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Initial findings on a culturally responsive practices professional development training program in Wisconsin

Region:
Midwest
Abstract:

Description: Improving educational outcomes among Black students in Wisconsin is a state priority for the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Midwest, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, and members of other key stakeholder groups have formed a research-practice partnership called the Midwest Achievement Gap Research Alliance to address it. One of the primary research topics that alliance members have prioritized is understanding culturally responsive practices—specifically, how culturally responsive practices are related to student and school outcomes. To address this research topic, this project will examine a formal program—the culturally responsive practices professional development training program that is supported by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction—to determine whether completing this program is related to school outcomes.

As part of efforts to better support Black students, the state of Wisconsin began providing support for schools to implement culturally responsive practices (CRP). The training began in Madison Metropolitan School District in 2009 and was then offered statewide in 2014/15. After the professional development, many schools formally incorporated CRP into the way they support students with varying degrees of academic and social-emotional need, commonly known as the Multi-tiered Systems of Supports (MTSS).

This study aims to build a more comprehensive understanding of which schools completed the CRP professional development program and which schools report implementing CRP as part of their MTSS program. The study team is interested in determining the shared characteristics of schools implementing CRP in various ways, including understanding the associations between school-level achievement and completion of the professional development program. Though this study will not measure the causal impact of the CRP professional development program, it will be the first to show the reach of the CRP professional development program across Wisconsin schools, and how its completion is related to school-level outcomes.

Research Questions:

  1. What percentage of schools in Wisconsin have completed the culturally responsive practices professional development training (CRP) program? Of the schools that have completed the training program, what percentage reported implementing these practices as a part of Multi-Tiered Systems of Supports (MTSS)?
  2. Among all schools in Wisconsin, what are the characteristics of the schools that have completed the culturally responsive practices professional development training program compared with those that have not completed the program? What are the characteristics of the schools that have completed the program and are implementing MTSS? What are the characteristics of schools that implement culturally responsive practices as a part of MTSS compared with those that do not?
  3. What is the association between completing the culturally responsive practices professional development training program and school-level academic and behavioral outcomes? Is the relationship between completing the training program and school-level academic and behavioral outcomes different depending on the level of MTSS implementation?

Study Design: To answer the research questions, REL Midwest will use a combination of data provided by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, the Wisconsin Response to Intervention Center, and the U.S. Department of Education’s Common Core of Data. The study team will determine the number and percentage of schools that completed CRP professional development only; schools that completed the CRP professional development program and incorporated CRP into their MTSS program; and schools that incorporated CRP into their MTSS program but did not attend the CRP professional development. Next, the study team will analyze the differences in average school-level characteristics to determine whether the schools that chose to attend the professional development and/or implement CRP as part of MTSS were significantly different than those that did not. Lastly, the study team will use regression analyses to find associations between the completion of the CRP professional development and school-level academic and behavioral outcomes.

Projected Release Date: July 2020

Partnership or Research Alliance: Midwest Achievement Gap Research Alliance (MAGRA)

Related Products: Making Connections Report

Principal Investigators & Affiliation:
Jameela Conway Turner, Ph.D., American Institutes for Research