Consistency Management & Cooperative Discipline (CMCD): An Efficacy Trial with Students in Third and Fourth Grade Urban Schools
Purpose: The management of classrooms remains a stubborn barrier to student learning and teaching effectiveness. Management issues impact how all teachers - from neophytes to veterans - teach and engage their learners. This study examines the efficacy of the Consistency Management & Cooperative Discipline (CMCD) program on student behavior and achievement. CMCD is a classroom management program that incorporates behavioral, instructional, and organizational management strategies intended to increase teachers’ capacity to facilitate classroom management, teacher effectiveness, and instructional time. These changes are expected to decrease student office disciplinary referrals and increase student learning.
Project Activities: This study has four central aims that are addressed using a school-level random assignment research design with a wait-list control group. The first aim tests CMCD’s efficacy for improving classroom behavior and student academic achievement among nearly 10,000 third and fourth graders. Student site demographics for the district currently show 71.6% Hispanic, 24.3% African American, 4.0% White, Asian, and Other, with 86.4% of participants qualifying for free and reduced lunch and 78% at-risk. The second aim tests hypotheses about mediating student and teacher factors through which CMCD is expected to exert its positive influence on student outcomes. The student factors are distracting behaviors, greater engagement, and collaborative interaction with teachers. The teacher factors expected to play a mediating role are teacher effectiveness and teacher time saved for instruction. The third aim is to test four moderators that are expected to inhibit or enhance the effects of the independent variables. These moderators are: student gender, student mobility, teacher change readiness, and teacher experience. The fourth aim is to assess the extent to which teachers continue to implement CMCD principles and methods after training is discontinued.
Products: The products of this project will be evidence of the efficacy of the Consistency Management & Cooperative Discipline (CMCD) program for third and fourth grade students’ behavior and academic achievement in reading and math and information about teacher- and student-level moderators and mediators of impact. Peer reviewed publications will also be produced.
Setting: The study is being conducted in a large urban school district in Texas.
Sample: Across 30 elementary schools, approximately 484 third and fourth grade teachers and their students (17,210 third and 14,256 fourth graders; 71.6% Hispanic; 24.3% African American; 4.0% White, Asian, and Other; 86.4% qualifying for free/reduced lunch, 78% at-risk) participate over the four study years.
Intervention: Consistency Management & Cooperative Discipline (CMCD) is a professional development and coaching system designed to alter daily classroom management practices to support student learning using ongoing classroom observation data to inform teacher practice and support. CMCD has been proven effective with elementary teachers serving high-poverty, minority children, and is recognized as an OJJDP model Prevention program. Founded on person-centered principles and balancing the needs of students and teachers, CMCD fosters student self-discipline and personal responsibility by: 1) forging positive teacher-student relationships, 2) creating organized learning environments, 3) improving instruction, and 4) cooperatively establishing classroom discipline procedures. Teachers receive a comprehensive set of Behavioral, Instructional, and Organizational (BIO) management strategies (e.g., a cooperative plan for rules and procedures, supports for an active learning environment) that are intended to prevent problem behaviors and foster prosocial behaviors in order to improve classroom climate and empower student voice and ownership of the management plan in place in the classroom. These strategies are introduced through professional development and coaching for teachers over a two-year period designed to enable teachers to achieve experiential learning by applying CMCD in their classrooms while receiving supportive coaching and feedback before additional strategies are introduced. CMCD coaches support teachers as they learn to share classroom responsibilities with students; subsequently, student responsibility evolves into self-disciplined learning and behavior.
Research Design and Methods: This study is a randomized trial with randomization at the school level and implementation following a time-lagged approach. The district’s 30 elementary schools will be randomly assigned to either treatment or control conditions at the onset of Year 1 (15 treatment and 15 control schools). In Years 1-2, all third and fourth grade teachers in the treatment schools will implement the CMCD program with full support, while the control school group will be in a no-implementation (control) phase. In Years 3-4, CMCD support is discontinued in the treatment group and the degree to which schools maintain implementation fidelity and program impact for one and two years following CMCD support (sustainability) will be investigated.
Control Condition: The third and fourth grade classrooms in the control schools will maintain their current classroom management strategies in Years 1-2. In Years 3-4, the control group receives two years of active CMCD implementation.
Key Measures: Instruments used to tap outcome and mediating/moderating variables include: structured observation tools (fidelity measures, the Time-on-Task protocol and the Classroom Assessment Scoring System), the Readiness for Organizational Change teacher survey, standardized assessments in reading and math (Stanford Achievement Test Version 10 - SAT-10 and the State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness - STAAR exams), a student perceptions of school climate survey (the Delaware School Climate Survey - DSCS-S), and data common to Texas public schools (teacher experience, student gender, attendance, office disciplinary referrals, and mobility).
Data Analytic Strategy: To assess the effect of treatment on outcome variables, appropriate hierarchical linear modeling methods will be used with mediators and moderators entered as covariates in the statistical model.