Skip Navigation
Funding Opportunities | Search Funded Research Grants and Contracts

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
Type: Development and Innovation Award Number: R305A150246
Description:

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

Purpose: In this project researchers developed and tested the BEST in CLASS—Elementary 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 model, which was developed and tested for efficacy with IES funding. The researchers modified BEST in CLASS-PK to incorporate practices appropriate for early elementary school classrooms and teachers. They also added a home-school partnership component to support communication and develop partnerships between teachers and parents to support students' behavioral needs at home as well as at school.

Project Activities: In Year 1, the researchers modified BEST in CLASS-PK training and coaching materials based on feedback from teachers and families. In Year 2, the researchers trained and coached teachers using this preliminary version of BEST in CLASS – Elementary, assessed any changes in teachers and students, and gathered feedback from teachers and families to learn more about the usability, feasibility, and promise of the model. In Year 3, the researchers conducted a pilot test of BEST in CLASS – Elementary by randomly assigning teachers to intervention or control groups to determine its promise for improving teacher practice, home-school partnership, and behavior and academic performance for students with challenging behavior.

Key Outcomes: The key outcomes of this development and innovation project are –

  • A fully developed BEST in CLASS – Elementary model for training and coaching K to 3 teachers to support their students with challenging classroom behavior. The researchers used a systematic review process and iterative development with stakeholders to adapt content for training and coaching teachers from the BEST in CLASS-PK model. BEST in CLASS – Elementary also includes materials to support home-school communication. The researchers received an IES grant to test the efficacy of this elementary model in 2018.
  • Information about the usability, feasibility, fidelity, and promise of the BEST in CLASS-Elementary model for improving teacher practices that support the behavioral and academic outcomes of students with challenging classroom behavior. In the pilot RCT, students with challenging behavior whose teachers received BEST in CLASS training and coaching had fewer problem behaviors than similar students in the comparison classrooms by the end of the school year. However, there were no differences in reading and math outcomes between the two groups.

Structured Abstract

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

Sample: The participants in this study were kindergarten, first, second, and third grade teachers (26 in Year 1, 8 in Year 2, and 26 in Year 3), students in these teachers' classrooms identified through a two-stage screening process (14 in Year 2, 45 in Year 3), and families of these students (7 in Year 1, 14 in Year 2, and 45 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 modified the original BEST in CLASS preschool model. BEST in CLASS – 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 was 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 modified BEST in CLASS – PK training and coaching materials based on focus groups and interviews with teachers and interviews with families. They also revised BEST in CLASS fidelity measures. In Year 2, the researchers trained and coached teachers using this preliminary version of BEST in CLASS – Elementary and conducted focus groups with these teachers and interviewed families to learn more about the usability and feasibility of the model. Student and teacher outcomes were assessed at baseline, post-intervention, and approximately one-month post-intervention. The researchers used feedback from teachers and families and teacher and student outcome data to inform revisions to the model. In Year 3, the researchers randomly assigned teachers to BEST in CLASS – Elementary 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 continued to conduct typical practices.

Key Measures: The researchers screened 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, second, and third grade students). The researchers measured student academic achievement (the Woodcock-Johnson III Brief Battery) and student behavior and social skills (the Social Skills Improvement System Rating Scales). They measured the quality of the teacher-student relationship using the Student Teacher Relationship Scale and the Classroom Assessment Scoring System. They assessed teacher outcomes using the Teachers' Sense of Self-Efficacy Scale. They measured home-school communication and partnerships using the Parent-Teacher Involvement Questionnaire and the Parent Involvement in Children's Education Scale. The researchers also collected 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 used a constant-comparative approach to analyze the focus group and interview data to identify emerging patterns and themes. In Year 2, the researchers calculated descriptive statistics and used repeated measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) to identify any changes in teacher and student outcomes from baseline to post-intervention. They also used ANOVA to test for any interactions or differential effects among the model components or based on teacher or parent variables. The researchers used analysis of covariance to investigate the relationship between fidelity of implementation and outcomes. The researchers used chi-square tests of significance for categorical data. In Year 3, the researchers conducted a mixed-model analysis of covariance to examine interaction and main effects in the pilot study.

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

Related IES Projects: Promoting Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Competence in Young High-Risk Children: A Preventative Classroom-Based Early Intervention Model (R324A080074), Efficacy of the BEST in CLASS Intervention for Young Children at High Risk for Emotional and Behavioral Disorders (R324A110173), BEST in CLASS-Web: A Web-Based Intervention Supporting Early Childhood Teachers' Use of Evidence-Based Practices with Young Children at Risk for Emotional/Behavioral Disorders (R324A160158), A Conceptual Replication of BEST in CLASS: An Efficacy Study of BEST in CLASS-Elementary (R305A180182)

Publications and Products

Book chapter

Conroy, M. A., McKnight, K., and Sutherland, K. S. (2019). Partnering with families of students at risk for emotional and behavioral disorders. In L. Lo and Y. Xu (Eds.), Family, School and Community Partnerships for Individuals with Disabilities. (pp. 57-69) New York: Springer.

Sutherland, K. S., Conroy, M. A., and Granger, K. (2020). BEST in CLASS: A Tier-2 program for children with and at-risk for emotional/behavioral disorders. In T. Farmer, M. Conroy, E. Farmer, and K. Sutherland (Eds.), Handbook of Research on Emotional and Behavioral Disorders: Interdisciplinary Developmental Perspectives on Children and Youth. (pp. 214-227)New York: Routledge/Taylor & Francis.

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.

Granger, K. L., Sutherland, K. S., Conroy, M. A., Hetrick, A. A., and Parnell, E. (2020). Barriers and Facilitators to Implementation of BEST in CLASS. Exceptionality, 28(3), 209–221. https://doi.org/10.1080/09362835.2020.1727335

Nemer, S. L., Sutherland, K. S., Chow, J. C., and Kunemund, R. L. (2019). A Systematic Literature Review Identifying Dimensions of Teacher Attributions for Challenging Student Behavior. Education and Treatment of Children, 42 (4), 557-578.

Sutherland, K. S., Conroy, M. A., McLeod, B. D., Granger, K., Nemer, S. L., Kunemund, R. L., Johnson, A., and Miles, C. (2019). Adapting an evidence-based early childhood tier 2 program for early elementary school. Elementary School Journal, 119, 542-561.  https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/10.1086/703103

Sutherland, K. S., Conroy, M. A., McLeod, B. D., Kunemund, R., and McKnight, K. (2019). Common practice elements for improving social, emotional and behavioral outcomes of young elementary school students. Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, 27, 76-85. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1063426618784009

Sutherland, K. S., Conroy, M. A., McLeod, B. D., Granger, K., Broda, M., & Kunemund, R. (2020). Preliminary study of the effects of BEST in CLASS–Elementary on outcomes of elementary students with problem behavior. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 22(4), 220-233.http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1098300719900318.


Back