Abstract: Promoting School Safety through Innovative Student Data Capture Techniques (Society for Prevention Research 27th Annual Meeting)

126 Promoting School Safety through Innovative Student Data Capture Techniques

Wednesday, May 29, 2019
Pacific A (Hyatt Regency San Francisco)
* noted as presenting author
Claudia Vincent, PhD, Senior Research Assistant, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR
Heather H. McClure, PhD, Associate Director, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR
Hill Walker, PhD, Co-Principal Investigator, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR
Dorothy Espelage, PhD, Professor, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
Charles R. Martinez, PhD, Director, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR
Chris Murray, PhD, Professor, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR
Jennifer Heinhorst, EdD, Project Manager, University of Florida, Gainsville, FL
Alberto Valido, BS, Projects Coordinator, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
Rita Svanks, MBA, Research Assistant, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR
Marquez Brion, MA, Senior Researcher, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR
Introduction: For decades, concern about school safety has driven demand for innovative school-based preventive interventions. Existing intervention approaches tend to focus primarily on adults as interventionists. Students tend to be minimally involved or passive recipients of these intervention practices. Unfortunately, research indicates that teachers’ perceptions of safety concerns tend to differ from those of students, with teachers tending to underestimate the frequency of safety threats. At the same time, research indicates that students represent an important voice in promoting school safety, because they have access to critical knowledge that adults might not be aware of and that might prevent violent behavior. Research also indicates that students rarely share this critical information about safety threats with adults because of concerns about confidentiality and fear of negative consequences within existing discipline policies. One response—statewide tip lines—remains underused and the collection of anonymous data precludes the use of data by local school staff to promote student safety. We present findings of our study to develop a technological approach for the successful capture of actionable data to maintain student safety.

Methods: Based on extant research and focus group research, we designed the mobile Advocatr app for high school students to report confidential concerns related to school safety. The reporting tool is supported by nine instructional activities delivered by classroom teachers and by “Did-You-Know” informational briefs to increase understanding of and engagement with the app. We then conducted user acceptance tests on the app’s usability with students, school staff and parents in one school each in the Pacific Northwest and the Midwest.

Results: Feedback indicated widespread support for the technology/user interface and content of the Advocatr app, along with a lack of certainty about whether the app was compatible with schools’ cell phone policies. Geographic differences (Pacific Northwest vs. Midwest) were detected in user acceptance reports, with particularly stark differences among school staff.

Conclusions: Findings from user acceptance tests provided early indications that the Advocatr app would be used by students to report concerns relevant to school safety. However, many questions remain regarding this app’s ongoing capture of potentially sensitive data. In light of early findings from feasibility testing, we address potential factors in student reporting of safety concerns, including the efficient management of student reported data and identification of critical information, administrator responsiveness, teachers’ social-emotional competence and ability to forge positive relationships, and procedural and compliance issues (i.e., with existing discipline practices).