Evaluation of a Classroom Management Training Program for Middle School Teachers
Co-Principal Investigator: Wendy Reinke
Purpose: Ineffective classroom behavior management practices interfere with instruction, child development, and academic achievement. Although much is known about effective classroom behavior management strategies, many teachers are not adequately trained to deal with behavior problems. In this efficacy study, CHAMPS (Conversation, Help, Activity, Movement, Participation, Success), a program for promoting classroom management skills in middle school teachers, will be tested to determine whether the program improves student engagement, behavior, and academic achievement. A secondary aim is to explore factors such as teacher burnout and school climate that may influence teachers' implementation of CHAMPS practices. Although CHAMPS was developed over a decade ago and has been implemented in dozens of states with thousands of teachers, its effects on teacher and student outcomes have never been independently evaluated in a controlled trial.
Project Activities: Teachers in middle schools (sixth to eighth grade) will be randomized into either the CHAMPS condition or the control condition based on the lowest academic level regular class for each teacher in core content courses. The researchers will collect data on student academic and social behavior prior to intervention, post intervention, and in the spring of the following school year. Data on teacher classroom practices will be collected at four time points across the school year.
Products: The products of this project will be evidence of the efficacy of the CHAMPS intervention for improving middle school teachers' classroom management practices and students' school engagement, behavior, and academic achievement. Findings will be reported in peer-reviewed publications.
Setting: The participating schools are located in a large urban district in Missouri.
Sample: One hundred classrooms (sixth, seventh or eighth grade) with approximately 25 students per classroom from six public middle schools will participate. Most of the students in the district are African-American and economically disadvantaged.
Intervention: CHAMPS uses social learning and behavioral principles to promote positive teacher-student interactions and help teachers structure their classrooms in ways that prompt responsible student behavior. The CHAMPS acronym (Conversation, Help, Activity, Movement, Participation, Success) is used as a guide for teachers as they define behavioral expectations for students around specific instructional approaches. For example, during writing students remain in their seats (the Movement expectation) and do not talk with classmates (the Conversation expectation). Classroom management skills are introduced and practiced through group training that includes video-based modeling (viewing and discussing brief vignettes of actual teacher-student interactions) and opportunities to role play similar scenarios and to give and receive feedback about effective classroom practices.
Research Design and Methods: The researchers will recruit and randomly assign 30 teachers in Year 1, another 40 in Year 2, and another 30 in Year 3 to one of two conditions (treatment or control). Treatment teachers will receive 3 days of CHAMPS workshop training followed by monthly coaching sessions for one school year. Twenty-five students in each teacher's lowest academic level regular class will be assessed in the fall (pretest) and spring (posttest) of the intervention year, and in the spring of the year following intervention to test for sustainability of effects (students will be tracked if they remain in the district). Teachers in both conditions will be assessed at these same time points, and CHAMPS teachers will be assessed in the fall and spring for an additional year to measure sustainability of CHAMPS' practices and factors that support implementation.
Control Condition: Teachers assigned to the control condition will receive the standard teacher continuing education program offered by the school district (business as usual).
Key Measures: Student academic achievement will be assessed using the Stanford Achievement Test 10th Edition (SAT-10) and school records (e.g., grades; state standardized test scores; office discipline referrals; suspensions). Student engagement, social skills, and classroom behaviors will be measured through teacher ratings on the Teacher Observation of Classroom Adaptation-Revised (TOCA-Revised) and the Direct Behavior Rating-SIS and researcher observations using the Classroom Assessment Scoring System-Secondary (CLASS-S) and the Multi-Option Observation System for Experimental Studies (MOOSES). Students will report on their beliefs about classroom supports for autonomy and relatedness, the relevance of school, and classroom engagement. Teachers will report on teaching efficacy, knowledge of classroom management practices, parents' involvement in education, and burnout (the Maslach Burnout Inventory).
Data Analytic Strategy: The researchers will use a combination of mixed model, structural equation, and latent growth and profile modeling. All analyses will account for the nesting of observations within classrooms. The primary analyses will use the pretest and posttest observations for each classroom. A mixed-model Analysis of Covariance will be used to compare treatment and control groups on academic performance and disruptive and off-task behavior as assessed in the spring with regression adjustment for baseline assessments in the fall.