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IES Grant

Title: Improving Classroom Learning Environments by Cultivating Awareness and Resilience in Education (CARE): A Cluster Randomized Controlled Efficacy Trial
Center: NCER Year: 2012
Principal Investigator: Jennings, Patricia Awardee: University of Virginia
Program: Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Context for Teaching and Learning      [Program Details]
Award Period: 4 years (03/01/2012 – 02/29/2016 Award Amount: $3,478,904
Type: Efficacy and Replication Award Number: R305A140692

Previous Award Number: R305A120180
Previous Awardee: Pennsylvania State University

Co-Principal Investigator: Greenberg, Mark

Purpose: This study was a test of the Cultivating Awareness and Resilience in Education (CARE) professional development program that was developed with funding from a previous IES Development award. CARE is designed to enhance teachers' capacity to provide a supportive and engaging context for social-emotional and academic learning. CARE provides emotion skills instruction, mindfulness/stress reduction practices, and caring and listening practices through group sessions and distance coaching. The purpose of this instruction is to enhance teachers' social and emotional competence, teaching efficacy, and mindfulness, resulting in better organized classrooms that provide both instructional and emotional support to students.

Project Activities: The researchers carried out a multi-site randomized trial intended to test the direct effects of the CARE program on teachers and classrooms as well as on students' behavior and academic achievement. This study explored whether the intervention is especially effective for teachers, classrooms and students at highest risk. The researchers also sought to determine whether CARE's expected effects on teachers and classrooms account for CARE's the expected distal effects on student outcomes.

Key Outcomes: The main findings of this study are as follows:

  • CARE increased teachers' social and emotional competence and the quality of their classroom interactions including a direct positive impact on teachers' adaptive emotion regulation, mindfulness, psychological distress, and time urgency, as well as on the emotional support domain of the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS; Jennings et al., 2017).

Structured Abstract

Setting: This study took place in 36 New York City public elementary schools.

Sample: Study participants included 224 teachers and 5200 students (kindergarten through fifth grade).

Intervention: The CARE program model is designed to promote and support teachers' social and emotional competencies and well-being. Following best practices in adult learning, CARE introduces material sequentially using a blend of didactic, experiential, and interactive learning processes. Over the school year, CARE involves 30 contact hours in a group setting presented as a series of five 6-hour sessions. Between sessions, teachers receive individualized phone coaching through two 30-minute calls over two weeks. In this efficacy study, the program was delivered by CARE co-developers and facilitators trained, supervised, and certified by the developers. Program content consists of (1) emotion skills instruction; (2) mindfulness/stress reduction practices to promote self-regulation of attention and non-judgmental awareness; and (3) caring and listening practices to promote empathy and compassion. Program materials included a CARE Facilitator's Manual, a Participant Workbook (including presented information, exercises, and homework activities), a Participant CD containing guided mindfulness and caring activities for home practice, and a series of Power Point slides that support the didactic portions of the program.

Research Design and Methods: The researchers used a 3-level (students, teachers, schools) multi-site cluster randomized design with treatment at level 2 (teachers) and schools as naturally occurring blocks. Teachers were randomized to CARE or a wait list control group (professional development as usual) within schools and by grade in two cohorts. Teachers and classrooms in each cohort of schools were assessed three times: twice in one school year (pre-intervention baseline in fall and post-intervention in spring) and once in the following year (a follow-up in fall). The researchers conducted direct assessments of students and collected school data (grades, test scores, disciplinary actions, absenteeism, and tardiness) twice in the first year (pre-intervention baseline in fall and post-intervention in spring). At the fall follow-up assessment, only student school data were collected.

Control Condition: Teachers in the control group received the professional development that was being offered at that time in the participating schools. These teachers were offered the CARE professional development program following the completion of the fall follow-up assessment.

Key Measures: Assessment involved teacher self-report questionnaires (the Teachers' Sense of Efficacy Scale, the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire, the Maslach Burnout Inventory), observational ratings of teachers and classrooms (the Classroom Assessment Scoring System), teacher reports on students (the Behavior Assessment System for Children), and student school records (test scores, disciplinary actions).

Data Analytic Strategy: The researchers combined and analyzed the data from the two cohorts using hierarchical linear modeling techniques to estimate the impact of treatment condition (CARE versus professional development as usual) on teacher and classroom proximal outcomes, hypothesized mediators, and on distal student level outcomes. The researchers also explored whether implementation fidelity (using propensity score analyses) and baseline risk (using an interaction term between the baseline covariate for each outcome and intervention status) moderated the impact of CARE. Finally, the researchers explored potential mediating effects of the intervention to determine whether CARE's proximal effects on teachers and classrooms account for CARE's distal effects on student outcomes using the most current multilevel mediation modeling techniques.

Cost Analysis: The researchers measured the cost of implementing CARE three times during the trial. Detailed budget information was used to identify the cost of resources associated with program implementation. Costs related to program facilitation, ancillary costs associated with providing the training, and opportunity costs associated with teachers' program participation were identified and estimates accounted for indirect costs. Costs associated with research activities were excluded.

Related IES Projects: Improving Classroom Learning Environments by Cultivating Awareness and Resilience in Education (CARE) (R305A090179); Cultivating Awareness and Resilience in Education (CARE) for Special Educators: Supporting Educator Capacity and Well-Being to Promote Positive Student Outcomes (R324R210020)

Products and Publications

ERIC Citations: Find available citations in ERIC for this award here and here.

Select Publications:

Ayturk, E., Cham, H., Jennings, P.A., and Brown, J.L. (2020). Exploring the Performance of Latent Moderated Structural Equations Approach for Ordered-Categorical Items. Structural Equation Modeling: A Multidisciplinary Journal, 3: 410–422.

Ayturk, E., Cham, H., Jennings, P. A., and Brown, J. L. (2020). Latent variable interactions with ordered-categorical indicators: Comparisons of unconstrained product indicator and latent moderated structural equation approaches. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 80(2): 262–292.

DeWeese, A., Jennings, P., Brown, J., Doyle, S., Davis, R., and Greenberg, M, (2017). Coding Semistructured Interviews: Examining Coaching Calls Within the CARE for Teachers Program.

Doyle, S. L., Brown, J.L., Rasheed, D., Jones, D. E., and Jennings, P. A. (2019). Cost Analysis of Ingredients for Successful Implementation of a Mindfulness-Based Professional Development Program for Teachers. Mindfulness, 10: 122–130.

Doyle, S. L., Jennings, P. A., Brown, J. L., Rasheed, D., DeWeese, a., Frank, J. L., Turksma, C., and Greenberg, M. T. (2019). Exploring Relationships Between CARE Program Fidelity, Quality, Participant Responsiveness, and Uptake of Mindfulness Practices. Mindfulness, 10: 841–853.

Elreda, L. M., Jennings, P. A., DeMauro, A. A., Mischenko, P. P., and Brown, J. LO. (2019). Positive Effects of Interpersonal Mindfulness for Teachers' Emotional Supportiveness in the Classroom. Mindfulness, 10: 537–546.

Jennings, P.A., and DeMauro, A.A. (2017). Individual-Level Interventions: Mindfulness-Based Approaches to Reducing Stress and Improving Performance Among Teachers. In T. McIntyre, S. McIntyre, and D. Francis (Eds.), Educator Stress (pp. 319–346). Springer, Cham.

Jennings, P.A., Brown, J.L., Frank, J.L., Doyle, S., Oh, Y., Davis, R., Rasheed, D., DeWeese, A., DeMauro, A.A., Cham, H. and Greenberg, M.T. (2017). Impacts of the CARE for Teachers Program on Teachers' Social and Emotional Competence and Classroom Interactions. Journal of Educational Psychology, 109(7): 1010–1028.

Jennings, P. A., Doyle, S., Oh, Y., Rasheed, D., Frank, J.L., and Brown, J. L. (2019). Long-Term Impacts of the CARE Program on Teachers' Self-Reported Social and Emotional Competence and Well-Being. Journal of School Psychology, 76: 186–202.

Rasheed, D. S., Brown, J. L., Doyle, S. L., and Jennings, P. A. (2020). The Effect of Teacher-child Race/Ethnicity Matching and classroom Diversity on children's Socioemotional and Academic Skills. Child Development, 91(3): e597-e618.

Schussler, D. L., DeWeese, A., Rasheed, D., DeMauro, A. A., Doyle, S. L., Brown, J. L., Greenberg, M.T., and Jennings, P. A. (2019) The Relationship Between Adopting Mindfulness Practice and Reperceiving: A Qualitative Investigation of CARE for Teachers. Mindfulness, 10: 2567–2582.

Schussler, D.L., Greenberg, M.T., DeWeese, A., Rasheed, D., DeMauro, A., Jennings, P.A., and Brown, J.L. (2018). Stress and Release: Case Studies of Teacher Resilience Following a Mindfulness-Based Intervention. American Journal of Education, 125(1): 1–28.