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The Role of School Personnel in Ensuring Fidelity of Implementation of a Schoolwide Intervention

Fri, April 17, 4:05 to 6:05pm, Virtual Room


Total School Cluster Grouping (TSCG; Gentry, Paul, McIntosh, Fugate, & Jen, 2014) is a widely used, research-based model that changes how students are grouped in classrooms schoolwide and provides training for all teachers in a school on how meet the needs of individual students in their classrooms. Teacher input and achievement scores are used to place students in five achievement levels (low, below average, average, above average, and high achieving); however, achievement scores are only used for inclusion. For example, if a teacher recommends placing a student in the high-achievement cluster, but the student’s scores do not reflect that level of achievement, the students should still be placed in that cluster. In this presentation, we will discuss results of a five-year project on the implementation of TSCG in elementary schools.
The goals of this project included implementing cluster grouping in 100 schools and examining the effects of the model on student achievement and on the representation of students from traditionally underrepresented groups in the above-average and high-achieving clusters. Information on the fidelity of implementation of the model was obtained through teacher and administrator surveys and interviews and analyses of artifacts related to the implementation of the model submitted by the schools.
Results of this project indicate that there was increase in achievement test scores and in the identification of students as above average and high achieving, especially in the project schools that had higher levels of fidelity of implementation of the TSCG model. Additionally, feedback from teachers and administrators highlighted the importance of school personnel buy-in, of involving all stakeholders in the decision-making process, of providing on-going opportunities for professional development on the model, and of teacher collaboration within and across grade levels.
Continuous evaluation of the project activities and the fidelity of implementation of the TSCG model in the project schools highlight the challenges in implementing schoolwide interventions in multiple school districts. Student transiency presented some challenges in collecting and analyzing longitudinal data. Teacher turnover also created some difficulty in collecting data on the fidelity of implementation of the model and making sure all teachers received training on how to meet the needs of individual students. Different levels of support from school administrators (sometimes in the same school district) also led to issues in obtaining data from the schools and providing the support teachers needed to successfully implement the model. Some administrators went out of their way to provide opportunities for continuous professional development related to the intervention and collaboration within and across grade levels, with some using project training materials in schoolwide professional development. Other administrators did not provide opportunities beyond the initial training that was required before the intervention started. Teachers and administrators played crucial roles in communicating about the project and the intervention and ensuring a successful implementation of the intervention.