E.M.E.I.S Program

Evaluation of Program Ε.Μ.Ε.Ι.S.
The evaluation of the program was carried out in three phases. The first phase included the initial evaluation, which included the needs assessment and the pre-assessment, i.e. assessment before the implementation of the program. The second phase included the evaluation of the process, carried out throughout the program.  The post assessment was the third phase which referred to the final evaluation, carried out after the completion of the program.  The evaluation data was collected, so much from the teachers participating in the seminars and their implementation of the program, as much as from their students; for the collection of the data questionnaires and the material from the implementation in class of the activities were employed. Below you can find a short description of the findings of the teachers’ and students’ evaluation of the Program.
Sample 
Primary and high school teachers and school administrators participated in the program. The questionnaires were administered to a total of 141 teachers that participated in the training seminars.  The number of students who participated in the program reached 3.200 and they came from Kindergarten, Primary, high school and special education schools.  In the research and evaluation of the program 606 students participated, from Years 5 and 6 of Primary school and 1st and 2nd year of high school. 
 
SHORT PRESENTATION AND DISCUSSION OF THE FINDINGS 
Α. Initial evaluation (pre-assessment)
The consequences of the economic crisis: The evaluation of the consequences of the economic crisis in the school community showed that it has affected, to a great degree, all the members of the school community and especially the children. Teachers from all levels of education highlight the changes in the children’s lives due to the decrease in their parents’ income, i.e. they cannot participate in the school activities, but they also highlight the increase of children’s problems of an intrapersonal and interpersonal nature. They also express their personal concerns that relate to their own difficulties in everyday life, but mainly their intense concern and agony on how to support their students.
Accordingly, the findings from the students of both school levels, confirm that there is a significant percentage of students and families who face economic difficulties; they manifest emotions of fear, agony and concern which they experience relative to their lives’ circumstances, about their future, their school but also their family lives. The consequences of the economic crisis in the socio-emotional life of the teachers and students and the finding that, support for students, promoting their resiliency, and also creating a positive climate in class was among the teachers main demands, confirms the necessity of the intervention. 
Evaluation of psychosocial dimensions on an individual and school level: The evaluation of the psychosocial dimensions in the teachers, referred to the assessment of  their levels of resiliency and the degree of stress, their emotional commitment towards their school, and also the evaluation of their perceptions as to whether they consider their school as a community that cares and provides for its members. 
The analyses of the answers demonstrated that the teachers themselves experience high levels of stress, a finding which clearly indicates their need for support.  Their perceptions about their school as a caring community, in the majority of the factors of the relevant questionnaire are situated in the average of the Likert scale, pinpointing to the necessity for further support and improvement of multiple socio-emotional dimensions. The important difference found between teachers of primary school and high school regarding their perceptions of the school as caring community, is of particular interest, since, it reveals that there is a greater need for psychosocial support in the high schools.   
Accordingly, for the students the analysis shows a relatively positive perception of their school.  They also perceive, to a high percentage, that their schools can act as a caring community.  However, this is more evident in the primary school students.  The data analysis for the evaluation of the social and emotional adjustment, showed that the students report that they developed the relative skills at a medium level, mainly the skill of self control. On the other side, the high school students seem to lack intrapersonal communication skills, which form the basis for developing positive relations.  These results also indicate the need for intervention, so much to enhance positive thinking and emotions of all the students for their school,  so as to promote social and emotional skills.          
 
Β. Evaluation during the implementation of the program
      The process assessment was carried out throughout the implementation of the program. In particular, at every training seminar the teachers completed evaluation leaflets while they brought materials from the implementation of the activities in class.  The responses both of the teachers and students are analyzed with the method of content analysis and responses are categorized in thematic categories. 
      The complete evaluation of the program by the students, demonstrated that the students benefited in many levels, mainly in teamwork, relationships and cooperation in class, change of behavior, expression and coping with difficult emotions and also self awareness.
      On the whole, evaluation analyses during the program by both the teachers and the students of the two education levels showed that the aims of every thematic unit were met successfully to a substantial degree. In total, the main benefits for the children referred to changes and improvements regarding the following:
  • relationships, friendship and cooperation,
  • behavior,
  • coping with emotions,
  • management of conflicts,
  • self-awareness, self-esteem.
It is important to note that the above benefits, are not only closely related to the goals of every thematic unit, but they are mainly connected to the values and goals that the classes themselves had set and are essentially directly connected with the needs of the members of the school community.   In specific, the finding that all the categories that emerged from the responses analyses are common to all educational levels and there was no important difference among teachers and students of primary and secondary education is an indication that there are important similarities, common ground and needs among all.       
  
C. Final evaluation (post-assessment)
Teachers: The teachers evaluation before and after the program showed statistically significant differences in all factors that measure the dimensions of the school as a caring community.  The teachers of both educational levels recognized that, after the implementation of the program, the students started to show more respect, better cooperation and better participation in the school procedures.
The analyses of the teachers’ responses also indicated high levels of acceptance for the program and recognition of its usefulness on many levels for the students, but also for the teachers themselves, on a personal and professional level.  Finally, the findings showed that the teachers seem to evaluate positively their participation in the training seminars and the practical exercises.
Students:  One of the main findings of the final evaluation is the fact that the students, who at the initial phase of the evaluation (needs assessment) found they experienced their concerns about the economic crisis more intensely, and they reported that their families face difficulties in covering their expenses, are those who seem to have benefited the most by this whole class intervention. These students, from both educational levels, reported to a much higher degree that, with the help of the program, they managed to achieve the goals they set at the beginning of the program, to cope with difficult emotions more effectively and to cope with their stress.  
Low academic performance at school might be considered as an additional criterion of vulnerability for the children, especially in the Greek educational system where high performance is given extra emphasis.  A relative finding of interest is that students with low performance, while finding it difficult to recognize individual benefits and accept individual success, experience success, nevertheless, as members of a team who achieved their goals. It was also found that students with average performance benefited particularly in dealing with difficult emotions and achieving their personal goals through the implementation of the program. 
One more important finding of the evaluation refers to the improvement of the classroom climate and particularly of the students peer relationships and student-teacher relationships, confirming in this way the effectiveness of the program in promoting a positive climate and resiliency on an individual and school level.
In addition, another important finding, that confirms the international literature is the fact that the girls, overall, reported more benefits than the boys in the majority of the factors under examination.  The findings also indicate higher effectiveness for primary school students.  At this point it should be noted that the program was implemented in a more condensed form in high schools, mainly due to lack of time.  This limitation might be the reason for the observed differences between primary and high school. 
In conclusion, the findings revealed the effectiveness of the program and its acceptance by the students and the teachers that participated.  The analyses showed  important differences for the program group before and after the program’s implementation on the dimensions of climate, resiliency and psychosocial adjustment on an individual and class level. These differences are confirmed so much from the analyses of data received from the teachers, as from the data received from the students.
For more information for the E.M.E.I.S. program click here