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IES Grant

Title: Developmental Adaptation of a Self-monitoring Training Program for Middle School Students
Center: NCER Year: 2020
Principal Investigator: Thompson, Aaron Awardee: University of Missouri, Columbia
Program: Social and Behavioral Context for Academic Learning      [Program Details]
Award Period: 4 years (08/01/2020 – 07/31/2024) Award Amount: $1,398,678
Type: Development and Innovation Award Number: R305A200111

Co-Principal Investigators: Herman, Keith; Reinke, Wendy

Purpose:The purpose of this study is to systematically adapt, through an iterative process, and pilot test a developmentally appropriate and online version of the Self-Monitoring Training and Regulation Strategy (STARS)for middle school students and contexts (grades 6 to 8).

Project Activities: Researchers will iteratively adapt and develop STARS for use with middle school students by following the participatory action research (PAR) model. First, they will conduct a series of focus groups with middle school students, support personnel, and teachers, and an expert review of STARS materials to guide modifications. Next, the researchers will translate materials into online format and alpha test online STARS materials and app. They will then test the feasibility and usability using a multiple baseline study and assess the promise of the intervention using a randomized controlled trial study. They will also generate information as to the cost of the intervention during the pilot study.

Products: Researchers will produce a developmentally appropriate and online version of the Self-Monitoring Training and Regulation Strategy (STARS)for middle school students and contexts (grades 6 to 8), as well as evidence assessing the promise of the intervention. They will report the findings of the study in conference presentations and peer-reviewed publications.

Structured Abstract

Setting: The study will take place in 12 middle school sites situated in 7 districts located in central Missouri.

Sample: Participants will include a mix of students, teachers, and student support personnel.

Intervention: STARS is presently a manualized program that focuses on upper elementary students. STARS is used by school support personnel (counselors, psychologists, social workers) and targets malleable mechanisms (autonomy, relational, and competency supports) by training students in self-monitoring skills—an innovative element of STARS not addressed by other selective programs. STARS organizes materials for school support personnel to sequentially train students in the five most commonly observed self-monitoring and self-management elements (i.e., self-assessment, goal setting, self-observation, self-recording, and self-evaluation) using nine lessons. After training, students iteratively practice self-monitoring goals developed during the training. Teachers also monitor student performance on the same goals. Students participate in weekly performance feedback sessions with a supportive adult and review self and teacher data, revise goals, and the process then repeats iteratively. STARS is presently a tier-2 prevention program for upper elementary students, but if developmental adaptations were made to meet the needs of students and contextual differences, STARS would fill a void of tier-2 middle school supports for students with challenging classroom behaviors.

Research Design and Methods: In Phase 1, 18 student, 18 teacher, and 18 student support personnel participants will be asked to participate in a participatory action research (PAR) process using focus groups to review current STARS materials. In Phase 2,PAR participants will alpha test online STARS adapted materials with five graduate students and a three-person expert panel. In Phase 3,PAR participants will include 5 middle school students, 5 teachers, and 5 support personnel in a focus group to beta test changes before examining the feasibility and utility of the revisions with 15 students and 12 teachers in a multiple baseline study (MBL). In Phase 4,participants will include 124 students from 2 middle school sites who will participate in a randomized control trial (RCT) of the fully adapted version of STARS. Specifically, 62 middle school students will be randomized to STARS, and 62 students will be randomized to a control group, and approximately 30 teachers will provide daily STARS ratings and pre and posttest data on all students in the RCT.

Control Condition: Students in the control condition will receive routine services.

Key Measures: The PAR focus groups will seek to examine end user utility, developmental appropriateness, and strategies for overcoming barriers present in middle school settings. Key outcomes for the MBL will be changes with end users and the utility of the intervention and any existing barriers. Key outcomes of the pilot RCT will include classroom behavior, social emotional learning, and academic achievement.

Data Analytic Strategy: For PAR focus group data, researchers will analyze transcribed interview data using a thematic and content analysis approach to identify, reorganize, and interpret themes within data before member checking with participants. The analytic strategy with the MBL study will be to rely on visual and statistical analysis with percent of non-overlapping data. The analytic strategy for the pilot test RCT will rely on multilevel ANOVA models to examine the impact of STARS on the key outcomes and to model the nested nature of the data (i.e., student, classroom, school).

Cost Analysis: Researchers will conduct a complete cost analysis of adopting, implementing, and sustaining STARS. In the final year of the project, they will use an intent-to-treat (ITT) framework to identify costs to schools, school staff, and students. They will also use these estimates to conduct a cost effectiveness analysis by comparing STARS cost benefit on outcomes to cost-benefit estimates for implementing similar tier-2 interventions.

Related Projects: Evaluation of a Self-Monitoring Training Program for Elementary School Students (R305A150517); The National Center for Rural School Mental Health (NCRSMH): Enhancing the Capacity of Rural Schools to Identify, Prevent, and Intervene in Youth Mental Health Concerns (R305C190014)