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Ask A REL Response

July 2019


What research has been conducted on how equity training and technical assistance for school and district staff in the use of culturally responsive/relevant and restorative practices impacts school climate, particularly in middle school?


Following an established REL Southeast research protocol, we conducted a search for research reports as well as descriptive study articles on how equity training and technical assistance for school and district staff in the use of culturally responsive/relevant and restorative practices impacts school climate, particularly in middle school We focused on identifying resources that specifically addressed how equity training and technical assistance for school and district staff in the use of culturally responsive/relevant and restorative practices impacts school climate, particularly in middle school. The sources included ERIC and other federally funded databases and organizations, research institutions, academic research databases, and general Internet search engines (For details, please see the methods section at the end of this memo.)

We have not evaluated the quality of references and the resources provided in this response. We offer them only for your reference. These references are listed in alphabetical order, not necessarily in order of relevance. Also, we searched the references in the response from the most commonly used resources of research, but they are not comprehensive and other relevant references and resources may exist."

Research References

  1. Bradshaw, C. P., Pas, E. T., Bottiani, J. H., Debnam, K. J., Reinke, W. M., Herman, K. C., & Rosenberg, M. S. (2018). Promoting cultural responsivity and student engagement through double check coaching of classroom teachers: An efficacy study. School Psychology Review, 47(2), 118-134.
    From the abstract: "This article presents findings from a randomized controlled trial (RCT) testing the impact of a novel coaching approach utilized as one element of the Double Check cultural responsivity and student engagement model. The RCT included 158 elementary and middle school teachers randomized to receive coaching or comparisons; all participating teachers were exposed to school-wide professional development activities. Pre-post nonexperimental comparisons indicated improvements in self-reported culturally responsive behavior management and self-efficacy for teachers in both conditions following professional development exposure. With regard to the experimental findings, trained observers recorded significantly more proactive behavior management and anticipation of student problems by teachers, higher student cooperation, less student noncooperation, and fewer disruptive behaviors in classrooms led by coached teachers relative to comparison teachers. Taken together, the findings suggest the potential promise of coaching combined with school-wide professional development for improving classroom management practices and possibly reducing office discipline referrals among Black students."
  2. Dickson, G. L., Chun, H., & Fernandez, I. T. (2016). The development and initial validation of the student measure of culturally responsive teaching. Assessment for Effective Intervention, 41(3), 141-154.
    From the abstract: "This article describes the development and initial validation of a measure of middle school students' perspectives of culturally responsive teaching practices. The Student Measure of Culturally Responsive Teaching (SMCRT) was developed by modifying items on the Culturally Responsive Teaching Self-Efficacy (CRTSE), which measures teachers' self-efficacy beliefs regarding their culturally responsive teaching practices. Data obtained from a sample of 748 seventh-grade students (63.9% Latino/as) were used to conduct exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses that yielded three factors: Diverse Teaching Practice, Cultural Engagement, and Diverse Language Affirmation. The three-factor model was compared with two competing models, yielding a second-order factor model as the final model. Initial validity of the SMCRT was demonstrated through tests of measurement invariance across subgroups of gender, immigrants, and Latino/as versus non-Latino/as and correlational analyses with SMCRT, teacher support, and school belonging. Internal consistency was also tested using Cronbach's alpha. Results of the data analyses suggest that SMCRT is a psychometrically sound measure of seventh-grade students' perceptions of their teachers' culturally responsive teaching practices."
  3. Kelley, H. M., Siwatu, K. O., Tost, J. R., & Martinez, J. (2015). Culturally familiar tasks on reading performance and self-efficacy of culturally and linguistically diverse students. Educational Psychology in Practice, 31(3), 293-313.
    From the abstract: "Grounded in the theoretical frameworks of constructivism and social cognitive theory, this study examined utilising culturally responsive pedagogy through a Latino themed reading task with the intention of increasing reading achievement and reading self-efficacy beliefs for culturally and linguistically diverse students. The research was conducted in an urban middle school in the south-western United States with 43 seventh grade students whose age ranged from 12 to 13 years. The majority of participants in this study reported to be Hispanic or multiracial with Hispanic origins. This study's findings added to the existing knowledge base regarding the effectiveness of culturally responsive teaching practices. More specifically, culturally responsive pedagogy was utilised in the form of a reading task to recall and reading comprehension performance. Furthermore, the findings of this study suggest that a culturally familiar reading task may increase reading self-efficacy beliefs. Implications for primary and secondary teachers, administrators, parents, and students pertain to the importance of utilising culturally responsive pedagogy as a teaching method to increase reading achievement and reading self-efficacy for culturally and linguistically diverse students."
  4. Khalifa, M. A., Gooden, M. A., & Davis, J. E. (2016). Culturally responsive school leadership: A synthesis of the literature. Review of Educational Research, 86(4), 1272-1311.
    From the abstract: "Culturally responsive school leadership (CRSL) has become important to research on culturally responsive education, reform, and social justice education. This comprehensive review provides a framework for the expanding body of literature that seeks to make not only teaching, but rather the entire school environment, responsive to the schooling needs of minoritized students. Based on the literature, we frame the discussion around clarifying strands--critical self-awareness, CRSL and teacher preparation, CRSL and school environments, and CRSL and community advocacy. We then outline specific CRSL behaviors that center inclusion, equity, advocacy, and social justice in school. Pulling from literature on leadership, social justice, culturally relevant schooling, and students/communities of color, we describe five specific expressions of CRSL found in unique communities. Finally, we reflect on the continued promise and implications of CRSL."
  5. Klingner, J., & Soltero-Gonzalez, L. (2009). Culturally and linguistically responsive literacy instruction for English language learners with learning disabilities. Multiple Voices for Ethnically Diverse Exceptional Learners, 12(1), 4-20.
    From the abstract: "In this article, we present a review of research studies that address special education literacy instruction for English language learners (ELLs) with learning disabilities (LD) and ELLs with low literacy achievement in elementary and middle school grades. We describe research on the following categories: a) culturally and linguistically responsive teachers and instruction; b) special education literacy interventions; and c) sheltered English support so that students can access and be successful with the general education curriculum. These topics represent essential instructional components for the academic success of ELLs with LD. (Contains 2 notes.)"
  6. Larson, K. E., Pas, E. T., Bradshaw, C. P., Rosenberg, M. S., & Day-Vines, N. L. (2018). Examining how proactive management and culturally responsive teaching relate to student behavior: Implications for measurement and practice. School Psychology Review, 47(2), 153-166.
    From the abstract: "The discipline gap between White students and African American students has increased demand for teacher training in culturally responsive and behavior management practices. Extant research, however, is inconclusive about how culturally responsive teaching practices relate to student behavior or how to assess using such practices in the classroom. Identifying proactive behavior management and culturally responsive teaching practices that are associated with positive student behavior may inform teacher training and bolster efforts to reduce disparities in behavioral and academic performance. The current study examined the association between student behaviors and the observed use of and teacher self-reported efficacy in using culturally responsive teaching and proactive behavior management practices. Data were collected from 274 teachers in 18 schools. Structural equation modeling indicated a statistically significant association between observations of culturally responsive teaching and proactive behavior management practices, with observed positive student behaviors in classrooms. Implications for measurement and practice are discussed."
  7. Linan-Thompson, S., Lara-Martinez, J. A., & Cavazos, L. O. (2018). Exploring the intersection of evidence-based practices and culturally and linguistically responsive practices. Intervention in School and Clinic, 54(1), 6-13.
    From the abstract: "Culturally and linguistically diverse learners with and without learning disabilities enrolled in public schools are tasked with learning content, a new culture, and a new language. Meeting their language and literacy needs requires systematic use of evidence-based practices and deep knowledge of culturally and linguistically responsive practices that address their instructional, social, and language needs. Based on observations of teachers in multilingual classroom, four culturally and linguistically responsive practice were identified: (a) consistent use of evidence-based instructional practices for students who are English learners, (b) integration of culturally responsive pedagogy with evidence-based instructional practices, (c) use of relational interaction practices that build trust and respect between teachers and students, and (d) use of flexible language practices. Vignettes of actual observation data contrast typical practice and culturally and linguistically responsive practice."
  8. Mackay, H., & Strickland, M. J. (2018). Exploring culturally responsive teaching and student-created videos in an at-risk middle school classroom. Middle Grades Review, 4(1), Article 7.
    From the abstract: "As the United States public school classrooms encounter notable shifts in student demographics and increased access to technology, teachers face the dual challenges of cultural and digital differences as they attempt to build relationships with students and develop responsive and relevant instruction. Framed by culturally responsive teaching (CRT), this qualitative study explored how one middle school teacher and his students in two summer school English classes interacted with and responded to novel technology-based instructional approach that sought to connect the students' lives outside of school to the classroom. The findings suggest that involving the students within this culturally responsive teaching approach using student-created videos informs the contribution of both the teacher and the students for connecting home and school contexts with a CRT framework."
  9. Mayfield, V. M., & Garrison-Wade, D. (2015). Culturally responsive practices as whole school reform. Journal of Instructional Pedagogies, 16.
    From the abstract: "Despite our best efforts, black children still lag behind white children in academic performance on standardized academic measures. Unconscious racism and our lack of ability to confront it present the most salient reason for the indefatigable prevalence of inequitable opportunities for children of color which undeniably result in achievement gaps. This study identified specific culturally responsive practices schoolwide in a middle school that is successfully closing academic opportunity gaps between White and Black students. The findings indicate professional development served as a conduit for ongoing discussions on race and building the cultural competency of staff. These discussions served to promote culturally responsive practices found in leadership, parent engagement, learning environment, and pedagogy."


Keywords and Search Strings
The following keywords and search strings were used to search the reference databases and other sources:

  • Culturally responsive training, middle school
  • Impact of culturally responsive teaching

Databases and Resources
We searched ERIC for relevant resources. ERIC is a free online library of over 1.6 million citations of education research sponsored by the Institute of Education Sciences. Additionally, we searched Google Scholar and PsychInfo.

Reference Search and Selection Criteria

When we were searching and reviewing resources, we considered the following criteria:

  • Date of the publication: References and resources published for last 15 years, from 2003 to present, were include in the search and review.
  • Search Priorities of Reference Sources: Search priority is given to study reports, briefs, and other documents that are published and/or reviewed by IES and other federal or federally funded organizations, academic databases, including ERIC, EBSCO databases, JSTOR database, PsychInfo, PsychArticle, and Google Scholar.
  • Methodology: Following methodological priorities/considerations were given in the review and selection of the references: (a) study types - randomized control trials,, quasi experiments, surveys, descriptive data analyses, literature reviews, policy briefs, etc., generally in this order (b) target population, samples (representativeness of the target population, sample size, volunteered or randomly selected, etc.), study duration, etc. (c) limitations, generalizability of the findings and conclusions, etc.

This memorandum is one in a series of quick-turnaround responses to specific questions posed by educational stakeholders in the Southeast Region (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, and South Carolina), which is served by the Regional Educational Laboratory Southeast at Florida State University. This memorandum was prepared by REL Southeast under a contract with the U.S. Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences (IES), Contract ED-IES-17-C-0011, administered by Florida State University. Its content does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of IES or the U.S. Department of Education nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.