A recent randomized evaluation conducted by Borman and colleagues investigated the effects of Building Assets, Reducing Risks (BARR) on student experience and academic outcomes. BARR is a model developed to address barriers to student success and consists of different strategies to build and improve relationships between staff, staff and students, and between students. Teachers and administrators in schools receive initial training and on-going coaching through observations and feedback on implementation.
The study involved about 3,000 ninth graders from 11 American schools randomly assigned to receive the intervention over one year or to continue with their regular practice. Student academic achievement was measured through a standardized test, the Northwest Evaluation Association’s (NWEA) Measures of Academic Progress (MAP). Student experience was evaluated only at posttest. Results showed significant positive effects for mathematics achievement (ES = +0.11) but no significant results in reading (ES = +0.06).
The authors concluded that BARR is a promising model to improve the school experiences of ninth graders and their teachers. They also highlight that the intervention is modest in cost and school effort, and most of the schools involved in the study continue to implement BARR.
Source: Borman, T. H., Bos, H., Park, S. J., & Auchstetter, A. (2021). Impacting 9th grade educational outcomes: Results from a multisite randomized controlled trial of the BARR model. Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness, 14(4), 812–834. https://doi.org/10.1080/19345747.2021.1917027