Presentation on theme: "PROGRAM EVALUATION OF POSITIVE BEHAVIOR SUPPORT IN AN ALTERNATIVE SCHOOL National Association of School Psychologists Annual Convention February 27th,"— Presentation transcript:
1 PROGRAM EVALUATION OF POSITIVE BEHAVIOR SUPPORT IN AN ALTERNATIVE SCHOOL National Association of School Psychologists Annual Convention February 27th, 2009 Boston, MAElana R. Weinberger, M.Ed.Melissa L. Greene, Ph.D.William J. Matthews, Ph.D.John M. Hintze, Ph.D.
2 Positive Behavior Support (PBS) Rooted in the field of behaviorism and applied behavior analysis (ABA)Defined as the “application of positive behavioral interventions and systems to achieve socially important behavior change” (Sugai et al., 2000)Systems approach to promoting positive behaviors of students and preventing and responding to school and classroom discipline problemsBy using positive reinforcement primarily, PBS creates and maintains safe learning environments where teachers can teach and students can learnUse of PBS has become more common and necessary in recent years as a method of preventing school violencePBIS develops school-wide systems that support staff to teach and promote positive behavior in all students.
3 Purpose of EvaluationTo evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of a PBS program as implemented in an alternative school, and to implement changes to the program in an effort to improve program effectiveness and positive outcomes for students
4 Design Program Evaluation using an exploratory case study design Three phase modelPhase 1: initial evaluation (11/07-12/07)Phase 2: intervention (1/08-3/08)Phase 3: follow-up (4/08-5/08)All data collected in phase 1 were collected again in phase 3Exploratory case study design will be used to conduct the proposed formative evaluation. This design was selected due to its focus on achieving an in-depth understanding of a single case or unit through many different forms of data collection, both quantitative and qualitative (Fitzpatrick, Sanders & Worthen, 2004). The proposed evaluation will have three phases. Phase 1 will be the evaluation phase, in which quantitative and qualitative data will be collected in order to answer each of the evaluation questions based on the current program implementation. Findings from Phase 1 will lead to suggestions and changes for program improvement. These suggestions will be made to program leaders, and the evaluator will oversee Phase 2, an implementation phase, in which suggested changes and/or improvements will be implemented. Phase 3 will serve as a follow-up phase, in order to explore whether or not the changes in program delivery were associated with positive outcomes. Phase 1 will last approximately two months. Phase 2 will begin immediately following reporting of Phase 1 findings, and will last at least two months prior to the start of Phase 3.
5 Evaluation QuestionsAre desired behaviors defined in observable terms?Do students understand behavioral expectations?Do staff understand behavioral expectations?Is there inter-rater reliability among staff in terms of point allocations for behaviors?Is the school-wide positive behavior support system implemented consistently?Proposed research questions were chosen by the principal evaluator and program leaders in an effort to obtain information about the most important aspects of the program, include participant perceptions and experience, program integrity and outcomes.
6 Evaluation Questions (continued) Do staff buy-in to the importance of the positive behavior support program?Do staff find the positive behavior support program effective?Does the school-wide positive behavior support system lead to positive student behaviors?Does the school-wide positive behavior support system foster a safe school environment?
7 Setting12-months per year, five-days per week, comprehensive interdisciplinary, psychiatric day treatment programCollaboration between a private hospital and local school district4 classrooms, referred to as teams in which students are grouped by grade and ability, 8:1:1 ratioProgram accommodates 25 students, ages 5-12Diverse staff that includes professionals from a variety of disciplinesStudents receive milieu, individual and group therapy, as well as medication management and educational services
8 Challenges before PBSTwo separate systems under one roof, trying to provide different services to the childrenDifferent point of reference for educational and clinical staffsEach system uses its own “language”Not enough focus on the positivesInconsistent behavioral expectations throughout the programPoor communication among staff
9 School-Wide PBS Joined New York State PBIS initiative in 2004 Required commitment of hospital and education administrationReceived support from PBIS coachesCreated multidisciplinary committeeCreated matrix of behavioral expectations in collaboration with educational and clinical staffThe positive behavior support system in place utilizes a points system, through which students earn points for half-hour blocks throughout the school day in each of four behavioral areas: respect, responsibility, safety and citizenship. Students may earn 0, 1 or 2 points in each area for each ½ hour time period. Points are allocated and sheets filled out by a member of the educational or clinical staff based in the student’s classroom. Levels are awarded to students based on total points earned each day. Students who achieve Levels 4 and 5 get a special reward at the end of the day. In addition to rewarding students for positive behaviors, students receive consequences for aggressive or unsafe behaviors in the form of a level 2 drop, in which a student is put on Level 2 (the lowest level that they can earn) for the remainder of the day and the following day, until a higher level is earned. In instances where students are exhibiting behaviors that are too disruptive to be managed in the classroom or seem to be a precipitant to an aggressive or unsafe episode, students are asked to take a cool down or a time-out, depending on the severity of the behavior. Time-outs are instances of time spent outside of the classroom following inappropriate behavior, and cool-downs are instances of time spent outside of the classroom in an effort to regain control over one’s behavior. Students complete time-outs for the number of minutes that is equal to their age (e.g. a 9-year-old must complete a 9 minute time-out), and students cannot earn positive points during time-outs. Additionally, since the behavior support program is based on earning point for positive behaviors, students cannot earn points when they are absent or uninvolved in program or educational activities (e.g. sleeping).
10 School-Wide PBS Daily Level System Students are given 0, 1 or 2 points every 30 minutes in four areasRespect, Responsibility, Safety, & CitizenshipPoints are allocated by teacher, TA and MHW in student’s classroomDaily reward system based on accumulation of points and corresponding level earned (2-5)Students can automatically be dropped to Level 2 for unsafe behaviorsStaff is encouraged to use positive statements when interacting with children at all timesStudents are encouraged to take Cool Downs to manage their behaviorStaff instruct students to take Time Out when behavior cannot be managed in classroomWeekly rewards given based on accumulated daily levels
12 Participants Students and staff N ~ 50 Staff consent, parental verbal consent and student assent obtained prior to enrollingN ~ 50n = ~25 students (ages 7-12)n = ~25 staff
13 Data Collection Procedures: Quantitative FrequenciesDaily levels earned by studentsLevel 2 drops (instances of unsafe behavior)Inter-rater reliability25% of point sheets completed by two staff members independently for a period of 2 weeks, for each classroom during phases 1 and 3
14 Data Collection Procedures: Quantitative/Qualitative Staff Survey assessed 1) Buy-in to the PBS program, 2) understanding of the PBS program, and 3) implementation of the PBS programCombination of 20 Likert-scale items and 8 open-ended questionsLikert scale items regarding buy-in were rated on a scale of 1-3 (not important to very important)Likert scale items regarding understanding and implementation of program were rated on a scale of 1-4 (strongly disagree to strongly agree)Surveys were completed anonymously
15 Data Collection Procedures: Qualitative Staff focus groups were completed separately for educational and hospital staffFacilitated by one of the evaluatorsTwo independent note takers recorded staff commentsThematic elements were summarized by the evaluators after each focus group
16 Focus Group ProtocolIn your opinion, what is the purpose of the PBS program?Does the current implementation of the PBS program lead to positive student behaviors, and a safe school environment? Please explain?Do you feel that you have received adequate training and support to reliably score point sheets and deliver time-outs and level 2 drops?What elements of the PBS program would you change in order to make it more effective and supportive of staff and students?
17 Data Collection Procedures: Qualitative Student Focus GroupsWhat do respect, responsibility, safety and citizenship mean?What behaviors do you have to do to earn Level 4 or 5?What behaviors would cause you a get Level 2 drop?
18 Results: Phase 1 Assessment (11/07-12/07) Overall reliability of point sheets is good (.86)Reliability by behavioral category ranged from .81 to .92Areas for improvement: Overall reliability can be better, and better agreement on “Responsibility” (.82) and “Respect” (.81)Survey revealed that staff as a whole is invested in PBS program (average score = 2.6/3.0)Understanding of program (average score = 2.5/4.0) and implementation of program (average score = 2.6/4.0) need improvementLevel 2 drops account for 14% of total number of levels earnedLevels 4 or 5 account for 70% of total number of levels earned
19 Feedback from Focus Groups Staff was in agreement on understanding purpose of PBS programGeneral agreement on modeling and teaching positive behaviorIncrease the focus on educationMixed responses regarding the success of the current implementation and creating safe learning environmentSome felt that it works, but we were not fully implementing the program, while others felt that it was not effectiveStrong sentiment that program was not as effective as it had been in past and we were not implementing it consistently
20 Feedback from Focus Groups Across the board, staff felt that they had not received sufficient trainingMost staff felt that they had not been sufficiently trained, but learned on the jobThis led to discrepancies in implementationMost staff felt they personally could benefit from ongoing training
21 Feedback from Focus Groups When asked what they would change, staff discussed need for additional staff and trainingIn addition, staff identified need for modifications to reward system, and use of more visual reminders and tools for classroom and milieu
22 Feedback from Student Focus Groups Children were aware of rules of conduct, but unclear as to distinctions between four categories of behaviorSafety was most clearly understoodYounger children unclear about distinctions between use of cool down, time out, and level dropLack of clarity between behavior and consequence
23 Phase 2: Interventions (1/08-3/08) Met with PBS committee and staff regarding results of assessmentConducted 5 staff trainingsWorked with teachers to provide “refreshers” to students around behavioral expectationsCreated new posters to hang in classrooms and milieu to remind students about expected behaviorsUpdated matrix of behaviorsUpdated staff manual and created staff training protocol for new staff
24 Results: Phase 3 Follow up (4/08-5/08) Overall reliability of point sheets remains the same (.87)Reliability by behavioral category ranged from .82 To .92Reliability improved on “Responsibility” (.85) and “Respect” (.83), indicating better understanding of these categoriesSurvey revealed that staff investment in PBS program diminished slightly (average score = 2.4/3.0)Understanding of program (average score = 3.0/4.0) and implementation of program improved (average score = 3.1/4.0)Level 2 drops account for 17% of total number of levels earned, which is a slight increase from phase 1Levels 4 or 5 account for 66% of total number of levels earned, which is a slight decrease from phase 1Non-parametric (Wilcoxon) test revealed that these differences were not statistically significantAlso, we plan on doing item analysis with items from the survey.
25 Feedback from Phase 3 Focus Groups Staff continues to be in agreement on the purpose of the PBS programGeneral agreement on modeling and teaching positive behaviorsPromote a safe environment for staff and studentsIncrease focus on learningGeneral consensus that the current PBS program may not be an adequate approach for some of the students at Bard House, but is working well for othersPBS would be more effective if it were reinforced at homeSome feel that PBS promotes a safe environment, others feel that the program is not a safe environment despite PBSIt is not that PBIS isn’t a good program, but that these kids need a more intensive intervention in order to do well.
26 Feedback from Phase 3 Focus Groups Active supervision on PBS is neededSome issues were indirectly related to PBS effectivenessneed for additional staffstaff burnoutpoor communication between educational and hospital staffAcross the board, staff felt that the trainings that were given were helpful and adequateTrainings helped improve confidence, understanding and implementation of programSome staff still feel that they are inconsistencies regarding what constitutes a level dropOngoing training is necessary
27 Feedback from Phase 3 Focus Groups When asked what they would change about the program at this point, staff discussed:Need for additional staffMore effective and consistent rewards for studentsBetter communication among staffPositive reinforcement for students at home
28 DiscussionThe evaluation was successful in that we were able to identify strengths and weaknesses, and identify areas of concern to be addressed through interventionsWe were able to implement a variety of interventions, and received feedback that interventions were successfulFor example, interventions increased staff confidence, understanding, and implementation of the programWe also increased accuracy of utilizing point sheetsThrough this evaluation, we were not able to effectively change overall safety of program or student behaviorsWe were able to develop plan for future trainings and program modifications that we were not able to implement during our limited time frameStrength: staff were in agreement on purpose of program and seemed to understand the programWeakness: staff were not confident in their ability to implement, and there were inconsistencies among staff
29 Limitations Incomplete data collection due to variety of factors. Fewer surveys were returned in phase 3 than in phase 1Student focus group could not be completed in phase 3 due to schedulingInternal evaluation, inherent biases and censoring of participantsOngoing staff and program changesTimeline may not have been sufficient to see an effect on student outcomesEvaluation was affected by the larger systems within which the program exists (hospital, public school)Lack of staff motivation, changes in staffing, voluntary participation may have played a role.Student focus group could not be repeated in phase 3 due to schedulingFluctuations in school year also may have played a role.
30 Recommendations Ongoing evaluation of the program Ongoing staff trainings to increase reliability of point allocations and level dropsContinue to tailor PBS to meet the needs of programIncrease communication among staffIncrease involvement of parents and caregivers with the PBS programContinue to implement program changes over summer and next academic year