|Supporting Teachers' Implementation of Data-Based Instruction in Early Writing: An Efficacy Study
|University of Minnesota
|Reading, Writing, and Language [Program Details]
|4 years (9/1/2017-8/31/2021)
|Efficacy and Replication
Co-Principal Investigator: Erica Lembke (University of Missouri)
Purpose: The purpose of this study is to examine the efficacy of Data-Based Instruction: Tools, Learning and Collaborative Support (DBI-TLC), aimed at improving teachers' use of data to promote positive outcomes for children with intensive early writing needs. Although writing is critical to students' success in school and afterwards, little is known about effective ways to support teachers in improving outcomes of students who experience significant writing difficulties. Data-based instruction (DBI) provides a framework for teachers to individualize instruction and research suggests the use of DBI can improve student outcomes. However, teachers often need additional supports to use data effectively. The research team created DBI-TLC to support teachers in using data to individualize instruction and improve outcomes of students with intensive early writing needs. This project will use a randomized controlled trial to test its efficacy for improving teacher knowledge, skills, and self-efficacy related to DBI and subsequent student outcomes in early writing. The project will also shed light on the sustainability of DBI-TLC by gathering data to understand the extent to which teachers continue to use DBI when research support is withdrawn.
Project Activities: The researchers will test the efficacy of DBI-TLC with three cohorts of elementary special education and intervention teachers. Students in first through third grade with intensive early writing needs in the participating teachers' classes will also be identified for participation in the study. The researchers will randomly assign participating teachers within schools to receive DBI-TLC or to a business-as-usual control condition. DBI-TLC teachers will receive the intervention and implement DBI with the participating students for 20 weeks. Student and teacher data will be collected at baseline and immediately following the intervention. Observational and interview data will also be collected from teachers in the first two cohorts in the years after they receive the intervention (i.e., 2 years of follow-up data will be collected for Cohort 1, 1 year of follow-up data will be collected from Cohort 2, and no follow-up data will be collected from Cohort 3). Data will be analyzed to determine the efficacy of DBI-TLC on teacher and student outcomes, with additional analyses to understand teachers' experience with and sustainability of DBI.
Products: The products of this project will include evidence of the efficacy of DBI-TLC for improving teacher knowledge, skills, and self-efficacy related to DBI and students' early writing outcomes, as well as peer-reviewed publications and presentations.
Setting: This study will be conducted in approximately four public school districts in Minnesota and Missouri. Participating school districts include students from a wide range of socio-economic and cultural backgrounds in urban, suburban, and rural settings.
Sample: The project will involve approximately 140 elementary special education teachers and 280 of their students in first through third grade with intensive writing needs (two to three students per teacher).
Intervention: DBI-TLC is a professional development intervention that provides teachers with tools, learning modules, and collaborative support to implement DBI. DBI involves (1) establishing current levels of student performance and setting long-term goals; (2) implementing high-quality interventions to address individual needs and monitoring progress toward goals; (3) applying specific decision rules to determine whether to adjust instruction; (4) developing hypotheses about student needs and making changes based on those hypotheses; and (5) continuing this process to meet students' needs. The tools component of the intervention includes a DBI manual; curriculum-based measures (CBM) for early writing, including administration, scoring, and graphing guidelines; research-based early writing interventions, including lesson plans and materials; and decision-making tools, including diagnostic checklists and a decision-making rubric. In the learning component of the intervention, researchers will lead four face-to-face workshops with opportunities to learn and practice the DBI steps. Finally, the collaborative support component of the intervention consists of opportunities to engage with peers and DBI coaches to receive implementation assistance and problem-solving supports.
Research Design and Methods: The researchers will conduct a randomized controlled trial to determine the efficacy of the DBI-TLC intervention. Three cohorts of teachers will be randomly assigned to receive the DBI-TLC intervention or to a business-as-usual control group. Each year, students in the participating teachers' classrooms will be screened using a CBM for beginning writers and the lowest scoring two to three students for each teacher will be selected to participate in the study. Teachers assigned to receive DBI-TLC will participate in professional development and implement DBI with these students for 20 weeks. Student and teacher data will be collected at baseline and immediately following the intervention for all three cohorts of teachers to determine the efficacy of DBI-TLC for improving teacher and student outcomes and the potential moderating effect of teacher and student characteristics. Observational and interview data will also be collected from the first two cohorts of teachers after they receive the intervention to determine the extent to which they sustain DBI.
Control Condition: The business-as-usual control condition will receive their typical professional development activities and implement their typical writing instruction.
Key Measures: Students will be screened for eligibility using the CBM for beginning writers. Teacher outcome measures will include a combination of observational and self-report measures of teachers' DBI knowledge and skills, self-efficacy, DBI fidelity and dosage, and sustained use of DBI over time. Student outcomes will include performance on a standardized assessment of writing achievement, the Kaufman Test of Educational Achievement writing subtests. Observational data will also be collected on intervention and control teachers' overall writing instruction.
Data Analytic Strategy: The researchers will use hierarchical linear modeling with students nested within teachers to examine the impact of DBI-TLC on teacher and student outcomes. Analyses will also explore potential moderating effects of grade level, special education, and English Learner status and/or mediating effects of teacher knowledge and skills, self-efficacy, and implementation fidelity on student outcomes. The researchers will also conduct descriptive and qualitative analyses of the observational and interview data, including comprehensive descriptions and comparisons based on teachers' characteristics, writing instruction, fidelity of DBI, fidelity of DBI-TLC, and sustainability of DBI.
Related Projects: Supporting Teachers' Data-Based Instruction in Early Writing: Tools, Learning, and Collaborative Support (R324A130144)