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IES Grant

Title: A Study of "Discipline in the Secondary Classroom": A Positive Approach to Behavior Management
Center: NCER Year: 2018
Principal Investigator: Sumi, W. Carl Awardee: SRI International
Program: Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Context for Teaching and Learning      [Program Details]
Award Period: 5 years (09/01/2018 – 08/31/2023) Award Amount: $3,296,399
Type: Efficacy and Replication Award Number: R305A180013

Co-Principal Investigator: Woodbridge, Michelle; Herman, Keith; Reinke, Wendy

Purpose: The purpose of this study is to test the efficacy of Discipline in the Secondary Classroom (DSC), a classroom management program that provides tools and strategies to help high school teachers establish proactive, nonpunitive discipline policies; manage student behavior; foster student motivation; and create a positive and productive classroom. Although DSC is used in hundreds of high schools across dozens of states, it has not been rigorously studied in a randomized control trial (RCT) for its effects on classroom, teacher, and student-level outcomes.

Project Activities: The research team will randomly assign 50 high school classrooms to implement the DSC program in two different school years (25 classrooms in Year 1 and 25 in Year 3), and compare outcomes to 50 business-as-usual control classrooms. Researchers will test the effect of the DSC program on teachers’ classroom management efficiency, teacher-student relationships, student problem behaviors, and student academic engagement and achievement.

Products: Researchers will produce evidence of the efficacy of Discipline in the Secondary Classroom for high school students and their teachers. They will disseminate findings through peer-reviewed publications, conference presentations, and other reports that the team will disseminated to educators, administrators, parents, students, and researchers.

Structured Abstract

Setting: This study will take place in urban and suburban school districts in California and Missouri serving ethnically diverse and primarily low income families.

Sample: The sample for this study includes 100 mathematics and English language arts (ELA) teachers, and approximately 2,000 students in grades 9-10.

Intervention: Discipline in the Secondary Classroom (DSC) is a positive approach to classroom management developed by Safe & Civil Schools (SCS) that provides tools and strategies to help high school teachers establish proactive, nonpunitive discipline policies, manage student behavior, foster student motivation, and create a positive and productive classroom. Over a 1-year period, teachers receive intensive training on the DSC model from certified SCS trainers via workshops and ongoing, on-site coaching support and reflective feedback. SCS equips teachers and coaches with video lectures, demonstration vignettes, forms for collecting and using data, and ongoing technical assistance. The program manual is organized under five key dimensions abbreviated as “STOIC”: Structure the classroom for success; Teach students how to behave responsibly in the classroom; Observe and monitor student behavior; Interact positively with students; and Correct irresponsible behavior fluently in a manner that does not interrupt the flow of instruction.

Research Design and Methods: The researchers will randomly assign classrooms within matched pairs to treatment (DSC) or control (business-as-usual) in two cohorts: 50 total at the beginning of Year 1, and 50 total at the beginning of Year 3. The researchers will collect baseline data in the fall before DSC training, support the implementation of the intervention for 7 months (November-May), collect post-training measures (November), collect post-test measures in the spring (May-June), and conduct data collection in parallel intervals (September, November, May) in the follow-up years (Years 2 and 4).

Control Condition: The control group consists of business-as-usual classrooms that will not receive DSC training.

Key Measures: Observations developed by DSC will be used to assess teacher fidelity of program implementation. Standardized measures will be used to measure classroom atmosphere and teacher-student interactions (e.g., the Brief Classroom Interaction Observation-Revised). Teachers will complete ratings of student behavior and personal competencies (e.g., the Teacher Observation of Classroom Adaptation-Checklist). Students will complete the Engagement and Disaffection Survey and the Teacher-Student Relationship Scale to assess personal competencies. Finally, researchers will use school records to analyze enrollment, attendance, behavior incidences, student and teacher characteristics, and standardized achievement scores. In addition, the researchers will administer the SAT-10 to measure academic achievement.

Data Analytic Strategy: Researchers will use linear regression or hierarchical linear modeling to assess the degree to which DSC affects teachers’ classroom practices and students’ behavior and academic outcomes. In addition, they will examine outcomes for subgroups defined by potential individual-level mediators (e.g., teacher self-efficacy, student engagement) and classroom-level moderators (e.g., grade level, course content) that may uncover underlying mechanisms that lead to observed outcomes.