PATHS Implementation and Outcome Study in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District - Final Report

David Osher, Kimberly T. Kendziora, Ann-Marie Faria, Brenna C. O'Brien, Leah Brown

The Cleveland Metropolitan School District implemented an evidence-based social and emotional learning program—Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies (PATHS). AIR’s evaluation of the program indicates that student outcomes improved, despite the challenges faced by this complex urban school district, and even with imperfect implementation and uncertain fidelity.

The PATHS curriculum is designed to help elementary-age children increase self-control, choose effective conflict-resolution strategies, reject aggressive responses to frustrating situations, improve problem-solving skills, as well as to facilitate educational processes in the classroom and has strong evidence of improving students’ social development and academic performance. Implementing PATHS in all elementary schools in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District represents the first large-district scale up of an evidence-based social and emotional learning program in the U.S.

The overall approach for the program evaluation was a survey data collection that linked teachers with students in their classrooms, to examine how implementation of the program was related to students’ social competence, attention, and aggression.

The goals of the evaluation were to:

  • document and describe how the program was implemented in Year 1 (2010–11) and Year 2 (2011–12);
  • document change in students’ social emotional outcomes in program classrooms over time;
  • examine how implementation was related to students’ social emotional outcomes, including social competence, aggression, and attention, and
  • examine how contextual factors such as school climate and teacher morale were related to both PATHS implementation and student outcomes.

For more detailed findings, read the full report below. 

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David Osher
Vice President and Institute Fellow
Managing Researcher