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IES Grant

Title: Examining the Efficacy of Program-Wide Supports for Pyramid Model Implementation (PWS-PMT): Addressing Young Children's Social-Emotional Competence and Challenging Behavior
Center: NCER Year: 2023
Principal Investigator: Hemmeter, Mary Louise Awardee: Vanderbilt University
Program: Early Learning Programs and Policies      [Program Details]
Award Period: 5 years (10/01/2022 – 09/30/2027) Award Amount: $3,795,843
Type: Initial Efficacy Award Number: R305A230061

Co-Principal Investigators: Barton, Erin; Fox, Lise; Henry Gary; Vatland, Christopher

Purpose: The purpose of this project is to conduct an initial efficacy study of a system of supports for implementing the Pyramid Model for Promoting Social-Emotional Competence program-wide (PWS-PMT) in early childhood programs. The Pyramid Model is a tiered framework of teaching practices for promoting social-emotional competence and addressing challenging behavior in young children . PWS-PMT describes the systems that programs put in place to support and sustain the use of Pyramid Model practices by all staff. PWS-PMT is fully developed with the procedures and tools needed to support program-wide implementation of the Pyramid Model in early childhood settings.

Project Activities: The researchers will evaluate the fully developed system of program-wide supports (PWS-PMT) needed for high-fidelity, program-wide implementation of the Pyramid Model with programs that include children from low-income families. The study will involve 44 early childhood programs/centers (e.g., community childcare, Head Start) with 22 programs randomly assigned to intervention and 22 to a business as usual (BAU) control condition. The programs will be in Florida and Tennessee and will serve at-risk children ages 3 to 5 years.

Early childhood programs/centers assigned to the treatment condition will receive training, external coaching, and materials to implement PWS-PMT and will be compared to programs implementing business-as-usual practices. The relationship between implementing PWS-PMT with fidelity, changes in teacher implementation of Pyramid Model practices, classroom quality, teacher-child interactions, and child outcomes (i.e., challenging behavior, social-emotional development, early academic skills, executive function) will be assessed.

Products: The research team will provide data on the effects of PWS-PMT on program, teacher, and child outcomes and the costs associated with the intervention; produce a data set that can be used by other researchers; prepare and submit research publications; and develop and disseminate materials for administrators and teaching staff. Results will be presented at national conferences for audiences of state and local program leaders, practitioners, and researchers. A fidelity tool for measuring program-wide implementation will be widely disseminated.

Structured Abstract

Setting: The study will take place in early childhood programs that include children from low- income families including childcare and Head Start centers.

Population: The research team will recruit 44 centers. Within each center, the team will recruit individuals who serve in the role of administrator, coach, and behavior support personnel as well as all teachers in classrooms serving children ages 3 to 5 years. The researchers expect to include 44 administrators, 44 coaches, 44 behavior support personnel, 132 teachers, 88 family members, and 1320 children.

Intervention: PWS-PMT is a system of supports for implementing the Pyramid Model program- wide in early childhood settings. PWS-PMT is a comprehensive set of processes, practices, and materials for programs to use in delivering program-wide supports. The research team will support programs across 3 years by an external coach (i.e., from the research team) to develop and implement program-wide supports which include (a) creating a leadership team, (b) assessing and nurturing staff buy-in, (c) creating and teaching program-wide expectations, (d) developing and implementing professional development plans with teachers including ongoing coaching, (e) designing and implementing a behavior support process for children with severe and persistent behavior challenges or social emotional needs, and (f) using data-based decision making.

Research Design and Methods: The research team will randomly assign 44 programs to PWS-PMT and business-as-usual control conditions. The research team will provide training and external coaching to program leadership teams in the PWS-PMT group, conduct fidelity observations, collect classroom data, ask teachers to report on children's social and behavioral skills, and assess children's early academic and executive function skills. Analyses will be conducted to examine the effects of external coaching on the implementation of PWS-PMT by program leadership teams and the subsequent effects on teacher implementation of Pyramid Model practices and changes in children's social, emotional, behavioral, early academic, and executive function skills.

Control Condition: The business-as-usual control group will continue implementing typical practices and receive training after all data collection activities are complete.

Key Measures: Key measures for this project include the Supporting Program-wide Implementation Fidelity Instrument, the Teaching Pyramid Model Observation Tool, the Classroom Observation Scoring System, the Social Skills Improvement Scales, the Woodcock Johnson Letter-Word identification, and Applied Problems subscales, and two executive function measures (Head, Toes, Knees, Shoulders; Peg Tapping).

Data Analytic Strategy: The research team will use a three-level blocked randomized design with programs as the unit of randomization and students nested within classrooms and classrooms nested within programs. To estimate the effects of PWS-PMI, the researchers will use ordinary least squares regression (OLS) to examine program-level outcomes and hierarchical linear models to examine classroom and student-level outcomes. For program level outcomes, which are not nested within higher level clusters, the research team will use OLS with covariate adjustment to estimate effects.

Cost Analysis: The researchers will evaluate the costs associated with the activities and outputs of the PWS- PMT intervention as part of a cost effectiveness analysis. The approach will follow the ingredients costing method.

Related IES Projects:

Examining the Potential Efficacy of a Classroom Wide Model for Promoting Social Emotional Development and Addressing Challenging Behavior in Preschool Children with and without Disabilities (R324A070212), Examining the Efficacy of a Classroom-Wide Model for Promoting Social Emotional Development and Addressing Challenging Behavior in Preschool Children with or at-risk for Disabilities (R324A120178), Development of Program-Wide Supports for the Pyramid Model Implementation: Addressing Young Children's Social-Emotional Competence and Challenging Behavior (R305A150141)