With the widespread of the Covid-19, school-aged children experienced temporary school closures, cancellations and postponements of school events and/or extracurricular activities, and a decrease in oral communication in school. According to the the survey conducted by Saitama Prefecture, 21.1% of schools stopped interactive activities among students and 90.1% of school events and/or extracurricular activities had to be cancelled or postponed. Research showed that 26.0 to 34.5% of school-aged children experienced high levels of anxiety (Ma et al., 2021; Panda et al., 2020). In fact, at the end of the 2020 school year, the number of children who were not attending school in elementary schools in Saitama Prefecture was 2,624, a 23.7% increase from the previous year. The number of cases of bullying was also reached at 22,613, an increase of 19.6% from the previous year. Given this situation, there is a growing awareness of the importance of education that addresses problems in a "preventive" manner. In this study, we implement "Universal Unified Prevention Program for Diverse Disorders (hereafter, UP2-D2)", developed by Prof. Shinichi Ishikawa (one of the investigators) and measure the causal effects of children's behaviors, such as bullying, violence, and truancy, and non-cognitive skills, such as self-efficacy and prosociality.
Our target is approximately 6,152 of fourth to sixth graders at 38 public elementary schools in five cities in Saitama Prefecture, which is located in Kanto metropolitan areas in Japan. We will administer a baseline survey to all children in June 2022. Based on this baseline survey, students will be randomly assigned to treatment or control groups at school-by-grade level (114 clusters). From the second semester, which begins in September, teachers will execute the UP2-D2 program during the regular class hours with in total 9 hours (=45 minutes * 12 lessons). The follow-up and endline survey will be conducted at March, 2023 and March, 2024.
We are allowed to use administrative data that Saitama prefecture administered every April, which include IRT based students' achievements.