The current study evaluates the impact of the ASSET Education (ASSET) curriculum on students in three Denver high schools. Implemented in the 2017-18 school year, ASSET is a curriculum of 30 lesson plans to teach anxiety-mitigation tools. From student surveys and interviews, calls with teachers, and classroom observations, we learned that:
- Teachers generally implemented ASSET with fidelity. They added to the curriculum to provide students with more options and increase student engagement.
- 81% of students wanted their other classes to incorporate ASSET tools into their curriculum. Students believed that ASSET was helpful for handling stress and that other students would benefit from ASSET.
- Students most often used the ASSET tools in school before tests and presentations.
- Students also used the tools at home, with many using them to relax before going to sleep.
- Students reported specific benefits of using ASSET:
- 60% of students reported lower stress levels.
- 44% of students reported an increase in mindfulness.
- 44% of students showed an increase in use of cognitive reappraisal.
- 55% showed a decrease in expressive suppression.
- Teachers reported that directly after using ASSET, students were calmer, more focused, and more attentive in class. Teachers enjoyed the opportunity to discuss mental wellness with their students and support them with tangible tools.
Overall, ASSET successfully provided students with ways to cope with stress. Students indicated that they found the program helpful, with 82% recommending that their school continue to use ASSET.