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Model Programs Guide Literature Review: Classroom Curricula

NCJ Number
Date Published
3 pages
Based on a literature review, this paper examines the features and effectiveness of school-based curricula designed to inform students about various influences to engage in problem behavior and misconduct (e.g., drug use, gang involvement, and violent behavior) and prepare them to counter these influences and engage in positive social behaviors.
The paper first defines a "curriculum" as "a way to organize and systematize the delivery of program components." A curriculum eases dissemination and encourages fidelity to a program's goals and objectives. Across the phases of the youth services continuum, from prevention to rehabilitation, curricula have proven to be an effective means for delivering concepts that produce optimum developmental outcomes for youth. Regarding types of curricula, universal curricula target elementary school children. They include interventions to reduce children's off-task or aggressive classroom behavior and to increase their basic academic skills and socially competent behaviors. Other curricula have been developed or expanded to target the whole school environment. Schools have also introduced alcohol and drug education as well as sex education. A literature review indicates that certain types of school-based curricula can reduce substance abuse in adolescence (Bovin and Botvin, 1992; Dusenbury and Falco, 1997;Tobler and Sratton 1997). Curricula delivered in an interactive format with smaller groups of youth have proven to produce strong and lasting positive results. Effective curricula give students the tools to recognize internal and external pressures that may influence them to use alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs. 14 references

Date Published: January 1, 2003