Third Party Research Studies

PLUS Program Qualifies as an Evidence-Based Intervention Under the ESSA Guidelines.

The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) has consistently directed educators to implement interventions grounded in research.

Evidence-based interventions are practices or programs that have evidence to show that they are effective at producing results and improving outcomes when implemented. The kind of evidence described in ESSA has generally been produced through formal studies and research. Under ESSA, there are four tiers, or levels, of evidence:

  • Tier 1 – Strong Evidence: supported by one or more well-designed and well-implemented randomized control experimental studies.
  • Tier 2 – Moderate Evidence: supported by one or more well-designed and well-implemented quasi-experimental studies.
  • Tier 3 – Promising Evidence: supported by one or more well-designed and well-implemented correlational studies (with statistical controls for selection bias).

Interventions applied under Title I, Section 1003 (School Improvement) are required to have strong, moderate, or promising evidence (Tiers 1–3) to support them.

cleveland 2

Cleveland State University Study

PLUS Program

Tier 2 (Moderate Evidence) Intervention

The PLUS Program is the formal YPAR Program curriculum in the quasi- experimental research study. View the letter of reference from authors of research study stating that the PLUS Program is the formal curriculum of the study. View Here

Research Article Authors

  • Adam Voight
    • 2121 Euclid Avenue, JH377, Cleveland, OH 44118 USA.
    • Cleveland State University
  • Valerie Velez 
Below is the research article published in the Journal of Research on 
Education Effectiveness, that found significant evidence in a quasi-
experimental study that the activities of the PLUS Program increase 
Student Attendance Rates and Academic Scores.
Published in the Journal of 
Research on Educational Effectiveness
Youth Participatory Action Research in the High School Curriculum: Education Outcomes for Student Participants in a District-Wide Initiative
This study employed a quasi-experimental design to examine the effects of a school-based youth participatory action research program on the education outcomes of 
participating high school students. The program was a year-long elective course in six high schools in the same California district whose student population is 
predominantly low-income youth of color. A propensity score matching approach 
compared the reading achievement, attendance rates, and discipline referral rates of 153 students who participated in the program to nonparticipating peers with 
similar demographics and baseline scores on the outcomes. Results showed that the program significantly improved students’ attendance rates with less compelling 
evidence for its effect on reading achievement. These findings suggest that youth participatory action research may be an effective pedagogical practice for high 
school students, particularly low-income students of color.

Go To JREE Article


concordia 3

Concordia University Irvine

PLUS Program

The Peer Leaders Uniting Students (PLUS) Program: The Impact on School Climate, Student Engagement, and Student Mentoring

Article Author

  • Reyes Gauna
    • 1530 Concordia West, Irvine, CA 92612
    • Concordia University Irvine
Published by Concordia University Irvine, ProQuest Dissertations Publishing, 2017.
The Peer Leaders Uniting Students (PLUS) Program: The Impact on 
School Climate, Student Engagement, and Student Mentoring
 Educators are always evaluating how students connect to their school, trying to 
identify strategies and intervention programs that will help students be success 
and linked to their school. A school’s culture and student engagement 
opportunities provide areas that can be impacted, especially when mentoring is 
added to the model being implemented. Educators go into the profession with the goal of having an impact on the lives of students. Key to the success of making an impact is the importance of connecting with students, providing student engagement opportunities, and maximizing mentoring with younger peers.
Peer Leaders Uniting Students program is helping districts address day-to-day 
issues in a collaborative manner using data. This study evaluated the impact the 
PLUS Program had from the perception and knowledge of adults (teachers,counselors, administrators, and support staff), assessing school climate, student engagement, and student monitoring. The researcher used quantitative and qualitative 
measurement instruments. A survey was provided to teachers, counselors, 
administrators, support staff, and PLUS advisors. The survey was followed by 
interviews that had questions created using data from the adult participants’ 
survey responses.
This grounded theory approach guided the researcher to conclude that even though 
the PLUS Program is proving to be effective for students, adults need additional 
training to use the program data.

View Full Article Here

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