PSY 102 Fun Paper 3 Designing an At-Risk Prevention Study us…


At-risk populations are groups that are more likely to experience negative outcomes compared to the general population. These populations may face various challenges that put them at risk for poor educational performance, mental health issues, or other negative outcomes. To address these concerns, researchers often design prevention programs aimed at reducing the likelihood of negative outcomes among at-risk populations. One such program is Supplemental Instruction (SI), which has been effective in improving academic performance and retention rates among at-risk students. This paper outlines a plan for designing an at-risk prevention study using SI.


Supplemental Instruction (SI) is an academic intervention program that provides additional instruction and support to students who are at risk of academic failure. SI typically involves peer-led study groups that target challenging courses or subjects. These study groups are facilitated by SI leaders, who are successful students that have previously taken the course and have been trained to guide the group discussions. The main goal of SI is to improve student retention rates, course completion rates, and overall academic performance among at-risk students.

Study Design

To design an effective at-risk prevention study using SI, several key factors need to be considered. These include the identification of the target population, the selection of appropriate outcome measures, the random assignment of participants, and the implementation of an intervention protocol.

Target Population

The first step in designing the study is to identify the target population. In this case, at-risk students will be the focus of the prevention program. At-risk students can be identified based on various factors such as low socioeconomic status, previous academic failure, or other known risk factors. It is important to clearly define the criteria for inclusion in the at-risk group to ensure that the intervention is tailored to the specific needs of these students.

Outcome Measures

The selection of appropriate outcome measures is crucial for assessing the effectiveness of the SI program. Common outcome measures for academic interventions include GPA, course completion rates, and retention rates. These measures provide valuable insights into the impact of the intervention on students’ academic performance and overall success. Additionally, it may be beneficial to include measures of self-efficacy, motivation, and engagement, as these factors are closely related to academic success and may be influenced by the SI program.

Random Assignment

Random assignment is essential to ensure the validity and reliability of the study findings. Participants should be randomly assigned to either the intervention group (SI program) or the control group (no intervention). Random assignment helps to minimize bias and ensures that any observed differences between the groups can be attributed to the intervention rather than other factors.

Intervention Protocol

The implementation of the SI program should be carefully planned and standardized to ensure consistency and fidelity across different settings. This includes training SI leaders, scheduling study group sessions, and providing materials and resources to support the intervention. Additionally, it may be beneficial to provide ongoing supervision and support to the SI leaders to address any challenges or concerns that arise during the implementation process.


Designing an at-risk prevention study using Supplemental Instruction requires careful consideration of various factors, including the target population, outcome measures, random assignment, and intervention protocol. By incorporating these elements into the study design, researchers can effectively evaluate the impact of SI on at-risk populations and contribute to the development of evidence-based prevention programs. Ultimately, the goal is to improve academic outcomes and reduce the likelihood of negative outcomes among at-risk students, thereby promoting their overall success and well-being.