BEST in CLASS-Prekindergarten (2011-2015): A randomized controlled trial was conducted to examine the efficacy of the BEST in CLASS intervention when implemented by teachers in early childhood settings. A total of 186 early childhood teachers/classrooms from the surrounding areas of Gainesville, FL, and Richmond, VA participated across the 4 years of the study. Approximately three children at elevated risk for emotional and behavioral disorders per classroom were selected to participate, for a total of approximately 465 children. Teachers attended a training workshop on the BEST in CLASS practices where they received the BEST in CLASS Teacher manual. In addition, teachers received 14 weeks of ongoing practice-based coaching to support their practice implementation. Coaches observed teachers interacting with focal children in the classroom, facilitated teachers’ self-reflection, provided performance feedback, and collaboratively created goals and action plans. Published results of this study are located under the dissemination tab of this website (see Conroy et al., 2018; Sutherland et al., 2018).
BEST in CLASS-Elementary (2015-2018): A second development and innovation award funded the adaptation of materials and procedures to apply BEST in CLASS in Kindergarten through second grade classrooms. This iteration focused on improving teacher practices to enhance home-school partnerships and support positive behavioral and academic outcomes for student with challenging classroom behavior. We examined the usability, feasibility, and promise of the developed model of intervention over the course of the first two years of development; in the final year we conducted a small randomized controlled trial with 26 teachers and 44 students.
BEST in CLASS-Web (2016-2019): This IES-funded development and innovation project seeks to increase access to the BEST in CLASS practices for early childhood teachers. In rural early care and education settings professional development opportunities related to addressing young children’s social-emotional needs may be limited. The BEST in CLASS-Prekindergarten in-vivo teacher training was adapted into online, individually accessible modules including exemplar videos, examples of the practices, and interactive knowledge checks. Other platforms such as ZoomTM & TorshTM facilitate web-based submission of teacher video-recordings of their use of practices and weekly coaching meetings. Both feasibility and usability studies were completed to further develop and refine materials, procedures and technology supports. In 2018, the project is conducting a small, randomized controlled trial (24 teachers, 48 children) to compare the delivery of BEST in CLASS through traditional workshops and coaching with the web-based delivery system as well as a business-as-usual condition. Teachers from Florida and Virginia are participating in all phases of this research.
BEST in CLASS-Elementary (2018-2022): The purpose of newest award from IES is to attempt to systematically replicate the initial BEST in CLASS study by testing the efficacy of BEST in CLASS-Elementary on student outcomes. Teachers will be recruited for participation in Florida and Virginia if they have children in their classroom who display chronic challenging behavior and are at risk for emotional/behavioral disorders. Researchers will examine the efficacy of BEST in CLASS-Elementary with approximately 192 teachers and 576 students in kindergarten through second grade across the 4 years of the project. The study will partner with 4 schools (2 each in VA and FL) each year for four years (16 in total) with random assignment to the BEST in CLASS-Elementary intervention or to a business-as-usual comparison group occurring within schools. Those assigned to intervention will receive training in BEST in CLASS practices followed by 14 weeks of practice-based coaching.