Many students enter elementary school unprepared to benefit from school, often demonstrating behavioral challenges that affect the nature of their educational experience (Spilt et al., 2012) and increase their risk for subsequent behavioral difficulties (Conroy et al., 2008). This risk may increase over time, due in part to ongoing interaction patterns with teachers who struggle to manage their classroom behavior (O’Conner et al., 2011). Students who exhibit chronic problem behaviors early in school receive fewer learning opportunities from teachers than their peers who do not exhibit problem behaviors (Van Acker, Grant, & Henry, 1996; Wehby et al., 1998). This reduction in learning opportunities is often associated with an increase in negative teacher-student interactions that tend to accumulate across time (Doumen et al., 2008. This poster examines the effects of BEST in CLASS – Elementary, a Tier 2 classroom intervention delivered by teachers that targets improvements in teacher-student interactions, on teacher and student outcomes with a sample of students identified as at-risk for emotional/behavioral disorders (EBD). BEST in CLASS – Elementary was adapted from the BEST in CLASS preschool program, which has demonstrated positive child (Sutherland et al., 2018) and teacher (Conroy et al., in press) effects in a previous RCT.
Methods: The current study was conducted in year three of an Institute of Education Sciences Goal 2 development project. Twenty-six Kindergarten to 3rd grade teachers (and 46 students identified as at-risk for EBD) in three urban elementary schools were randomly assigned to either a BEST in CLASS or business-as-usual condition. Following a one-day training on BEST in CLASS, treatment teachers were provided weekly practice-based coaching for 15 weeks. Pre and post-test measures were collected on teacher-self efficacy, teacher-student relationships and teacher reports of student problem behavior. Direct observations of classroom quality using the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) were also conducted at pre and posttest.
Results: Effect size estimates for three subscales of the Teacher Self-Efficacy Scale ranged from .26 to .59, with the largest effect noted for the Student Engagement subscale, while effect size estimates on the Student-Teacher Relationship Scale were .80 for Closeness and -.70 for Conflict. The BEST in CLASS effect on problem behavior was noted with an effect size of .99 on the Problem Behavior subscale of the Social Skills Improvement System. Finally, effect size estimates on the three subscales of the CLASS ranged from .17 to .37, with the largest effect noted on the Emotional Support dimension.