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IES Grant

Title: Consistency Management & Cooperative Discipline (CMCD): An Efficacy Trial with Students in Third and Fourth Grade Urban Schools
Center: NCER Year: 2014
Principal Investigator: Freiberg, Jerome Awardee: University of Houston
Program: Social and Behavioral Context for Academic Learning      [Program Details]
Award Period: 4 Years (7/1/2014-6/30/2018) Award Amount: $3,496,854
Type: Efficacy and Replication Award Number: R305A140493

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to test the efficacy of the Consistency Management & Cooperative Discipline (CMCD) teacher professional development and coaching program for improving student behavior and academic achievement in third and fourth grade. The management of classrooms impacts how all teachers — from neophytes to veterans — teach and engage their learners. CMCD is a widely used classroom management program based on sharing responsibility for learning and classroom organization. This shared responsibility by teachers and students is intended to increase teachers' capacity to manage classroom behavior, teach effectively, and spend more time on instruction, which in turn should decrease student office discipline referrals and increase student learning. In a quasi-experimental study, CMCD improved reading and math achievement for upper elementary students over a two-year period.

Project Activities: Researchers randomly assigned 30 schools to implement CMCD in their third and fourth grade classrooms or to wait two years before implementing CMCD (wait-list control group) to address four research aims.

  • Can CMCD improve classroom behavior and student academic achievement in third and fourth grade?
  • What student and teacher factors mediate the impact of CMCD on student outcomes? Student engagement in learning tasks, student distracting behaviors, quality of student teacher interactions, teacher effectiveness, and teacher time on task were hypothesized to mediate the impact of CMCD on student outcomes.
  • Do student gender, student mobility, teacher change readiness, or teacher experience inhibit or enhance the effects of CMCD on student outcomes?
  • Do teachers continue to implement CMCD principles and methods after 2 years of training and coaching has ended?

Key Outcomes: Information about key outcomes and study findings will be reported when peer reviewed publications are available.

Structured Abstract

Setting: The study was conducted in a large urban school district in Texas.

Sample: Across 29 elementary schools, 879 third and fourth grade teachers and their students participated over four years (19,417 students in third grade and 18,768 students in fourth grade). Seventy-five percent of the students were Hispanic; 21 percent African American; and 4 percent White, Asian, and Other; 87 percent qualified for free/reduced lunch, and 65 percent were designated as at-risk by the district.

Intervention: Consistency Management & Cooperative Discipline (CMCD) is a professional development and coaching program designed to help teachers manage classroom behavior and support student learning. Prior research indicates CMCD may be effective with elementary teachers serving students from diverse economic and cultural backgrounds. CMCD fosters student self-discipline and personal responsibility by 1) forging positive teacher-student relationships, 2) creating organized learning environments, 3) improving instruction, and 4) cooperatively establishing classroom discipline procedures. Teachers receive a comprehensive set of Behavioral, Instructional, and Organizational (BIO) management strategies to improve classroom climate and empower student ownership of the management plan in place in the classroom. CMCD strategies are introduced to teachers through professional development and coaching over a two-year period. CMCD coaches support teachers as they learn to share classroom responsibilities with students; subsequently, student responsibility is encouraged to evolve into self-disciplined learning and behavior.

Research Design and Methods: The researchers randomly assigned 30 elementary schools1 within a single school district to treatment (15 schools) or control (15 schools) conditions at the onset of Year 1. In Years 1 and 2, all third and fourth grade teachers in the treatment schools implemented the CMCD program with full support, while the control group continued with typical practice. In Years 3 and 4, the researchers stopped providing CMCD support in the treatment group to determine the degree to which schools sustained implementation fidelity and potential program impact for one and two years following CMCD support.

Control Condition: The third and fourth grade classrooms in the control schools maintained existing classroom management strategies in Years 1 and 2 and then received CMCD training and coaching in Years 3 and 4.

Key Measures: The researchers used structured observation tools (fidelity measures, the Time-on-Task protocol, and the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS)), the Readiness for Organizational Change teacher survey, standardized assessments in reading and math (Iowa Test of Basic Skills and the State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness - STAAR exams), the Delaware School Climate Survey – DSCS-Student, and data common to Texas public schools (teacher experience, student gender, attendance, office disciplinary referrals, and mobility).

Data Analytic Strategy: To assess the effect of the CMCD program on outcome variables, appropriate multi-level modeling methods are being used with hypothesized mediators and moderators entered as covariates in the statistical models.

Project Website:

1 29 schools completed the study. One school randomly assigned to the treatment group withdrew from the study during the first year of implementation due to state intervention.