Students with emotional and behavioral problems are placed in a variety of classroom settings, presumably where their needs can be best served. Little attention, however, has been dedicated to monitoring their behavioral progress in these settings. This study analyzed data on student engagement, disruption, and destruction during 10 types of instructional activities. Data were collected at two times across one academic year in Pennsylvania and California in 90 classrooms, ranging from grades 1 to 12. Tests of mean comparisons (i.e., independent samples and paired t-tests) and the association between variables (i.e., bivariate correlation analysis) were conducted to address a number of concerns regarding the status and stability of classrooms for students with EBD. Independent paired sample t-tests showed a lack of significant improvement in behaviors across time, and the correlational data reflect a significant relationship between student engagement and classroom activity. Findings are discussed in light of limitations and directions for future research. In addition, practical implications are noted.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The present study was conducted as part of Project REACH, a federally funded center grant focused on students with intensive social, emotional, and behavioral needs. Project REACH is a collaborative effort between Lehigh University and the University of California-Riverside funded by the Office of Special Education Programs. Approximately 135 students with emotional and behavioral problems are participating in the ongoing 5-year longitudinal study. Participants in Project REACH were drawn from six relatively small school districts in Eastern Pennsylvania and one large district in Southern California. School districts were asked to refer students with the most intensive behavior problems. District administrators requested referrals at their local schools, including alternative and private school placements, and subsequently solicited nominations from teachers. In order to make student participation somewhat randomized, teachers were asked to refer the two to three students with the most challenging behaviors in their classes. Teachers were told that students with both internalizing and externalizing problems could be referred. Of the referred students, one was randomly selected from each classroom for project participation. Project REACH assists parents and teachers in implementing assessment-based interventions for participants. Although the project initially focused on individual behavior intervention, the presence of many classwide problems (i.e., problems across the majority of students) rendered a study of this topic essential.
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