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The intersection of violence and SEL competencies: Implications for equity

Mon, March 26, 11:30am to 1:00pm, Hilton Reforma, Floor: 2nd Floor, Don Diego 1 Section C

Proposal

Children in contexts of conflict and crisis have suffered multiple, prolonged adversities, which neuroscience shows can cause a toxic stress response that damages the brain and has long term effects on behavior, relationships and abilities to learn. We know from research in stable contexts that the damage caused by toxic stress can be reduced or reversed by quality educational opportunities that include social-emotional learning. Yet we have little evidence about whether this holds true for children in conflict settings. Without evidence of what works and for whom in crisis settings, education programming is based on intuition and assumption rather than data. This presentation will share data from a randomized controlled study conducted as part of the 3EA initiative in Niger, where the IRC and NYU are implementing and evaluating the effect of a SEL program, to use a structured approach to equity with the aim of answering the following questions:

• Are students with low performance in academic and SEL outcomes different from high performing students by sex, SES and refugee status?
• What is the differential effect of a SEL intervention on students’ academic and SEL outcomes by gender, SES, and refugee status? To what degree is the program reducing or reinforcing pre-existing equity gaps?
Data for this study were collected from 1,727 eight to nine year old students from 31 schools located in Diffa, a region in Eastern Niger, who were assigned to treatment and control group in a program that aimed to promote their SEL development. Outcomes include Early Grade Reading Assessments, Early Grade Math Assessments, a Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ), and a Hostile attribution Bias and Aggressive Interpersonal Strategies Questionnaire, which assesses students' disposition to interpret socially ambiguous situations as having hostile aggressive intent, and their recommendations to use of aggressive, problem solving or disengagement. strategies. The study uses a structured approach to examine the distributions of academic and SEL outcomes by equity variables (sex, SES and refugee status). Then, to estimate the relationship between equity variables with academic and SEL measures, we use ordinary least square (OLS) regressions. Finally, we used difference in difference regression models with separate sample of students by equity variables, to explore the effect that the treatment is having on students’ academic and SEL outcomes, by sex, SES, and refugee status.
The presentation will share the results of a preliminary analysis about the effect of an SEL treatment on students outcomes, which suggests that the most disadvantaged students –girls, students from low SES backgrounds and refugees- are benefiting more from the SEL intervention than their counterparts.

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