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Establishing Positive Behavior Supports in Elementary School Instructional Settings

Year: 2009
Name of Institution:
IRIS Media, Inc.
Goal: Development and Innovation
Principal Investigator:
Marquez, Brion
Award Amount: $1,858,462
Award Period: 3 years
Award Number: R305A090107

Description:

Purpose: Although it is well established that effective classroom management is critical to reducing disruptive behavior, promoting student engagement, and ultimately enhancing academic achievement, schools struggle to provide adequate training in classroom management for all school staff involved in instruction and supervision. The standard approach to staff professional development, the one day in-service workshop, is often inadequate and typically does not lead to meaningful changes in teacher practice and subsequent student behavior and academic achievement. In this study, the researchers will develop and field test an online staff professional development program that teaches all elementary school staff how to apply positive behavior supports (PBS) in a wide variety of elementary school settings. This Instructional Staff PBS program will be available on a media-enhanced Internet platform and will consist of three modules: (1) understanding and using PBS principles and practices, (2) implementing preventive behavioral approaches, and (3) responding effectively to misbehavior and correcting minor problem behaviors that interfere with instruction.

Project Activities: The researchers will use an iterative formative evaluation process to develop the online professional development program. Focus groups will provide data to develop the content of each of the three modules. After content is developed, a feasibility study for each module will be completed in order to refine content and delivery. The research team will use a single-condition, pre-test/post-test design that assesses changes in school staff's (a) knowledge about PBS, (b) perceived self-efficacy around classroom management, (c) implementation of PBS principles in the elementary school setting, (d) satisfaction with the online training program, and (e) extent of usage of the website. Once each of the three modules has been fully developed, they will be combined into a single program and the feasibility of the full program will be assessed using a single-condition, pre-test/post-test design.

Products: The products of this project will be a fully developed, three-module, online professional development program for elementary school staff (e.g., teachers, paraeducators, educational assistants, classroom volunteers, librarians) with an accompanying Volunteer Guide. The professional development program will address how to apply positive behavior supports to manage behavior in a wide variety of elementary school instructional settings (e.g., classrooms, computer labs, libraries), and published reports.

Structured Abstract

Setting: The majority of the focus groups and feasibility studies will take place with staff and volunteers from elementary schools in Oregon. A limited number of focus group participants will also be drawn from a national sample of school and district leaders and staff.

Population: Eight to 10 elementary school staff and volunteers will participate in each of three focus groups. Key informant interviews will be conducted with three school district administrators, three elementary school principals, three behavior specialists/coaches, and three trainers who will be recruited nationally. For the feasibility studies of each program module, 50 elementary school staff will be recruited, and for the feasibility of the complete program, 100 elementary school staff will be recruited.

Intervention: The intervention that will be developed in this project is an online staff professional development program that teaches all elementary school staff how to apply positive behavior supports (PBS) in a wide variety of elementary school settings. This Instructional Staff PBS program will be available on a media-enhanced Internet platform and will consist of three modules: (1) understanding and using PBS principles and practices, (2) implementing preventive behavioral approaches, and (3) responding effectively to misbehavior and correcting minor problem behaviors that interfere with instruction. A separate online Volunteer Guide will also be created for school volunteers (e.g., parents, other relatives) to ensure successful staff support and familiarity with PBS principles when volunteering in the classroom or for other instructional activities.

Research Design and Methods: The researchers will use an iterative formative evaluation process using focus groups to develop the content of each of the three modules, followed by a feasibility study to refine content and delivery of the modules using a single-condition, pre-test/post-test design that assesses changes in teachers' (a) knowledge about PBS, (b) perceived self-efficacy around classroom management, (c) implementation of PBS principles in the elementary school setting, (d) satisfaction with the online training program, and (e) extent of usage of the website by participants. Once each of the three modules has been developed, they will be combined into a single program and the feasibility of the full program will be assessed using the same pre-test/post-test design. The development and evaluation of each program module will take place in three overlapping waves in the first two years of the project. Once the modules are revised and combined, the complete program will be field tested over an eight-week period for feasibility in the final year of the project.

Control Condition: There is no control condition.

Key Measures: A variety of measures will be modified or adapted for use in the project, including the Stages of Concerns (SOC) Questionnaire (assesses changes in knowledge), the Efficacy in the Classroom Management Subscale and the Teacher Sense of Efficacy (TSE) Scale (assess staff's perceived self-efficacy), the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) (assesses user behavior), and other instruments to assess user satisfaction, program implementation, and instructional time with the online system.

Data Analytic Strategy: Descriptive analyses will be used for the formative iterative development of the program modules and the feasibility study of the complete program. Measures of implementation attempts, user satisfaction, and usage logs will be analyzed to demonstrate the feasibility of the online program. Pre-test/post-test measures will be analyzed using paired t-tests to determine if staff improved their knowledge, attitudes, behavioral intentions, and self-efficacy after using the online training program. A dose-response analysis of correlations between usage and change measures will determine whether those staff who used the program more achieved greater benefits.

Publications

Journal article, monograph, or newsletter

Marquez, B., Marquez, J., Vincent, C.G., Pennefather, J., Sprague, J.R., Smolkowski, K., and Yeaton, P. (2014). The Iterative Development and Initial Evaluation of "We Have Skills!", An Innovative Approach to Teaching Social Skills to Elementary Students. Education and Treatment of Children, 37(1): 137–161.

Marquez, B., Vincent, C., Marquez, J., Pennefather, J., Smolkowski, K., and Sprague, J. (2016). Opportunities and Challenges in Training Elementary School Teachers in Classroom Management: Initial Results From Classroom Management in Action, An Online Professional Development Program. Journal of Technology and Teacher Education, 24(1), 87–109.

Pennefather, J., and Smolkowski, K. (2014). Validation of the Elementary Social Behavior Assessment: A Measure of Student Prosocial School Behaviors. Assessment for Effective Intervention, 40(3): 143–154.

Walker, H.M., Marquez, B., Yeaton, P., Pennefather, J., Forness, S.R., and Vincent, C.G. (2015). Teacher Judgment in Assessing Students' Social Behavior Within a Response-To-Intervention Framework: Using What Teachers Know. Education and Treatment of Children, 38(3), 363–382.