Methods: All three of these papers use rigorous methods appropriate for answering the research questions, and they all use data collected using a valid and reliable instrument of youth ecology, the School Success Profile (SSP; Bowen & Richman, 2001), or from questions adapted from the SSP. Further, they separately examine populations at risk for dropping out of school, including minorities and children from low-income families. One study uses chi-squares and logistic regression to examine the discrete outcomes of expressions of intent to seek help from adults at school for difficult life (i.e., non-academic) problems and of internalizing behavior for help seekers compared to non-seekers. A second study use structural equation modeling to fit a model relating the influence of community violence on school outcomes such as behavior, school satisfaction, time spent on homework and grades through a mediator of feeling unsafe traveling to and from school. The third study uses a mixed methods approach combining qualitative data with a student-level analysis of quantitative survey data, and advanced techniques such as hierarchical linear modeling and instrumental variables to examine the influence of an intervention promoting the relevancy of the curriculum on engagement and school valuing.
Implications: These papers illustrate the importance of early intervention outcomes as leverage points that can be targeted by social workers to improve the life outcomes of youth in advance of their transition into adulthood. All provide strong empirical findings supporting their hypotheses that minority and low-income students and youth at risk for school failure may benefit from new pedagogical techniques, adult support, and community safety because they influence the mediating factors for academic success.