The study took place in 21 elementary schools, with 7 elementary schools in each of three states: Missouri, Tennessee, and Utah. The grades included in the study span kindergarten through grade 6. 161 teachers within these schools were eligible for the study, and 157 were included in the analytic sample. These included both general education and special education teachers. (p. 133, 156)
Participating schools had on average 69 percent of students eligible for free and reduced price lunch, and 55 percent were minority students. About 96 percent of teachers in the analytic sample were female (150 of 157). Twelve percent of teachers were special education teachers (p. 133, supplemental paper p. 441)
The intervention, Class-wide Function-Related Intervention Team (CW-FIT), is a classroom management intervention aimed at reducing problem behaviors and supporting positive student behaviors. It is considered a “group contingency” intervention, in which students learn to engage in appropriate behaviors by sharing both rewards as well as consequences for behaviors. Teachers are provided professional development that is based on best practices for teaching prosocial behaviors, using a rewards system where class teams earn points for meeting session goals, and using differential and frequent praise for appropriate behaviors and minimizing attention to inappropriate behaviors. Teachers then implement the intervention by focusing on three target skills: how to get the teacher’s attention appropriately, how to follow directions, and how to ignore inappropriate behaviors. Students receive an initial skills training lasting about 10 minutes, after which teachers provided “brief pre-corrects” (p. 13) of skills at the beginning of a regular school lesson and then provided incidental teaching of the skills throughout the lesson. The intervention included using a timer that would beep every two to five minutes, at which time teachers would assess behavior and award points to students toward a stated goal. When the class ended, teachers would provide rewards (such as pencils and notebooks) to students to meet this goal. Teachers implemented the intervention between three and five times per week from mid- to late October through March of the same school year (pp. 139-141).
Although not discussed in this article, a companion report of the same study stated that students who did not respond to this primary classroom-level intervention were provided “Tier 2” supports, which could include self-management supports or the use of help cards.(see citation of supplemental study in Notes section).
The comparison condition used business as usual practices. Teachers followed their typical classroom management practices by, for example, posting rules, providing reminders about rules, and reprimanding students who broke rules. (p. 139)
Support for implementation
Intervention teachers received a 2-hour training workshop conducted by project staff. In the training, teachers were introduced to CW-FIT procedures and the procedures were modeled for them in two to three sessions. Teachers who needed additional support received feedback from researchers, and researchers gave ongoing feedback to all teachers based on results of the fidelity measures. (p. 141)