CASTL Research Briefs

The following CASTL Research Briefs are summaries of recent published findings associated with CASTL, and written for education professionals and the general public.

Contact: castl@virginia.edu

Note: The manuscript reference(s) are available in each brief.

Findings Published in 2014

Teachers' Supports and Children's Engagement: Testing for Bidirectional Associations
Our recent study examined links between teachers’ supports for learning and children’s engagement over the course of a typical preschool day.  Two aspects of teachers’ behaviors were explored: emotional and organizational supports. Four aspects of children’s engagement were examined: positive engagement with teachers, peers, and tasks, as well as negative engagement. We found teacher-provided  supports were related to children’s  engagement later in the school day. In two instances, there was a bidirectional relationship in which children’s behaviors influenced teachers’ later provision of emotional and organizational supports.

Findings Published in 2013

Broad Exposure to Mathematics Content Matters More for Students in Racially Diverse Classrooms (PDF)
This study examines whether exposure to mathematics content differentially contributes to mathematics achievement in fifth grade depending on the racial composition of the students in the classroom. The study found that as exposure to more diverse content increases, the racial mathematics achievement gap in the classroom narrows, suggesting that increasing opportunities to learn broad mathematics content for students in racially diverse classrooms may be beneficial. 

The Influence of Implementation of the Responsive Classroom Approach on Teacher-Student Interaction Quality (PDF)
The study examined the direct and indirect effects of training in the Responsive Classroom® (RC) approach. Teachers that received RC training had higher levels of implementation of RC practices in their classrooms and, in turn, had higher quality teacher-student interactions compared to teachers not trained in the RC approach.

Does Emotional Support and Classroom Organization Early in the Year Lead to Higher Quality Instruction? (PDF)
This study examined whether teachers’ provision of emotional support and organizational support earlier in the year related to improved instruction later in the year. Results indicated a positive association between earlier emotional support and later instructional support.

Children's Engagement in Preschool and the Development of Self-Regulation (PDF)
This study examined the way children's engagement with teachers, peers, and tasks in preschool was related to gains in self-regulation skills. Results indicate that combinations of children's engagement with teachers, peers, and/or tasks was related to their development of self-regulation skills.

The Responsive Classroom Approach Increases the Use of Standards-Based Mathematics Teaching Practices (PDF)
This study examines the impact of the Responsive Classroom® (RC) Approach on the use of standards-based mathematics teaching practices in third grade classrooms. Results show that RC teachers showed higher use of these standards-based mathematics teaching practices than non-RC teachers.

Teachers' Emotional Consistency Matters for Preschool Children (PDF)
This study examined teachers’ emotional support in classrooms and how it relates to children's outcomes in preschool and kindergarten. Findings suggest that more consistent emotional support was related to better academic and social outcomes, emphasizing the potentially important role of consistency in children’s school experiences.

Bullies, Victims, and Disliking: The Feeling is Mutual (PDF)
This study uniquely examined some commonly held beliefs relating to bullying, victimization, and disliking in adolescence. Findings suggest that victims of bullying are not disliked by most peers, but rather strongly disliked by those who identify as a bully. Implications are discussed relating to interventions that may help victims of bullying.

Does Special Education Improve Preschoolers’ Academic Skills? (PDF)
This study investigated associations between enrollment in preschool special education and school readiness skills for children with mild to moderate delays. Findings indicated that on average, children who received preschool special education services had lower scores in reading and math in kindergarten than similar children who did not received such service. These results could be due to a range of factors that should be explored further, including the nature of special education services for young children as well as possible differences between the groups of children with and without special education experiences.

Comparing Universal and Targeted Pre-Kindergarten Programs (PDF)
This study compared universal (available to all children) and targeted (offered only to children with specific risk factors) Pre-Kindergarten programs. Results showed that two aspects of structural quality (e.g., hours per day and teacher education) were higher in universal programs, but process quality (e.g., child interactions and feedback) was higher in targeted programs. Children’s achievement was not different across programs.

Influences on Implementation of the Responsive Classroom Approach (PDF)
Researchers asked teachers about the factors that influenced their level of adherence to the Responsive Classroom approach and then had teachers, principals, and intervention coaches rate each principal’s “buy-in” to the approach. The coaches’ ratings of principal buy-in were most related to the observed practice of the teachers.

 

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