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IES Grant

Title: Project PACT: Development and Refinement of the Planned Action and Commitment Tool (PACT) for Strategic Measurement of Implementer Commitment
Center: NCER Year: 2019
Principal Investigator: Johnson, LeAnne Awardee: University of Minnesota
Program: Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Context for Teaching and Learning      [Program Details]
Award Period: 3.5 years (07/01/2019 - 12/31/2022) Award Amount: $1,399,545
Type: Measurement Award Number: R305A190182

Co-Principal Investigator: Filter, Kevin

Purpose: The purpose of this project is to develop the Planned Action and Commitment Tool (PACT), a measure that can be used by school districts and state departments of education to assess barriers and supports for the implementation of practices in schools that support the social, emotional, and behavioral needs of students.

Project Activities: The researchers will develop the PACT using expert feedback and iterative refinements. They will test usability and feasibility of the PACT in elementary schools that are actively preparing for or currently implementing a common multi-tiered system of support, School-wide Positive Behavior Interventions and Support (SWPBIS).

Products: Products will include the Planned Action and Commitment Tool (PACT) for practitioners and researchers who support education systems at any stage of implementation of an evidence-based practice (EBP) to address the social, emotional, or behavioral needs of students. Dissemination products include detailed descriptions of the PACT, concise summative feedback reports to each participating school district and the Minnesota Department of Education, and peer reviewed publications and presentations at a wide variety of research and practice conferences.

Structured Abstract

Setting: This study will take place in elementary schools in Minnesota that are actively preparing to or are currently implementing School-wide Positive Behavior Interventions and Support (SWPBIS).

Sample:Participants include approximately 930 staff from 63 schools sampled from a pool of over 600 schools in Minnesota to be demographically representative of urban and rural schools.

Assessment: The PACT will capture the commitment of school-level staff to implement core practice elements of evidence-based practices that support positive social, emotional, and behavioral outcomes for students. The assessment framework for the PACT is informed by the theory of planned behavior that posits attitudes, subjective norms, and perceived behavioral control are key mechanisms linked to behavior change through commitment to implementation. The PACT will be developed for use in school settings to provide end-users with data to inform tailoring of implementation strategies as part of data-driven continuous improvement cycles across all stages of the implementation process (exploration, preparation, implementation, sustainment) to maximize fidelity and impact.

Research Design and Methods: The researchers will conduct five studies. In the first study, they will use the Delphi Method, a defined process for reaching consensus among experts, to identify and define practice elements that will provide the item pool for customizable referents. In the second study, they will construct the PACT with feedback from experts evaluating item coverage, breadth of practice elements within the item pool, feasibility, and usability. In the third and fourth studies, the researchers will collect data from schools at multiple time points to examine the PACT's psychometric properties and evaluate preliminary convergent, discriminant, and predictive validity. In the final study, they will evaluate the usability of PACT data reports to inform strategic tailoring of implementation supports.

Control Condition: There is no control condition for this study.

Key Measures: The researchers will assess educators' self-efficacy, attitudes toward evidence-based practices, and demographic characteristics. They will assess the acceptability and appropriateness of PACT and classroom-level behavioral outcomes. The research team will collect school-level administrative data directly from participating districts and will assess EBP fidelity using program-specific fidelity tools.

Data Analytic Strategy: The researchers will analyze expert and practitioner feedback using qualitative coding software. They will determine the structural validity of the PACT by examining response distributions, as well as item skewness and kurtosis, and perform transformations as necessary. In addition, the research team will assess internal consistency of the PACT using Cronbach's coefficient alpha, omega estimates, and inter-item correlations. They will conduct both exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses and use item-response theory to establish the psychometric properties of the PACT.

Cost Analysis: The researchers will determine the costs of administering, interpreting, and using the PACT using standard average weighted cost metrics. They will consider inputs such as time, supplies, overhead, and other costs associated with PACT such as scheduling PACT administration and attending meetings.