•  

Intervention Summary

Back to Results Start New Search

Building Assets--Reducing Risks (BARR)

Building Assets--Reducing Risks (BARR) is a multifaceted school-based prevention program designed to decrease the incidence of substance abuse (tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs), academic failure, truancy, and disciplinary incidents among 9th-grade youth. BARR encourages students to make healthy behavior choices and achieve academic success using a set of strategies that includes delivery of a manual-based class on social competency known as the "I-Time" curriculum. This curriculum consists of 33 sequential, 30-minute group activities delivered weekly throughout the school year by teachers and/or school staff. The curriculum includes 10 general content areas--building a connected community, goals, leadership, communication, assets, grief and loss, bullying, diversity, risky behavior, and dreams--with the following objectives:

  • Building social competency by strengthening positive interpersonal relationships with peers and teachers/school staff
  • Increasing student engagement in the high school academic experience
  • Preventing substance abuse by reinforcing a "no use" message (i.e., any use of drugs is illegal, against school policy, and unhealthy for minors)

Other program strategies include the early identification of youth at elevated risk for substance abuse and school failure and the appropriate referral of youth to strengths-based counseling interventions, both of which are achieved through weekly risk review meetings with the school's program coordinator, counselor, staff person overseeing discipline, and student services staff. Monthly teacher/staff meetings are also conducted. BARR relies on making strengths-based support interventions available during, after, and outside school, with ongoing mandated training for all 9th-grade teachers, administrators, and staff. Parental involvement in the program is encouraged through an orientation session for parents when their children start the 9th grade and a parent advisory group that meets periodically throughout the school year.

Descriptive Information

Areas of Interest Mental health promotion
Substance abuse prevention
Outcomes Review Date: January 2009
1: Class failure
2: Bullying at school
3: School connectedness
Outcome Categories Education
Violence
Ages 13-17 (Adolescent)
Genders Male
Female
Races/Ethnicities American Indian or Alaska Native
Asian
Black or African American
Hispanic or Latino
White
Settings School
Other community settings
Geographic Locations Urban
Suburban
Implementation History Since 1999, BARR has been implemented at St. Louis Park High School in St. Louis, Minnesota, where at least 3,300 9th-graders have participated in the program. Fourteen high schools in Alaska, Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin have implemented the full BARR program or a partial configuration, reaching an additional 7,800 students. BARR is currently being replicated in a randomized controlled trial in two rural sites in Maine and in one urban site in California. This work is being funded by a grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Education through the Investing in Innovation (i3) Program.
NIH Funding/CER Studies Partially/fully funded by National Institutes of Health: No
Evaluated in comparative effectiveness research studies: No
Adaptations No population- or culture-specific adaptations of the intervention were identified by the developer.
Adverse Effects No adverse effects, concerns, or unintended consequences were identified by the developer.
IOM Prevention Categories Universal
Selective

Quality of Research
Review Date: January 2009

Documents Reviewed

The documents below were reviewed for Quality of Research. The research point of contact can provide information regarding the studies reviewed and the availability of additional materials, including those from more recent studies that may have been conducted.

Study 1

Jerabek, A., & Laney, R. (2006). Minnesota Department of Health and Human Services, CHD grant/final report--June 2006.

Jerabek, A. M., & Laney, R. (2007). Application for the National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices: Building Assets--Reducing Risks. Unpublished manuscript.

Johnston, B. (personal communication, January 10, 2008). Statistical testing of groups in charts found in the Application for the National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices: Building Assets--Reducing Risks.

Supplementary Materials

Jerabek, A. M. (2004). Program assessment. Report to the Minnesota Department of Health and Human Services, Chemical Health Division (CHD).

Jerabek, A. M. (2005). Program assessment. Report to the Minnesota Department of Health and Human Services, Chemical Health Division (CHD).

Jerabek, A. M. (2008). Use of quasi-experimental design in evaluating Building Assets Reducing Risks. Unpublished manuscript.

Minnesota Departments of Education, Health, Human Services, and Public Safety. Minnesota Student Survey, 1992-2007 trends: Behaviors, attitudes, and perceptions of Minnesota's 6th, 9th, and 12th graders.

Sharma, A., & Griffin, T. (2003). Saint Louis Park 9th grade program: Saint Louis Park High School, Saint Louis Park School District (Independent School District 283). Summative evaluation report.

Outcomes

Outcome 1: Class failure
Description of Measures Academic class failure was measured as the percentage of students who failed one or more classes and who failed two or more classes per school semester.
Key Findings The percentage of 9th-grade students who failed one or more classes at the intervention school decreased from 44% before BARR implementation to 28% during the 1st year of implementation (p < .05) and 21% following 5 years of implementation (21% vs. 28% or 44%; p < .05). A smaller percentage of 9th-grade students in the intervention school failed two or more classes after 5 years of BARR implementation (10%) than in the year before or year after implementation (18% and 21%, respectively; p < .05). No data on a comparison group of students were provided.
Studies Measuring Outcome Study 1
Study Designs Quasi-experimental
Quality of Research Rating 1.3 (0.0-4.0 scale)
Outcome 2: Bullying at school
Description of Measures Bullying at school was measured using the Minnesota Student Survey (MSS), a voluntary, written, self-report instrument administered statewide every 3 years to 6th-, 9th-, and 12th-grade students in regular public schools and charter and tribal schools. The MSS covers a wide variety of youth-related behaviors, attitudes, and perceptions and includes questions on substance abuse, school climate, academics and school connectedness, school safety and violence, mental health, family structure, family connectedness, sexual behavior, gambling, and out-of-school activities. This study used one item in the perceptions of school safety domain that asks if the student has been threatened or made fun of because of race or cultural background.
Key Findings Bullying data from the MSS for 9th-graders in the intervention school were compared with data for all other 9th-graders statewide 1 year before BARR implementation, after 2 years of implementation, and after 5 years of implementation. Among the findings from this study:

  • From pre- to postintervention, the percentage reporting bullying declined more for boys in the intervention school than for statewide comparison boys (14% to 9% vs. 18% to 17%, respectively; p < .05).
  • No statistically significant difference in bullying was found between girls in the intervention school and statewide comparison girls from pre- to postintervention.
Studies Measuring Outcome Study 1
Study Designs Quasi-experimental
Quality of Research Rating 1.0 (0.0-4.0 scale)
Outcome 3: School connectedness
Description of Measures School connectedness was measured using the MSS, a voluntary, written, self-report instrument administered statewide every 3 years to 6th-, 9th-, and 12th-grade students in regular public schools and charter and tribal schools. The MSS covers a wide variety of youth-related behaviors, attitudes, and perceptions and includes questions on substance abuse, school climate, academics and school connectedness, school safety and violence, mental health, family structure, family connectedness, sexual behavior, gambling, and out-of-school activities. This study used three items in the academics and school connectedness domain that ask the student about feeling positive about going to school, the perception that teachers are interested in the student as an individual person, and the perception that teachers at school show respect for students.
Key Findings School connectedness data from the MSS for 9th-graders in the intervention school were compared with data for all other 9th-graders statewide 1 year before BARR implementation, after 2 years of implementation, and after 5 years of implementation. Among the findings from this study:

  • From pre- to postintervention, the percentage reporting feeling positive about going to school increased for boys in the intervention school and decreased for statewide comparison boys (37% to 42% vs. 33% to 32%, respectively; p < .05). Similar results were found for the percentage of boys who reported their teachers were sincerely interested in them (36% to 46% vs. 38% to 36%, respectively; p < .05).
  • From pre- to postintervention, the percentage reporting their teachers showed respect for students increased more for boys in the intervention school than for statewide comparison boys (66% to 77% vs. 63% to 68%, respectively; p < .05).
  • From pre- to postintervention, the percentage reporting their teachers showed respect for students increased slightly for girls in the intervention school as well as for statewide comparison girls (77% to 79% vs. 68% to 71%, respectively), with no significant difference between the two groups.
Studies Measuring Outcome Study 1
Study Designs Quasi-experimental
Quality of Research Rating 1.0 (0.0-4.0 scale)

Study Populations

The following populations were identified in the studies reviewed for Quality of Research.

Study Age Gender Race/Ethnicity
Study 1 13-17 (Adolescent) 51% Male
49% Female
79.3% White
11% Black or African American
6.1% Asian
3.3% Hispanic or Latino
0.2% American Indian or Alaska Native

Quality of Research Ratings by Criteria (0.0-4.0 scale)

External reviewers independently evaluate the Quality of Research for an intervention's reported results using six criteria:

  1. Reliability of measures
  2. Validity of measures
  3. Intervention fidelity
  4. Missing data and attrition
  5. Potential confounding variables
  6. Appropriateness of analysis

For more information about these criteria and the meaning of the ratings, see Quality of Research.

Outcome Reliability
of Measures
Validity
of Measures
Fidelity Missing
Data/Attrition
Confounding
Variables
Data
Analysis
Overall
Rating
1: Class failure 2.5 3.0 1.5 0.0 0.0 0.5 1.3
2: Bullying at school 1.0 2.0 1.5 0.0 0.0 1.5 1.0
3: School connectedness 1.0 2.0 1.5 0.0 0.0 1.5 1.0

Study Strengths

School failure is an important scholastic benchmark for intervention at the 9th grade level. The Minnesota Student Survey appears to have face and content validity. The intervention is manualized and is based on a theory of adolescent development that emphasizes strengthening assets and reducing risk behaviors.

Study Weaknesses

The absence of independent verification of school failure records is a concern, as the accuracy of school recordkeeping can vary by school. No reliability data were reported for the Minnesota Student Survey.

Intervention fidelity is difficult to determine; for example, it is unclear how often classes were observed, whether interviews were carried out with teachers and staff, and what was done with the information once collected.

Attrition and missing data are a major concern. The study's design did not allow the same students to be followed over time. In addition, limited information was provided on missing data.

No documentation was provided describing efforts to control for potential confounding variables; for example, although major changes were acknowledged for the student sample in the intervention school (e.g., an increase in the proportion of students with high-risk backgrounds), there was no corresponding information on whether similar changes occurred in the comparison student population, those in the statewide database, over the same period. These changes in the intervention student sample, as well as changes in program delivery staff, over the course of the evaluation make it difficult to determine how much of the findings were actually due to the intervention.

The analysis used a z-score test, which, unlike a t-test or ANOVA, is not appropriate for making inferences regarding outcome success because too much of the variance remains unexplained. The use of a z-score test for pre- and postintervention class failure rates is of particular concern because there was no comparison group, the same students were not followed over time in the intervention school, and the student samples in the intervention school changed demographically over time.

Readiness for Dissemination
Review Date: January 2009

Materials Reviewed

The materials below were reviewed for Readiness for Dissemination. The implementation point of contact can provide information regarding implementation of the intervention and the availability of additional, updated, or new materials.

Jerabek, A. (2007). Building Assets--Reducing Risks program abstract. Minneapolis, MN: Search Institute.

Minnesota Institute of Public Health. (2006). Building Assets--Reducing Risks: Implementation manual. Mounds View, MN: Author.

Minnesota Institute of Public Health. (2006). I-Time 9th grade curriculum: Building Assets--Reducing Risks. Mounds View, MN: Author.

Program Web site, http://www.search-institute.org/BARR

Search Institute. (n.d.). Sample training agenda. Minneapolis, MN: Author.

Search Institute. (n.d.). Training slides [PowerPoint]. Minneapolis, MN: Author.

Search Institute. (n.d.). What do you think? Minneapolis, MN: Author.

Readiness for Dissemination Ratings by Criteria (0.0-4.0 scale)

External reviewers independently evaluate the intervention's Readiness for Dissemination using three criteria:

  1. Availability of implementation materials
  2. Availability of training and support resources
  3. Availability of quality assurance procedures

For more information about these criteria and the meaning of the ratings, see Readiness for Dissemination.

Implementation
Materials
Training and Support
Resources
Quality Assurance
Procedures
Overall
Rating
2.9 2.0 2.1 2.3

Dissemination Strengths

The implementation manual provides comprehensive and specific guidance on staff roles and responsibilities as well as requirements for successful implementation. Multiple training levels and formats are provided to support new implementers. Additional training on topics indirectly related to this program is also available through the developer. Implementers can obtain support through a Web-based forum and conference calls. Materials include a variety of process and outcome measurement tools to support quality assurance.

Dissemination Weaknesses

More guidance is needed on making the schoolwide organizational changes required to implement the program and responding to potential implementation challenges. Additional information is also needed on how individual program components are interrelated. There is no formal, standardized training curriculum, and the content of direct technical assistance provided by the developer is unclear. Materials do not define the staff qualifications required for collecting and analyzing process data or explain how to use data to improve program delivery.

Costs

The cost information below was provided by the developer. Although this cost information may have been updated by the developer since the time of review, it may not reflect the current costs or availability of items (including newly developed or discontinued items). The implementation point of contact can provide current information and discuss implementation requirements.

Item Description Cost Required by Developer
Implementation manual $395 each Yes
Classroom curriculum $49.95 each Yes
2-day, on-site training (includes 3 implementation manuals; 20 classroom curricula; a video training for school staff on block meetings, risk review meetings, and I-Time meetings; consultation; and 7 hours of technical assistance) $14,000 Yes

Additional Information

To see the BARR program in operation, a school's representatives can visit St. Louis Park High School.

Replications

No replications were identified by the developer.

Contact Information

To learn more about implementation, contact:
Kaylene McElfresh
(651) 213-4324
kmcelfresh@hazelden.org

To learn more about research, contact:
Angela M. Jerabek, M.S.
ajerabek4@msn.com

Consider these Questions to Ask (PDF, 54KB) as you explore the possible use of this intervention.

Web Site(s):