Primary Project Research Efforts
The Primary Project Research Group is having an exciting and busy year. They have conducted several research projects and are planning future research directions to continue to add to the program's evidence base. The most recent completed project found that Primary Project increases school attendance. Currently, a randomized control trial is in progress to examine Primary Project's overall effectiveness. Further, follow-up studies to recent attendance findings are being designed.
Missing school consistently, or "chronic absenteeism," in early childhood is detrimental throughout childhood (e.g, literacy) and even into adolescence (e.g., risky decisions and substance use). We conducted research to determine when Primary Project serves an immediate preventive mechanism against chronic absenteeism. We randomized lists of eligible students with absenteeism across seven schools and compared Primary Project participants to a non-participant control group. The Primary Project group had a statistically significantly higher attendance percentage at the end of the year compared to the control group. This benefit was similar across grade levels and gender. Primary Project is an effective intervention for schools to improve student engagement and overall social and emotional wellbeing.
During the 2021-2022 school year, Children's Institute researchers, in partnership with Primary Project's program directors and several New York State elementary schools, initiated a new randomized controlled trial. This research, entitled "Study of the Effectiveness of Primary Project," just completed data collection for Year 1 of a two-to-three-year effort. The study measures changes in social-emotional factors for children who received Primary Project services (intervention group) compared with a group of similar children who have not received Primary Project services (control group). Six schools representing three NYS school districts provided data for 88 students this year. In preparation for the 2022-2023 school year, the research team invites interested schools to learn more about this effort and consider joining the study. Look for updates as we continue this exciting project.