WWC review of this study

Efficacy Validation of the Revised First Step Program: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Feil, Edward G.; Walker, Hill M.; Frey, Andy J.; Seeley, John R.; Small, Jason W.; Golly, Annemieke; Lee, Jon; Forness, Steven R. (2020). Grantee Submission. Exceptional Children, v87 n2 p183-198. Retrieved from: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED606477

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
     examining 
    154
     Students
    , grade
    PK

Reviewed: November 2021

At least one finding shows promising evidence of effectiveness
At least one statistically significant positive finding
Meets WWC standards without reservations
Student Behavior outcomes—Statistically significant positive effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

Social Skills Improvement System (SSIS) Rating Scales Social Skills: teacher-reported

First Step Next (FSN) vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Full sample;
153 students

91.70

79.90

Yes

 
 
32
 
More Outcomes

Student-Teacher Relationship Scale (STRS): Child-Teacher Conflict

First Step Next (FSN) vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Full sample;
154 students

24.40

32.60

Yes

 
 
29
 

Systematic Screening for Behavior Disorders: Adaptive Behavior Index

First Step Next (FSN) vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Full sample;
154 students

27.90

23.80

Yes

 
 
26
 

Social Skills Improvement System (SSIS) Rating Scales Problem Behavior: teacher-reported

First Step Next (FSN) vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Full sample;
154 students

115.00

125.20

Yes

 
 
23
 

Systematic Screening for Behavior Disorders: Maladaptive Behavior Index

First Step Next (FSN) vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Full sample;
154 students

23.50

27.80

Yes

 
 
22
 

Relational Aggression scale

First Step Next (FSN) vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Full sample;
154 students

10.10

12.50

Yes

 
 
16
 

Social Skills Improvement System (SSIS) Rating Scales Social Skills: parent-reported

First Step Next (FSN) vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Full sample;
154 students

98.90

94.30

Yes

 
 
13
 

Social Skills Improvement System (SSIS) Rating Scales Problem Behavior: parent-reported

First Step Next (FSN) vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Full sample;
143 students

110.00

116.00

Yes

 
 
13
 

Systematic Screening for Behavior Disorders: Aggressive Behavior Scale

First Step Next (FSN) vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Full sample;
154 students

16.40

18.60

Yes

 
 
13
 


Evidence Tier rating based solely on this study. This intervention may achieve a higher tier when combined with the full body of evidence.

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.


  • Female: 33%
    Male: 67%
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    Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Oregon
  • Race
    Black
    36%
    Other or unknown
    16%
    White
    48%
  • Ethnicity
    Hispanic    
    16%

Setting

The study took place in 50 state and federally funded preschool programs in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, and Oregon.

Study sample

A total of 154 preschool students were included in the study. The 154 students were recruited from 154 classrooms in 50 preschool programs. One student in each classroom was identified as the focal child for data collection based on a standardized screening assessment for behavior problems. Approximately 33% of the students were female. Forty-eight percent were White, 36% were Black, and 16% did not report race. Sixteen percent were Hispanic or Latino.

Intervention Group

First Step Next (FSN) is an early intervention for behavioral problems for children in pre-kindergarten through second grade. Students in the intervention group engaged in the FSN program individually and in small groups with their classroom teacher and FSN program coaches. FSN targets social skills and academic enablers that are central to promoting school success. The intervention includes three major components. The first component is social skills instruction, where a program coach and the child's teacher help the student master a set of "Super Student Skills" by providing behavioral lessons that target social-emotional and academic skills. The second component is the green-card game, where the coach or teacher uses a laminated card with a green side and a red side to provide feedback to the child about their compliance with classroom expectations. The third component is home-school connections, where parents are provided with a workbook to promote positive parenting strategies that reinforce the skills the child is learning in the classroom. Program coaches implemented FSN during the first 5 to 7 days of the program; coach-to-teacher transition occurred between the eighth and tenth day of the program; and teacher implementation occurred in earnest from day 11 onward (the manuscript does not describe the total length of the program).

Comparison Group

Students in the comparison group received business-as-usual preschool instruction; however, the researchers offered teachers in the comparison group a 4-hour training session focused on behavior management and positive behavior support.

Support for implementation

Classroom teachers implemented FSN with the support of 21 FSN-trained coaches. All intervention teachers received a full-day training focused on the FSN program and general principles of effective classroom management. Teachers received support from the coaches who implemented the first part of FSN, as well as one-on-one coaching and supervision, as needed. The coaches who implemented FSN received a 2-day training before program start. During implementation, the coaches received support from research staff. Teachers in the comparison group engaged in a 4-hour training focused on behavior management and positive behavior support.

Reviewed: June 2021

At least one finding shows promising evidence of effectiveness
At least one statistically significant positive finding
Meets WWC standards without reservations
Compliant Student Behavior outcomes—Statistically significant positive effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

The Relational Aggression scale

First Step Next (FSN) vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Full sample;
154 students

10.10

12.30

Yes

 
 
16
 
More Outcomes

Systematic Screening for Behavior Disorders, ABS subscale

First Step Next (FSN) vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Full sample;
154 students

16.40

18.40

Yes

 
 
13
 
Student social functioning outcomes—Statistically significant positive effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

Social Skills Improvement System (SSIS) Social Skills Scale - teacher-reported

First Step Next (FSN) vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Full sample;
154 students

91.70

80.60

Yes

 
 
32
 
More Outcomes

Child-Teacher Conflict scale

First Step Next (FSN) vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Full sample;
154 students

24.40

31.40

Yes

 
 
29
 

Systematic Screening for Behavior Disorders, ABI subscale

First Step Next (FSN) vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Full sample;
154 students

27.90

23.70

Yes

 
 
27
 

Social Skills Improvement System (SSIS) Problem Behaviors Scale - teacher-reported

First Step Next (FSN) vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Full sample;
154 students

115.00

124.80

Yes

 
 
24
 

Systematic Screening for Behavior Disorders, MBI subscale

First Step Next (FSN) vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Full sample;
154 students

23.50

27.90

Yes

 
 
22
 

Social Skills Improvement System (SSIS) Social Skills Scale - parent-reported

First Step Next (FSN) vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Full sample;
154 students

98.90

92.90

Yes

 
 
13
 

Social Skills Improvement System (SSIS) Problem Behaviors Scale - parent-reported

First Step Next (FSN) vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Full sample;
154 students

110.00

118.10

Yes

 
 
13
 


Evidence Tier rating based solely on this study. This intervention may achieve a higher tier when combined with the full body of evidence.

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.


  • Female: 33%
    Male: 67%
    • B
    • A
    • C
    • D
    • E
    • F
    • G
    • I
    • H
    • J
    • K
    • L
    • P
    • M
    • N
    • O
    • Q
    • R
    • S
    • V
    • U
    • T
    • W
    • X
    • Z
    • Y
    • a
    • h
    • i
    • b
    • d
    • e
    • f
    • c
    • g
    • j
    • k
    • l
    • m
    • n
    • o
    • p
    • q
    • r
    • s
    • t
    • u
    • x
    • w
    • y

    Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Oregon
  • Race
    Black
    36%
    Other or unknown
    16%
    White
    48%
  • Ethnicity
    Hispanic    
    16%
    Not Hispanic or Latino    
    84%

Setting

Study participants were pre-kindergarten students at risk for school failure, drawn from Head Start and preschool programs located in one county in Illinois, one county in Indiana, two counties in Kentucky, and two counties in Oregon.

Study sample

The 160 participating children were 4 years old, on average, and about one-third (33%) were female. Children's race and ethnicity were reported as white (48%), black (36%), and Hispanic (16%).

Intervention Group

First Step Next (FSN) is a Tier 2 early intervention for children in pre-kindergarten through second grade. FSN targets social skills and academic enablers central to promoting school success. The intervention has three major components: (1) social skills instruction, whereby the coach, and later the child's teacher, helps the target child to master a set of "Super Student Skills" by providing behavioral lessons that target social-emotional and academic skills; (2) the green-card game, where the coach or teacher uses a laminated card with a green side and a red side to provide feedback to the child about their compliance with classroom expectations (if the card is on the green side, the child should continue with what they are doing, and if the card is on the red side, they should “stop, think, and get back on track"); and (3) home-school connections, which provides the parents a workbook to promote positive parenting strategies that reinforce the skills the child is learning in the classroom. Parents also receive daily feedback from the coach or teacher.

Comparison Group

Teachers in the comparison condition were offered a 4-hour training in classroom management and positive behavioral support. This training provided teachers with some intervention support, but it was more generic, with no specific strategies provided, as in the FSN intervention. Teachers in this condition were eligible to receive training and implementation support in FSN during following academic year.

Support for implementation

Teachers planning to implement the FSN intervention attend a 1-day workshop on the program. A behavioral coach provided direct support to the focus child in the classroom and provided the child's teacher with one-on-one consultation and supervision. Gradually the role of the coach was transferred to the teacher.

 

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