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IES Grant

Title: BEST in CLASS-Elementary: A Preventative Classroom-based Intervention Model
Center: NCER Year: 2015
Principal Investigator: Sutherland, Kevin Awardee: Virginia Commonwealth University
Program: Social and Behavioral Context for Academic Learning      [Program Details]
Award Period: 3 years (7/1/2015-6/30/2018) Award Amount: $1,499,939
Goal: Development and Innovation Award Number: R305A150246
Description:

Co-Principal Investigator: Maureen Conroy (University of Florida)

Purpose: In this project researchers will develop and test the BEST in CLASS—Elementary (BiC-E) model for training and coaching early elementary school teachers to support the development of their students with challenging classroom behavior. The content of the training and coaching is based on the BEST in CLASS—Prekindergarten (BiC-PK) model, which has been developed and tested for efficacy with IES funding. The researchers will modify BiC-PK to incorporate practices appropriate for early elementary school classrooms and teachers. BiC-E will also incorporate a home-school component that supports communication between teachers and parents around academic needs and problem behavior to encourage parenting practices that are consistent with BiC-E.

Project Activities: In Year 1, the researchers will modify BiC-PK training and coaching materials based on feedback from teachers and families. In Year 2, the researchers will train and coach teachers using this preliminary version of BiC-E, assess any changes in teachers and students, and gather feedback from teachers and families to learn more about the usability, feasibility, and promise of the model. In Year 3, the researchers will conduct a pilot test of BiC-E by randomly assigning teachers to intervention or control groups to determine its promise for improving teacher practice, home-school communication, and behavior and academic performance for students with challenging behavior.

Products: Researchers will produce the BEST in CLASS—Elementary (BiC-E) model for training and coaching early elementary school teachers to support the development of their students with challenging classroom behavior. Researchers will also generate information about the social validity, usability, feasibility, fidelity, and promise of the BiC-E model for improving teacher practices that enhance home-school communication and support the behavioral and academic outcomes of students with challenging classroom behavior. In addition, the research team will produce peer-reviewed publications.

Project Website: http://education.ufl.edu/best-in-class/

Structured Abstract

Setting: This study will take place in an urban school district in Virginia.

Sample: The participants in this study will be kindergarten, first and second grade teachers (26 in Year 1, 10 in Year 2, and 30 in Year 3), students in these teachers' classrooms identified through a two-stage screening process (20 in Year 2, 60 in Year 3), and families of these students (5 in Year 1, 20 in Year 2, and 60 in Year 3).

Intervention: Recognizing that the needs of teachers and students in early elementary school classrooms are different from those in preschool, the researchers will modify the current BEST in CLASS model for preschool. BiC-PK aims to increase the quantity and quality of specific teacher behaviors with high-risk focal children to prevent and reduce problem behavior through training and coaching. Training consists of a six-hour workshop that uses didactic and interactive learning activities supported by video examples of and opportunities to practice behavior management strategies. Following the workshop, teachers receive a training manual and 14 weeks of practice-based coaching in the classroom. The current model for preschool teachers will be modified to address some of the ways that elementary schools typically differ from preschools: a stronger focus on academic achievement, more prior training and credentialing for teachers (e.g., Bachelors' versus Associates' degree), different expectations for behavior, and declines in parental involvement in school as children get older.

Research Design and Methods: In Year 1, the researchers will modify BiC-PK training and coaching materials based on focus groups and interviews with teachers and interviews with families. They will also revise BiC fidelity measures. In Year 2, the researchers will train and coach teachers using this preliminary version of BiC-E, and conduct focus groups with these teachers and interview families to learn more about the usability and feasibility of the model. Student and teacher outcomes will be assessed at baseline, post-intervention, and approximately one month post-intervention. Feedback from teachers and families and teacher and student outcome data will be used to inform revisions to the model. In Year 3, the researchers will randomly assign teachers to BiC-E or a control group to determine its promise for improving teacher practice, home-school communication, and behavior and academic performance for students with challenging behavior.

Control Condition: Teachers randomly assigned to the control group will continue to conduct typical practices.

Key Measures: The researchers will screen students to identify those with the most problematic behavior in teachers' classrooms (the Early Screening Project first stage measure for kindergarten students or the first stage of the Systematic Screening for Behavior Disorders for first and second grade students). The researchers will measure student academic achievement (the Woodcock-Johnson III Brief Battery), executive function (cognitive performance tasks such as peg tapping and backward word span), behavior (Teacher-Child Interactions Direct Observation System) and social skills (the Social Skills Improvement System Rating Scales, the Child Behavior Checklist Teacher Report Form). They will measure the quality of the teacher-student relationship using the Student Teacher Relationship Scale and the Classroom Assessment Scoring System. They will assess teacher outcomes using the Teachers' Sense of Self-Efficacy Scale and the Teacher-Child Interactions Direct Observation System. They will measure home-school communication using the Parent-Teacher Involvement Questionnaire and the Parent Involvement in Children's Education Scale. The researchers will also collect process measures: coaches' perceptions of the relationship with the teacher (the Supervisor Working Alliance Inventory-Supervisor) and social validity of the training model from both teachers' and parents' perspectives using researcher-developed measures.

Data Analytic Strategy: In Years 1 and 2, the researchers will use a constant-comparative approach to analyze the focus group and interview data to identify emerging patterns and themes. In Year 2, the researchers will calculate descriptive statistics and use repeated measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) to identify any changes in teacher and student outcomes from baseline to post-intervention. They will also use ANOVA to test for any interactions or differential effects among the model components or based on teacher or parent variables. The researchers will use analysis of covariance to investigate the relationship between fidelity of implementation and outcomes. The researchers will use chi-square tests of significance for categorical data. In Year 3, the researchers will conduct a mixed-model analysis of covariance to examine interaction and main effects in the pilot study.

Related IES Projects: Promoting Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Competence in Young High-Risk Children: A Preventative Classroom-Based Early Intervention Model (R324A080074) and Efficacy of the BEST in CLASS Intervention for Young Children at High Risk for Emotional and Behavioral Disorders (R324A110173)

Publications

Book chapter

Sutherland, K.S., Farmer, T.W., Kunemund, R.L., and Sterrett, B.I. (2018). Learning, Behavioral, and Social Difficulties Within a Multi-Tiered System of Supports. In N.D. Youngh, K. Bonanno-Sotiropoulos, and T.A., Citro (Eds.), Paving the Pathway for Educational Success: Effective Classroom Strategies for Students with Learning Disabilities, (pp. 15–32). Rowman & Littlefield.

Journal article, monograph, or newsletter

Farmer, T. W., Sutherland, K. S., Talbott, E., Brooks, D. S., Norwalk, K., and Huneke, M. (2016). Special Educators as Intervention Specialists: Dynamic Systems and the Complexity of Intensifying Intervention for Students With Emotional and Behavioral Disorders. Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, 24(3), 173–186.


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