Skip Navigation
Funding Opportunities | Search Funded Research Grants and Contracts

IES Grant

Title: Impact of Professional Development on Preschool Teachers' Use of Embedded-Instruction Practices
Center: NCSER Year: 2007
Principal Investigator: Snyder, Patricia Awardee: University of Florida
Program: Early Intervention and Early Learning      [Program Details]
Award Period: 3/1/2007 to 2/28/2010 Award Amount: $1,288,510
Type: Development and Innovation Award Number: R324A070008

Purpose: The investigators proposed to examine PD approaches hypothesized to be effective for increasing the fidelity with which preschool teachers use embedded-instruction (EI) practices. The use of these practices in inclusive preschool settings is recommended to increase access to the general preschool curriculum, enhance child engagement, and improve child outcomes. The purpose of the project was to (1) develop a PD intervention called Tools for Teachers (TfT), which focuses on specific evidence-based practices relevant for preschool (i.e., embedded instruction); (2) use iterative processes to validate the TfT PD intervention;and (3) evaluate whether exposure to the TfT PD intervention is positively related to embedded instruction implementation fidelity, child engagement, and child learning outcomes. In addition, the project proposed to examine participant and contextual process variables influencing implementation of embedded instruction practices.

Project Activities: The research team proposed to develop and evaluate the TfT tool kit in three phases. During phase 1, the tool kit would be developed and refined with a panel of experts validating its materials and the corresponding professional development processes. Phase 2 would involve conducting validation procedures and feasibility studies to inform revisions to TfT in preparation for the final stage. During phase 3, the promise of TfT would be evaluated by conducting a randomized experimental trial determine the effect of TfT on teacher consistent and accurate use of the practices, child engagement, and child learning.

Structured Abstract

The following describes the research and activities as proposed at the time of funding:

Setting: The project will take place in preschools in Tennessee, Washington, and Wisconsin.

Sample: Approximately48 teachers of young children with disabilities and 120 children with disabilities, across three sates, will participate in the study. Eligible teachers are those working in preschool classrooms that enroll at least three children with disabilities who have an individualized education program (IEP). Children eligible for the study must have an IEP and be between 3 and 4 years of age at pretest.

Intervention: Both experimental intervention conditions include the TfT tool kit and accompanying workshops. The TfT tool kit is comprised of multi-media professional development materials (e.g., CD and web-based materials) which provide information about embedded-instruction practices and why and how these practices should be used. In addition, both experimental intervention conditions will participate in workshop sessions designed to provide a practical and focused overview of embedded-instruction practices, deepen teachers' content knowledge about these practices, and help teachers understand the coherence between embedded-instruction practices and early childhood curricular practices.

The two experimental conditions will differ in terms of coaching approach experienced. In one condition (TfT plus on-site coaching), teachers will participate in 4 hours of interactive professional development once a month for 4 months. This professional development will be conducted by project staff. Teachers will work in study groups and will discuss real-world cases of application of embedded instruction. In addition, teachers will receive individual expert coaching by project staff at least once a week for 30 minutes for 4 months. In the second experimental condition (TfT plus self-coaching), teachers will participate in self-coaching. Teachers will access a website that will contain forms useful for self-monitoring and self-regulating embedded instruction implementation fidelity. The website will also include materials useful for goal setting task strategies, self-evaluating, time planning and management, vignette analysis, and help seeking.

Research Design and Methods: An experimental study with random assignment of teachers to treatment condition will be implemented to determine the potential efficacy of the two interventions (TfT plus on-site coaching and TfT plus self-coaching) compared to each other and a business-as-usual control group. In each classroom, approximately three children with disabilities will be randomly selected to participate in the study.

Control Condition: The control group will receive the professional development typically given by the district. The type and amount of professional development teachers receive will be documented.

Key Measures: Outcome measures include a rating scale to evaluate the quality of instructional goals, an observational measure to document implementation of planned learning opportunities, and an observational coding system to evaluate implementation of embedded learning trials. In addition, data on children's engagement, school readiness, language, emergent literacy, behavior, and social skills will be measured. Finally, administrators will be interviewed in order to identify the contextual variables that might mediate or moderate the impact of professional development on teachers' use of embedded instruction. They will also complete self-report rating scales on embedded instruction interventions and the social validity and sustainability of the interventions.

Data Analytic Strategy: Data will be analyzed using analysis of variance (ANOVA) and analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) to show evidence of the potential efficacy of the interventions for improving teachers' instructional practices and children's engagement, school readiness, language, emergent literacy, behavior, and social skills.

Related IES Projects: Impact of Professional Development on Preschool Teachers' Use of Embedded-Instruction Practices: An Efficacy Trial of Tools for Teachers (R324A150076); Tools for Families (R324A200044)


ERIC Citations: Find available citations in ERIC for this award here.

Project Website: