Skip Navigation
Funding Opportunities | Search Funded Research Grants and Contracts

IES Grant

Title: Enhancing Engagement: Investigating Adaptations to Commonly Used Interventions for Elementary Students with Challenging Behavior
Center: NCSER Year: 2021
Principal Investigator: Zimmerman, Kathleen Awardee: University of Kansas
Program: Early Career Development and Mentoring      [Program Details]
Award Period: 4 years (8/1/2021 – 7/31/2025) Award Amount: $699,085
Type: Training Award Number: R324B210007

Mentors: Kathleen Lynne Lane; Lee Kern

Purpose: The Principal Investigator (PI) will conduct a program of research designed to improve intervention and outcomes for students with or at risk for emotional and behavioral disorders (EBD) as well as participate in career development activities to expand knowledge and skills related to research methods, project management, and behavioral interventions. Challenging behavior significantly limits student access to ongoing instruction in general education, leading to negative long-term outcomes. Behavioral interventions designed to improve task engagement can mitigate negative long-term outcomes associated with challenging behavior. However, additional guidance is needed to select feasible and effective interventions that can be adapted to meet individual student needs. Therefore, the goal of the project is to develop and test decision-making models designed to guide teacher selection, implementation, and adaptation of three commonly used behavioral interventions to improve engagement for students with and at-risk for EBD in K-2 general education classrooms.

Research Plan: The PI will develop and test the decision-making models across four phases. In Phase 1, the PI will conduct a nationwide survey of 400 elementary teachers to identify commonly used behavioral interventions and understand how teachers select feasible behavioral interventions. Decision-making models will be created for the three most frequently selected interventions from the survey. In Phase 2, observations of elementary classrooms will be conducted to identify how, when, and for whom teachers adapt behavioral interventions. The observed adaptations will be added to the decision-making models for each intervention. In Phase 3, the PI will evaluate and compare the effects of the decision-making models and associated interventions on students' engagement and challenging behavior using alternating treatments designs with 10 students with or at risk for EBD. Teacher feedback on the feasibility and social validity of the models will also be collected. In Phase 4, the PI will conduct additional alternating treatments designs to test intervention adaptations (and revised decision-making models) on engagement and challenging behavior for students who are non-responsive to the interventions in Phase 3. In addition, the PI will determine the costs associated with using the decision-making models. The final products will be three fully developed decision-making models for commonly used behavioral interventions to be used by teachers to plan, implement, and adapt effective behavioral interventions to improve engagement for students with or at risk for EBD.

Career Plan: Through a career development plan, the PI intends to (1) develop a research program focused on identifying interventions to improve academic engagement for students with or at risk for EBD; (2) enhance and expand expertise in survey design, observational measurement, and effect sizes for single case research; and (3) cultivate skills to manage large-scale evaluations of behavioral interventions. To accomplish these goals, the PI will meet with mentors and expert advisors and participate in workshops, courses, and summer institutes on research methods, statistical analyses, and early career faculty research development and project management.