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IES Grant

Title: Systematic Efficacy Replication Study of Conjoint Behavioral Consultation in Elementary Schools
Center: NCSER Year: 2021
Principal Investigator: Garbacz, Andy Awardee: University of Wisconsin, Madison
Program: Research Grants Focused on Systematic Replication in Special Education      [Program Details]
Award Period: 5 years (7/1/2021 – 6/30/2026) Award Amount: $4,000,000
Type: Replication Effectiveness Award Number: R324R210013

Co-Principal Investigator(s): Dymnicki, Allison; Sheridan, Susan; Spier, Elizabeth; Witte, Amanda

Purpose: The purpose of this project is to conduct a systematic efficacy replication of a family-school partnership intervention, Conjoint Behavioral Consultation (CBC), for students with or at risk of serious emotional disturbance (SED). The study will test CBC using school-based specialists as interventionists instead of research personnel who were used in prior efficacy studies. The research team will examine impact of the intervention on student behavior outcomes, parent-teacher relationships, and teacher practices, as well as factors that mediate or moderate that impact. In addition, the team will examine the implementation process to understand what influences fidelity of implementation and how stakeholders experience CBC.

Project Activities: The research team will implement a school-level blocked randomized controlled trial following 720 students in 60 schools for two years to test the impact of CBC. Students will be identified within each school and will participate with their parents and teachers in the CBC intervention (treatment) or the business-as-usual (control) condition.

Products:  This project will result in evidence of the efficacy CBC implemented with school-based specialists as consultants on student, teacher, and parent outcomes as well as information about the cost and cost-effectiveness of the program. The project will also result in a final dataset to be shared, peer-reviewed publications and presentations, and additional dissemination products that reach education stakeholders such as practitioners and policymakers.

Structured Abstract

Setting: The research will take place in 60 elementary schools across two urban and suburban school districts in Wisconsin.

Population/Sample: A total of 720 students (an average of 12 students per school) with or at risk of SED in Grades K–4, along with their parents and teachers, will participate. Two cohorts will be enrolled, with each cohort followed for two years (the intervention year and one follow-up year).

Intervention: CBC is an 8-week intervention that focuses on improving student behaviors through structured problem solving and collaborative, consistent implementation of evidence-based interventions across home and school settings. In CBC, parents and teachers serve as joint consultees, and the consultation process is conducted with parents and teachers as partners in addressing student behavior problems that interfere with learning. Problems are identified, defined, analyzed, and treated through mutual and collaborative interactions between parents and teachers with the guidance and assistance of a consultant. In this project, consultants will implement the CBC intervention through a sequence of interviews and activities during pre-consultation and four formal stages: (1) conjoint problem identification, (2) conjoint problem analysis and behavior plan development, (3) behavior plan implementation and fidelity support, and (4) behavior plan evaluation.

Research Design and Methods: The study is a two-cohort, cluster-randomized controlled trial. Schools will be randomized to either a CBC intervention or business-as-usual control condition. In addition, an implementation study will examine fidelity of implementation and focus groups will be conducted to understand participant experiences with the CBC intervention.

Control Condition: Schools in the control condition will conduct business as usual. Participants in these schools will complete measures to document business-as-usual procedures.

Key Measures: Student behavior will be measured with the Behavior Assessment System for Children 3 and the Social Skills Improvement System. The Parent-Teacher Relationship Scale-II will be used to assess the parent-teacher relationship. A variety of scales will be used to assess parenting practices and strategies, parent and teacher problem solving strategies, and teacher classroom practices. Teacher and family demographics will also be collected. The team will also collect measures of cost, cost-effectiveness, and implementation fidelity.

Data Analytic Strategy: The impact analysis will be conducted with hierarchical linear modeling. Moderation analyses will estimate subgroup impacts. Two types of mediation analyses will be used: the first will explore how impacts on proximal outcomes mediate impacts on distal outcomes, and the second will examine whether and how CBC program effects are mediated by the impacts on parenting practices, teaching practices, and the parent-teacher relationship.

Cost Analysis: Grounded in an "ingredients" approach to cost analysis, the Cost Resource Model will drive cost analysis to measure the resources allocated to implementing and operating CBC. Average per-pupil or per-teacher total cost will be coupled with the estimated impacts on student outcomes to generate cost-effectiveness ratios.

Related Projects: Evaluation of Efficacy of CBC for Addressing Disruptive Behaviors of Children at Risk for Academic Failure (R305F050284)

A Randomized Trial of Conjoint Behavioral Consultation (CBC) in Rural Educational Settings: Efficacy for Elementary Students With Disruptive Behaviors (R324A100115)