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IES Grant

Title: The Development of New Technology to Promote the Fidelity and Sustainability of a Universal Preventive Intervention in Real-World Educational Settings
Center: NCER Year: 2020
Principal Investigator: Smith, Stephanie Awardee: University of Southern Mississippi
Program: Social and Behavioral Context for Academic Learning      [Program Details]
Award Period: 3 years (07/01/2020 – 06/30/2023) Award Amount: $1,364,850
Type: Development and Innovation Award Number: R305A200185

Co-Principal Investigator: Dufrene, Brad

Purpose: The purposes of this project are to develop, refine, and pilot test new technology to address fidelity problems of the most thoroughly studied universal, school- based preventive intervention, the Good Behavior Game (GBG); and to draw on what is learned from this developmental process to devise a set of principles to guide technology developers on how to close the implementation gap for other school-based preventive interventions. To date, no attempts have been made to develop technology that specifically addresses the efficacy-effectiveness problem when implementing evidence-based practices in schools.

Project Activities: Researchers will iteratively develop and refine the new technology intended to support improved implementation of GBG. They will also carry out a pilot test to determine its cost and promise at improving education outcomes.

Products: The products of this project will include a fully developed technology (GBG Tech) and evidence of its promise and cost for supporting the quality and adherence of teacher implementation of GBG. The project will result in peer-reviewed presentations and publications as well as additional dissemination products that reach education stakeholders such as practitioners and policymakers.

Structured Abstract

Setting: The proposed project will take place in a large metropolitan area in Mississippi.

Sample: During the refinement phase, researchers will solicit feedback from 24 teachers through focus groups, and they will recruit 8 additional teachers for the purpose of observing initial implementation of GBG Tech in classrooms. In the pilot study, they will recruit 24 teachers from grades 1 to 4 and approximately 336 of their students.

Research Design and Methods: A beta version of GBG Tech will be developed by following a rapid prototyping approach where continual feedback is solicited from experts in the field of school-based prevention and technology-enhanced interventions as every feature of the technology is developed by a team of high-tech engineers. Subsequently, a collaborative research model will be followed where this technology will be refined according to feedback from relevant stakeholders and initial usability and feasibility data will be collected. Finally, researchers will pilot test GBG Tech using a randomized controlled design to compare standard GBG to GBG Tech with respect to teacher-level factors, sustained fidelity, classroom management, and student outcomes. Randomization will occur at the school-level after schools are matched on key demographic variables, and implementation of GBG and GBG Tech will last for an entire academic year.

Control Condition: For the pilot study, teachers will implement GBG with standard training and support.

Key Measures: The researchers will assess teachers' well-being and sense of self-efficacy, implementation fidelity, and global classroom quality. Teachers will rate student behavior using the BASC-3 Behavioral and Emotional Screening System. Students' academic achievement will be determined using school records of attendance, grades, standardized achievement scores, special education services, and disciplinary referrals/suspensions.

Data Analysis: A variety of qualitative and quantitative analyses will be conducted on the implementation and outcome data to guide revisions of GBG Tech and to explore whether GBG Tech outperformed standard GBG, especially with respect to implementation fidelity.

Cost Analysis: Cost analyses will be done by tracking all accrued costs (such as trainings, implementation audits, trainer feedback, travel of trainers) within each intervention group (standard GBG vs. GBG Tech). Total cost per student will be calculated for each intervention by summing all cost elements and dividing them by the number of students in each participating classroom.