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IES Grant

Title: Identifying Discrete and Malleable Indicators of Culturally Responsive Instruction and Discipline
Center: NCER Year: 2018
Principal Investigator: Herman, Keith Awardee: University of Missouri, Columbia
Program: Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Context for Teaching and Learning      [Program Details]
Award Period: 3 years (07/01/2018 - 06/30/2021) Award Amount: $1,399,990
Type: Exploration Award Number: R305A180111

Co-Principal Investigator: Reinke, Wendy; Bradshaw, Catherine

Purpose: Scholars and educators have proposed that improving teachers' cultural responsiveness is an important step in addressing educational disparities among students from marginalized cultural, racial, or ethnic backgrounds. Despite growing interest in the field, however, consensus is lacking about how culturally responsive practices (CRPs) should be defined and operationalized in schools and classrooms. The purpose of this project is to use the CRP framework from a promising intervention, Double Check, to define and specify discrete indicators of CRPs; confirm and refine teacher and student surveys and classroom direct observation tools to measure these discrete indicators; and develop, refine, and evaluate a theory of change linking these malleable indicators of CRPs with student academic and behavioral outcomes.

Project Activities: The project is exploratory in nature and guided by theory. The research team will undertake a series of six studies that build upon one another using qualitative data, discovery-oriented and systematic observations, surveys, and quantitative data analysis. The studies are designed to be a fully integrated mixed-model design. The team will use both existing data from prior IES projects, and new data collected during this project's duration. In Year 1, the researchers will carry out three studies to define and specify discrete indicators of CRPs. These will include: qualitative interviews with students and teachers, discovery-oriented observations in typical and exemplary classrooms, and item-response theory analyses of CRP observations and teacher and student surveys gathered in a prior study. In Year 2, the research team will have two additional studies that will confirm and refine the observation and survey tools developed in the first year. In the final year, researchers will administer the final observation and survey tools in a large set of classrooms with large numbers of teachers and students, and analyze the results to confirm and refine their hypothesized theory of change.

Products: The researchers will produce a theory of change about malleable indicators of CRPs, including clear and specific definitions for the identified indicators. In addition, they will produce preliminary versions of tools to measure CRP indicators. They will also disseminate their final instruments and findings via professional development seminars, policy briefs, press releases, presentations at researcher and practitioner conferences, and peer-reviewed publications.

Structured Abstract

Setting: This project will take place in three school districts in Missouri and two school districts in Maryland. Within and across the two states, the participating districts are from urban, rural, and suburban settings with high concentrations of diverse racial and ethnic groups. Study 3 also uses extant data from a study taking place in Kentucky.

Sample: Study 1 will involve approximately 120 K – 12 students, as well as 30 teachers from a larger group participating in another related study. Studies 2 and 4 will take place in in two states: 46 classrooms for Study 2, and 30 classrooms for Study 4. Studies 5 and 6 will involve samples of students and teachers in grades 3 – 12: 60 teachers and 600 students for Study 5, and 100 teachers and 1000 students for Study 6. The researchers will construct these samples to ensure diversity by geographic location and student economic, linguistic, and ethnic characteristics. For Study 3, the researchers will use classroom observation data from a prior study in Maryland middle schools.

Malleable Factors: The Double Check Student Engagement and Cultural Proficiency Program (Double Check) identifies five core components for CRPs: Connection to Curriculum, Authentic Relationships, Reflective Thinking, Effective Communication, and Sensitivity to Students' Culture. These components are the primary malleable factors of interest in this project; other malleable factors that will be explored in relation to these include teacher-student relations and student autonomy, engagement, and self-efficacy.

Research Design and Methods: For this project, the research team takes advantage of an existing network of researchers, educators, and practitioners, who are working collaboratively to improve CRPs. In Study 1, the team will complete multiple focus groups with students and teachers. In Studies 2 and 4, the team will identify classrooms deemed "typical" and "exemplary" with respect to CRP in which to carry out discovery-oriented observations. The researchers will randomly select "typical" classrooms based on their geographic setting and student and teacher make-up. They will use peer nominations to identify "exemplary" classrooms. The team will analyze extant observational data for Study 3. Finally, in Studies 5 and 6, they will administer the final observation and survey tools in order to confirm and refine their hypothesized theory of change. Throughout all studies, the team will use an iterative approach to determine malleable indicators of CRPs, refine measures of CRPs that provide objective feedback to teachers and guide professional development, and examine the hypothesized links between CRPs, student-teacher relations, student self-efficacy and engagement, and student academic and behavioral outcomes.

Control Condition: Due to the exploratory nature of the research design, there is no control condition.

Key Measures: Teacher self-report measures include the Double-Check Self-Reflection Tool, the Multicultural Efficacy Scale, and the Culturally-Responsive Teaching Self-Efficacy Scale. Classroom observation tools will include the ASSIST Culture, the Brief Classroom Interaction Observation Revised (BCIO-R) and the Student Classroom Interaction Observation(STCIO).

Data Analytic Strategy: The researchers will use a grounded theory approach to code focus group data and observational data. They will use item response theory to calibrate and refine student and teacher surveys and observation protocols. They will use multi-level structural equation modeling to examine the relationship between CRPs and student achievement and behavioral outcomes.

Related IES Projects:
Double Check: A Cultural Proficiency and Student Engagement Model (R324A110107)
Testing the Efficacy of Double Check: A Cultural Proficiency Professional Development Model in Middle Schools (R305A150221)