Do students’ academic abilities make a difference in the learning outcomes of a positive youth development program in Hong Kong?

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)415-422
Journal / PublicationInternational Journal on Disability and Human Development
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2018


The present study attempts to examine the effectiveness of the Project P.A.T.H.S., a positive youth development (PYD) program, among a specific sample of secondary students in Hong Kong, taking into consideration the context of academic ability grouping. The sample consists of 59 Secondary 1 students from six schools. For the evaluation of their developmental outcomes, eight focus group interviews were conducted to collect data. Interviews were conducted in their schools with the help of school social workers. Content analysis was employed to examine the project participants' perceived effectiveness of the program according to the experiential learning theory (1). Cohen's kappa statistic was used to check inter-judgmental agreement between two raters on the frequencies of five components of experiential learning. Statistics showed that there is very high agreement (k > 0.80) in the coding of experiential learning processes of participants. Separate Chi-square analyses showed significant relationships between academic ability grouping and abstract conceptualization (p < 0.001), action taken (p = 0.011), but not reflective observation or planned behavioral changes, an extra construct used in this study. The results, according to the developmental outcomes of this sample, have allowed us to identify the most significant impact related to the academic ability grouping and consider its implications for future program design and implementation.

Research Area(s)

  • Academic ability grouping, Experiential learning theory, Positive youth development, Project P.A.T.H.S, Psychosocial needs, Students

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Month information for this publication is provided by the author(s) concerned.

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