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IES Grant

Title: Exploring Alterable Variables in Tier 1 and Tier 2 Instruction: A Collaboration Across Interdisciplinary Fields of Observational Research (Project CIFOR)
Center: NCER Year: 2015
Principal Investigator: Doabler, Christian Awardee: University of Oregon
Program: Teaching, Teachers, and the Education Workforce      [Program Details]
Award Period: 2 years (7/1/2015-6/30/2017) Award Amount: $699,905
Type: Exploration Award Number: R305A150037

Co-Principal Investigator: Nelson, Nancy; Stoolmiller, Michael; Baker, Scott K.

Purpose: This project will examine data from four prior IES-funded projects to determine the malleable variables in classroom instruction that are associated with improvements in student achievement in reading and mathematics. There is little research on the evidence-based practices that teachers can use when working in multiple content areas with a range of learners who have varying levels of achievement. In recent years, direct observation has become a primary measurement tactic in identifying the factors that underlie effective teaching practice. The use of classroom observation data from four large, complex datasets and sophisticated statistical modeling strategies will allow the researchers to:

  1. identify features of effective reading and mathematics instruction that can be incorporated into the design of reading and math interventions;
  2. generate evidence for improving professional development for teachers; and
  3. contribute to the development and use of classroom observation measures that document the types of variables that correlate with student and teacher performance outcomes.

Project Activities: The four datasets to be used in this study contain classroom observation data, student reading and mathematics achievement data, and contextual information related to schools, teachers, classrooms, and students. The researchers will test associations between quantity of instruction, rate of instructional interactions, and classroom quality (as measured through coded classroom observations) and student performance to identify the most promising strategies for particular student needs. The research team will obtain feedback from a technical working group regarding the theory of change, analyses, and interpretation of the findings, and will disseminate findings widely to both educators and researchers.

Products: Researchers will provide preliminary evidence of promising instructional practices to improve student achievement in reading and mathematics. Researchers will use the University of Oregon's Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) Data System (CDS) to disseminate project findings to educators in more than 15,000 schools. In addition, researchers will produce peer reviewed publications.

Structured Abstract

Setting: Archived data to be analyzed in this study are housed at CTL. The data were collected over the course of four previous IES grants (Project ECRI: Enhancing Core Reading Instruction in First Grade, Early Learning in Mathematics: Efficacy in Kindergarten Classrooms, Reading Intervention with Spanish-Speaking Students: Maximizing Instructional Effectiveness in English and Spanish, and Middle School Intervention Project (MSIP)) from elementary and middle school classrooms in urban, suburban, and rural areas in four states. Participating classrooms contained high concentrations of students from economically and educationally disadvantaged backgrounds.

Sample: The sample consists of 1,414 early elementary (kindergarten, 1st, 2nd) and late elementary / middle school (6th, 7th, 8th) classrooms from 178 schools, and approximately 16,000 elementary and middle school students. Students include those on track for academic success and those at risk for academic difficulty. Participating students were also ethnically and linguistically diverse.

Intervention: Researchers will test how the relationships between quantity of instruction, rate of instructional interactions, and classroom quality on student reading and mathematics achievement vary across content areas, grade levels, instructional formats, and language of instruction.

Research Design and Methods: Researchers will develop a standardized structure for the four datasets and then test a series of hypothesized models that include moderators and mediators to identify malleable variables. This study will extend the results of the well-known Gates Foundation supported Measures of Effective Teaching (MET) study by (a) including incidence rates of key instructional interactions in addition to global ratings, and (b) examining how effective classroom instruction translates into increased achievement for different types of students.

Control Condition: There is no comparison group for this study of statistical associations.

Key Measures: The two primary instruments used in all four of the studies are the Classroom Observations of Student-Teacher Interactions (COSTI) and Ratings of Classroom Management and Instructional Support (RCMIS). Outcomes are student scores collected across the four studies on various mathematics, literacy, and English language achievement tests (SAT-10, DIBELS, TIMA-3, EN-CBM, OAKS-R, PRF, and Aprenda-3). Other student and classroom characteristics will also be included in the statistical models.

Data Analytic Strategy: This study uses secondary analyses of data from four randomized control trials. Researchers will use multi-level structural equation modeling of the association of instructional quantity and quality on student achievement, net of prior achievement, regardless of intervention group status.

Related IES Projects: Project ECRI: Enhancing Core Reading Instruction in First Grade (R324A090104), Early Learning in Mathematics: Efficacy in Kindergarten Classrooms (R305A080699), Reading Intervention with Spanish-Speaking Students: Maximizing Instructional Effectiveness in English and Spanish (R305B077307), Middle School Intervention Project (MSIP) (R305E100043)

Products and Publications

Journal article, monograph, or newsletter

Doabler, C.T., Clarke, B., Stoolmiller, M., Kosty, D., Fien, F., Smolkowski, K., and Baker, S.K. (2016). Explicit Instructional Interactions: Exploring the Black Box of a Tier 2 Mathematics Intervention . Remedial and Special Education, 38(2): 98–110.

Doabler, C. T., Nelson, N. J., Kennedy, P. C., Stoolmiller, M., Fien, H., Clarke, B., ... & Baker, S. K. (2018). Investigating the Longitudinal Effects of a Core Mathematics Program on Evidence–Based Teaching Practices in Mathematics. Learning Disability Quarterly.

Doabler, C. T., Stoolmiller, M., Kennedy, P. C., Nelson, N. J., Clarke, B., Gearin, B., ... & Baker, S. K. (2018). Do Components of Explicit Instruction Explain the Differential Effectiveness of a Core Mathematics Program for Kindergarten Students With Mathematics Difficulties?: A Mediated Moderation Analysis.