Considerable evidence suggests that teacher classroom management practices play a large role in determining the amount of time students engage in academic tasks, but there has been little experimental research on the direct benefits of classroom management training for academic achievement. The Incredible Years Teacher Training Program (IYT) has been shown to be effective in improving classroom management practices in early elementary school and in enhancing children's social competence, emotion regulation skills, and behavior. However, academic outcomes of this program have not been examined. In this efficacy study, the research team examined the effects of IYT on the academic performance of students in kindergarten through second grade and determine the extent to which classroom behavior mediates the relationship between teacher classroom management skills and students' academic performance in the classroom.
The IYT program teaches specific strategies for managing student behavior. These strategies focus on building relationships with students and working with parents, using praise and incentives, promoting academic and social/emotional competence, and managing misbehavior. Although the content of this curriculum is not unique, the method of training is-teachers play a more active role in the learning process and are supported both in and out of the classroom as they implement the strategies they learn. In this study, teachers are randomly assigned within schools to participate in the IYT intervention or a control group. Teachers in the control group will participate in the intervention the following year. Assessments occurred at the beginning and end of the intervention year to examine short-term impact of the program, and again at the midpoint of the following school year to determine sustained and longer-term impacts of the program on teacher practices, student behavior and academic outcomes.
Teachers are randomly assigned to treatment or a one-year wait-list control group. In the first year, teachers in one school will participate in the IYT training. In the second year, teachers in five new schools will receive the training along with control teachers from the Year 1 school. In the third year, teachers in five new schools will receive the training along with control teachers from the five Year 2 schools. In the final year, control teachers from the Year 2 schools will receive the training. The intervention will be implemented from October to March of each school year, with pre- and post-intervention assessments occurring in September and April, respectively. Follow-up assessments occur in January of the school year following intervention implementation. Control Condition: Teachers who are assigned to the wait-list control group will receive the typical professional development for classroom management that is currently provided in the school districts. Key Measures: The measures used in this efficacy study will assess proximal (classroom management skills), mediating (classroom behavior), and distal (academic performance) outcomes. Teachers' classroom management practices will be measured using items from two domains (Emotional Support and Classroom Organization) of the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS). Classroom behavior will be assessed using the DSM-IV Inattentive Scale on the Conners' Teacher Rating Scale-Revised (CTRS-R:L), the "Student Engagement," "Peer Interactions," and "Student Misbehavior" items from CLASS, and the Revised Teacher Social Competence Scale (TSC). Academic performance will be measured using the Academic Competence subscale of TSC and the STAR Early Literacy and Reading and STAR Math computerized assessments.
The setting is two rural school districts in North Carolina. Study participants are 115 kindergarten, first and second grade teachers and their students in 11 public elementary schools.