- When teachers want academic interventions for struggling students, they are more likely to seek advice from their peers than from administrators. But when they aren’t sure what to do about behavior, absenteeism or other nonacademic issues in their classroom, school leaders and other support staff members are their first choice for guidance.
- Those are among the latest findings from the RAND Corp.’s American Educator Panels (AEP), a set of surveys for teachers and administrators. The researchers asked questions about the variety of sources educators use to find programs and materials that can help students.
- Teachers are also developing their own resources — more for academic than nonacademic support — searching the internet and using a specific online or print source. Only a small fraction of respondents, however, said they used social media to find interventions: 2% for academic and 1% for nonacademic.
Teachers participating in the AEP also had a lot to say recently about student discipline trends as a part of a Thomas B. Fordham Institute report. Responses showed teachers support newer approaches to discipline, such as restorative practices, but roughly half think out-of-school suspension isn't used enough. The responses in this new survey suggest teachers are looking to administrators for leadership on interventions to improve student behavior.
Researchers also asked teachers and school leaders about the factors they consider when choosing an intervention. Both groups said whether a program or strategy is applicable to their students and local context is the most important factor. For administrators, the second most important factor is whether there is strong evidence to show the invention is effective. And for teachers, whether the intervention is easy to implement is the second most important factor.
The RAND survey authors note that the Every Student Succeeds Act provides funds for interventions to address both academic and nonacademic needs and that school districts can increase efforts to find evidence-based programs that can adapt to local needs. That was also the topic of a recent article appearing in the American Educational Research Journal.
University of California San Diego researchers Kathryn Joyce and Nancy Cartwright note a randomized controlled trial is considered the most rigorous way to measure whether an intervention is effective, but that researchers should also provide educators and local decision-makers with ways to “predict if an intervention is likely to work in their setting, what it would take to get it to do so, and whom it might help and whom it might harm.”