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IES Grant

Title: Evaluating the Efficacy of the LOOK Teacher Consultation Model to Improve Self-Regulation, Behavioral, and Social Outcomes Among Children With Challenging Behaviors
Center: NCER Year: 2020
Principal Investigator: Williford, Amanda Awardee: University of Virginia
Program: Early Learning Programs and Policies      [Program Details]
Award Period: 5 years (07/01/2020 – 06/30/2025) Award Amount: $3,299,989
Type: Efficacy Award Number: R305A200054

Co-Principal Investigators: Downer, Jason; Shearer, Rebecca

Purpose: The purpose of this proposal is to test the impact of the Learning to Objectively Observe Kids (LOOK) consultation model when implemented with preschool teachers. Developed with IES funding, LOOK is designed to improve preschool teachers' use of effective social-emotional strategies and to improve children's self-regulatory, behavioral, and social-readiness skills. Early self-regulation difficulties, particularly evident in children from low-income families, often result in patterns of disruptive behaviors that negatively impact children's classroom engagement and early learning experiences which places them at risk for early and later school failure. Evidence-based practices exist for preschool teachers, but the promise of such practices has gone unrealized as teachers may not have the supports needed to use them or apply them effectively.

Project Activities: Researchers will recruit Head Start preschool classrooms to participate in the study. They will randomly assign teachers and their classrooms to treatment or control condition. They will assess the effects of participating in the intervention at the end of the first intervention year and the degree to which effects are sustained when teachers implement LOOK in the following year with a new group of preschool students. Researchers will also carry out cost and cost-effectiveness analyses.

Products: This study will generate information about the efficacy, cost, and cost-effectiveness of LOOK. The researchers will share study findings via conference proceedings and peer-reviewed publications and will prepare a final dataset.

Structured Abstract

Setting: This research will be conducted in Head Start preschool classrooms in Miami-Dade, Florida.

Sample: Participants will include preschool children displaying disruptive behavior (focal), children randomly selected from the classroom (non-focal) to examine spill-over effects, and the teachers who serve these children. The demographic characteristics of children and teachers will be diverse. Children will come from low-income and impoverished backgrounds. Consultants will also participate to provide data on intervention implementation.

Intervention: LOOK is a fully developed consultation model for early-childhood education teachers that was developed through a prior IES Development grant to this research team. Teachers receive individualized training and consultation/coaching on the use of effective strategies that increase children's classroom engagement and their self-regulation and their behavioral and social skills. Teachers work with a consultant to engage in interactive, online learning modules and guided video review to understand the links between their practice and children's engagement and students' behavior in context, implement new strategies, and analyze their own practice.

Research Method and Design: Researchers will use a cluster-randomized control trial design. They will randomly assign teachers and children at the classroom-level to treatment or a business-as-usual (BAU) counterfactual condition. They will assess the effects of the intervention at the end of the intervention year and will examine sustained teacher effects in a second-year follow-up.

Control Condition: The control condition is BAU. They will assess BAU teachers and will provide information about their professional development experiences, but no treatment component is provided.

Key Measures: Key child outcome measures include children's self-regulation, behavior, and social skills. Teacher outcomes include self-efficacy of classroom management, attributions about children's negative behavior, and use of effective, social-emotional teaching strategies. The researchers will measure child outcomes by direct assessment, teacher report, and independent observations.

Data Analysis: Researchers will examine impacts for focal and non-focal children and teachers. They will test for mean outcome differences across conditions after controlling for the random effect of classroom, pretest scores, and covariates. They will use multilevel modeling within an intent-to-treat frame in which we include all children and teachers who were assigned to a condition.

Cost Analysis: They will conduct cost and cost-effectiveness analyses to understand the monetary costs of LOOK.

Related Project: Using Validated Measures of Children's Engagement with Teachers, Peers, and Tasks to Guide Teachers' Response Toward Children with Emotional and Behavioral Challenges (R305A120323)