Support for Evidence-Based Interventions in Schools

Michelle Woodbridge (bio) describes the benefits of evidence-based interventions.

We actually do know from the research that many schools have very unstructured and non-evidence-based programs that they're implementing in the schools. So on average I think each school it's shown has about 14 social programs that they'll do in unstructured group situations, depending on what they feel are the needs or what they can afford or what the latest salesman has provided to them and has talked them into it, with really great intentions. And it's what they often call the "let's implement and hope that it works" phenomenon.

But we were trying to offer through this federal grant an opportunity for these schools to use a packaged, manualized, well-regimented intervention that gives them great direction and organization for a group CBT-focused therapy with kids. With proven effects that we can say, "If you were to measure the children's depression and anxiety at the beginning and then again at the end after the intervention you should see some dramatic differences and changes that these children would have reduced depression, reduced anxiety, better functioning in school."

And I think that that's something that legitimately the cost effectiveness of research programs and understanding not only the actual financial cost but the human cost, the burden on the teachers, the staff, the students themselves participating in the program are all important considerations, and you want to make sure that if there's a cost that it will be effective. And I think offering a packaged intervention that has some effectiveness research behind it is much more legitimate in these times of financial stress when there aren't a lot of resources to go around. So you want to make sure you're choosing the right ones.

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Excerpted from an interview at CBITS Summit 2013 in Santa Monica, CA.

Dr. Woodbridge's work is fully funded by United States Department of Education Grant Number R324A110027, a $3,383,527 grant awarded to SRI International. The views and conclusions expressed are those of the presenter and should not be interpreted as necessarily representing the official policies or endorsements, either expressed or implied, of the USDE or the U.S. Government.


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