers and other support personnel in the
implementation of such programs, the opportunity for supportive and cooperative
relationships between teachers and school psychologists increases with the inclusion of
social skills programs.
Primary prevention programs aimed at reducing aggressive and disruptive
behaviors promote healthy development, impact the largest number of children, and may
reduce the need for diagnostic, curative or corrective/remedial services in the future
(Simeonsson, 1994). Further, because universal programs (directed toward all children in
the school population/classroom) also target selected students (children who are at some
risk for developing the problem), the institution of universal cognitive-behavioral
problem-solving curricula is one increasingly popular method of facilitating the
development of better problem-solving strategies in the school setting. Positive results
from successful interventions directed toward aggressive and disruptive behaviors can
improve current behavior, thereby increasing the rate of on-task behavior for the entire
class; and also can improve future adjustment for those children identified as
demonstrating the most problematic aggressive behaviors (Lochman et al. 1993).
Regardless of the methods used in teaching problem-solving strategies, virtually all
programs in social-skills training (Possell & Abrams, 1993) incorporate the following
* Identify the problem
* Generate alternative solutions
* Anticipate the consequences of those solutions
In recent years several primary and secondary prevention programs designed to
reduce aggressive and disruptive behaviors have been developed and implemented in
school settings. For example, The Art of Self Control and Think First: Anger and
Aggression Management for Secondary-Level Students are secondary prevention
programs that consist of 10 to 12 anger-management training sessions; are based on the
cognitive-behavioral problem-solving model (Lochman, Dunn & Wagner, 1997); and are
frequently implemented only with the most problematic students on a pull-out basis.
Although each program has its own individual and unique components, both programs
include training in the basic problem-solving steps. However, these and many other such
programs were designed primarily for use with middle and high-school students.
Although two programs, Second Step: A Violence Prevention Curriculum and
Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies (PATHS) include curricula for students as
young as pre-school age, in general, programs for children younger than 4th grade are
underrepresented (Lochman et al., 1997). This underrepresentation may be due to long-
held beliefs about the inability of younger children to use formal operational reasoning,
despite research indicating that children as young as seven years of age have been shown
to utilize such reasoning under appropriate testing conditions (Danner & Day, 1977;
Slater & Kingston, 1981). In fact, many researchers now believe that the age at which
children can be trained to solve formal operational problems has been greatly
overestimated (Bjorkland, 2000).
Currently, most social-skills intervention programs in schools are designed for
initial implementation in fourth through sixth grades. Many such programs are
implemented on a pull-out basis with only the most aggressive or disruptive students.
The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of grade level and target status on
the acquisition of knowledge of the basic problem-solving components of a cognitive-
behavioral curriculum designed to reduce aggressive and disruptive behaviors. This
research will extend our understanding of the ability of younger students and targeted
aggressive students to benefit from cognitive-behavioral social skills interventions.
Specific research questions were
* When a cognitive-behavioral intervention is implemented in mixed third and fourth
grade classrooms, are there significant differences in the acquisition of knowledge
of problem-solving strategies between third and fourth grade students?
* When a cognitive-behavioral intervention is implemented universally in general
education classrooms, are there significant differences in the acquisition of
knowledge of problem-solving strategies between target and nontarget students?
REVIEW OF LITERATURE
The majority of social skills intervention programs in schools are designated for
initial implementation in fourth through sixth grades. Consequently, social skills training
programs intended for students in kindergarten through third grades are drastically
underrepresented (Lochman et al., 1997; Taub, 2002). This delay in providing
intervention programs is of significant concern given that aggressive and disruptive
behaviors among students at the elementary level predict long-term maladjustment
(Lochman et al., 1993). Insuring that the youngest students acquire knowledge of
problem-solving strategies, if only the most rudimentary vocabulary in problem-solving
and pro-social skills, can be a positive first step toward preparing them for advanced
training in the later grades and thus improving long-term outcomes for all children.
Further, many social-skills training programs are typically implemented on a pull-
out basis targeting the most aggressive or disruptive students. However, not only has
Congress clearly established the goal of educating all children in the least restrictive
environment (IDEA-1997), but at least one study reveals that the practice of grouping
deviant and aggressive youth for skills training can actually produce harmful effects
(Arnold & Hughes, 1999). Because universal programs (directed at all children in the
school population/classroom) also target selected students (children who are at some risk
for developing the problem), the institution of universal cognitive-behavioral problem-
solving curricula is one increasingly popular method through which the needs of at-risk
students can be met, while simultaneously fulfilling the basic tenets of IDEA.
This chapter begins with a discussion of the escalation of school violence and
highlights the need for student training in problem-solving in our schools. This is
followed by a description of the link between aggressive behavior and achievement and a
description of primary prevention and it's role in reducing aggressive and disruptive
behaviors. Next, a review of current social skills training programs, their theoretical
underpinnings, and research findings are included along with a review of the intervention
used in the current study, Tools for Getting Along.
Although slight decreases in the incidence of school violence have been observed
over the past ten years (U.S. Department of Education, 1999), dramatic increases of
youth violence in general over the previous thirty years bring concerns about safe schools
and violence prevention programs to the forefront (Reiss & Roth, 1993).
Traditionally, school violence has been defined by activities involving homicide,
assault, theft, vandalism, and other such crimes. Recently, however, experts believe that
it may be more appropriate to define school violence more broadly to include verbal as
well as physical aggression, bullying, and other acts that may lead students to feel
intimidated or fearful of their fellow students (Shapiro, 2000; Batsche, 2000). Support
for this belief comes in many forms, not the least of which includes reviews of statistics
and national figures citing startling facts and figures regarding the prevalence of violence
in schools today. For example, one recent survey indicates that more than one in three
students (39% of middle schoolers and 36% of high schoolers) say they don't feel safe at
school (Byrnes, 2000). This is not surprising considering that the same survey indicated
43% of high school and 37% of middle school boys believe it is "OK" to hit or threaten a
person who makes them angry and that 75% of all boys and 60% of all girls in the survey
reported having hit someone in the past 12 months because they were angry.
Preoccupation with threats of violence and safety concerns may be taking a severe toll on
the ability of students to focus on the goals of schooling and learning.
Research indicates that aggression in school is most often directed at peers and that
most aggressive behaviors are displayed by boys toward other boys, although incidents of
female aggression are certainly not negligible (Laub & Lauritsen, 1998).
Aggression in schools is important not only because of the immediate harm and
disruption it causes, but also because of the longer-term consequences (both in and out of
school) that can result from such aggression. Indeed, students who are identified as
violent or aggressive in the early elementary school years are at selected risk for a host of
serious behavioral difficulties including anti-social acts, delinquency, violent offenses in
the community, school failure, school drop-out and incarceration (Laub & Lauritsen,
1998; Lochman, et al., 1997; Morrison, Furlong, & Morrison, 1994). Because juvenile
aggression tends to be stable over time, early interventions designed to address both the
individual characterteristics of such aggressive children and the social contingencies that
affect their aggressive responses may be most effective in reducing these problematic
outcomes if they can be implemented before aggression becomes stable (Laub &
Aggressive Behavior and Achievement
Although creating peaceful and safe school environments through the reduction or
elimination of aggressive behaviors in school children may be a worthy endeavor in it's
own right, the link between violent and aggressive behaviors and achievement may be an
even greater incentive to actively address this growing problem. Some may fear that time
spent addressing pro-social behavioral issues in the classroom may reduce time available
for academic tasks, but research over the past 25 years consistently indicates that there is
an increasingly strong relationship between positive social behavior and academic
achievement (Lambert & Nicholl, 1977; Green, Forehand, Beck, & Vosk, 1980;
Feshbach & Feshbach, 1987; Wentzel, 1993; DiPerna & Elliott, 1999; Malecki & Elliott,
Malecki & Elliott (2002) assert that the idea of a causal relationship between pro-
social behaviors and academic achievement in the classroom is not something new, but
rather an idea espoused by two noted theorists of human behavior and learning, Vygotsky
and Bandura. Both theorists emphasized the influence of social behavior on cognitive
functioning. Vygotsky (1978) argued that positive social functioning with peers is not
only desirable, but necessary in the development of new ideas and skills and that students
working cooperatively gain more skills than when working alone (Slavin, 1995).
Bandura suggested that learning is a social process and that the social context affects the
learning of new skills as the child interacts, listens, and observes the behavior of those
around him (Malecki & Elliott, 2002).
One of the strongest and most convincing indicators of a positive relationship
between pro-social behaviors and achievement in recent years was highlighted in
Wentzel's (1993) literature review of the relationship between pro-social behaviors and
achievement. Wentzel found that pro-social behaviors in school children (e.g. following
the rules and conforming to social expectations) can actually "enable academic
achievement" through the creation of a social context for learning goals. Malecki and
Elliott (2002) validate Wentzel's findings in their study of social behaviors as predictors
of academic achievement among third and fourth grade students. Results from this study
indicate that social skills positively predict current and future academic achievement and
that problem behaviors are negatively predictive of academic achievement. Therefore, if,
as many believe, the purpose of our schools is to promote learning and achievement, it
may be incumbent upon schools to concurrently teach pro-social skills along with
academics in an effort to foster that goal.
The question then arises, "How should we go about promoting pro-social behaviors
in primary and secondary school children and toward which children should our efforts
Primary prevention is the term used to describe prevention efforts that are
implemented before the target condition manifests itself in order to prevent new cases of
the target condition. Because the prevention of maladaptive behaviors can also be
described as the promotion of well being, primary prevention can also be defined as the
promotion of health, development, and adaptation through the reduction of risk factors
and/or the promotion of protective factors (Albee & Ryan-Finn, 1993; Sameroff & Fiese,
1990; Simeonsson, 1996).
A second type of prevention effort popular in schools today is termed secondary
prevention. Secondary prevention efforts typically are directed at problem conditions
that have already been identified but have not yet caused disability. Secondary
prevention is favored by many because it is often possible to identify and target
populations exhibiting a particular problem, and prevention efforts can be more focused.
However, secondary prevention efforts frequently tend to look more like treatment than
prevention (Sameroff & Fiese, 1990). For example, teaching problem-solving strategies
to adolescents who have already displayed significant evidence of poor social skills
through aggressive, disruptive, or non-compliant behavior is more of a band-aid approach
than a prevention approach.
The third form of intervention common in schools today is called tertiary
prevention (Sameroff & Fiese, 1990). Tertiary efforts are directed toward problems that
have already manifested themselves and resulted in negative outcomes such as teen
pregnancy and school dropout. Tertiary prevention efforts can help minimize the
negative consequences of an existing problem and mitigate damage to the community at
large. Efforts are often aimed at rehabilitation and/or education, which can serve the
good of not only the individual, but of society as a whole.
The mistaken beliefs that there are single causes for disorders and that those causes
can be wiped out by treating individuals has led to a major focus on secondary and
tertiary prevention efforts. However, research appears to contradict these two beliefs and
suggests that because there can be multiple causes for disorders and because causes for
psychological and/or social problems are not as easily isolated and identified as the
causes of biological disease, it may be prudent to focus efforts on prevention rather than
treatment (Sameroff & Friese, 1990). Even if tertiary treatment were an affordable
option, which as demand increases is not likely to be the case, it is often not a good
solution because it does not prevent problems from occurring in the first place
(Simeonsson, 1996). Indeed, disease has never been eliminated or controlled through
treatment but has been controlled primarily through prevention: e.g. widespread
immunization (Braden & Hightower, 1998). If this alone is not justification for a more
intensive focus on prevention rather than treatment, consideration should be given to the
fact that the demand for mental health services today is high and constantly rising, which
may eventually make it impossible to meet. One solution, therefore, is to decrease the
need for mental health services through prevention programs. In many cases, primary
prevention would appear to be the most ideal form of prevention that can be offered to
children and youth in our schools. Because its primary focus is to reduce new cases of
the problem, it is the model that will address the largest number of children whether they
in fact "need" it or not. Using a public health example, smallpox has been eliminated
because all children were immunized whether or not they were at risk for exposure to the
Approaches to overcoming the barriers to primary prevention efforts and funding
are varied. Political activism can be an effective tool (Dadds, 2001) as can the
development of social marketing techniques (Chamberlin, 1996), which can be described
as learning to get the message out to the right people, in the right way, at the right time
about the positive effects of prevention programs. Education of communities regarding
their current short term outlooks and increasing the focus on the societal benefits of
prevention in terms of improved safety, reduced numbers of teenage pregnancies, lower
school drop-out rates, reduced rates of juvenile delinquency and less welfare dependency
as a mechanism to improve society as a whole may be needed to pave the way for future
Review of Social Skills Programs
In recent years, several primary and secondary prevention programs designed to
reduce aggressive and disruptive behaviors have been developed and implemented in
school settings. Whether students are experiencing acquisition deficits or performance
deficits in the use of pro-social behaviors, these programs offer one vehicle through
which these deficits can be remediated and social competence can be acquired or
enhanced (Gresham, Sugai, & Horner, 2001). Although modes of delivery vary slightly,
most programs include components that focus on social problem-solving, impulse
control, perspective taking, empathy, verbal mediation, and modeling (Lockman et al.,
1993; Lockman, et al., 1997; Merrell, 2002; Taub, 2002). To facilitate the acquisition
and application of these skills, techniques such as brainstorming, role-play, rehearsal, and
goal setting are used. Two such programs, Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies
(PATHS) and Second Step: A Violence Prevention Curriculum, both of which include
units designed for early elementary level students, are highlighted here.
PATHS is an intervention program designed to develop emotional competence in
children. The program was originally developed in the 1980s for use with deaf and
hearing-impaired children, but has since been implemented successfully in general
education classrooms. PATHS is a universal, classwide intervention implemented by
classroom teachers for students in kindergarten through fifth grade and includes a series
of 131 lessons (Greenberg, Kusche, & Mihalic, 1988; American Federation of Teachers,
1994). The four main focus areas of the curriculum are teaching students to stop and
calm down, providing linguistic cues to enhance understanding of self and others,
increasing problem-solving skills, and fostering self esteem and positive peer relations
(Lochman et al., 1993).
The PATHS program is organized into three main units (readiness and self control,
feelings and relationships, and interpersonal cognitive problem-solving) which address
five increasingly complex areas of conceptual concern: self control, emotional
understanding, positive self-esteem, relationships, and interpersonal problem-solving
The Second Step program, developed by The Committee for Children in Seattle,
Washington, is designed to prevent aggressive behaviors by increasing pro-social
behavior. The three essential competencies covered by the curriculum include empathy,
impulse control/problem-solving, and anger management. Through the class-wide
implementation of the intervention, students learn how to resist impulsive behavior,
resolve conflict, problem solve, and think through the consequences of their actions
(Committee for Children, 2002; Taub, 2002). The identification of feelings experienced
by self and others play a large part in the program.
The Second Step program includes units geared toward pre-school, elementary
level, and middle school students. Like the PATHS program, lessons are generally taught
two times per week in 30-minute sessions. Both the PATHS and Second Step programs
attempt to improve social skills through direct instruction of social problem-solving
strategies. Modes of instruction include modeling, rehearsal, role plays, and the use of
verbal mediation, all of which have proven effective in the teaching of perspective taking
skills (Feshbach, 1989), impulse control (Spivack & Shure, 1982), and anger
management (Novaca, 1975).
Because both the PATHS and Second Step programs provide units for several
levels of instruction, lessons are tailored to fit the developmental level of students. For
example, the first few lessons of PATHS (designed for use in the pre-school setting),
include stories about a young turtle facing interpersonal problems because he doesn't stop
and think (Greenberg, Kusche, & Mihalic, 1988; American Federation of Teachers,
1994). Similarly, program components of the elementary level of Second Step provide
live-action videos of same-age students expressing emotions in real-life situations
(Committee for Children, 2002). In both programs, the social skills targeted in any given
lesson and the types of problems addressed are built upon previous lessons learned.
Although the effectiveness of the PATHS and Second Step programs has not been
extensively researched, evaluations that are available offer encouraging results,
supporting the use of such programs at the elementary and pre-school levels.
Developers of the PATHS program report promising results at the elementary
level in several clinical trials comparing students who received the program to matched
controls (Greenberg, et al., 1988). Researchers demonstrated that the PATHS
intervention significantly increased students' conceptual knowledge and ability to
recognize and understand emotions and social problems, generate effective solutions, and
decreased the percentage of aggressive or violent solutions. One study examining the
effects on 200 general education students after one full year of the intervention indicated
that students receiving the PATHS curriculum made significant improvement on
measures of social problem-solving and emotional understanding compared to controls,
and were significantly less likely to use aggressive solutions and more likely to use pro-
social solutions in addressing conflicts and problems. At a one-year follow-up,
significant effects for emotional understanding and problem-solving were sustained
(Greenberg & Kusche, 1996).
Consistent with the results listed above, findings of an independent study
implementing an adapted version of the PATHS curriculum in a pre-school setting with
at-risk four-year-olds also has demonstrated positive results. In this study, PATHS
intervention children showed decreases in negative emotion, along with greater
involvement and more initiative in positive peer activity compared to controls. Further,
intervention children were described through teacher report as improving socially
(Denham & Burton, 1996).
Results of independent evaluations of the Second Step program indicate that second
and third grade students receiving the curriculum became less physically aggressive and
increased their positive social interactions while the aggressive behavior of students at
control schools actually rose. Researchers interpret this finding to reflect the likelihood
that the intervention may have served a role in the prevention of increased aggressive
behavior at the intervention school. However, parent and teacher reports of these same
behaviors, did not differ significantly from control schools (Grossman, et al., 1997).
Additionally, pre-school and kindergarten students demonstrated increased conceptual
knowledge of social skills and decreases in observed levels of verbal aggression and
disruptive behavior, even though teacher ratings did not differ across time (McMahon,
Researchers suggest that the reason why parent rating scales did not reflect less
aggressive behavior may have been due to the differences of behavior exhibited by
children in the home as opposed to the school setting. They suggest that results may have
been different if other family members had also received the intervention. When
considering why teacher ratings did not improve, researchers hypothesized that rating
scales lack sensitivity to behavioral change over a limited period of time. It was also
noted that although teachers typically observe students in the classroom setting, observers
from their studies were able to gather data in multiple settings (e.g. playground, cafeteria)
where social interaction is more likely to take place (Grossman et al., 1997). They
further theorize that the teachers may have expected more changes in behavior than they
observed or that the behavioral changes noted through direct observation may have been
temporary in nature. They note the limited amount of time researchers were able to
engage in direct observation of the children receiving the intervention and suggest that
increased observation times may have resulted in findings more consistent with teacher
rating scale observations (McMahon, 2000).
All aforementioned evaluations of the Second Step program were conducted when
the intervention was implemented with children from low-income, urban families.
However, Taub's (2002) evaluation of the program implemented in a rural setting,
suggests results just as promising. This study included students in third, fourth and fifth
grades at the intervention school, as well as students in the same grades at a comparison
school not receiving the intervention. Data collection took place at three points over the
course of the study: prior to the implementation of the intervention, at the conclusion of
the implementation of the intervention, and one year following the initial implementation
of the intervention. Measures included a teacher rating scale and direct behavioral
observations. Findings indicated significant improvements in teacher ratings of social
competence and antisocial behaviors as well as improvements in pro-social behaviors
(e.g. engaging appropriately with peers), as measured by independent behavioral
observations. Behavioral observations of anti-social behaviors, however, did not show
the same improvement. Researchers hypothesize that these findings may be reflective of
students' acquiring new skills while continuing to practice old behaviors and/or to the
limited post-intervention observation period (15 minutes per child).
Overall, evaluations of both the PATHS and Second Step programs implemented
with children in pre-school through fifth grade using measures of social problem-solving
ability as well as direct behavioral observation have consistently demonstrated significant
improvements related to conceptual knowledge of the problem-solving process and the
generation of effective solutions to everyday problems. Less consistent results have been
demonstrated when teacher perceptions were measured. These mixed findings could be
related to a host of factors including teacher bias, a lack of sensitivity on the part of the
instruments used, or any number of intervening variables. However, the most promising
findings are those related to the interventions' ability to sustain problem-solving skills
over time. The fact that students retain the information they learn through these
programs for at least one year following the intervention is good reason to move forward
with the universal implementation of such programs at the earliest grade levels.
Theoretical Foundations to Social Skills Programs
Contemporary intervention procedures designed to reduce aggressive and
disruptive behaviors typically focus on teaching the internal regulation of behavior
through training in problem-solving strategies (Goldstein, 1999; Gresham, 1990;
Lochman, et al., 1993; Shapiro, 2000; Taub, 2002). An obvious and concurrent goal of
such programs is to facilitate pro-social behavior. The advantage of such programs as
primary prevention in schools, is their ability to reach not only all children in general
education classrooms, but to also reach those children who, whether identified to be at
risk or not, may be at significant risk for anger control problems. The research cited
above clearly indicates that cognitive-behavioral interventions have, for the most part,
demonstrated their success in reaching these goals.
Cognitive-behavioral intervention (CBI) can be characterized as an intervention
technique based on the incorporation of the basic principles and effects of behavior
therapies (e.g. reinforcement, modeling, and feedback) with the mental components of
cognitive therapies (e.g. self-talk, think-alouds, and the examination of cognitions) for the
purpose of producing modifications in perceptions, thinking, feeling, and behavior
(Kendall, 1993; Kendall, Ronan, & Epps, 1991; Manning, 1988).
The roots of CBI can be found in the theoretical foundations provided by prominent
behavioral theorists such as Watson (1924) and Skinner (1953) and the cognitive theories
of Vygotsky (1962), and Luria (1961). The combination of these theories in therapeutic
applications represented a new wave of research by cognitive therapists such as Ellis
(1962) and Beck (1970), who were among the first to demonstrate that verbal behavior
can alter nonverbal behavior and that cognitions (e.g. expectations, attributions,
appraisals, etc.) can affect and mediate behavior. Concurrently, other researchers focused
on verbal self-regulation or "self-talk" (Meichenbaum, 1977) as a means to regulate
behavior and compared the effects of self-instructional training to decrease impulsive
behaviors (Meichenbaum & Goodman, 1971).
More recently, the link between feelings and their verbal labels has been
investigated (Cicchetti, Toth, & Bush, 1988; Greenberg, DeKlyen & Speltz, 1989). This
research suggests that the ability to consciously recognize and label emotion is a critical
component in the development of social competence. Many young children may enter
school not having been exposed to language to express their feelings. Without such a
vocabulary to express their own emotions, children may be unable to understand the
feelings of other children or the effect of their actions (such as aggressive behavior) upon
others (Cicchetti, et al, 1988; Greenberg, et al., 1989). Therefore, development of basic
vocabulary in this area may be indicated as a crucial first step toward social competence.
Other recent research has focused on the next step toward social competence,
cognitive problem-solving. This component focuses on improving students' ability to
think through interpersonal conflicts, develop the habit of generating multiple solutions,
and following step-by-step procedures to reach goals (Spivack & Shure, 1982;
Weissberg, 1985). Students who have learned basic vocabularies and strategies and yet
do not apply effective problem-solving behaviors can be characterized as having a
performance deficit rather than a skill deficit (Gresham et al., 2001). One way of
conceptualizing such skill or performance deficits is Dodge's (1986) social exchange
model. Dodge's model is based on a child's processing of social cues in five sequential
steps including the encoding of social cues, mental representation of the encoded cues,
assessment or generation of potential behavioral responses, evaluation and selection of a
response, and enactment of that response. Angry and aggressive children frequently
appear to have deficits at all 5 stages of this model (Dodge, et al.1986; Lochman, et al.,
Dodge, et al. (1986) further proposed that aggressive children display the following
five deficit characteristics
* Increased rates of attending to hostile cues
* Perception of others as having hostile intentions
* Demonstration of strategies for dealing with problem situations that are less
competent and are more action-oriented than verbally-oriented
* Anticipation that aggressive solutions will have more positive and less negative
* Demonstration of a lack of social skill in enacting a selected strategy
Consistent with this model, the training and application of cognitive-behavioral
principles inherent in many cognitive-behavioral social skills training programs address
and attempt to restructure how a child perceives and consequently reacts to difficult or
problematic social situations, thereby remediating difficulties at each of the five steps.
Tools for Getting Along
The Tools for Getting Along curriculum is a 15-lesson anger management
curriculum designed to reduce aggressive and disruptive behaviors and promote pro-
social behaviors in fourth and fifth grade students (Smith, Miller, & Daunic, 2002).
Problem-solving skills are learned through the direct instruction of a 6-step problem-
solving model. Lessons center around themes including the recognition of anger in
oneself and others, how anger and frustration can create or exacerbate problems, training
in the de-escalation of frustration or anger by engaging student cognitions, defining
problems and generating solutions, selecting strategies to solve problems and the
evaluation of outcomes (Smith et al., 2002).
Like the PATHS and Second Step programs, The Tools for Getting Along
curriculum, makes use of teacher modeling, role-plays, and skill rehearsal. The
curriculum also includes components using paired and cooperative learning groups as
well as frequent review of problem-solving concepts and steps. Additionally, a point
system to reward student participation and increase generalization is utilized. The
curriculum also includes the use of a "Hassle Log" designed to allow students to
independently apply problem-solving steps and concepts to their own real-life problems
and share results with teachers and peers (Smith, et al., 2002).
After initial implementation of the Tools for Getting Along Curriculum, the
program was evaluated over three dimensions: knowledge of curriculum components,
behavior (as measured by teacher rating scales) and attitudes (as measured by teacher
completed anger scales). Preliminary findings indicated all students, those targeted to be
at risk and typical students, significantly increased their knowledge of problem-solving
strategies (Smith et al., 2002). Follow up measures indicated this knowledge was
maintained for at least five months. Additionally, teachers rated target students receiving
the intervention as significantly less aggressive than target students in the control group
and anger control scores for target students receiving the curriculum improved at a
marginally significant level (Daunic, Smith, Miller, Cresap, & Shelide, 2001).
Violence and aggressive behaviors in schools are important issues that must be
addressed not only because of the immediate harm and disruption they cause, but also
because of the longer-term consequences that can result from such aggression. Students
who are identified as violent or aggressive in early elementary school frequently lack
basic social skills and are at selected risk for many serious behavioral difficulties
including delinquency, school failure, and dropout. Further, research over the past 25
years has consistently shown a strong relationship between positive social behavior and
academic achievement. In an effort to promote academic achievement and prevent
aggressive and disruptive behaviors, several cognitive-behavioral intervention programs,
such as PATHS, Second Step, and Tools for Getting Along, have been developed.
Although the above mentioned interventions have been successfully implemented
with students in pre-school through fifth grade and have shown consistent results in
elevating students' problem-solving ability and pro-social behavior as well as maintaining
these abilities and behaviors over time, most social skills programs are still designated for
initial implementation in fourth through sixth grades. Further, they are often
implemented on a pull-out basis targeting only the most aggressive or disruptive students.
The purpose of the current study was to examine the effects of grade level and
student target status (designated by teacher nomination) on the acquisition of knowledge
regarding the basic problem-solving components of a cognitive-behavioral curriculum
designed to reduce aggressive and disruptive behaviors. Specific research questions
When the curriculum is implemented in mixed third and fourth grade classrooms, are
there significant differences in knowledge acquisition between third and fourth
When the curriculum is implemented universally in general education classrooms, are
there significant differences in knowledge acquisition between target and nontarget
It is hoped that this research will extend our understanding of the ability of
younger students and targeted aggressive students to benefit from cognitive-behavioral
social skills interventions.
Participants for the present study were drawn from a larger study conducted at the
University of Florida, Department of Special Education entitled A Study of the
Acquisition, Maintenance, and Generalization of a Cognitive-Behavioral Intervention to
Prevent or Remediate Disruptive and Aggressive Behaviors in Inclusive School Settings.
Of eleven classrooms participating in this larger study in Bradford County, Florida, two
classrooms were chosen for the present study. The two selected classrooms each
included both third and fourth grade students.
Teachers from the selected classrooms sent consent forms (see Appendix A) home
to the parents of all students in their classes. A total of 37 consent forms were
distributed. Consent forms were returned from 11 third grade and 15 fourth grade
students, for a total of 26 participants.
Prior to the return of parental consent forms, teachers were asked to complete a
Student Nomination Form (see Appendix B) to identify students in their classes who
might stand to benefit most from the Tools for Getting Along curriculum. Teachers were
asked to choose up to ten children in their class whom they believed to be the most
aggressive or disruptive. Out of the 26 students returning parental consent forms, 15
were targeted students (3rd grade n = 5; 4th grade n = 10) identified by the classroom
The Tools for Getting Along curriculum is a cognitive-behavioral problem-solving
curriculum designed to reduce aggressive and disruptive behaviors by helping students
manage anger and frustration and learn pro-social skills through the instruction of a six-
step problem-solving model. These steps included:
1. Know you are angry or frustrated.
2. Calm down and think.
3. Think about what may be causing the problem.
4. Think of all the possible solutions to the problem
5. Pick a solution to try.
6. Think about how things turned out.
The Tools for Getting Along curriculum consisted of 15 formal lessons. Lesson
one consisted of a general introduction of the problem-solving process. Lessons two
through four addressed the recognition of problems (Step #1), an important step in the
problem-solving process which involves recognizing the symptoms of anger in oneself as
well as others, and learning how failing to regulate anger can create problems or make
existing problems worse. The next two lessons addressed strategies designed to train
students to "calm down and think" through the engagement of students' cognition (Step
#2). Problem definition, the generation of solutions, strategy selection, and evaluation of
outcome (Steps #3-6) constituted the nine remaining lessons in the program. All lessons
began with a review of the six problem-solving steps. Methods to teach and reinforce the
use of the model included group discussion about hypothetical problem situations
commonly encountered in the school setting, discussion about application of the model to
the students' current personal problems, role plays, hassle logs (worksheets), and frequent
review of the problem-solving steps. Students were encouraged to talk about their own
positive and negative experiences involving anger and anger control (Smith, Miller, &
One teacher in the current study had taught the Tools for Getting Along curriculum
during the prior school year and had received a one hour group training on the purpose,
content, and delivery methods of the curriculum at that time. Because some changes and
revisions had been made to the curriculum since that time, this teacher received a brief
update and instructions related to those changes.
The second teacher received a one hour individual training to familiarize her with
the purpose, content, and delivery methods of the curriculum and to allow her to ask
questions and make comments related to curriculum instruction.
Both teachers received teacher instruction manuals with specific outlines for each
lesson (including teacher scripts and suggested discussion topics), all student handout
materials, and overhead transparencies for each lesson. Teachers also received feedback
forms to be completed after the instruction of each lesson to help inform decision making
regarding future revisions of the curriculum.
The Problem-solving Questionnaire (PSQ; see Appendix C) was developed to
assess how well students learned curriculum content (Daunic, 2002). The scale consisted
of 14 multiple-choice items taken directly from the Tools for Getting Along curriculum.
For some items, only one choice was appropriate (e.g., "How should you get ideas to
solve a problem?"). Other items required students to "check all that apply" (e.g., "Check
all the ways your body may feel when you are angry."). Two additional items required
students to supply information ("What are the three levels of anger from lowest to
highest?" and "List the steps you would take to solve a problem."). The total number of
points possible on the PSQ was 29. In addition to revising problematic items, the
knowledge scale development included conducting a pilot using pre- and post-test
administration with 35 students who were taught the curriculum. The post-test was used
to conduct item analyses and determine alpha reliabilities. Cronbach's alpha for the total
scale was estimated at .71 (Daunic, 2002).
During the spring 2002 semester, both teachers implemented the 15-lesson Tools
for Getting Along curriculum. The curriculum was taught in 30-40 minute sessions, two
to three times per week over a six to seven week period. The PSQ pre-test was
administered by the classroom teachers to all students at least one day prior to the
implementation of the curriculum and the PSQ post-test was administered by the
classroom teachers not more than one week after the entire curriculum had been
The purpose of the current study was to examine the effects of grade level and
target status (designated by teacher nomination) on the acquisition of knowledge
regarding the basic problem-solving components of a cognitive-behavioral curriculum
designed to reduce aggressive and disruptive behaviors. Specific research questions
1. When the curriculum is implemented in mixed third and fourth grade classrooms,
are there significant differences in knowledge acquisition between third and fourth
2. When the curriculum is implemented universally in general education classrooms,
are there significant differences in knowledge acquisition between target and
The mean scores and standard deviations were computed for each grade level. The
mean scores were as follows: Grade three pre-test = 17.09, grade three post-test = 24.73;
grade four pre-test = 16.40, grade four post-test = 21.80. Table 4-1 shows these results.
Table 4-1. Means and standard deviations by grade
Variable N Mean SD
Pre 11 17.09 4.50
Post 11 24.73 4.56
e 4 Pre 15 16.40 3.33
Post 15 21.80 5.36
Mean scores also were computed for target and nontarget status. The mean scores
were as follows: Target status pre-test = 15.60, target status post test = 21.73; nontarget
status pre-test = 18.18, nontarget post-test = 24.82. Table 4-2 shows these results.
Table 4-2. Means and standard deviations by target / nontarget status
Variable N Mean Std. Dev
Target Status: pre 15 15.60 3.27
post 15 21.73 4.82
Nontarget Status: pre 11 18.18 4.12
post 11 24.82 5.29
Analysis of Variance
A general linear model (GLM) was used to analyze the SPQ data. Using
ANCOVA, no significant difference was found by grade level (F = 1.90, df = 1, 23,
p = .1811) or by target/nontarget status (F = .68, df = 1, 23, p = .4177).
The purpose of this study was to consider the effects of grade level and target status
on the acquisition of knowledge of problem-solving strategies in a universal cognitive-
behavioral intervention. Consistent with the earlier findings of Smith et al. (2002) in
their evaluation of the Tools for Getting Along curriculum, all participants in the present
study made gains in knowledge of problem-solving techniques from pre- to post-test
measures. These results also are consistent with evaluations of other social skills training
programs, such as the PATHS and Second Step programs, in that students were more
knowledgeable of the basic terminology of the problem-solving process and the steps
involved in generating positive solutions to everyday problem situations after receiving
the intervention (Greenberg, et al., 1988; Greenberg & Kusche, 1996; Grossman, et al.,
1997; McMahon, 2000; Taub, 2002). Additionally, no significant differences were found
between third and fourth grade students who participated in the intervention program; nor
were significant differences found between students that teachers identified as exhibiting
or being at risk for aggressive and/or disruptive behaviors compared to typical students.
With regard to results by grade level, the findings of this study indicate that
knowledge of problem-solving strategies can be acquired by children at least as young as
third grade. These findings, along with the results of previous studies using the PATHS
and Second Step programs as early as pre-school, lend support to the idea that social
skills programs should be implemented as early as possible with the youngest students to
ensure that all children learn to identify and use basic problem-solving strategies. This
finding is important for several reasons. First, aggressive behaviors are known to
develop early and remain stable over time (Laub & Lauritsen, 1998) and students
identified as violent or aggressive in early elementary school are at selected risk for a
host of serious behavioral problems including delinquency and school failure (Laub &
Lauritsen, 1998; Lochman, et al., 1997; Morrison et al., 1994). Therefore, intervention as
early as the pre-school level may be effective in ensuring that students' aggressive
responses are remediated before they can become stable. Second, upon entering school
systems, very young children may experience a skill deficit in terms of their ability to
identify their emotions and apply effective problem-solving strategies (Gresham et al.,
2001). Therefore, early implementation in the basics of problem-solving strategies can
serve as a foundation for advanced social skills training in the later grades when a lack of
problem-solving ability might be better characterized as a production problem (Gresham
et al., 2001).
Most importantly, research has consistently shown the link between pro-social
behavior and academic achievement (Lambert & Nicholl, 1977; Green et al., 1980;
Feshbach & Feshbach, 1987; Wentzel, 1993; DiPema & Elliott, 1999; Malecki & Elliott,
2002). Indeed, some researchers believe that positive pro-social functioning with peers is
not only desirable, but necessary in the development of new ideas and skills (Slavin,
1995) and that pro-social behaviors can actually "enable academic achievement" through
the creation of a social context for learning goals (Wentzel, 1993). Therefore, training
young children in problem-solving techniques may reduce aggressive and disruptive
behavior, thus allowing for improved academic performance for all students.
With regard to results by target status, the findings of this study indicate that when
the intervention is universally implemented, students are able to acquire knowledge of
problem-solving strategies regardless of whether they are targeted as exhibiting or being
at risk for the development of aggressive and/or disruptive behaviors. This finding may
indicate that there is little justification for the policies of many schools today to deliver
interventions with identified students only on a pull-out basis. Although the pull-out
model may be effective, particularly with children who exhibit extreme behavior
problems, it can best be characterized as secondary or tertiary intervention, which is not
believed to be the most effective form of prevention (Sameroff & Friese, 1990;
Simeonsson, 1996). Primary prevention programs aimed at reducing aggressive and
disruptive behaviors involve the promotion of healthy development, impact the largest
number of children and may reduce the need for diagnostic, curative or
corrective/remedial services in the future (Simeonson, 1994). The findings of this study
lend support to the idea that social skills training programs can be effective with
identified aggressive students when they are delivered in a general education setting and
that social skills training programs in schools can serve as an excellent vehicle for
primary prevention efforts. Further, IDEA demands that students be educated in the least
restrictive environment possible, regardless of the curriculum content, and social skills
training as primary prevention can help meet this mandate while enabling children to
reach the critically important goal of the development of socially successful relationships
(Elliott et al., 1995).
Limitations of the Study
Although this research was part of a larger study, only two classrooms were
selected for this study because they included both third and fourth grade students.
Therefore, one limitation to the current study was the relatively small sample size. As the
number of participants in any given study increases, the ability of the statistical tests
performed to detect a difference increases. In the present study, because the sample size
was small, the lack of effects by grade level and target status may not generalize to the
population at large.
Second, although the use of a knowledge test assures an accurate measure of
content knowledge, a measure of practical application of that knowledge was lacking in
this research. Even though students learned the basic content of the curriculum and were
able to identify useful problem-solving strategies, they may still lack the ability to apply
those strategies in their everyday lives. Unfortunately, the application component in
prevention research is frequently missing due to the lack of availability of direct
measurement instruments designed for this purpose and/or time constraints for direct
Finally, demographic information for individual participants was not available,
which allowed for no comparison across gender, race, or culture. Because no comparison
was made across those factors, effects caused by those factors are still unknown.
However, it should be noted that data collection for this project took place in a small rural
school district in the southeastern United States, which included a large number of
students of relatively low socio-economic status. Therefore, these findings may
generalize when implemented with a similar population.
Directions for Future Research
Consistent with previous research, the results of the present study demonstrate that
even very young students are able to acquire knowledge of basic problem-solving
vocabulary and strategies. Therefore, future research in social skills training programs
should focus not only on students in 4th through 12th grades, but on interventions with the
very youngest students in kindergarten through third grades as well.
Further, although no differences were observed between third and fourth grade
students receiving the Tools for Getting Along curriculum, implementation of the
curriculum in pre-school through second grade has not yet been attempted. To
effectively serve students earlier than grade three, more research may be necessary to
adapt and customize the Tools for Getting Along curriculum, as well as other existing
programs, to address the needs of students at earlier levels of development. This may
involve a more in depth analysis of when social difficulties are the result of a skill deficit
rather than a performance problem (Gresham et al., 2001). Social skills training
programs should contain instructional materials designed to address each of these
concerns at the appropriate stage of development (e.g. skills training for young children,
production training for older children and adolescents). It may also involve the
development of effective instruments for the measurement of the real-life application of
the problem-solving strategies contained in the curriculum.
Since no differences were found by grade level or by target status, it is hoped that
this research may encourage schools to implement social skills training programs on a
universal basis in the earliest grades. Not only will early, universal implementation assist
in the remediation of existing social skills deficits and improved social outcomes for all
children (Sameroff & Friese, 1990; Simeonsson, 1996), it also may increase the
likelihood that students will engage in pro-social behaviors in the future and help prepare
them for more advanced training in social competence in upper elementary and secondary
education settings (Gresham et al., 2001).
Finally, research indicates a strong link between early aggressive behavior and later
maladaptive outcomes including juvenile delinquency and school dropout (Laub &
Lauritsen, 1998; Lochman, et al., 1997; Morrison et al., 1994). Therefore, the increased
use of social skills training programs will serve our students well not only while they are
in school, but for the remainder of their lives.
PARENT CONSENT FORM
Parta N.oticathm and Prmian PeFm
Deta PwIl or Ouardian.
tnder Ihe direction of Dr. %I phelrm mh hrri the ( ollice of i ducalt.vi. faculh aind graduaic IudaI ii l ihe
Illnvirstty of Floida have deveoped a 15 lesson cunrculum it help s[udenLs manage anger etTctiveIl) and u_
pro m solving in wocil iltuIions. We have alo developed sen menures to determine how the lessons afet
students' knowledge. atitudes and behaviors Your child's clasroon teacber or guidance countsme will he
teaching the clssons as part of this year's cumrculu, and we would like peaission to use the data from periodic
i~4uialns ofyrur child. frt'ni um- t uiwL-l urs ihl %ivr hiild ti's l r will compleeor ad minister to the
studies during class. and from information gainedd frmn the district u.-ih i p~siJ dhnsitiv ;grikl Ik-rl and
ltenda land incident records. Ikin ablc o uWe his Ln ormalon will help us continue ro develop the mral
valuable and useful program (ir children
Only Universitof Florida heluy and graduate students working on this proje will have aese to inmiraton
oitained. r the purpues o oofuw iuh. your dhild's identity will remain strictly confidential, to the extent
pfowied by law, through coding; that n. nu namcs ir idenitrl'ng inrirnimadiin will tK retpiwcd. We iantn:iipe that
there ari no risks involved, and there may be some direct or indiren benefits lor your child a a pranilpanl by
mnatiing kniiIledgI olprT icFm i lkinjg in social situations.
Panicipatlon or nonprticipalion m this study is voluntary and will noa alec yo ur chiki gra d or handing in the
clawsoom. 1herc will be no compcnsaion. however, we do need yo permission la your child to paicrlpat in
the study tur the current schol ye. Ifyou should decide to grant pernison phase be aware tha you or your
child ma \ uilhdraw that pennrmissn a any ime I you have any quesSains or concern feel free toconlic me at
the University oi f lorida a (352) 392-0726. cxt. 281 or Dr. Slephen Smith at (52) 392O701. ax 247
t)einns i L nccrnx arhimu participants' rights may be dilmred to the I IFIRR office. PO Bx 112250, IhUivrsity
of lorida, Gaiesville, F 32611
C c approWmie Cso prurrp ailtcnrm im Il hi miMiasr and \ur suoperliini in assivaing us.
Ann P. Daunic. Ph.D.
(Gerltr Aloi Carricialm
Please tear off and rtun this section of the Ieter to osvr child's claxsroorm eacher as suon as possible
I have read and understand the above procedures and I IX) DO) NO give permsion for my
un;idauuhlcr l luirlcipltc in thi dy I have received a copy of the description I
h.nir als di u
ParntKJuaidian 2nd parent or Witness
STUDENT NOMINATION FORM
Aggreion Initerenlion Sud'
Uhivwasty of Florida
AGGRESSION INTERVENTION STUDY
STUDENT NOMINATION FORM
We would like In kientify somn children in our c la who may stand to benefit most
from the Getling Alonkg ccurriumn you will be teaching. Please choose the children in
your class (no more than 1 U whom you believe to he the mo.s aggesiv (Agg; or
disruptie. (Di.s From thi group. rank order (to the best of uur ability) from rrmn, (#1)
to least (e.g., Il)) aggressiv/Jdisruplive. Circle the rvpe of bchavior. if possbic, but rank
the students in terms of overall severity.
B lIAVIOR IYPI.
Agg Dis Buth
Agg Dis Both
Agg Dis Both
Agg Dis Both
Agg Dis Both
Agg Dis Both
Agg Dis Both
Agg Dis Bath
i k r 1 -[ .rl !,td a 0, du
PROBLEM SOLVING QUESTIONNAIRE
WHAT DO I KNOW?
Circle the best answer to each question.
1. People usually get frustrated when they
a. can't have something they want.
b. are enraged.
c. are in control of their actions.
d. get help from someone.
2. When you are angry, what should you do first to help yourself think?
a. Ask the teacher what to do.
b. Talk to the person who made you angry.
c. Calm down.
d. Read about what to do.
3. How should you get ideas to solve a problem?
a. Talk the problem over with a friend or adult.
b. Watch what others do when they are angry.
c. Try not to think about the problem.
d. Think about whose fault the problem is.
4. When picking the best solution to a problem, you should think about
a. how angry you are.
b. what other people might think of you.
c. what is most likely to happen.
d. who is right or wrong.
5. After you pick a solution to a problem and try it out, you should
a. just forget about solving the problem if the solution didn't work.
b. tell all your friends how the solution worked.
c. not worry about whether the solution worked.
d. praise yourself if the solution works well.
6. Students who have problems
a. should always seek help from someone else.
b. can learn skills to help solve their problems.
c. most likely caused the problems themselves.
d. should let adults handle the problems.
7. When you are angry, the best way to calm down is to
a. talk to your friends.
b. use self-talk.
c. decide how to solve your problems.
d. be patient.
8. A goal is
a. what other people want you to do.
b. usually a barrier.
c. caused by anger.
d. something you want to happen.
9. When you are enraged, you usually
a. lose control.
b. are irritated.
c. think better.
d. solve your problems better.
10. When people are frustrated, they usually want to
a. pay attention.
b. give up.
c. go home.
d. solve their problems.
11. A problem always has two parts:
a. a right and a wrong answer.
b. anger and frustration.
c. a beginning and an end.
d. a goal and a barrier.
Read each question carefully and follow the directions given.
12. Check all the things that can happen when you know how to solve your problems:
You will make all A's.
You will often get what you want.
You will often get what you need.
You will be in control of your actions.
You will never be angry with your friends.
13. Check all the ways your body may feel when you are angry:
Your stomach feels sick.
Your feet hurt.
Your heart beats fast.
You feel sleepy.
Your face feels hot.
14. Check all the things that are true:
Barriers keep you from getting what you want.
Barriers should be ignored.
Barriers can cause problems.
Barriers are not a problem.
__ Barriers show you how to solve problems.
15. What are the three levels of anger, from lowest to highest?
15. List the steps you would take to solve a problem.
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I was born in Corpus Christi, Texas and shortly thereafter moved to Michigan
where I was raised. I attended both elementary and high school at Hanover-Horton
Public Schools in Horton, Michigan. Following High School I worked for four years and
spent the next 18 years doing volunteer work and raising my family. I returned to school
in 1995 and earned my Bachelor of Science degree in psychology at Eastern Michigan
University in Ypsilanti, Michigan in 2000. In the summer of 2000, I moved to
Gainesville, Florida to pursue my Master of Arts in Education (M.A.E.) and Specialist in
Education (Ed.S.) degrees. After graduation I intend to serve as a school psychologist in
a public school district in Florida.