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Volume 10, Number 3
May/June 1994

Peer Mediation Catches On, But Some Adults Don't

 

One of the fastest-growing conflict resolution programs in schools is peer mediation, in which students are trained to mediate disputes between other students. There are now about 5,000 such programs in U.S. schools, up from just 100 five years ago, according to the National Association for Mediation in Education (NAME). Earlier this year California Attorney General Daniel Lungren praised peer mediation as one of the most effective means to deter violence in public schools.

As with other school-based conflict resolution programs, however, there is no credible research evidence that peer mediation is able to prevent serious violence. Most evaluations are based on anecdotal evidence or comparisons of suspension rates in which the actual relationship among mediation, suspensions, and violence is unclear. "To date, there has not been a controlled study using randomly selected and randomly assigned students," says Dan Kmitta, NAME's research and evaluation coordinator. Peer mediation programs often receive glowing testimonials, of course, from the people who design and run them.

This is an excerpt from the Harvard Education Letter. Subscribers can click here to continue reading this article.

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For Further Information

For Further Information

Child Development Project, Developmental Studies Center, 2000 Embarcadero, Oakland, CA 94606.

Children's Creative Response to Conflict Program, Box 271, Nyack, NY 10960.

Jo Ann Ezzo, Cleveland Mediation Center, 3000 Bridge Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44113; 216-771-7297.

National Association for Mediation in Education, 205 Hampshire House, Box 33635, Amherst, MA 01003-3635.