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Coaching Support, Context, and Fidelity of Implementation in "Responsive Classroom"A[R] Schools.

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Author(s): Paxton, Carol L. C.; Wanless, Shannon B.; Rimm-Kaufman, Sara E.

Research in social and emotional learning interventions confirms the importance of fidelity of implementation in predicting intervention effectiveness (Durlak, Weissberg, Dymnicki, Taylor, & Schellinger, 2011). The present mixed-methods study was conducted in the context of the Responsive Classroom Efficacy Study (RCES). This was a randomized controlled trial of the Responsive ClassroomA[R] (RC) approach, a social and emotional learning intervention designed to improve teachers' capacity to create caring and well-organized classroom environments to facilitate learning. The main finding emanating from RCES is that the efficacy of the RC approach hinges upon schools' high fidelity of implementation of the intervention (Rimm-Kaufman et al., 2012). This finding turns attention to examining factors and processes that lead to high versus low levels of fidelity of implementation among schools randomized into the intervention condition. The present study draws from the Domitrovich et al.(2008) conceptual framework for program implementation. The model illustrates how macro-, school-, and individual-level factors interact with each other, as well as with the quality of the intervention, to support or hinder fidelity of intervention (FOI) (Figure 1). The Domitrovich, et al. model describes a number of avenues through which FOI can be supported, including coaching with teachers (Domitrovich et al., 2008). Within the conceptual framework, program coaches assisting teachers with intervention implementation represents one potential aspect of the support system, as shown in Figure 1. Fidelity of implementation requires confidence in one's ability to effectively execute a program and the belief in a program's effectiveness (Domitrovich & Greenberg, 2000). Coaching appears to be a logical approach to fostering this sense of self-efficacy and technical competence in teachers. However, although coaches are popularly used in schools to instructionally support teachers, surprisingly little has been written about the nature and effectiveness of the coaching process for supporting teacher fidelity in the implementation of school-wide socioemotional learning programs. The present study uses coaches' summary descriptions in order to better understand the support system underlying implementation quality. Coach summaries are used to assess how coaching support and dosage differ between high- and low- fidelity schools. School psychological context surrounding decisions about coaching support offered to teachers is described. The following research questions are posed: (1) What types of relational and strategic support do coaches use to assist teachers implementing the Responsive ClassroomA[R] Approach? (2) How do types of coaching support and dosage differ between the high- and low- fidelity of implementation schools? Participants in this study were four certified, veteran RC coaches training fifth grade teachers who were beginning their first year of RC. This research provides insight about coaching and contextual considerations to guide implementation theory and subsequent implementation. The school-level context embracing program implementation may require strong leadership and principal buy-in in order for coaching effects to be seen clearly. The RCT upon which this work was based showed large variability in schools' use of RC practices. Next steps involve examining the coaching characteristics and school conditions that contribute to fidelity in a broader sample. Tables and figures are appended.

ERIC Descriptors: Elementary Schools; Coaching (Performance); Program Implementation; Fidelity; Randomized Controlled Trials; Mixed Methods Research; Elementary School Teachers; Grade 5; Likert Scales; Classroom Observation Techniques; Statistical Analysis

Publisher: Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness. 2040 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208. Tel: 202-495-0920; Fax: 202-640-4401; e-mail:; Web site:

Source: Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness

ERIC Number: ED563070

Peer reviewed

Record Type: Non-Journal

Pages: 20

Abstractor: ERIC

Publication Type: Reports - Research

Education Level: Elementary Education; Grade 5; Intermediate Grades; Middle Schools
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Author:Paxton, Carol L. C.; Wanless, Shannon B.; Rimm-Kaufman, Sara E.
Publication:ERIC: Reports
Article Type:Clinical report
Date:Jan 1, 2013
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