Implementer and organizational characteristics can impact the outcome of evidence-based programs (EBPs), contributing to the “voltage drop” in effectiveness observed during EBP scale-up. The evidence standards recently endorsed by the Society for Prevention Research identified these factors as critical predictors of the successful adoption, implementation, and sustainability of EBPs. The current paper aims to investigate these factors and their links to intervention outcomes in the context of an EBP focused on improving teachers’ classroom behavior management skills.
Teachers (n = 105; K-3rd grade, 97% female, 22% African American, 75% White), along with their students (n = 1818, 48% female, 50% free or reduced lunch, 22% White, 76% African American), were randomly assigned to treatment or control conditions in the context of a large efficacy study. Intervention teachers participated in the Incredible Years teacher training (IY TT) program, an intervention designed to promote teachers’ knowledge and use of good classroom management practices. The current study focuses on teachers within the intervention group (n= 52). Predictors included baseline teacher-reported measures of interest in the intervention, burnout, and school organizational health. Outcomes were measured at the end of the intervention year and included teacher-reported self-efficacy and observer-rated classroom management. Multiple linear regressions were used to predict difference scores controlling for baseline scores and relevant demographics.
In the context of the IY TT intervention, teachers who were more interested in learning new classroom management techniques demonstrated greater improvement in self-efficacy with regard to classroom management, b = .32, p = .05. Teachers who reported less burnout at baseline demonstrated greater improvements in their self-efficacy as it related to social-emotional learning, b = .26, p = .03 With regard to classroom management, teachers with more burnout were less likely to demonstrate improvement in classroom management over the course of the IY TT intervention, b = -.26, p = .02. Lastly, teachers who worked in schools in which students were thought to value good grades and work hard to meet and exceed academic expectations demonstrated greater improvements in classroom behavior management, b = .50, p= .001.
Findings from this study indicate that the outcome of EBPs such as IY TT can be impacted by teacher and school characteristics present before the intervention even begins. Consideration of these implementer and organizational factors before and during implementation is critical to fully realize the promise of EBPs.