Academic-educational interventions primarily seek to improve school performance, school engagement, and academically-oriented behavior but may also impact other youth outcomes including self-regulation. Self-regulation skills are linked to better academic performance and to social competence in the classroom. Conversely, difficulties with self-regulation particularly related to attention and persistence are associated with both academic struggles and social and behavioral problems. Our recommendations in this chapter highlight the effective core components of academic and educational programs that were linked with the strongest impacts on self-regulation. These programs may also have positive effects on academic performance and school engagement, but our recommendations focus on effective components that you may consider emphasizing or adding to an existing program if you are interested in supporting improvements in self-regulation.
Our evidence base for academic-educational interventions includes tutoring and academic supports, academic interventions with a vocational focus, and interventions that blend a focus on youth academic and behavioral challenges. Programs were conducted in elementary, middle, and high schools. Some were included as part of a students’ regular classroom instruction, while others were based in a specific setting outside the normal class or afterschool. A number of the programs included elements of additional support for the intervention in home and family settings as well.
Characteristics of academic-educational interventions (19 studies contributed evidence):
- Interventions lasted 23 weeks on average.
- Sessions typically took place twice a week or more.
- Interventions took place in the classroom (37%), in a separate space within the school (resource room or school counselor’s office; 37%) or afterschool (26%).
- Interventions in this category were delivered by intervention staff or specialists (37%), research staff (26%), or teachers (21%).
- Afterschool program: This intervention focused on the acquisition of both social and academic skills. Counselors met individually with students, and led group sessions focused on interpersonal and academic skills. Counselors also met regularly with participants’ teachers to monitor classroom progress and support the intervention across settings. Family and parents were also included in the program to provide additional support at home.
- Writing and Self-Regulation Course: In this intervention, self-regulation skills were taught through a writing course. Students with both writing and behavioral challenges learned to apply goal setting, self-monitoring, self-reinforcement, and self-instruction in the context of their writing assignments. Over the course of the intervention, the level of support was altered so that responsibility for writing was shifted from instructor to students. Students moved through instruction at their own pace, proceeding to later stages as they met intervention criteria. Instructors worked individually with each student for 30-minute sessions outside the classroom three to four times per week, over three to four and one-half weeks, depending on the speed of their individual progress.