• A Descriptive Study of a Building-Based Team Problem-Solving Process

      Brewer, Alexander B. (2010-09-21)
      The purpose of this study was to empirically evaluate Building-Based Teams for General Education Intervention or BBT for GEI. BBT for GEI is a team problem-solving process designed to assist schools in conducting research-based interventions in the general education setting. Problem-solving teams are part of general education and provide support to students with academic or behavioral concerns by creating individualized interventions that teachers can use in the classroom. Historically, problem-solving teams’ two primary goals were to reduce referrals to special education and improve student performance on academic or behavioral concerns. This study examined the effectiveness of BBT for GEI by analyzing BBT for GEI teams’ alignment with the best practice indicators of intervention design and by evaluating how BBT for GEI teams’ practices predict student outcome. The analysis was done by reviewing permanent products of team GEI practices submitted by elementary school problem-solving teams trained in the BBT for GEI process by the Blumberg Center for Interdisciplinary Studies in Special Education. The teams’ permanent products were rated on 13 quality indicators of intervention design using a Likert type scale of 1-5 on adherence and presence of the indicator. The higher the rating on the scale, the greater the alignment with the identified best practices for that indicator. The quality indicators include the following: (a) behavioral definition, (b) baseline data, (c) problem validation, (d) problem analysis, (e) goal setting, (f) delivery specifics, (g) empiricallysupported content variables, (h) measurement strategy, (i) decision-making plan, (j) progress monitoring, (k) formative evaluation, (l) treatment integrity, and (m) summative evaluation. The average indicator ratings ranged from a low of 1.44 to a high of 3.64. This range suggests that the teams implemented some of the best practice indicators to a high degree, while other indicators were either not implemented to a high degree or not addressed. BBT for GEI teams implemented the Problem Analysis and Plan Development components with the highest fidelity while implementing the Plan Implementation and Plan Evaluation components with the lowest fidelity. When analyzing the themes and commonalities, it became apparent that many teams did not conduct more than their initial meeting in order to implement and monitor a plan. In addition to the 13 indicator ratings, two student outcome ratings were also assigned to teams’ permanent products, Goal Attainment Scaling (GAS) and Student Measured Performance (SMP). The average rating for GAS was 2.92. The average for SMP was 1.93. Two multiple regression analyses were conducted to determine the effect the 13 quality indicators have on GAS and SMP. The linear combination of the quality indicators of intervention design ratings was significantly related to both GAS and SMP. Individually, Intervention Plan Development and Problem Analysis were significant predictors of GAS. Four indicators were significant predictors of SMP, Problem Validation, Goal Setting, Intervention Plan Development, and Formative Evaluation.
    • School Factors Related to Reading Achievement in Rural Schools with and without High Poverty

      Miller, Seth W.
      This quantitative study identified how rural schools differ on five school-level factors related to student achievement according to their performance on Grade 3 reading. Through use of a MANOVA test, it was shown that principals of high-poverty rural schools that made AYP in Grade 3 reading reported significantly higher levels of guaranteed and viable curriculum than principals of high-poverty rural schools that did not make AYP. There were no significant differences in the presence of the school-level factors in rural schools without high poverty based on the principal reports. Additionally, the study identified which school-level factors predict student achievement in rural schools with and without high poverty. Through use of a multiple regression test, it was determined that the school-level factors did not serve as significant predictors of Grade 3 reading performance in the high poverty rural schools. One factor, guaranteed and viable curriculum, was shown to predict for student achievement in rural schools without high poverty. In conducting this study, additional research questions were addressed. Through linear regression, it was demonstrated that poverty accounted for much more of the variance in reading scores in non-rural schools (58%, N = 1,761) than in rural schools (19%, N = 427). Through multivariate multiple regression testing, it was found that there was not a significant ability for either Grade 3 reading performance or poverty to predict for the school-level factors in rural schools. Finally, through multiple regression testing, it was determined that three predictors (poverty, guaranteed and viable curriculum, and safe and orderly environment) were able to significantly predict reading scores for rural schools. The results of the study provide rural school leaders a better understanding of the overall strengths and weaknesses of a particular school and the potential benefits of school improvement initiatives geared around school-level factors. This knowledge will prove useful to the overall research base on rural school effectiveness. More specifically, this knowledge will help guide the decisions of school leaders concerned with improving student achievement in rural school districts with high poverty.