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Social and Academic Skills Promotion in Students Research Paper

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Updated: Apr 26th, 2022

Introduction

Schools form an essential social environment for children since they give them an opportunity to engage in myriads of activities through self-regulated and harmonious interactions with their teachers and peers (Belsky, et al., 2006). Social skills entangle “a set of competencies that allow an individual to initiate and maintain positive social relationships, peer acceptance, and a satisfactory school adjustment that allows an individual to cope effectively with the larger social environment” (Bellini, et al., 2007, p.154).

In the classroom setting, students not only learn academic contents but also gain knowledge for their academic content in the learning process via repeated interactions (Mantzicopoulos, Patrick, Samarapungavan & French, 2008: Lopes & Salovey, 2006). This implies that academic skills are critical in enhancing better learning for children in addition to possession of social skills.

Possession of emotional control among students is a critical success factor for excellence of students in their studies since it enables them to develop a positive interaction with peers (Lopes & Salovey, 2006). Therefore, school should ensure that they develop both emotional and social skills among their students in the effort to produce citizens who are both knowledgeable and responsible (Quinn et al., 1999).

Based on this proposition, researchers have found out that there is a relationship between social behaviors and academic performance for students (DiPerna, Volpe & Elliott, 2001: Malecki & Elliott, 2002: McClelland & Morrison, 2003: Yen, Konold & McDermott, 2004).

This paper discusses the results of a study conducted to investigate how teachers can promote social and academic skills in students in a bid to show how social skills influence academic performance of the students. The overall study was accomplished by conducting a number of separate studies. Therefore, the paper attempts to draw inferences based on the results derived from specific studies.

Student Forms

To determine how social achievements influence educational achievement among students, a study was conducted through pretest and posttest scores performed on SSIS (social skill improved system) before a peer buddy program was conducted.

This step was taken in the endeavor to come up with an evidence based “multi-tiered assessment and intervention system to aid tutors develop, improve, and maintain vital social skills” (Gresham & Elliott, 2012, para.3). The participants in the research were required to fill a student’s evaluation form before conducting a peer buddy program.

In the discussion of the findings presented on the impact of social achievement on academic performance, it suffices to compare the results with those of other researchers on the same subject in a bid to find out whether they differ or coincide. In a similar research on the same subject, Kavale and Mostert (2004) found a mean of 11.3176, a SD of 2.0018, and standard error of 0.571 for posttest scores.

Besides, they realized a mean of the 13.95003 while the standard deviation was 2.7953. Although Kavale and Moster’s (2004) results differ slightly with the results of my study, both studies indicate that, when SSIS was administered, students improved their social skill achievement levels.

Therefore, it is arguable that opportunities should be created both at home and in schools to model the development of effective social skills that reinforce redirection and correction of certain behaviors, which may hinder the development of behaviors that foster good interactions between peers.

Relative to Kavale and Mostert’s (2004) findings, the results on the averages of pretest and posttests, SD and standard error between posttest and pretest indicate that buddy program affects the development of social kills among students. This argument is supported by the results of the study T-test (-2.625) and P-value.

Indeed, Kavale and Mostert (2004) obtained similar values since their T-test was -2.593. In case of my study, evaluation of the means for pretest, posttest, and SD for both pretest and posttest scores indicates that a difference exists between the performance of students who have undertaken the buddy program and those who do not.

This exposition means that schools should increase their investments in activities that foster socialization in academics among their students. Inferring from the results of their study suggested that higher averages for posttests in comparison to pretest performances indicate that buddy programs are bridging tools for enhancing academic performance among students through helping them to develop socialization skills. The results of my study suggest a similar inference.

The correlation value that is higher than 0.5 suggests that buddy program can help in building students’ social skills, which help them to have an improved performance in tests. However, according to Zins et al (2007), schools are normally unwilling to commit their resources to fund activities and or programs, which they are not sure, would add gains in the performance of students’ scores.

Based on the evidence for both my study and Kavale and Mostert’s (2004) research, peer buddy program can help students to increase their performance in tests scores. Thus, it is recommended for implementation by schools. Simulation of real life challenges that children may encounter in the communities, schools and homes may help to create a subtle environment in which students can put their social skills into practice.

In summary, social skills are vital in enhancing the performance of children academically. This inference is reached after a consultation from the works of other researchers such as Kavale and Mostert. Therefore, when a peer buddy program is executed, the mean of test scores increases.

The t-test also gives a relationship between peer buddy program and improved performance of children. Thus, peer buddy program is recommended for schools as a tool for enhancing the development of social skills among students in school environments.

Special education teachers’ forms

Children with disabilities often experience challenges in establishing social relationships with their peers. To help students counter this challenge, it is paramount for special education teachers to display their capacity to socialize with their students who can then draw from them and follow suit (Kavale & Mostert, 2004).

Based on this assertion, a study was conducted to reflect the perspectives of a special education teacher based on pretest and posttest scores of SSIS forms towards development of social skills of students with learning and behavior disabilities. In the study, special education teachers were required to undertake a teacher’s scale of SSIS before they were provided with an opportunity to execute a peer buddy program to children who had behavior and learning disabilities. The exercise was also done after taking the scale of SSIS.

The study gives rise to results that link teachers’ SSIS scale to improved performance of children. The results obtained in my study compares with the results obtained by Kavale and Mostert (2004) who found an average score of 11.9314, SD of 3.01979, and SD error of 0.89342 for pretest scores.

In the case of posttests, the average score for Kavale and Mostert’s (2004) study was 15.6156 while SD was 2.7912 with a SD error of 0.9362. The correlation between the pretest and posttest scores was 0.816. A similar value is obtained when pretest and posttest results of Kavale and Mostert (2004) are compared. These results give an indication that incorporation of special education teachers’ perspectives in the peer buddy program influences social skill development directly among students who have behaviors and learning disabilities.

Therefore, social skills in children cannot be adequately developed without involvement of teachers in the catalyzing the process because the administration of teachers buddy scales before offering a peer buddy program yields better results as compared to when they offer the peer buddy program upon having taken the scales.

The significant hike in the averages of the participants for posttests, SD, and correlation value for Kavale and Mostert (2004) study shows that an effort should be made by schools handling students with learning and behavior disability to incorporate teachers’ perspectives of peer buddy program in their teaching practices especially where successful completion of tasks requires teamwork.

From this basis and the finding of my study, it is recommended that, in these approaches, teams of educators need to come to a consensus on the set of learning outcomes and behavioral anticipations. Effort should then be made to look for mechanisms through socializing on how students can be encouraged to develop their potentials in academics by forming peer groups.

This recommendation is based on results of my study that possession of knowledge of SSIS scales is vital in aiding in the success of students. Kavale and Mostert (2004) draw an inference that teachers need training on how to socialize their students-an inference that is supported by the results of my study.

This step would help in ensuring that the socialization culture among students becomes a cornerstone for the overall school culture. The enhanced social skills in the students would help in attaining collective preset expectations, as opposed to individualistic expectations.

Special education teachers who undergo teachers’ SSIS tests before offering peer buddy programs stand better chances for inducing social skills among students with learning and behavior disabilities. Therefore, in summary, adults and teachers especially for children with learning and behavior disabilities can help students to develop social skills in students by modeling and reinforcing the development of such skills.

This way, educationists can assess social functions of their students in a bid to make a distinction of deficits in development of social skills (Ali & Frederickson, 2006, p.355). Hence, they are able to work on corrective mechanisms based on the anticipated results.

General education teacher’s forms

A study was conducted to determine how general education teachers’ pretest and posttest scores on SSIS reflect the capacity to develop academic skills of students who have learning and behavior disabilities. These results are discussed below followed by inferences drawn from them in comparison to results obtained in similar researches.

Comparing the analysis of the posttest SSIS scores with McClelland and Morrison’s (2003) findings, a mean of 1.9902, SD of 0.8813, and SD error of 0.19917 were obtained. For the case of posttest scores, McClelland and Morrison (2003) obtained mean SSIS scores of 2.4395 with a SD of 0.91029 and a SD error of 0.28315.

McClelland and Morrison’s correlation between pretest and posttest score was 0.375. Arguably, these results together with the results of my study show that peer buddy program does not have significant contributions to academic skills among high school students who have learning and behavior disabilities when administered by general teachers.

This assertion is amplified by the results of the gains between the means for scores of administration of SSIS before and after peer buddy program for my study (0.45714 points). Additionally, the P-value for the study was 0.180, which is greater than 0.05. Therefore, no significant levels in the pretest scores and posttest scores were observed. This further supports the inference drawn from McClelland and Morrison’s (2003) work.

Based on the results of both my study and McClelland and Morrison’s (2003) work, it is recommended that schools should not commit their funds to conduct peer buddy programs in case of general education teachers because, in such a situation, the peer buddy program does not have any significant effect on the gaining of educational skills among the students.

The results of the study on the relationships between peer buddy tests and academic skills when the tests are administered by general educations teachers showed that they do not show significant implication on academic skills.

Thus, they are not recommended for general education teachers since they would only resort to allocation of school funds for a program that would not produce substantive impacts on the overall goal for a school, which is to facilitate the development of academic skills among students.

Academic skills

Study was conducted to specifically determine how peer buddy program is related with academic skills. In this effort, special education and general education teachers’ forms were filled. SSIS scores were used for the determination of the relationship.

Malecki and Elliott (2002) discuss a similar research. For the case of special education teachers, their statistical results showed a pretest score with a mean of 1.6531 with a SD of 0.72191 and a SD error of 0.19412. Posttest scores yielded a mean of 3.7143 while the SD was 1.09901 with a SD error of 0.35820. The correlation between the pretest and posttest scores was 0.653, which is greater than 0.5.

The study gave a p-value of 0.0011, which is less than 0.05. From these results, it can be inferred that there is a significant difference between the results of the scores obtained before and after administration of peer buddy program. Thus, it is deducible that peer buddy program has positive impacts on the academic skills for students with behavior and learning disabilities.

For the case of general teachers, Malecki and Elliott (2002) administered SSIS before the peer buddy program. The results indicated a gain of 0.56711 points for pretest and posttest means. The average of the SD posttest SD was 0.98356 while the average for pretest and posttest SD errors was 0.33989.

Similar to my research, this finding indicated that there is no significant deference between the mean obtained for posttest and pretest scores. From the results of their study, Malecki and Elliott (2002) inferred that academic skills are not related to the peer buddy program for this case.

Based on both Malecki and Elliott (2002) and my findings, a significant difference exists between the means of SSIS pretest and post test for special education teachers, it is recommended that schools should deploy peer buddy program in enhancing academic skill development for students with learning and behavior disabilities.

However, this recommendation does not apply for the case of the general teachers since no significant differences were found between the mean of the pretest and posts test SSIS scores.

For special education teachers, SSIS pretest and posttest SSIS scores show that peer buddy program is essential for enhancing the development of academic skills among students with learning and behavior disabilities. However, this argument is not the case for general education teachers.

In the second part of my study, teachers were required to take GPA (grade point average) tests before administration of peer buddy program and after administration of the program. A GPA test taken before administration of the program was treated as a pretest while the one taken after was considered posttests. Data was collected to determine standard errors, SD, mean, correlation, significance levels for test scores of participants, degrees of freedom, p-values, and low difference of the pretest and posts tests.

In the second part, data on the fast math test and system 44 was also collected for different participants. Fast math scores were collected before and after administering a peer buddy program. For the system 44, the researchers paid attention to the Luxcile scores for the participants before and after administration of peer buddy program for students with disabilities.

Discussion

For the case of GPA, a similar research by DiPerna, Volpe, and Elliott (2001) revealed a mean of 2.1132, SD of 0.79021, and SD error of 0.79235. In the case of posttests, their mean was 2.63280 with a SD of 0.68341 and the SD error of 0.20913. Analysis of these results indicated that the participants had higher mean values for the GPA in the posttest condition.

Therefore, to the reader, the implication of this finding is that a peer buddy program is of much help to learners with disabilities. The results show that the students benefit in terms of gaining new skills that range from intellectual skills, service delivery, and life tactics in general. In the case of the p-value, DiPerna, Volpe, and Elliott’s (2001) finding was 0.0099. Relative to my findings, both values are less than 0.05.

Based on this finding, it is sufficient to speculate that peer buddy program is imperative for high school students who have behavior and learning disabilities since they boost their GPA. For system 44, analysis of DiPerna, Volpe, and Elliott’s (2001) data generated gave a mean of 631.1930, a SD of 289.009121, and a SD error of 107.08737 for pretest.

With a correlation value of 0.952, a significant p-value of 0.004 was obtained when the pretest results were compared with posttest results. Compared with my study, these findings mean that the administration of peer buddy program significantly affects the posttest results for the Luxciles tests.

This inference is also evidenced by the value obtained for the p- value for my study relative to that of DiPerna, Volpe, and Elliott (2001) both of which are less than 0.05. Therefore, the implication is that peer buddy programs have a positive impact on the development of Luxcile score for high school students who have behavior and learning disabilities.

The speculation therefore is that, to have an increased number of successful students with learning disabilities in terms of overcoming the challenges they encounter in life and in the job market, there is a need to administer peer buddy programs to them.

No statistical scholarly evidence was found on how the administration of math tests influences the peer buddy program. However, based on my study, it plausible sound to infer that there is a significant difference between the participants’ pretest fast math score mean and their posttest fast math score mean.

This finding implies that peer buddy programs have positive impacts on the development of math scores among students who have behaviors and learning disabilities. However, this position is subject to further confirmation by other similar studies. The implication is that, in order to get a valid link between peer buddy program and math score, many researches need to be conducted on this category of students in an attempt to help them in their academics as well as life in general.

Students who have disabilities and learning challenges encounter situations that may impair their attainment of academic skills. One of such challenges is the incapacity to socialize effectively in the attempt to facilitate information sharing. Teachers act as mediators of the challenges.

To enhance this role, based on the results on the effects of GPA tests both before and after administration of the peer buddy program, it is recommended that teachers should deploy the program to enhance the development of social skills amongst their students having learning and behavior disabilities. The program has a positive influence on the GPA scores.

The higher the GPA scores, the higher the ability of students to perform academically. Based on the results of for statistical analysis of the math test results both before and after administering of peer buddy program, it is clear that peer buddy program has an upper hand in influencing learning among children with learning and behavior disabilities.

Therefore, the program is recommended for schools seeking to enhance the performance of their students academically since social skill development is correlated with academic performance (Shulha & Wilson, 2005, p.5).

The results of the study determining how peer buddy program influences the development of academics skills among students with learning and behavior disabilities through regulation of math test score variable, system 44 variable, and GPA variable indicated that peer buddy program is crucial in fostering academic skill development among students with learning and behavior disabilities. Therefore, peer buddy program is recommended for schools that deal with children having special needs including learning and behavior disabilities.

Conclusion

Academic skills among students with behavior and learning disabilities flourish well in an environment dominated by good social interaction between peers and teachers. The term social skills were used in the paper to mean various abilities and behaviors, which are categorized and associated with social interactions coupled with social competences.

Positive elements of social behaviors are considered helpful in the success of children in the social relationships and in academics while the negative elements act as hindrances for the children to have good relationships with peers. Peer buddy program was considered one of the strategies that can be employed by teachers for students with behaviors and learning disabilities to boost their social and academic skills.

Reference List

Ali, S., & Frederickson, N. (2006). Investigating the evidence base of social stories. Educational Psychology in Practice, 22(4), 355–77.

Bellini, S., Peters, J., Benner, L., & Hopf, A. (2007). A meta-analysis of school-based social skills interventions for children with autism spectrum disorders, Remedial and Special Education, 28(3), 153-162.

Belsky, J., Booth-LaForce, C., Bradley, J., Campbell, B., Chakraborty, H., Clarke Stewart, A. (2006). The relations of classroom contexts in the early elementary years to children’s classroom and social behavior. New York: Cambridge University Press.

DiPerna, C., Volpe, R., & Elliott, N. (2001). A Model of Academic Enablers and Elementary Reading/Language Arts Achievement. School Psychology Review, 31(2), 298-312.

Gresham, F., & Elliott, S. (2012). SSIS overview: Clinical assessment. Web.

Kavale, A., & Mostert, P. (2004). Social skill interventions for individuals with learning disabilities. Learning Disability Quarterly, 27(1), 31-43.

Lopes, N., & Salovey, P. (2006). Toward a broader education: Social emotional and practical skills. New York: Teachers College Press.

Malecki, K., & Elliott, N. (2002). Children’s Social Behaviors as Predictors of Academic Achievement: A Longitudinal Analysis. School Psychology Quarterly, 17(4), 1-23.

Mantzicopoulos, P., Patrick, H., Samarapungavan, A., & French, F. (2008). Patterns of young children’s motivation for science and teacher-child relationships. Journal of Experimental Education, 76(2), 121-144.

McClelland, M., & Morrison, J. (2003). The Emergence of Learning-Related Social Skills in Preschool Children. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 18(2), 206-224.

Quinn, M., Kavale, A., Mathur, R., Rutherford, B., & Forness, R. (1999). A meta-analysis of social skill interventions for students with emotional or behavioral disorders. Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, 7(1), 54-64.

Shulha, D., & Wilson, R. (2005). The relationship of social skills to academic achievement. Guidance and counseling, 11(1), 8-11.

Yen, C., Konold, R., & McDermott, P. (2004). Does Learning Behavior Augment Cognitive Ability as an Indicator of Academic Achievement? Journal of School Psychology, 42(2), 157-169.

Zins, E., Bloodworth, R., Weissberg, P., & Walberg, J. (2007). The scientific base linking social and emotional learning to school success. Journal of Educational & Psychological Consultation, 17(2), 191-210.

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