Classroom management: Teacher training, attitudes and beliefs, and intervention practices
TABLE OF CONTENTS ABSTRACT ii ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS iv LIST OF TABLES viii CHAPTER I. PURPOSE OF THE STUDY 1 Introduction Background Statement of the Problem Research Question and Hypotheses Definition of Terms Assumptions Delimitations Justification Summary II. REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE 11 IDEA, IDEIA and NCLB Inclusion Theoretical Foundations of Behavior Assessments Behavior Management Systems Functional Behavior Assessments Behavioral intervention plans Curriculum-Based Measurement Response to Intervention Teacher Training Teacher Attitudes and Beliefs Parent Involvement III. METHODOLOGY 55 Research Design Participants Instrument Data Collection Procedures Data Analysis vi
IV. RESULTS 62 Introduction Descriptive Analysis V. SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS 73 Introduction Conclusions and Discussions Limitations Recommendations for Policy and Practice Recommendations for Future Research Summary APPENDIXES 85 REFERENCES 92 vii
LIST OF TABLES Table 1. Demographics of School Districts 57 2. Beliefs about Behavioral Interventions 66 3. Coefficients for Model Variables 70 4. Coefficients for Model Variables 71 viii
1 CHAPTER I PURPOSE OF THE STUDY Introduction In response to 1997 amendments to the Individual with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), educators began conducting functional behavior assessments and creating behavior management plans to address behavior problems in the classroom. These amendments included requirements for children with behavior problems that negatively influence their education. The reauthorization of IDEA 1997 forced educators to focus on the relationship between instruction and discipline by requiring them to not only assess learning, but also gain greater understanding of behavior problems. Schools are places where teachers and students spend significant amounts of time together and therefore, opportunities for creating behavioral interventions are numerous in both structured and non-structured environments (Gresham, 2004). This study investigated training, attitudes and beliefs of general education and special education teachers in dealing with classroom control and behavioral interventions for general education students and special needs students in the regular and special education classrooms. The first chapter of this document presents background information concerning changes in the law that required educators to address student behavior in a more comprehensive way, statement of the problem, research questions and hypotheses, definition of terms, assumptions, delimitations, and justification for conducting this research project. Chapter II provides theoretical foundations of behavior management and behavior management systems upon which to base this research, contributions made by leaders in the field of behavior management, functional behavior
2 assessments, behavioral intervention plans, and other factors that research has shown to be related to behavior management such as teacher training, teacher attitudes and beliefs and parental involvement. Chapter III introduces the research questions and hypotheses, describes the research design, provides background information of participants, identifies variables, describes the instruments and gives specific data collection and statistical analysis utilized within this study. Chapter IV provides the results of the data collected form the questionnaire and the Attitudes and Beliefs on Classroom Control Inventory- Revised. Chapter V provides a summary, conclusions and recommendations for future research. Background Amendments to the Individual with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) became law (P.L. 105-17) in June of 1997. The IDEA was amended and reauthorized by Public Law 108-446 in December of 2004. Final regulations were published and became effective in 2006 and are known as the Individual with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA) of 2004. Researchers and school personnel supported by the Office of Special Education Programs found that problem behaviors can interfere with the learning of individual students and their peers (OSEP, 2000). Furthermore, the OSEP suggested that training teachers and staff is essential for the success of interventions to improve problem behaviors (OSEP Discipline Guidance, 1997). The provisions concerning behavior and functional behavior assessments were upheld in the reauthorization and signified a shift in behavioral interventions, theory and practice. The amendments introduced two concepts relating to educating students with problematic behaviors that violate school codes of conduct and exhibit unacceptable social behaviors
3 (Homer & Sugai, 2000). One concept was to implement positive behavior support with interventions and strategies to address problematic behavior. The second concept was to conduct functional behavior assessments. Positive behavior support is a general term that refers to the application of positive behavioral interventions and systems to attain socially appropriate behavior. A behavioral intervention plan addresses issues specific to an individual student and should contain strategies for dealing with specific problem behavior along with the educator's role in improving student learning and behavior (Killu, 2008). A functional behavior assessment is an approach that incorporates a variety of techniques and strategies to diagnose the causes and to identify likely interventions intended to address problem behaviors (Horner & Sugai, 2000). Yell and Shriner (1997) stated that a behavioral intervention plan must be part of the Individual Education Plan (IEP) for a special education student that has a history of behavior problems. Yell and Shriner (1998) maintained that the law (IDEA) requires that a functional behavior assessment be conducted for a special education student that has been suspended more than 10 days for disciplinary action or when a manifestation determination is conducted. A manifestation determination is conducted to determine if the behavior causing the suspension is a manifestation of the student's disability. Therefore, a functional behavior assessment of the behavior which resulted in the suspension should be conducted; and the behavioral intervention plan should be developed or revised if a current behavioral intervention plan exists (Yell & Shriner, 1998). In order to provide a behavioral intervention plan teachers and professionals involved in assessing students must receive training in functional behavior assessments as well as applied behavior analysis procedures. Such training should include legal
4 consequences and appropriate use of disciplinary procedures. The behavioral intervention plan is intended to be a proactive plan designed to teach replacement behaviors based on information gathered from the functional behavior assessment (Yell & Shriner, 1998). The functional behavior assessment focuses on identifying biological, social, affective, and environmental factors that initiate, sustain, or end the behavior in question (Horner & Sugai, 2000). The IDEIA 2004 mandated that school districts provide trained professionals to conduct functional behavior assessments at each school. Failure to follow these mandates could be considered depriving students of their right to a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) as guaranteed under federal law Individual with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504). Academic standards set by the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) of 2001 and concerns about high stakes testing, functional assessments, access to general education, adequate yearly progress and allowing parents to have more choices in their children's education add to the need for collaboration between special educators and general educators (Neel, 2006). Each state's department of education works with local school districts to assist with providing professional development, in-service training, and technical assistance for school personnel conducting functional behavior assessments (Conroy, Clark, Gable, & Fox, 1998; Dunlap, White, Vera, Wilson, & Panacek, 1996). Assessing a student's problematic behavior includes: (a) conducting a functional behavior assessment of the student's problem behavior, (b) developing measurable goals to address problem behaviors, and (c) developing a behavioral intervention plan that includes positive
5 behavior support strategies that are non-aversive rather than relying on coercion or punishment for behavior change (Conroy, Clark, Gable, & Fox, 1998; Dunlap, White, Vera, Wilson, & Panacek, 1996). Statement of the Problem The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 requires that all students reach proficient levels of academic performance in core subjects by the year 2014. To measure this growth, schools must administer state-mandated tests to all students, including special education students who were formerly excluded from testing. This has resulted in more students with special needs being placed in general education classrooms that are taught by general education teachers. These teachers may lack training in dealing with the special needs of these inclusion students, especially when dealing with behavior. As a requirement of Response to Intervention (RTI), general education teachers are now required to implement behavioral interventions for students not yet eligible for special education who present behavior problems that disrupt the learning environment (Yell & Shriner, 1998). The accountability requirements of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) in general education magnify the need for teacher training in behavioral intervention techniques that were previously reserved for special education. Inappropriate student behavior can prevent teachers from providing high quality instruction for students in general education classes. Inappropriate student behavior can have a negative affect on overall student academic performance levels associated with the mandates of NCLB (2001) and the added requirements for participation in statewide assessments as mandated by the reauthorization of IDEIA. Therefore, educators are now focusing on interventions and strategies to address behavior problems and create
6 environments conducive to learning. Special educators face many challenges in conducting functional behavior assessments and implementing behavioral intervention plans. There is an added challenge for general educators to begin to identify target behaviors, conduct functional behavior assessments and monitor student progress through the implementation of behavioral intervention plans. Although special educators have some additional training in behavior management, there is a lack of teacher training programs in the area of behavior management for special and general educators. Research Questions and Hypotheses This study will address the following questions 1. What is the amount of training teachers receive in conducting functional behavior assessments? 2. What is the amount of training teachers receive in classroom management? 3. What are teachers' attitudes and beliefs about classroom control in the areas of instructional management and people management? Predictions regarding theses research questions are describes in the following hypotheses: HI: There is a significant relationship between the amount of training, beliefs about behavioral interventions, beliefs and attitudes about classroom control and the number of interventions at each RTI tier for general educators. H2: There is a significant relationship between the amount of training, beliefs about behavioral interventions, beliefs and attitudes about classroom
7 control and the number of students requiring behavioral intervention plans for special educators. H3: There is a significant difference in the amount of training, beliefs about behavioral interventions, beliefs and attitudes about classroom control among general and special education teachers. Definitions For the purpose of this study, the following definitions are provided: Behavioral intervention plan (BIP). A written description of how the student, school, and family intend to support positive changes in a student's behavior and learning (Killu, 2008). Challenges. For the purpose of this study, challenges are barriers or obstacles faced by educators such as students continuously disrupting instruction time. Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA). A systematic process with problem solving strategies that consist of problem identification, information collection and analysis, intervention planning, and monitoring and evaluation (Sugai, Lewis-Palmer, & Hagan-Burke, 2000). Individual Education Plan (IEP). A written education plan for each student with a disability that is developed, reviewed, and revised in accordance with IDEA. Positive Behavior Support (PBS). A general term that refers to the application of positive behavioral interventions and systems to achieve socially important behavior changes (Sugai et al., 2000). Problematic Behaviors. For the purpose of this study, problematic behaviors are inappropriate behaviors that may interfere with a student's learning or the learning of
8 others. Behaviors may range from mild to severe such as inattentiveness to more aggressive and disruptive behaviors. Response to Intervention (RTI). A three-phase or three-tiered process that consists of academic and behavioral interventions which become more student-specific and intense as each tier is implemented (Ardoin, Witt, Connell, & Koenig, 2005). Assumptions The researcher made the following assumptions: 1. Participants in this study will complete the survey instrument. 2. Participants' responses are truthful. 3. National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) data are accurate. Delimitations The following delimitations were imposed upon this study: 1. Subjects in the study will be delimited to a selected group of general education, and special education teachers of in three public school districts in a southeastern state. 2. Subjects in this study will be delimited to teachers of kindergarten through third grade. 3. The district selection will be delimited by specific demographic characteristics as defined by the researcher: student population (kindergarten through third grade), the number of students placed in the tier process at each level, the number of students requiring functional behavior assessments, and number of students requiring behavioral intervention plans in general and special education.
9 4. Teacher demographic variables will be delimited to gender, type of certification, years of teaching experience, years of teaching experience at the present school, amount of training in behavior management classes, training specific to functional behavior assessments, and training in behavioral interventions. 5. This study will be delimited to variables of select demographics, training, attitudes and beliefs, number of students at each tier, number of students with functional behavior assessments conducted and number of students with behavioral intervention plans in special and general education settings. 6. Responses will be elicited from participants by means of a questionnaire. Justification Although past research efforts have focused on the inclusion process and teachers' attitudes toward inclusion, little attention has been given to the needs and attitudes of general educators serving students with and without disabilities who exhibit severe behaviors problems. Therefore, further research is warranted to better understand teacher attitudes and beliefs about student behavior, classroom management, behavioral interventions and the amount of training teachers receive in classroom management, conducting functional behavior assessments and designing behavioral interventions for students who exhibit challenging behaviors. Summary In this chapter the researcher introduced the research project, stated the problem, and presented three research questions and three hypotheses that will guide the research.
10 The researcher has also presented definitions, assumptions, and delimitations related specifically to this research project as well as justification for this research.
11 CHAPTER II LITERATURE REVIEW Introduction Literature was gathered for this study using a variety of methods, tools and resources. Research was collected from books, journal articles, and internet media. Reoccurring themes used to collect data for this study were functional behavior assessments, behavioral interventions, teacher training, teacher attitudes and beliefs, and parental involvement. Behavior related journals were exceptionally useful tools for conducting this study. The Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, Education and Treatment of Children, ERIC, and internet websites were all useful sources for gathering literature necessary for this study. In this chapter, the researcher discusses the influence of IDEA, IDEIA, and NCLB. Foundations of behavioral assessments and literature related to behavior management systems, functional behavior assessments, behavioral intervention plans, response to intervention, teacher training, teacher attitudes and beliefs, and parent involvement as they relate to classroom management are also discussed. Background In a national survey of middle and high school teachers (Public Agenda, 2004), 97% of teachers stated that a school needs good discipline and good behavior to flourish, and 78% of parents agreed. Furthermore, 77% of teachers stated that if it were not for discipline problems they could teach more effectively, and over a third stated that they had seriously considered quitting the teaching profession due to the severity of discipline problems. Other Public Agenda research shows that at the top of the lists of what causes
12 behavior problems are parents' failure to teach their children discipline and the fact that only about a third of parents have succeeded in teaching their children to have self- control and discipline. Half say they have succeeded in teaching their children to do their best in school. Many schools have developed school-wide behavior support systems to promote positive, safe, cooperative student behavior and to address problematic behaviors that impede learning for all students. Teachers recognize that in order to promote appropriate behavior by all students, functional behavior assessments and behavioral intervention plans could be used as a proactive measure in the general education setting (Warren et al., 2006). According to Blood and Neel (2007) positive behavior support programs have improved the school environment with approaches to strengthen social competence while successfully addressing problem behavior. According to the Center for Disease Control and the United States Department of Education and Justice, the number of school-associated deaths varied between 28 and 34 during the 1980s, dropped during 1999-2000 to between 13 and 11, and steadily increased to 21 deaths during 2004-2005. The primary reasons cited for these incidents were interpersonal events (Logue, 2008). Furthermore, in his commentary, Logue (2008) concludes that others may learn from the Amish School Shootings which occurred October 2,2006. During this event five females were murdered and the perpetrator committed suicide. The lesson learned is that strategies are needed to address risk factors that occur regularly in school settings such as interpersonal disputes (Logue, 2008). In response to Columbine, the Amish School shootings and other school tragedies, many schools have committed themselves to safety by adopting zero-tolerance
13 policies. Some states have integrated social and behavior skills with career options and post-school outcomes, therefore, going beyond student achievement mandates of the NCLB Act (Sailor, Stowe, Turnbull III, & Kleinhammer-Trammill, 2007). Raywid and Oshiyama (2000) suggested that the events at Columbine (a suburban school) confirmed that violence can occur in any school setting and is not confined to disadvantaged or inner city schools. Raywid and Oshiyama advised that "behavior problems are so much greater in larger schools... that any possible virtue of larger size is canceled out by the difficulties of maintaining an orderly learning environment" (Raywid & Oshiyama, 2000, p. 445). Furthermore, Sailor, Stowe, Turnbull III, and Kleinhammer-Trammill (2007) suggested that for education reform to have an impact on schools, social-behavior standards must be included when identifying effective strategies for improving behavior. Therefore, schools have initiated behavior management systems that implement strategies teaching social behavior with discipline. Amendments to the Individual with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) became law (P.L. 105-17) in June of 1997. These amendments introduced two concepts related to educating students with problematic behaviors who violate school rules concerning behavior and exhibit unacceptable social behaviors. One concept was to implement positive behavior support with interventions, and strategies to address behavior problems. The second concept was to conduct functional behavior assessments. This reauthorization of IDEA 1997 compelled schools to focus on the relationship between instruction and discipline. Teachers have been required to obtain a more comprehensive understanding of underlying causes of inappropriate student behavior in addition to teaching academics (Yell & Shriner, 1998). Furthermore, teachers
14 were duty-bound to conduct functional behavior assessments and develop behavioral intervention plans for all students with behavior problems that disrupt the learning environment (Yell & Shriner, 1998). Once completed, the functional behavior assessment was used to identify specific target behaviors, antecedents, settings and reinforcers and from that information, a behavioral intervention plan was designed to decrease inappropriate behaviors while teaching appropriate behaviors (Lewis & Sugai, 1999). Theoretical Foundations The earliest empirical research for conducting descriptive behavior assessments and experimental field studies was presented by Bijou, Peterson, and Ault (1968). These researchers developed objective methods for quantification of data obtained during descriptive observations through the following steps: (1) specification of the situation in which a study is conducted (2) definitions of behavior and environmental events in observable terms (3) measurements of observer reliability (4) procedures for collecting, analyzing, and interpreting the data (p. 177). Since the beginning of the 1900s early behavioral psychologists such as Watson, Skinner, Pavlov, and Thorndike researched and wrote about the analysis of behavior and the functional relationships of behavior to the environment. According to Corey (1982) behaviorists such as Watson and Skinner emphasized methods which help individuals in a step-by-step process designed to change behavior. B.F. Skinner experimented with different schedules of reinforcement, placed his emphasis on behavior that was observable and developed theories of operant condition. Skinner proposed that a response to a stimulus and the possibility of a behavior
15 reoccurring depends on consequences that follow that behavior (Corey, 1982). Although Thorndike is considered the father of educational psychology and is considered to be the originator of reinforcement theory; it is Skinner's theories that gave control to the individual and created a wider range of freedom and it is from his research that reinforcement theory evolved (Corey, 1982). Watson's theories on behavior view the individual as an active participant in the therapeutic process and it is through self- direction that the individual is able to make choices that effect behavior in positive or negative ways, evaluate the outcome and obtains the ability to maintain a behavior. Pavlov's contributions included unconditioned/conditioned stimuli to elicit unconditioned/conditioned responses (Corey, 1982). An article published by Baer, Wolf, and Risley in 1968 titled "Some Current Dimensions of Applied Behavior Analysis" in the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, became significant in improving behavior outcomes for individuals with disabilities (Sugai, Palmer, & Hagan-Burke, 2000). Through their research it was revealed that behaviors are directly related to environmental events and are predictable (Dunlap & Lutzker, 2008). A behavior is functionally related to consequent events that follow the behavior according to Skinner's operant learning theory (Gresham, 2004). Sasson and Austin (2002) offered strong theoretical support for a comprehensive view and systematic approach of behavior assessment and intervention and stated "if behavior is a function of the interaction between an organism and its environment, and environment components have interdependencies amongst them, then logic would state that a complete view of
16 behavior and its determinants requires an analysis of all variable in the performance system" (p. 37). IDEA, IDEM, and No Child Left Behind In December of 2004 the IDEA was again amended and reauthorized by Public Law 108-446. Final regulations were published and became effective in 2006 and are known as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA) of 2004. Although IDEIA was finalized in 2006, it has received relatively little attention in the field of education research. While IDEIA was based on the laws of IDEA, there are significant differences. Murphy's Education website (http://www.msdaz.org/espweb/IDEA97_2004.htm) provides a comparison of IDEA and IDEIA. For example, IDEA focused on the process for determining eligibility, whereas IDEIA focuses on the results for determining eligibility. IDEA was a "wait-to-fail" model, i.e., waiting until failure occurred, that focused on compliance, while IDEIA is an early intervention model that focused on student achievement. IDEA was considered a dual system that lacked validity in methods of identification; but IDEIA is a unified single system that has rigorous, scientifically based identification methods. The provisions concerning behavior and functional behavior assessments were upheld in the reauthorization and IDEIA 2004 mandates that school districts provide trained professionals to conduct functional behavior assessments and teacher training for functional behavior assessments. Each state's department of education is to assist school districts with providing professional development, in-service training, and technical assistance for school personnel who conduct functional behavior assessments.
17 Academic standards set by the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) of 2001 and concerns about high stakes testing, functional assessments, access to general education, adequate yearly progress, and increased parent involvement add to the need for collaboration between special education and general education teachers (Neel, 2006). While meeting the academic needs of students with behavior problems, teachers need to consider the mandates of IDEIA and NCLB and the use of positive behavioral interventions and supports in the development, review, and revision of Individualized Education Plans (IEP) for special education students whose behavior impedes their learning or the learning of others. According to Nelson, Roberts, Rutherford Jr., Mathur, and Aaroe (1999), a functional behavior assessment is required when a student with a disability is subject to school discipline proceedings. Section 615(k) (1) (b) (I) of the IDEIA statute states: Either before or not later than 10 days after taking disciplinary action described in subparagraph (A)...if the local education agency did not conduct a functional behavior assessment and implement a behavioral intervention plan for such child before the behavior that resulted in the suspension described in subparagraph (A), the agency shall convene an IEP meeting to develop an assessment plan to address the behavior (IDEIA). IDEA requirements to implement positive behavior support and to conduct functional behavior assessments to address behavior problems became a starting point for addressing problem behaviors in the general education setting in addition to the special education setting. The need for important developments in special education has been fueled by an overrepresentation of minority students. The process used to determine