Annotated Bibliography

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“Does CRE/SEL/PE Make a Difference? Proven Benefits of Conflict Resolution and Peace Education” Presentation by Tricia S. Jones, Ph.D., Temple University, Philadelphia, PA (USA), for the Western European Conference on the Role of NGOs and Civil Society in the Prevention of Armed Conflict, Dublin, Ireland, March 31-April 2, 2004.

General Reviews of CRE and/or Peace Education Literature CRE and SEL:

Jones, Tricia S., & Kmitta, Daniel, (Eds.). (2000). Does It Work? The Case for Conflict Education in Our Nation’s Schools. Washington, DC: The Conflict Resolution Education Network (now the Association for Conflict Resolution). This volume summarizes the results of the CRE research symposia and white papers sponsored by the United States Department of Education and convened by the Conflict Resolution Education Network. The purpose of the symposium was to examine the results of current research and evaluation of school-based conflict resolution education (CRE) programs (kindergarten - 12th grades) in relation to identified needs of educators. The research summaries focused on five topic areas: impacts on students, impacts on educators/teachers, impacts on diverse student populations, impact on school climate and issues of institutionalization. The research on the effects of CRE on students is by far the most substantive. The major findings from the research regarding CRE and the effects on students demonstrate that CRE programs increase: academic achievement, positive attitudes toward school, assertiveness, cooperation, communication skills, healthy interpersonal/inter-group relations, constructive CR at home and school, and self-control. Research also suggests that CRE decreases: aggressiveness, discipline referrals, drop-out rates, social withdrawal, suspension rates, victimized behavior, and violence. In terms of impact on educators there is little research on the effects of CRE on teachers. While we assume that training teachers how to train/teach students CRE improves the teachers’ use of CRE this is not proven. There is substantial evidence that CRE positively impacts school climate in terms of reducing disciplinary actions and suspensions, improving school climate (especially for elementary schools) and improving classroom climate. Unfortunately, there is very little research on the impacts of CRE on diverse populations. Measures of success do not include diversity-relevant outcomes (impact on inter-group relations or community harmony is largely ignored) and issues of class or socioeconomic status receive very little attention. However, there is evidence that CRE programs that focus on systemic bias or include “contact theory” can improve inter-group relations and promote just communities.

There are several general criticisms of the research on CRE. Few CRE program evaluations fulfill scientific criteria for methodology and appropriate data analysis. We need standardized assessment instruments and common definition of concepts and terms (variables). Appropriateness of conflict resolution and current models to diverse populations should not be automatically assumed . There is a tendency to use and evaluate only peer mediation programs because peer mediation programs are tied to disciplinary systems. There is a need to engage in research that involves high quality triangulation – where multiple methods are used in conjunction. This is particularly important in terms of collecting information – stories – about how different groups/people experience conflict and conflict resolution education and integrating this with more quantitative outcome measures. There is a serious need for more longitudinal research so we can have evidence of change over time for students, educators, and schools.

Johnson, D. W., and Johnson, R. T. “Conflict Resolution and Peer Mediation Programs in Elementary and Secondary Schools: A Review of the Research.” Review of Educational Research, 1996, 66, 459-506. This early review of the literature focused primarily on peer mediation programs and conflict education within a cooperative learning context. The review reports generally positive findings for efficacy of peer mediation and conflict education, particularly on increases in students’ conflict knowledge, self-reported pro-social behavior, and negotiation skills. There is also evidence of positive impact on classroom climate.

Greenberg, Mark T., Weissberg, R., Utne-O’Brien, M., Zins, J., Fredericks, L., Resnik, H., & Elias, M. (2003). Enhancing school-based prevention and youth development through coordinated social, emotional and academic learning. American Psychologist, 58(6/7), 466-474. This recent review of school-based intervention and youth development initiatives concludes that programs in this area are most beneficial when they simultaneously enhance students’ personal and social assets as well as improve the quality of the environments in which students are educated. They cite a metanalysis completed by Catalano et al (2002) of positive youth development programs indicating that their analysis suggests these programs definitely make a difference in improvements in interpersonal skills, quality of peer and adult relationships, and academic achievement; as well as reductions in problem behaviors such as school misbehavior and truancy, violence and aggression. Skills building components and environmental change initiatives were very important. They stressed that optimal delivery of programs was through teachers educated in these areas, integrating these concepts throughout conventional curricula, and over a longer period of time (6-9 months). Basically, impacts are most impressive when teachers teach this material as a component of their regular teaching approach.

Zins, J. E., Weissberg, R. P., Wang, M. C., & Walberg, H. J. (Eds). (2004). Building school success through social and emotional learning. New York: Teachers College Press. Zins, Weissberg, Wang, and Walberg (in press) note that research proves conclusively that students’ social-emotional competence fosters better academic performance. When students are more self-aware and emotionally connected they can focus on academics and achieve in a supportive environment. The kinds of supports that produced these impacts included: (a) safe and orderly school and classroom environments, (b) caring relationships between teachers and students that foster commitment and connection to school, (c) engaging teaching approaches such as cooperative learning and proactive classroom management.

Weissberg, R. P., & Greenberg, M. T. (1998). School and community competence enhancement and prevention programs. In I. E. Siegel & K. A. Renninger (Vol. Eds.), Handbook of child psychology, Vol. 4, Child psychology in practice (5th Edition, pp. 877-954). New York: Wiley. This comprehensive review of the social and emotional learning programs and violence prevention programs makes a strong argument for the efficacy of SEL programs on the development of core emotional competencies, especially for younger children.

Peace Education:

Harris, Ian M., & Morrison, Mary Lee (2003). Peace education, 2nd Edition. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co. This is a general book on peace education, but has several sections relevant to statements about the current adequacy of research and evaluation in peace education. The authors, like others, overlap peace education and CRE in several areas, but distinguish them in others. They argue peace education programs have one or more of the following goals: (1) to appreciate the richness of the concept of peace, (2) to address fears, (3) to provide information about security, (4) to understand war behavior, (5) to develop intercultural understanding, (6) to provide a “futures” orientation, (7) to teach peace as a process, (8) to promote a concept of peace accompanied by social justice, (9) to stimulate a respect for life, and (10) to manage conflicts nonviolently. They classify CRE as an approach to peace education which helps individuals understand conflict dynamics and empowers them to use communication skills and build and manage peaceful relationships. They conclude as do Nevo and Brem (2002) that very little summative research has been conducted on peace education programs. Much more has been conducted on the CRE components, but still less than needed. And, they conclude a similar lack in the area of strong qualitative evaluation or formative evaluation of peace education efforts.

Nevo, Baruch & Brem, Iris (2002). Peace education programs and the evaluation of their effectiveness. In Gavriel Salomon and Baruch Nevo (Eds.), Peace education: The concept, principles, and practices around the world. (pp. 271-282). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
These authors have attempted to gather the past 20 years of evaluation research on the effectiveness of a Peace Education program. They note that between 1981 and 2000 approximately 1,000 articles, chapters, reports, symposia proceedings, dealing with a broadly defined peace education area were listed on numerous data bases (ERIC, PsychLit, PsychInfo, etc). Approximately 30% of these sources referred to a specific peace education intervention. They then created a taxonomy to summarize characteristic features of these programs: (1) Purpose of the Program (enhancement of conflict resolution skills, prosocial skills orientation, political efficacy, values-oriented attitudes, tolerance toward diversity, co-existence/cooperation, respect for the other/sense of equality, reconciliation/forgiveness, empathy, democratic beliefs, good interpersonal relations; reduction of aggression, violence, delinquency, prejudice, ethnocentrism); (2) Age of Participants (primary school, middle school, high school, college), (3) Major Didactic Approach Used in the Program (lectures, media examples, writing/reflection, group activities, group assignments, simulations), (4) Duration of the Program (several hours, several days, several weeks, several months, school year, several years), (5) Research Design (with control group, without control group, with pre-test and post-test, post-test only, with delayed post-test, without delayed post-test), (6) Method of Measurement ( self-report questionnaires, structured observations, essays analysis, self-reported behaviors, official statistics, knowledge mastery tests, structured interviews). Of the approximately 300 published pieces on peace education intervention programs, about 100 had some report of effectiveness evaluation, but only 79 had sufficient detail for any analysis (full bibliography of all 79 sources are included as an Appendix in the back of their chapter). This chapter does not evaluate these studies in terms of their facets, but reports a general finding that the majority of these programs (51 out of 79) were found to be partially or highly effective.

Smythe, Marie & Robinson, Gillian (Eds.) (2001). Researching violently divided societies: Ethical and methodological issues. New York: United Nations University Press. This edited volume addresses many of the ethical and methodological difficulties of conducting research in violently divided societies. Although this volume does not focus specifically, or even significantly, on peace education, its concerns are applicable to researching peace education programs implemented in contexts of ongoing-and active violence between parties. The book is a product of INCORE (Initiative on Conflict Resolution and Ethnicity), an initiative established by the United Nations University and the University of Ulster. More information on INCORE and its work can be found at, and (for specific links to the Ethnic Conflict Research Digest).

General Reviews of Specific Components of CRE Literature:

Johnson, David W., Johnson, Roger T., & Tjosvold, Dean. (2000). Constructive Controversy: The Value of intellectual opposition. In Morton Deutsch and Peter Coleman (Eds.), The handbook of conflict resolution (pp. 65-85). San Franscisco: Jossey-Bass. Overviews research on Constructive Controversy programs that are used to teach debate and advocacy skills to children and adults. The assumption is that when people present their opinions and arguments on an issue, are asked to reflect on and provide rationale for those positions, and critically assess the quality of the other’s arguments and information, there is a development of reasoned, nonviolent orientations to conflict. They overview the research conducted in Constructive Controversy over the past thirty years, noting that CC has proven impacts for achievement and retention, quality of problem solving, cognitive reasoning, motivation to achieve, and creativity, task involvement, and attitude change.

Johnson, David W., & Johnson, Roger T. (2001). Teaching Students to be Peacemakers: A meta-analysis. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Seattle, WA, April 10-14. Between 1988 and 2000 the authors conducted 17 different studies on the effectiveness of conflict resolution training (using TSPM) in eight schools in two countries. Students ranged from K-9 and were from urban, suburban, and rural schools. Results indicated that students learned the conflict resolution procedures taught, retained their knowledge throughout the school year, applied the knowledge to actual conflicts, transferred skills to nonclassroom and nonschool settings, used the skills similarly in family and school settings.

Sandy, Sandra V., & Cochran, Kathleen M. (2000). The development of conflict resolution skills in children. In Morton Deutsch and Peter Coleman (Eds.), The handbook of conflict resolution (pp. 316- 342). San Francisco: Josses-Bass. Discusses the general evidence in support of social and emotional learning programs and conflict education programs for developing key social and emotional competencies for children pre-school through high school. However, gives more explicit coverage of effectiveness for the pre-school population those other sources. Describes the Peaceful Kids ECSEL (Early Childhood Education Social and Emotional Learning) Program which role model for teachers and students methods of teaching emotional awareness, cooperative skills, and empathy and perspective-taking, and problem-solving to pre-school children. The teachers and parents are also taught constructive discipline practices. The results of the research suggest significant increases in children’s assertiveness, cooperation and self-control; and significant decreases in aggressive, withdrawn and moody behaviors. Pre-school staff became better able to independently integrate the skills in the class. And, parents increased in authoritative (as opposed to authoritarian) parenting practices.

Pettigrew, Thomas F., & Tropp, Linda R. (2000). Does intergroup contact reduce prejudice? Recent meta-analytic findings. In Stuart Oskamp (Ed.), Reducing prejudice and discrimination. (pp. 93-114). Mahwah, NJ. This chapter presents the results of a meta-analysis of 203 studies on the impact of interventions in intergroup contact on reduction of prejudice. Combined, 90,000 subjects from 25 different nations participated in the research that is analyzed here. 73% of the studies are from the United States. The meta-analysis focused only on empirical studies in which intergroup contact was a causal, independent variable for intergroup prejudice and where research was done on contact between members of discrete, clearly distinguishable groups. Finally, the prejudice dependent variables had to be collected on individuals, rather than simple total aggregates across groups, and comparative data had to be available to evaluate changes in prejudice. With these criteria, the meta-analysis shows that face to face interaction between members of distinguishable groups is importantly related to reduced prejudice in 94% of the studies. One major mediator of the size of the contact-prejudice effects involves whether the participants are from a majority group or a stigmatized minority group. Majority group participants reveal much larger impacts from contact than minority group members.

Maoz, Ifat (2002). Conceptual mapping and evaluation of peace education programs: The case of education for coexistence through intergroup encounters between Jews and Arabs in Israel. In Gavriel Salomon and Baruch Nevo (Eds.), Peace education: The concept, principles, and practices around the world. (pp. 259-270). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. This chapter is one of the few reports of peace education program effectiveness over multiple interventions in a non-US location. The authors report on evaluation research of 47 peace education encounter programs conducted in Israel in 1999-2000. In some of these programs the primary goal was confrontation and in others it was peaceful coexistence. The majority of programs were focused on the latter and only 13% of the programs concentrated exclusively on the former. The programs were mainly targeting school age children (about 70%) and used dialogue processes, social activities, and/or arts and creative activities. The evaluation of these programs was highly qualitative and formative.

Burrell, Nancy A., Zirbel, Cindy S., & Allen, Mike. (2003). Evaluating peer mediation outcomes in educational settings: A Meta-analytic review. Conflict Resolution Quarterly, 21(1), 7-26.
Conducted a meta-analysis on 43 studies (published between 1985 and 2003) of peer mediation programs that met the following criteria: (1) focused on K-12 student population, (2) used quantitative methods resulting in numerical measurable effects, (3) involved at least one variable relating to mediation training or practices in which outcomes of the actual training or practices were measured. The results overwhelmingly support peer mediation effectiveness in terms of increasing students’ conflict knowledge and skills, improving school climate, and reducing negative behavior.

Olweus, Daniel (1991). Bully/victim problems among school children: Basic facts and effects of a school-based intervention program. In D. J. Pepler and K. H. Rubin (Eds.), The development and treatment of childhood aggression (pp. 411-448). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. Also Olweus, D. (1994). Annotation: Bullying at school: Basic facts and effects of a school based intervention program. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 35, 1171-1190. Reports on program evaluation of the effectiveness of the Bullying Prevention program developed by Olweus. Data on effectiveness has been gathered in several countries. This large scale evaluation looked at the efficacy of the bullying program with Norwegian children ages 8-16. The results indicate sustained (at least 2 years) reductions in school aggression (bullying was reduced by 50%), fighting, vandalism, alcohol abuse, and truancy. The results also report improvements in school order, peer relationships, attitudes toward school and homework. The effects were more pronounced the longer the program was in place.

[Other reports of effectiveness of the Bullying Prevention program have been forthcoming from Canada (Pepler, D. J., Craig, W. M., Ziegler, S., & Charach, A., 1994, An evaluation of an anti-bullying intervention in Toronto schools. Canadian Journal of Community Mental Health, 13, 95-110); England (Whitney, I., Rivers, I., Smith, P. K., & Sharp, S., 1994, The Sheffield project: Methodology and findings. In P. K. Smith and S. Sharp, Eds., School bullying: Insights and perspectives, pp. 20-56. London: Routledge) and the US (Melton, G. B., Limber, S. P., Flerx, V., Osgood, W., Chambers, J., Henggeler, S. W., Cunninghamn P. B., & Olweus, D. , 1998, Violence among rural youth. Final report to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention – Grant Nos. 94-JN-CX-005 & 96- MU-FX-0016 – Washington, DC: US Department of Justice.)]

Specific Studies of Note in CRE/SEL/PE:

Aber, J. L., Brown, J. I., and Jones, S. M. “Developmental Trajectories Toward Violence In Middle Childhood: Course, Demographic Differences, And Response To School-Based Intervention.” Developmental Psychology, 2003, 39(2), 324-348. Four waves of data on features of children’s social and emotional development known to forecast aggression and violence were collected in the fall and spring over two years for a representative sample of 1st to 6th graders from New York City Public Schools (N = 11,160). The results indicate that RCCP, when delivered as designed by the classroom teachers, had significant impact on reducing attitudes and behaviors predictive of aggression and violence. Positive implications for orientation to academic achievement were also reported. Program fidelity was identified as a critical factor. Students in classes where teachers delivered some RCCP but not the amount or nature proscribed actually performed worse on dependent measures than control students.

Jones, Tricia S., & Sanford, Rebecca (2003). Building the container: Curriculum infusion and classroom climate. Conflict Resolution Quarterly, 21(1), 115-130. Reports findings from the National Curriculum Integration Project that examined curriculum integration of CRE and SEL in middle school populations over a two year period. Research demonstrated that experienced teachers integrating CRE/SEL in language arts, math and science curricula had significantly better classroom climate over time than control classes. ((Full data from the NCIP report can be obtained in Jones, Tricia S., Sanford, Rebecca, & Bodtker, A. (2001). The National Curriculum Integration Project: Research report. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University.))

Farrell, Albert D., Meyer, Aleta L., & White, Kamila S. (2001). Evaluation of Responding in Peaceful and Positive Ways (RIPP): A school-based prevention program for reducing violence among urban adolescents. Journal of Clinical Child Psychology, 30(4), 451-464. RIPP is a 6th grade violence prevention program designed for urban youth. This study investigated the program impacts among 3 urban middle school populations that were randomized to intervention (N = 321) and control groups (N = 305). RIPP participants had fewer disciplinary violations for violent offenses and in school suspensions than control group students. The reduction was maintained at a 12 month follow-up level for boys but not for girls.

Shapiro, Jeremy, P., Burgoon, Jeolla D., Welker, Carolyn J., & Clough, Joseph B. (2002). Evaluation of the Peacemakers program: School-based violence prevention for students in grades four through eight. Psychology in the Schools, 39(1), 87-100. Components of the Peacemakers Program are delivered initially by teachers and remedially by school psychologists and counselors. This study sampled almost 2,000 students in an urban public school system, with pre and post-program assessment and comparison to a control group. There were significant, positive program effects on knowledge of psychosocial skills, self-reported aggression, teacher-reported aggression, a 41% decrease in aggression-related disciplinary incidents, and a 67% reduction in suspensions for violent behavior.

Bosworth, K., Espelage, D., DuBay, T., Daytner, G., Karageorge, K. (2000). Preliminary evaluation of a multi-media violence prevention program for adolescents. American Journal of Health Behavior, 24(4), 268-80. Evaluated a computer driven intervention (SMART Talk) containing anger-management and conflict resolution modules. 558 middle school students were randomly assigned by academic teams to treatment or control conditions and assessed before and after implementation. The intervention was successful in diminishing students’ beliefs supportive of violence and increasing their intentions to use nonviolent strategies.

Van Scholack, Leihua (2000). Promoting social-emotional competence: Effects of a social-emotional learning program and corresponding teaching practices in the schools. Dissertation Abstracts International, Section A, 61(6-A), 2189. This study investigated effects of an SEL intervention and corresponding teacher practices on students’ social emotional competence. Two waves of second and fourth graders from 15 schools (N = 2052) were followed over two years. Schools were randomly assigned to experimental or control conditions. A developmental SEL curriculum was taught in experimental classrooms. Two years of lessons combined with teachers’ support of student emotion regulation resulted in lower self-reported aggression and negative peer relations and lower preference for aggressive social strategies. One of the most important contributions of this study is the measurement of teaching practices that support students’ social and emotional learning and demonstration that those components are essential for change.

Fast, Jonathan, Fanelli, Frank, & Salen, Louis (2003). How becoming mediators affects aggressive students. Children & Schools, 25(3), 161-171. Reports on a nine-month study in an urban middle school to reduce levels of aggressiveness of a group of 7th graders by assigning them to a positive role as mediators for 5th and 6th grade students. Pretest and posttest measures of self-concept and teachers’ perceptions of problem behaviors showed dramatic improvements.

Stevahn, Laurie, Johnson, David W., Johnson, Roger T., & Schultz, Ray (2002). Effects of conflict resolution training integrated into a high school social studies curriculum. Journal of Social Psychology, 142(3), 305-333. Examined effectiveness of a conflict resolution and peer mediation training among high school students. Authors randomly assigned 2 of 4 classes to receive conflict resolution and peer mediation training and the remaining 2 classes acted as control classes studying the mandated social studies curriculum. The trained students showed significant increases in conflict competence. The interventions also had a significant impact on academic achievement – promoted higher achievement, greater long-term learning of the academic learning and greater transfer of academic learning in social studies to language arts.

Morris, Susan M., & Heibert, Bryan (1990). The effects of participation in a Canadian peace education program. Peace and Change, 15(3), 292-312. Examined the impact of a peace education curriculum delivered by teachers to elementary school students. Six classes taught by six different teachers received the curriculum. Matching control classes were selected for comparison. Exposure to peace education significantly increased students’ knowledge of peace and peace dynamics, and students’ perceived ability to impact/prevent nuclear war.

Horne, Arthur M. (2003). School bullying: Changing the problem by changing the school. School Psychology Review, 32(3), 431-445. Studies a school-wide bullying prevention program in an urban elementary school. All students completed surveys pre and posttest. There was a 40% reduction among younger children (K-2) in mean self-reported aggression and a 19% reduction in mean self reported victimization. Among 3-5 graders there was a 23% reduction in mean reported victimization, but no significant differences in self-reported aggression.

Lane-Garon, Pamela & Richardson, Tim (2003). Mediator mentors: Improving school climate, nurturing student disposition. Conflict resolution Quarterly, 21(1): 47-68. Education is in the midst of an essentialist movement, with academic achievement and accountability as primary foci. All empirical and anecdotal evidence tells us that the pursuit of academic achievement requires learning environments which foster civility, safety and connectedness. “Mediator Mentors,” a collaborative research and service project was begun by California State University Fresno faculty and the staff of an elementary school (K-8) in the Central San Joaquin Valley. The purpose of the research was to assess conflict resolution program effects on students (N= 300) and school climate. The purpose of the project was to develop a conflict resolution program that would “fit into the life of the school” and enhance school climate. Cross-age mentoring is an important component of this collaborative project. University students preparing for roles in helping professions benefit from mediation training and practice. Many of the project mentors are becoming teachers; the rest--counselors and social workers. Elementary students benefit from interaction with university students who are young enough to vividly remember their own, recent public school experience and who themselves care about developing empathy, practicing respectful communication, and cooperation. Assessed were student cognitive and affective perspective taking (mediators and non). Additionally, student perceptions of school safety were explored. This article reports and discusses results after one year of CRE program implementation. Results indicate impressive impacts of CRE on student conflict competence, particularly perspective-taking and school climate. [See also Lane-Garon, P. (l998). Developmental considerations: Encouraging perspective taking in student mediators. Mediation Quarterly, 16:2.]

Comparison between CRE Program Models:

Harris, Peggy (1999). Teaching conflict resolution skills to children: A comparison between a curriculum based and a modified peer mediation program. Dissertation Abstracts International, Section A, 59 (9-A), 3397. This study compared the effectiveness of two approaches to CRE: peer mediation and a curriculum-based program (Second Step). Two fourth grade and one third grade class were randomly assigned to conditions. A remaining third grade class acted as a control group. Teachers delivered lessons over a semester. The study revealed no significant differences between groups.

Jones, Tricia S., Jones, T. S., Bodtker, A., Jameson, J., Kusztal, I., Vegso, B., & Kmitta, D. (1997). Preliminary Final Report of the Comprehensive Peer Mediation Evaluation Project. Report for the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University, College of Allied Health Professions. Twenty-seven schools in three communities (Philadelphia, Laredo, Denver) participated in the project. In each community a 3 x 3 field experiment compared program models (peer mediation only or cadre programs, peer mediation plus or whole school programs, and control schools) in each of three educational levels (elementary, middle, high school). In each community, respected training organizations provided training and helped schools implement the programs. The training organizations were Good Shepherd Mediation Program in Philadelphia, Associates in Mediation in Laredo, and Colorado School Mediation Project in the Denver area. This study was guided by six research questions. (1) Does peer mediation impact students’ conflict attitudes and behavior? What is the short-term and long-term impact on: how frequently they are involved in conflict, how frequently they help others who are in conflict, their values about pro-social behavior in general, their conflict styles, their tendency toward aggressive behavior, their development of perspective-taking and collaborative conflict orientations, or their ability to demonstrate or enact the skills taught in training? (2) Does peer mediation impact school climate? Is there a change in school climate related to the existence of the program? What is the impact on climate in terms of: teachers’ and staff’s perceptions of school climate, students’ perceptions of school climate, or general rates of suspension and incidents of violence? (3) Do peer mediation programs effectively handle disputes? What do we know about the use of mediation in terms of: how many cases use mediation, what types of disputes are involved, that refers disputes to mediation, what is the agreement/settlement rate, or how satisfied the mediators and disputants are with the mediation process and outcome? (4) Are cadre programs better than whole school programs (or vice versa)? In terms of impact on students’ attitudes and behaviors, school climate, and program utility, is there a difference in the efficacy of these program models? (5) Are peer mediation programs equally effective (or ineffective) for elementary, middle and high schools? In terms of impact on students’ attitudes and behaviors, school climate, and program utility, is there a difference in program efficacy at different educational levels? (6) Is gender or race/ethnicity of students related to the impact of peer mediation programs? Are programs more or less impacting depending upon the race or gender of the students involved?

A 3 x 3 field experiment (program models x educational level) was conducted in each of the three sites. All peer mediation schools (cadre and whole school) received peer mediation training and program implementation in the beginning of fall semester of each year. Schools receiving whole school programs had curricular infusion training and conflict skills training by the end of fall semester. The CPMEP project involved 27 schools with an approximate total student population of 26,000, an approximate total teacher population of 1500, and an approximate total staff population of 1700. Exhaustive sampling was used for peer mediators, students in conflict training, and teachers. Sampling of control students was done by random selection of classes for ease in data administration. In control schools and for within-school control classes in treatment schools 1 class per grade was randomly selected from elementary schools and 2 classes per grade were randomly selected from middle and high schools. The actual sample used in this study consisted of multiple responses from each of the following (approximate numbers used): For elementary schools: 140 peer mediators, 300 control students, 400 conflict training students, and 275 teachers/ administrative staff. For middle schools: 140 peer mediators, 1600 control students, 550 conflict training students, and 400 teachers/administrative staff. For high schools: 150 peer mediators, 2500 control students, 450 conflict training students, and 550 teachers/ administrative staff. Thus, the overall sample consisted of: 430 peer mediators, 5400 control students, 1400 conflict training students, and 1225 teachers/ administrative staff.

The data from the CPMEP study reveals that peer mediation programs provide significant benefit in developing constructive social and conflict behavior in children at all educational levels. It is clear that exposure to peer mediation programs, whether cadre or whole school, has a significant and lasting impact on students’ conflict attitudes and behaviors. Students who are direct recipients of program training have the most impact, however, students without direct training also benefit. The data clearly demonstrate that exposure to peer mediation reduces personal conflict and increases the tendency to help others with conflicts, increases pro-social values, decreases aggressiveness, and increases perspective-taking and conflict competence. Especially for peer mediators, these impacts are significant, cumulative, and are sustained for long periods. Students trained in mediation, at all educational levels, are able to enact and utilize the behavioral skills taught in training. The CPMEP results prove that peer mediation programs can significantly improve school climate. Peer mediation programs had a significant and sustained impact on teacher and staff perceptions of school climate for both cadre and whole school programs and in all educational levels. This effect was evident across the two years of the project.

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