Middle Years Development Instrument (MDI, 2009-present)
Through a collaboration of the UBC Human Early Learning Partnership (HELP), the United Way of the Lower Mainland (UWLM), and the Vancouver School District (VSB), Drs. Schonert-Reichl (PI) and Shelley Hymel (Education-UBC), Drs. Clyde Hertzman and Martin Guhn (HELP-UBC) and Dan Marriott (VSB Community Schools) have spearheaded a major study of middle childhood for which we developed and pilot tested a new instrument, the MDI, for evaluation of well-being during the middle childhood years. The first version of the instrument, MDI-4, was administered to nearly 4000 fourth grade students in an initial research project conducted in over 70 VSB schools in 2010, with major emphasis on effective knowledge translation and mobilization, providing meaningful feedback on the current state of middle childhood students in the lower mainland of BC. Results of the MDI research were presented at the 2011 annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, reaching educators and educational researchers from around the world. The MDI was first administered in four school districts in 2011-2012. Since that time, the MDI has been used by an increasing number of schools and school districts, both across British Columbia and internationally. In 2012-2013, the MDI-7 was developed for use with seventh grade students and pilot tested.
School Climate Study (2010 to Present)
This initiative began as a SSHRC-funded research project (2008-2011) lead by Dr. David Smith, University of Ottawa, to evaluate the impact of changes in school climate on student reports of bullying and victimization. Conducted in collaboration with BC schools, intermediate students (grades 5-7) from approximately 20 classrooms from 5 local school districts have participated in the study across three years of data collection (2010, 2011, and 2013). Data collected in this study are not only used for research purposes, providing data for several student theses, but are also used to provide school staff with ongoing information on student perceptions of the social and academic climate of their schools and their experiences with bullying and victimization, in support of school-based efforts to create safe and caring learning environments.
Intergenerational Landed Learning Project
Over the 2011-12 and 2012-13 school years, Dr. Hymel began a collaboration with ILLP program director, Dr. Jolie Mayer-Smith, to empirically evaluate the impact of the ILLP program in which elementary school children visit the UBC Farms 11-12 times across the school year and work with adults, one UBC students and a senior gardener/farmer, to learn about plants, soil, harvesting, environmental issues, etc. As part of her Masters thesis research, graduate student Reky Groendal worked with Dr. Hymel and with the Landed Learning staff to develop and evaluate the impact of the program, the results of which were presented at the 2013 meeting of Canadian Society for Studies in Education in Victoria, BC. Our collaboration continues with a more in-depth evaluation of the program over the 2012-2013 school year, working with graduate students, Essie Sutton and Reky Groendal.
In collaboration with SAFETEEN founder and developer, Anita Roberts, our research team is working on an evaluation project, assessing the immediate and longer term impact of SAFETEEN, a gender-specific assertiveness training program for youth that has been used in local schools for decades (see www.safeteen.ca). Graduate students, Ahmed Rahim, Jane Chipman, and Hezron Onditi are currently working on this project, with support from members of our larger research team.