Testing the Efficacy of Double Check: A Cultural Proficiency Professional Development Model in Middle Schools
Co-Principal Investigator: Katrina Debnam (Johns Hopkins University)
Purpose: In this study, researchers will test whether Double Check, a teacher professional development program designed to promote cultural proficiency and student engagement practices, can improve student academic and behavioral outcomes in middle school. Double Check was developed with IES funding (Double Check: A Cultural Proficiency and Student Engagement Model) as a potential way to remediate the disproportionate representation of minority students in disciplinary actions and special education referrals. Double Check provides school-wide training and individualized coaching using the Classroom Check-Up to teachers within a School-Wide Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (SW-PBIS) framework. By integrating culturally responsive practices into middle schools, the end goal is to strengthen student engagement in school and help teachers see student behavior through a different lens and thereby reduce unwarranted disciplinary actions and special education referrals.
Project Activities: The research team will randomly assign three consecutive cohorts of middle schools with SW-PBIS already in place to receive Double Check or to serve as controls. Intervention and data collection will occur with sixth and seventh grade students and their teachers. Researchers will assess the impact of Double Check on teacher attitudes and practices and student perceptions of school climate and equity, behavior, and academic performance immediately following a one-year intervention period and in the following school year.
Products: Researchers will provide evidence of the efficacy of Double Check to improve the cultural proficiency and practices of middle school teachers and the academic and behavioral outcomes of their students. The research team will also prepare peer-reviewed publications.
Setting: This study is conducted in urban and suburban school districts in Maryland.
Sample: Sixth and seventh grade students (~ 13,500) and their teachers (~ 600) are expected to participate across 30 middle schools.
Intervention: Double Check includes professional development for all school staff and coaching for classroom teachers within a School-Wide Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (SW-PBIS) framework. The training is delivered in five sessions over the school year. Training content addresses five core strategies intended to promote culturally responsive disciplinary and instructional practices in schools: reflective thinking about group membership and function behind students' behavior; effective communication with parents and students; developing authentic relationships with students; cultural connections to curriculum; and being sensitive to students' culture. Each session is co-led by a Double Check coach and a school staff member. Supplementary materials include "Double Checkers" – two-page summaries of a specific skill or strategy (e.g., Function-Based Thinking, Code Switching, and Perspective Taking) and the "Double Check Tip of the Week" provided to all school staff via email or staff newsletter. Individualized coaching is provided using the Classroom Check-Up (CCU) coaching model with goal setting and performance feedback that reflects the five core modules.
Research Design and Methods: The research team will randomly assign three consecutive cohorts of ten middle schools each that are already trained in SW-PBIS to receive training and coaching in the Double Check model or to serve as controls. Intervention and data collection focuses on students and teachers in sixth and seventh grade classrooms. The team will provide one year of active training and coaching for teachers in these classrooms, and will assess student and teacher outcomes at the end of the intervention year and in the following school year to determine if impacts are sustained over time.
Control Condition: Schools randomly assigned to the control condition already have SW-PBIS in place and provide typical professional development opportunities.
Key Measures: Researchers will assess student outcomes through school records (e.g., standardized test scores, office discipline referrals and attendance), observations (Assessing School Settings: Interactions of Students and Teachers (the ASSIST) and the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS), and student surveys (e.g., engagement, climate, equity, teacher support). The team will measure teacher outcomes using self-report surveys (e.g., cultural proficiency, efficacy, behavior management practices, and school climate) and observations (the ASSIST and the CLASS). In addition, the research team will measure implementation using researcher-developed tools (logs, feedback forms, and fidelity checklists).
Data Analytic Strategy: Researchers will use multilevel models to determine the impact of the school-level intervention on student and teacher outcomes. The team will test the potential moderating effects of student characteristics (e.g., race/ethnicity, gender, special education status) by expanding the main effects models to include cross-level interactions between student characteristics and study condition, and by using latent profile analysis. The researcher team will test hypothesized mediators (culturally responsive teaching practices and proactive behavior management skills) using random coefficient growth modeling and its reformulation as a latent growth model. The team will also examine variations in outcomes based on fidelity of implementation. The analytic team will calculate the total cost of the intervention based on the expenditures/outlays for each of its components (e.g., intervention protocols/materials; personnel costs).
Related IES Projects: Double Check: A Cultural Proficiency and Student Engagement Model (R324A110107), Examining Variation in the Impact of School-Wide Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) (R305A090307)