An Effective Practice


Project ACHIEVE is designed to help schools, communities, and families develop, strengthen, and solidify youths' resilience, protective factors, and social, emotional, and behavioral self-management skills. Developed for use in preschool, elementary school, and middle school settings (i.e., with students ages 3 to 14), the program concentrates on improving school and staff effectiveness and places particular emphasis on increasing student performance in social skills and socioemotional development (through a school-wide PBSS/PBIS program), conflict resolution, self-management, achievement and academic progress, positive school climate, and safe school practices. Project ACHIEVE has been replicated at more than 150 school sites across the United States. While the target audience is predominantly preschool, elementary and middle school children, program components also have been used in high schools, alternative schools, psychiatric and juvenile justice facilities, Head Start and afterschool programs, and numerous specialized charter schools. Project ACHIEVE is put into action by following a series of carefully sequenced steps that generally occur over a 3-year period.

Goal / Mission

Project ACHIEVE's ultimate goal is to help design and implement effective school and schooling processes to maximize the academic and social/emotional/behavioral progress and achievement of all students.

Results / Accomplishments

Project ACHIEVE has undergone a quasi-experimental design at the elementary school level. This evaluation used a matched-comparison design, with one treatment and one control school. In choosing a comparison school, researchers used school demographics, giving the greatest weight to the percentage of students on the Federal free-lunch program. Students in the treatment school were roughly 59 percent white, 38 percent African-American, and the rest other ethnicities. Students in the comparison school were roughly 54 percent African-American, 41 percent white, and 6 percent other ethnicities. Project ACHIEVE was implemented over a 3-year period. Data was collected in the treatment school during 4 academic years--1 year pretreatment and 3 years posttreatment. Data was collected in the comparison school during 1 academic year.

The evaluation finds that Project ACHIEVE, in comparison with the control group, reduces special education referrals, special education placements, the number of discipline referrals, the number of out-of-school suspensions, and the number of grade retentions. In addition, the evaluation shows positive trends in academic gains on the California Test of Basic Skills.

These results were replicated and extended through an extensive four-year statewide study as part of the Arkansas Department of Education's State Improvement Grant. In addition to similar results above in participating elementary schools, Project ACHIEVE was instrumental in (a) improving positive interactions and collaboration among school staff, (b) improving staff ratings of effective discipline and behavior management outcomes across the school over time, (c) decreasing the number of administrative actions needed relative to student discipline problems, and (d) increasing the literacy and math achievement levels of students over time--including the percentage of students passing the state's standards-based assessment test.

About this Promising Practice

Primary Contact
Dr. Howard M. Knoff
Project ACHIEVE Incorporated
49 Woodberry Road
Little Rock, AR 72212
(501) 312-1484
Education / School Environment
Social Environment / Children's Social Environment
Health / Mental Health & Mental Disorders
Project ACHIEVE Incorporated
SAMHSA's National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices
Date of publication
For more details
Target Audience
Children, Teens