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IES Grant

Title: Team-Initiated Problem Solving for Improved Student Outcome
Center: NCSER Year: 2012
Principal Investigator: Horner, Robert Awardee: University of Oregon
Program: Social and Behavioral Outcomes to Support Learning      [Program Details]
Award Period: 03/1/2012-02/29/2016 Award Amount: $2,523,998
Goal: Efficacy and Replication Award Number: R324A120041

Co-Principal Investigator: Bob Algozzine (University of North Carolina at Charlotte)

Purpose: Schoolwide Positive Behavior Support (SWPBS) is a frequently used systems-level intervention that involves school teams to actively engage in assessment, decision-making, and implementation of behavior supports. Problem solving is an ongoing activity used by school teams in which problems are identified and solutions are developed. Improvement in the academic and behavioral outcomes of schools' students will require both appropriate data management systems and practical procedures for using data in daily problem solving. The Direct Observation Recording and Analysis tool, a direct observation measure of school team's problem-solving processes, and Team-Initiated Problem Solving (TIPS), a training and coaching model for teaching school teams to use behavioral and academic progress-monitoring data to define and solve problems, were developed with IES funding. TIPS has demonstrated feasibility of implementation by school teams as well as promise for improving student outcomes, but the efficacy of the intervention has not yet been tested. The purpose of this efficacy grant is to determine the extent to which TIPS procedures change how school teams identify problems and build solutions, the extent to which the faculty in a school implements those solutions, and the resulting impact on student academic and behavioral outcomes.

Project activities: In Phase I of the research, SWPBS elementary school teams will participate in activities to validate and improve the Plan Implementation Measure, which is a measure for assessing the level with which team solutions are implemented by school faculty. During Phase II of the research, elementary school teams will be recruited and randomly assigned to either the immediate TIPS intervention condition or wait-list control condition. Multiple measures will be used to assess student behavioral and academic outcomes. Researchers will also examine factors that mediate and moderate the effects of TIPS on student outcomes. Phase III of the research involves revising TIPS training materials for use by state and district trainers.

Products: The products of this project include evidence of the efficacy of the TIPS intervention, published reports, and presentations.

Structured Abstract

Setting: The research will take place in elementary schools in Oregon and North Carolina.

Sample: A total of 50 elementary school Positive Behavior Interventions and Support (PBIS) Teams will participate in this research. A total of 10 teams will be involved in Phase I research (validation of the Plan Implementation Measure) and 40 teams will be involved in Phase II research, the randomized trial of TIPS.

Intervention: The TIPS intervention includes: (a) access to useful school data (academic and/or behavioral student data), (b) a 6-hour professional development workshop for the school team, and (c) two post-training "coached" team meetings. School teams need the organizational authority, time, data sources, and internal problem-solving procedures to be effective. The TIPS training involves team orientation to core problem-solving foundations and practices including:

  1. the roles, scheduling, and recording format for an effective meeting;
  2. the process for defining academic and/or behavior problems with precision;
  3. the development of action plans that draw from existing research yet tailor practices to fit the local context; and
  4. the implementation, assessment, and adaptation of action-planning solutions.

The logic guiding all elements of the TIPS approach is that problem solving that includes (a) objective data about the context, behavior, and outcomes, coupled with (b) formal procedures for using data for problem solving, will result in solutions that are more likely to be implemented and more likely to benefit students (socially and academically).

Research Design and Methods: This study will utilize a randomized wait-list-controlled trial where school teams serve as the unit of randomization. Teams will be randomly assigned to the TIPS intervention or to a services-as-usual wait-list control. The immediate and short-term (i.e., 6 months following TIPS training) effects of TIPS will be evaluated.

Control Condition: Teams in the wait-list comparison group will continue using procedures typically used by school teams.

Key Measures: The researchers will use the Decision Observation Recording and Analysis (DORA) instrument to measure the fidelity with which a school team implements the TIPS problem-solving processes. The Plan Implementation Measure (PIM) will be used to measure the fidelity with which PBIS Team members implement the solutions the team generated. Student behavioral outcomes will be assessed by examining Office Discipline Referral data and student academic outcomes will be assessed by examining Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS) scores. The research team will also collect permanent product data related to specific behavioral/academic goals (e.g., attendance, assignment completion). School team staff will also rate the perceived impact of each solution on student outcomes.

Data Analytic Strategy: Descriptive summaries and inferential comparisons will be used to describe and compare pretest, posttest, and follow-up scores for all dependent variables (e.g., DORA scores, PIM scores, academic and social behavior indicators) across treatment and control groups. Repeated measures analysis of variance will be used to assess the impact of TIPS training on teams' use of problem-solving processes and improvement in teams' implementation of their selected solution actions. Cohen's d (standardized mean difference effect size), and effect size confidence intervals will be reported for all dependent measures.

Related IES Projects: Enhancing Data-based Decision-Making in Schools (R324A070226)


Book chapter

Newton, J.S., Todd, A.W., Algozzine, B., Algozzine, K., Horner, R.H., and Cusumano, D.L. (2014). Supporting Team Problem Solving in Inclusive Schools. In J. McLeskey, N.L. Waldron, F. Spooner, and B. Algozzine (Eds.), Handbook of Effective Inclusive Schools: Research and Practice (pp. 275–291). New York: Routledge.

Book chapter, edition specified

Todd, A., Algozzine, B., Horner, R., and Algozzine K. (in press). Data-Based Decision-Making. In C. Reynolds, K. Vannest, and E. Fletcher-Janzen (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Special Education: A Reference for the Education of Children, Adolescents, and Adults With Disabilities and Other Exceptional Individuals (4th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons.

Journal article, monograph, or newsletter

Algozzine, B., Horner, R. H., Todd, A. W., Newton, J. S., Algozzine, K., and Cusumano, D. (2016). Measuring the Process and Outcomes of Team Problem Solving. Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment, 34(3): 211–229. doi:10.1177/0734282915592535 Full text

Algozzine, B., Horner, R.H., Todd, A.W., Newton, J.S., Algozzine, K., and Cusumano, D. (2015). Measuring the Process and Outcomes of Team Problem Solving. Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment, 34(3): 211–229. doi:10.1177/0734282915592535

Horner, R., Newton, J.S., Todd, A., Algozzine, B., Algozzine, K., Cusumano, D., & Preston, A.I. (in press). A randomized wait-list controlled analysis of team problem solving. Behavior Disorders.

Todd, A. W., Algozzine, B., Horner, R. H., Preston, A. I., Cusumano, D., & Algozzine, K.(in press). A descriptive study of school-based problem solving. Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders.