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IES Grant

Title: The Efficacy of the Responsive Classroom Approach for Improving Teacher Quality and Children's Academic Performance
Center: NCER Year: 2007
Principal Investigator: Rimm-Kaufman, Sara Awardee: University of Virginia
Program: Effective Instruction      [Program Details]
Award Period: 4 years Award Amount: $2,814,668
Type: Efficacy and Replication Award Number: R305A070063
Description:

Purpose: In 2005, one in five fourth-grade children in America performed below the basic level on the National Assessment of Educational Progress in math. Among eighth-grade students, one in three students performed below the basic level. Standards-based math curricula were introduced to address this problem. Although standards-based math curricula may provide teachers with strategies for improving student learning of academic content, typically these curricula do not provide teachers with well-articulated strategies for creating classroom environments conducive to learning. The purpose of this study is to conduct a rigorous randomized controlled trial to assess the efficacy of a widely used professional development program, the Responsive Classroom approach, designed to integrate social and academic learning and to create optimal classroom learning environments that enhance children's ability to learn.

Project Activities: The Responsive Classroom approach offers teachers a set of strategies designed to create efficient classroom environments with fewer behavior problems and more opportunities to learn. This is accomplished through: regular structured class meetings designed to be fun and intellectually engaging; an established approach to handling rules and consequences for behavior; procedures that offer academic choice to children; specific recommendations for teachers that focus children's attention on the process of learning, problem-solving, and reflecting on their work; and methods for introducing new academic material to students. The researchers will compare 12 treatment schools (Responsive Classroom approach) and 12 control schools (conventional school practice) on mathematics learning and other educationally relevant teacher and student outcomes, in a three-year longitudinal trial in which schools are randomly assigned into the Responsive Classroom approach or delayed treatment comparison conditions.

Products: Products of this study include published reports of the evaluation of the efficacy of a widely used professional development program for teachers on teacher and student outcomes.

Structured Abstract

Purpose: The purpose of this study is to conduct a rigorous randomized controlled trial to assess the efficacy of a widely used professional development program, the Responsive Classroom approach, designed to integrate social and academic learning and to create optimal classroom learning environments that enhance children's ability to learn.

Setting: The schools are located in a large urban district in Virginia.

Population: Twenty-four schools, 1,920 students, and 360 third-, fourth-, and fifth-grade teachers are participating. Like most large urban districts, the school district selected for this study has a diverse population with significant percentages of African-American, Hispanic, and English-language learners.

Intervention: The Responsive Classroom approach offers teachers a set of strategies intended to create efficient classroom environments with fewer behavior problems and more opportunities to learn. This is accomplished through: regular structured class meetings designed to be fun and intellectually engaging; an established approach to handling rules and consequences for behavior; procedures that offer academic choice to children; specific recommendations for teachers that focus children's attention on the process of learning, problem-solving, and reflecting on their work; and methods for introducing new academic material to students.

Research Design and Methods: The researchers will compare teachers and their students in grades 3, 4, and 5 in successive years in 12 treatment schools (Responsive Classroom approach) and 12 control schools (conventional school practice) on mathematics learning and other educationally relevant teacher and student outcomes, using a three-year longitudinal trial in which schools are randomly assigned into the Responsive Classroom approach or delayed treatment comparison conditions. Teachers at the 12 treatment schools will receive training in the Responsive Classroom approach.

Control Condition: The schools in the control condition are "business as usual," and are not using the Responsive Classroom Approach or any alternative program for classroom management. However, the control schools will receive training in the Responsive Classroom approach one year after the same grade-level teacher received it in the treatment group.

Key Measures: The Classroom Assessment Scale is being used to assess process features associated with classroom quality. The primary data source for academic achievement growth is the Virginia State Standards of Learning (SOL), an academic achievement test battery required for all Virginia public schools.

Data Analytic Strategy: Data is being analyzed taking into account its hierarchical and nested structure. Growth curve analyses are being conducted to examine the degree to which the Responsive Classroom approach affects children's growth in mathematics. Teacher quality and child attributes are treated as mediators and moderators, respectively, in these analyses.

Publications

Book chapter

Hulleman, C.S., Rimm-Kaufman, S.E., and Abry, T. (2013). Innovative Methodologies to Explore Implementation: Whole-Part-Whole—Construct Validity, Measurement, and Analytical Issues for Intervention Fidelity Assessment in Education Research. In T. Halle, A. Metz, and I. Martinez-Beck (Eds.), Applying Implementation Science in Early Childhood Programs and Systems (pp. 65–95). Baltimore: Paul Brookes Publishing Co.

Larsen, R.A., Wanless, S.B., Rimm-Kaufman, S.E., and Curby, T.W. (2015). Direct and Indirect Effects of Principal Leadership on Teacher Quality and Mathematics Achievement in the Context of the Responsive Classroom Approach. In M. DiPaola, and W.K. Hoy (Eds.), Leadership and School Quality, Research and Theory in Educational Administration (pp. 61–90). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.

Journal article, monograph, or newsletter

Abry, T., Hulleman, C.S., and Rimm-Kaufman, S.E. (2015). Using Indices of Fidelity to Intervention Core Components to Identify Program Active Ingredients. American Journal of Evaluation, 36(3): 320–338.

Abry, T., Rimm-Kaufman, S.E., Larsen, R.A., and Brewer, A.J. (2013). The Influence of Fidelity of Implementation on Teacher–Student Interaction Quality in the Context of a Randomized Controlled Trial of the Responsive Classroom Approach. Journal of School Psychology, 51(4): 437–453.

Baroody, A.E., Rimm-Kaufman, S.E, Larsen, R.A., and Curby, T.W. (2014). The Link Between Responsive Classroom Training and Student–Teacher Relationship Quality in the Fifth Grade: A Study of Fidelity of Implementation. School Psychology Review, 43(1): 69–85.

Curby, T.W., Rimm-Kaufman, S.E., and Abry, T. (2013). Do Emotional Support and Classroom Organization Earlier in the Year set the Stage for Higher Quality Instruction?. Journal of School Psychology, 51(5): 557–569.

Griggs, M.S., Rimm-Kaufman, S.E., Merritt, E.G., and Patton, C.L. (2013). The Responsive Classroom Approach and Fifth Grade Students' Math and Science Anxiety and Self-Efficacy. School Psychology Quarterly, 28(4): 360–373.

Larsen, R., Wanless, S.B., and Rimm-Kaufman, S.E. (in press). Relations Among Mathematical Knowledge for Teaching, Teacher Quality, and Student Achievement in the Context of the Responsive Classroom Approach. American Educational Research Journal.

Merritt, E.G., Berry, R.Q., Rimm-Kaufman, S.E., Walkowiak, T.A., and McCracken, E.R. (2010). A Reflection Framework for Teaching Mathematics. Teaching Children Mathematics, 17(4): 238–248.

Ottmar, E.R., and Walkowiak, T.A. (2011). Social Emotional Learning in the Mathematics Classroom. Social & Emotional Learning Newsletter From the American Educational Research Association, 5(1): 6–7.

Ottmar, E.R., Rimm-Kaufman, S.E, Berry, R.Q., and Larsen, R.A.A. (2013). Does the Responsive Classroom Approach Affect the Use of Standards-Based Mathematics Teaching Practices?: Results From a Randomized Controlled Trial. Elementary School Journal, 113(3): 434–457.

Ottmar, E.R., Rimm-Kaufman, S.E., Larsen, R.A., and Berry, R.Q. (2015). Mathematical Knowledge for Teaching, Standards-Based Mathematics Teaching Practices, and Student Achievement in the Context of the "Responsive Classroom Approach". American Educational Research Journal, 52(4): 787–821.

Rimm-Kaufman, S.E., Larsen, R.A., Curby, T.W., Baroody, A.E., Merritt, E., Abry, T.S., Ko, M., Thomas, J., and DeCoster, J. (2014). Efficacy of the Responsive Classroom Approach: Results From a 3–Year, Longitudinal Randomized Controlled Trial. American Education Research Journal, 51(3): 567–603.

Wanless, S.B., Patton, C.S., Rimm Kaufman, S.E., and Deutsch, N.L. (2013). Setting-Level Influences on Implementation of the Responsive Classroom Approach. Prevention Science, 14(1): 40–51.

Wanless, S.B., Rimm-Kaufman, S.E., Abry, T., Larsen, R.A., and Patton, C.L. (2015). Engagement in Training as a Mechanism to Understanding Fidelity of Implementation of the Responsive Classroom Approach. Prevention Science, 16(8): 1107–1116.

** This project was submitted to and funded under Teacher Quality: Mathematics and Science Education in FY 2007.


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