|Title:||Project EASS-E: Expanding Approaches to School Screening With Equity|
|Principal Investigator:||Chafouleas, Sandra||Awardee:||University of Connecticut|
|Program:||Social and Behavioral Context for Academic Learning [Program Details]|
|Award Period:||4 years (07/01/2022 – 06/30/2026)||Award Amount:||$1,924,244|
Co-Principal Investigators: Briesch, Amy M. and Caemmerer, Jacquelin M.
Purpose: The purpose of the project is for researchers to develop and establish initial psychometric evidence for a school-based screening instrument designed to assess both child- and environmentally-focused indicators: the Comprehensive and Contextual Child Screener in Schools (C3SS). Screening assessments serve as a primary data driver in multi-tiered systems of support as data are provided to efficiently and effectively deliver information needed to direct supports. Psychometrically-sound screening assessments for social, emotional, and behavioral (SEB) domains have proliferated over the past two decades; however, the promise of these screeners has yet to be fully realized for multiple reasons. First, uptake of SEB screeners has not been widespread, with resource demands and capacity for data use as primary barriers. Second, although the rise in available SEB screening tools is promising, concerns about the narrow focus and potential rater bias of these screeners have been raised. That is, the vast majority of SEB screening tools are comprised of items that reinforce a child deficit view. A within-child perspective that does not also attend to contextual factors is problematic for many reasons, particularly with regard to its potential contribution to reinforcing bias and ultimately disproportionality. Equitable SEB screening must incorporate data collectionthat can efficiently screen across multiple independent risk factors and data usethat incorporates contextually relevant information and addresses personal biases. In sum, SEB screening assessments offer critical information within integrated multi-tiered systems of support, but current iterations are inadequate at providing contextualized information about the whole child.
Project Activities: Across four years, the research team will use a mixed-method research design to accomplish three primary research aims. With emphasis on iterative and collaborative methods, the first aim of the project is to develop the items and instrumentation for the C3SS using input from key stakeholders including families, educators, and content area experts. Input will be solicited and used to iterate the drafted measure and resultant data reports. The second aim involves establishing initial psychometric evidence for the C3SS screener. The research team will ask elementary educators to complete the C3SS for a random sample of students within their classrooms. The team will use data to evaluate construct validity, internal consistency reliability, temporal stability, and interrater reliability. Additionally, they will explore treatment validity within an analogue study of multidisciplinary teams. Finally, the third aim includes pilot evaluation of the usability and consequential validity of the C3SS.
Products: The primary product will be the Comprehensive and Contextual Child Screener in Schools (C3SS), a whole child screener with initial psychometric evidence established for use with students in grades 3-5. The research team will disseminate project findings through a project website, practitioner briefs, policy briefs, and publications and presentations across academic, practitioner, and legislative audiences.
Setting: This project will take place in public schools located within the Northeast U.S., with the goal of ensuring broad geographic (i.e., urban, suburban, rural) and demographic (i.e. racial, ethnic, socioeconomic) representation.
Sample: An advisory board consisting of individuals with content expertise, school-based professionals (i.e., primary intended users), and family caregivers will provide feedback to inform initial development of the measure. Elementary educators in grades 3-5 and their students will serve as the primary participants within this project. Classroom teachers and members of school-based multidisciplinary teams will provide the quantitative and qualitative data needed to evaluate the initial psychometric evidence for the measure.
Assessment: The Comprehensive and Contextual Child Screener in Schools (C3SS) is intended for use in conducting whole child screening in elementary school settings. It is anticipated that the C3SS will consist of two broad indicators. Child-centered indicators will focus on what are perceived to be within-child risks across (a) academic, (b) social, (c) emotional, (d) behavioral, and (e) physical health domains. In addition, environmentally-focused indicators will emphasize contextual factors that may place a student at higher levels of risk (e.g., economic stability, social and community context, neighborhood and physical environment).
Research Design and Methods: Across four years, the research team will use a mixed-methods research design to accomplish three primary research aims. The first aim of the project is to develop the items and instrumentation for the C3SS using input from key stakeholders (i.e., families, teachers, administrators). They will use iterative and collaborative methods with input solicited both from individuals with school practice-based expertise, research expertise, family and community-based experience. This information will inform modifications to both the drafted measure and resultant data reports. The second aim is to establish initial psychometric evidence for the C3SS whole child screener. Elementary educators will complete the C3SS for a random sample of students within their classrooms and data used to establish the construct validity, internal consistency reliability, temporal stability, and interrater reliability of the resultant data. Additionally, the research team will explore treatment validity within an analogue study of multidisciplinary teams. Finally, the third aim is to conduct a pilot evaluation of the usability of and validity of data obtained from the C3SS.
Control Condition: Due to the nature of this project, there is no control condition.
Key Measures: The research team will develop both initial and final forms of the Comprehensive and Contextual Child Screener in Schools (C3SS). In the final year of the project, the team will investigate whether the C3SS predicts educationally-relevant outcomes.
Data Analytic Strategy: Planned analyses for Aim 1 will involve conventional content analysis. Within Aim 2, analyses will involve factor analyses along with evaluation of reliability (i.e., internal consistency, temporal stability, interrater agreement) and validity (i.e., construct validity, treatment utility) of scores obtained from the C3SS. Within Aim 3 of the project, analyses will focus on evidence of validity, including internal structure, concurrent, predictive, and consequential.
Related IES Projects: Enhancing Ci3T: Building Professional Capacity for High Fidelity Implementation to Support Students' Educational Outcomes (Project ENHANCE) (R324N190002); Exploring the Status and Impact of School-Based Behavior Screening Practices in a National Sample: Implications for Systems, Policy, and Research (R305A140543); Project VIABLE-II: Unified validation of Direct Behavior Rating (DBR) in a problem-solving model (R324A110017); Project VIABLE: Validation of Instruments for Assessing Behavior Longitudinally and Efficiently (R324B060014)