Skip Navigation
Funding Opportunities | Search Funded Research Grants and Contracts

IES Grant

Title: An Experimental Study of the Effectiveness of Instructional Consultation Teams
Center: NCER Year: 2005
Principal Investigator: Rosenfield, Sylvia Awardee: University of Maryland, College Park
Program: Field Initiated Evaluations of Education Innovations      [Program Details]
Award Period: 5 years (6/1/2005-5/31/2010) Award Amount: $1,869,878
Type: Efficacy and Replication Award Number: R305F050051

Purpose: At the time of this project, a growing number of K–12 students, including a disproportionate share of minority students, were referred for and received special education services which may have included the use of team-based services. In this project, the researchers aimed to assess instructional consultation (IC) teams, a team-based service delivered to all elementary children. IC teams were problem-solving teams with special training who consult with teachers on instructional content and discipline issues. The IC teams aimed to reduce the need for special education evaluation and placement by supporting classroom teachers' application of evidence-based instruction and assessment to support struggling learners. At the end of the project, researchers anticipated that the results would show whether instructional consultation teams in one large district improved elementary school students' achievement in mathematics and reading, reduced problem behavior, reduced the assignment of students to special education, and reduced retention in grade.

Structured Abstract


Setting: The study takes place at 34 elementary schools (grades K–5) in the Prince William County, Virginia Public Schools. This county is an urban-suburban-rural county system of diverse ethnicity and socioeconomic composition.

Sample: Each of the 22,000 grade K–5 students and 1,000 teachers in the elementary schools is asked to participate in the study. As many as an additional 200 other adult participants who are part of IC teams, including school psychologists, counselors, and administrators, are asked to participate.

Intervention: The use of IC teams is an intervention designed to improve the success of children in general education environments, reduce special services referrals, and increase the appropriateness of referrals for special services. The intervention is a complex package characterized by an interdisciplinary team that assists teachers through a collaborative problem-solving process. The team members receive a 4-day training in critical skills and evidence-based practices to enhance teacher competence in addressing academic and behavior concerns in struggling learners. There is additional training through extensive on-line coaching that will review tapes of each case. IC teams have been implemented in 175 schools in 7 states and have shown some preliminary evidence of promise.

Research Design and Methods: The study includes 34 elementary schools (grades K–5) that are randomly assigned to the treatment and control conditions. Schools are matched on demographic characteristics prior to random assignment.

Control Condition: The control schools continue their usual teacher support structures.

Key Measures: The primary student outcomes will include the state standardized achievement test in grades 3–5 (Virginia State Standards of Learning), the district's Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening for grades K–3, special education referral and placement rates from school records, grade promotion, and measures of student psychosocial development based on teacher ratings. The teacher survey will include self-reported changes in teacher classroom behavior, instruction, management, and well-developed measures of efficacy, job-related stress, and job-related satisfaction. Implementation fidelity in treatment schools will use measures developed previously, including interviews with teachers and team members, documentation of cases handled by the team, and teacher surveys.

Data Analytic Strategy: The statistical analysis will involve multilevel structural equation modeling to examine the impact of IC teams on student outcomes including achievement in mathematics and reading, special education status, retention in grade, and psycho-social adjustment. In addition, the analysis will examine the impact of the IC teams on teacher efficacy, teacher stress, and teacher job satisfaction. The researchers will also examine whether program impacts vary with program implementation, student characteristics, teachers' sense of efficacy, and teachers' commitment to the intervention.

Products and Publications

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


Rosenfield, S., and Berninger, V. W. (2009). Implementing Evidence–Based Academic Interventions in School Settings. Oxford University Press.

Book chapter

Nelson, D., Aux, K., Neall, M. T., & Gravois, T. A. (2009). Implementation of Instructional Consultation Teams. In Rosenfield, S., and Berninger, V.W.(Eds.), Implementing Evidence–Based Academic Interventions in School Settings (pp: 367). Oxford University Press.

Journal articles

Berger, J., Yiu, H. L., Nelson, D., Vaganek, M., Rosenfield, S., Gravois, T., Gottfredson, G., Vu, P., Shanahan, K., and. Hong, V. (2014). Teacher Utilization of Instructional Consultation Teams. Journal of Educational and Psychological Consultation, 24(3): 211–238.

Rocque, M. (2010). Office Discipline and Student Behavior: Does Race Matter?. American Journal of Education, 116(4): 557–581.

Rocque, M., and Paternoster, R. (2011). Understanding the Antecedents of the "School–to–Jail" Link: The Relationship Between Race and School Discipline. The Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, 101(2): 633–665.

Vu, P., Shanahan, K.B., Rosenfield, S., Gravois, T., Koehler, J., Kaiser, L., Bergera, J., Vaganeka, M., Gottfredsona, G.D., and Nelson, D. (2013). Experimental Evaluation of Instructional Consultation Teams on Teacher Beliefs and Practices. International Journal of School & Educational Psychology, 1(2): 67–81.

Yiu, H.L.E. (2013). The Influence of Student–Teacher Racial Match on Student–Teacher Closeness: A Focus on Asian and Asian American Students. Asian American Journal of Psychology, 4(2), 126.