Education Drivers

Acceptable Interventions

Stakeholder values and context are cornerstones of the evidence-based decision-making framework. Stakeholder perspectives about the goals of intervention and the appropriate methods for accomplishing those goals can guide decision makers as they consider various interventions. Similarly, the context in which interventions are implemented can influence which interventions are adopted. Decision makers must consider the match between resources required for an intervention and resources available in a specific circumstance. In some instances, it is better to select an intervention that has less empirical support or weaker effects but can be implemented more easily. High-quality implementation of a less effective intervention is likely to produce better outcomes than an intervention that has greater empirical effectiveness but cannot be implemented well. Among the contextual variables that must be considered when adopting an intervention are level of training and experience required, amount of training time to ensure effective implementation, cost of the intervention relative to potential benefits, and amount of time needed for implementation.



Overview of Treatment Integrity

For the best chance of a positive impact on educational outcomes, two conditions must be met: (a) Effective interventions must be adopted, and (b) those interventions must be implemented with sufficient quality (treatment integrity) to ensure benefit.  To date, emphasis in education has been on identifying effective interventions and less concern with implementing the interventions. The research on the implementation of interventions is not encouraging. Often, treatment integrity scores are very low and, in practice, implementation is rarely assessed. If an intervention with a strong research base is not implemented with a high level of treatment integrity, then the students do not actually experience the intervention and there is no reason to assume they will benefit from it. Under these circumstances, it is not possible to know if poor outcomes are the result of an ineffective intervention or poor implementation of that intervention. Historically, treatment integrity has been defined as implementing an intervention as prescribed. More recently, it has been conceptualized as having multiple dimensions, among them dosage and adherence which must be measured to ensure that it is occurring at adequate levels.

Detrich, R., States, J., & Keyworth, R. (2107). Overview of Treatment Integrity. Oakland, Ca. The Wing Institute.

Evidence-based Practice: A Framework for Making Effective Decisions

Synopsis: Evidence-based practice is characterized as a framework for decision-making integrating best available evidence, clinical expertise, and client values and context.  This paper reviews how these three dimensions interact to inform decisions.

Spencer, T. D., Detrich, R., & Slocum, T. A. (2012). Evidence-based practice: A framework for making effective decisions. Education and Treatment of Children, 35(2), 127-151.

Framework for Improving Education Outcomes

Multitiered system of support (MTSS) is a framework for organizing service delivery. At the core of MTSS is the adoption and implementation of a continuum of evidence-based interventions that result in improved academic and behavioral outcomes for all students. MTSS is a data-based decision making approach based on the frequent screening of progress for all students and intervention for students who are not making adequate progress.


States, J., Detrich, R., and Keyworth, R. (2017). Multitiered System of Support Overview. Oakland, Ca. The Wing Institute.



Research Based Dissemination: Or Confessions of a Poor Disseminator"
This paper shares research on what makes ideas "stick" (gain acceptance, maintain) within a culture and provided an acronym from the results: SUCCESS (simple, unexpected, concrete, credible, emotional, involve stories).
Cook, B. (2014). Research Based Dissemination: Or Confessions of a Poor Disseminator" [Powerpoint Slides]. Retrieved from 2014-wing-presentation-bryan-cook.
Call for Action to Prevent Gun Violence in the United States of America Interdisciplinary Group on Preventing School and Community Violence

In response to the continuing gun violence in American schools, an interdisciplinary group of 19 scholars are proposing an eight-point plan to prevent future tragedies that have become common place in the nation. This one-page position statement proposes a public health approach to protecting children as well as adults from gun violence involves three levels of prevention: (1) universal approaches promoting safety and well-being for everyone; (2) practices for reducing risk and promoting protective factors for persons experiencing difficulties; and (3) interventions for individuals where violence is present or appears imminent.

Astor, R. et al. (2018). Call for Action to Prevent Gun Violence in the United States of America. University of Virginia.


Response to Intervention: Empirically Based Special Service Decisions From Single-Case Designs of Increasing and Decreasing Intensity

The advantages and challenges associated with these designs for use in special education eligibility decisions are discussed as models for child evaluation in schools.

Barnett, D. W., Daly III, E. J., Jones, K. M., & Lentz Jr, F. E. (2004). Response to intervention: Empirically based special service decisions from single-case designs of increasing and decreasing intensity. The Journal of Special Education38(2), 66-79.

Characteristics and Education Outcomes of Utah High School Dropouts Who Reenrolled

Reducing the dropout rate of high school students remains one of the great challenges facing education. The consequences for those who do not obtain a high school diploma are real and long lasting. Individuals who do not complete high school are more likely to face unemployment, earn less income over a lifetime, experience poverty, rely on public assistance, suffer health problems, and spend time in prison. This study undertaken by WestEd researchers provides valuable information necessary for developing interventions to support the approximate 20% of students who reenroll after initially dropping out of school.


Barrat, V. X.,& Berliner, B. (2016). Characteristics and education outcomes of Utah high school dropouts who re-enrolled (REL 2017–206)Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, Regional Educational Laboratory West.


The Value of Interrupted Time-Series Experiments for Community Intervention Research

This paper advocates the use of time-series experiments for the development and evaluation of community interventions.

Biglan, A., Ary, D., & Wagenaar, A. C. (2000). The value of interrupted time-series experiments for community intervention research. Prevention Science1(1), 31-49.

Response to Intervention: Principles and Strategies

This book provides practitioners with a complete guide to implementing response to intervention (RTI) in schools. 

Brown-Chidsey, R., & Steege, M. W. (2011). Response to intervention: Principles and strategies for effective practice. Guilford Press.

Opportunities suspended: The devastating consequences of zero tolerance and school discipline policies. Report from a national summit on zero tolerance.

This is the first comprehensive national report to scrutinize the impact of strict Zero Tolerance approach in the America public school. This report illustrate that Zero Tolerance is unfair, is contrary to developmental needs of children, denies children educational opportunities, and often results in the criminalization of children. 

Civil Rights Project. (2000). Opportunities suspended: The devastating consequences of zero tolerance and school discipline policies.

A Meta-Analysis of School-Based Interventions Aimed to Prevent or Reduce Violence in Teen Dating Relationships

The issue of sexual harassment has been front page news this past year. What does the research tell us about school interventions designed to reduce sexual harassment? This meta-analysis examines research on the topic and provides insight into how effective current efforts are at stemming incidents of this serious problem. This review provides a quantitative synthesis of empirical evaluations of school-based programs implemented in middle and high schools designed to prevent or reduce incidents of dating violence. This meta-analysis of 23 studies indicates school-based programs having no significant impact on dating violence perpetration and victimization; however, they can have a positive influence on dating violence knowledge and student attitudes.

De La Rue, L., Polanin, J. R., Espelage, D. L., & Pigott, T. D. (2017). A meta-analysis of school-based interventions aimed to prevent or reduce violence in teen dating relationships. Review of Educational Research87(1), 7-34.


Research Review: The effects of mindfulness‐based interventions on cognition and mental health in children and adolescents – a meta‐analysis of randomized controlled trials

The purpose of this meta-analysis is to examine the impact of mindfulness training on students. Mindfulness based interventions (MBIs) are an increasingly popular way designed to improve the behavioral, cognitive and mental health outcomes of children. The researchers found a positive 0.19 effect size.  Outcome of Mindfulness for Executive Functioning, Attention, Depression, Anxiety/Stress and Negative Behaviors, identified effect sizes (Cohen’s d), ranging from .16 to .30.

Dunning, D. L., Griffiths, K., Kuyken, W., Crane, C., Foulkes, L., Parker, J., & Dalgleish, T. (2018). Research Review: The effects of mindfulness‐based interventions on cognition and mental health in children and adolescents–a meta‐analysis of randomized controlled trials. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.

Is "Learning Disabilities" Just a Fancy Term for Low Achievement? A Meta-Analysis of Reading Differences between Low Achievers with and without the Label.

This paper reports the results of a study that investigated the reading differences between students who were low achieving, both with and without the label of learning disabilities (LD).

Fuchs, D., Fuchs, L. S., Mathes, P. G., Lipsey, M. W., & Roberts, P. H. (2001). Is" Learning Disabilities" Just a Fancy Term for Low Achievement?: A Meta-Analysis of Reading Differences Between Low Achievers with and Without the Label. Executive Summary. ERIC Clearinghouse.

Assessing Intervention Responsiveness: Conceptual and Technical Issues

 In this article, the author uses examples in the literature to explore conceptual and technical issues associated with options for specifying three assessment components. 

Fuchs, L. S. (2003). Assessing intervention responsiveness: Conceptual and technical issues. Learning Disabilities Research & Practice18(3), 172-186.

Community Treatment for Youth: Evidence-Based Interventions for Severe Emotional and Behavioral Disorders

This outstanding textbook presents innovative interventions for youth with severe emotional and behavioral disorders. Community Treatment for Youth is designed to fill a gap between the knowledge base and clinical practice through its presentation of theory, practice parameters, training requirements, and research evidence.

Hoagwood, K. I. M. B. E. R. L. Y., Burns, B. J., & Weisz, J. R. (2002). A profitable conjunction: From science to service in children’s mental health. Community treatment for youth: Evidence-based interventions for severe emotional and behavioral disorders, 327-338.

Empirically supported interventions and school psychology: Conceptual and practice issues Part II.

The authors present some conceptual and practice issues on the use of empirically supported interventions in school and community settings. Conceptual issues discussed include the foci of effective intervention studies, specification of interventions, and intervention manuals and procedural guidelines. 

Kratochwill, T. R., & Stoiber, K. C. (2000). Empirically supported interventions and school psychology: Conceptual and practice issues—Part II. School Psychology Quarterly15(2), 233.

Classroom management for ethnic–racial minority students: A meta-analysis of single-case design studies.

This meta-analysis of behavior management strategies includes single-subject designed studies of 838 students from 22 studies for K-12 classrooms. The study finds the behavior management strategies are highly effective for improving student conduct. Interventions that used an individual or group contingency demonstrated large effects and were the most common behavior management strategies used. The study finds few studies included diverse populations other than African-American students.They also find a need to improve upon the quality of available studies on the classroom management strategies.

Long, A. C. J., Miller, F. G., & Upright, J. J. (2019). Classroom management for ethnic–racial minority students: A meta-analysis of single-case design studies. School Psychology, 34(1), 1-13.

Self-Regulated Strategy Development: Students with a Specific Learning Disability

Self-Regulated Strategy Development (SRSD) is an intervention designed to improve students’ academic skills through a six-step process that teaches students specific academic strategies and self-regulation skills. The practice is especially appropriate for students with learning disabilities. Based on evidence from single-case design studies, SRSD had potentially positive effects on writing achievement for students with a specific learning disability.

Mathematica Policy Research (2017). Self-Regulated Strategy Development: Students with a Specific Learning Disability. What Works Clearinghouse. Institute of Education Sciences.

Using coaching to support teacher implementation of classroom-based interventions

Despite the growing evidence base for the efficacy of preventive interventions, the level of implementation of these interventions in schools is often less than optimal. One promising approach to supporting teachers in implementation of interventions is the use of coaching. In this study, teachers were trained in a universal classroom management intervention and provided ongoing coaching. The association between the type and amount of coaching activities and teacher implementation of proactive classroom management over time were investigated. Results indicated that teachers who received more performance feedback had higher levels of implementation over time in comparison with teachers who received less feedback. In addition, a significant interaction between the amount of coaching a teacher received and his or her implementation of proactive classroom management was found. Increased implementation over time was observed for teachers with lower initial levels of implementation who received more coaching, whereas implementation decreased over time for teachers who received less coaching. The importance of coaching as a support system for enhancing implementation quality of classroom-based preventive interventions is discussed.

Reinke, W. M., Stormont, M., Herman, K. C., Newcomer, L. (2014). Using coaching to support teacher implementation of classroom-based interventions. Journal of Behavioral Education, 23,150-167.

Context matters: Schools and the "Research to Practice gap" in Children Mental Health

This article argues that effective school-based mental health care will result from the marriage of system reform efforts, capacity building, and the delivery of empirically driven intervention strategies.

Ringeisen, H., Henderson, K., & Hoagwood, K. (2003). Context matters: Schools and the" research to practice gap" in children's mental health. School Psychology Review32(2), 153-169.

The Hidden Cost of California’s Harsh School Discipline: And the Localized Economic Benefits from Suspending Fewer High School Students

This research from the Center for Civil Rights Remedies at the Civil Rights Project, UCLA, and California Dropout Research Project shows that the overuse of suspensions in California schools is harming student achievement and graduation rates, and causing billions of dollars in economic damage. The financial consequences of school suspensions, including both additional costs borne by taxpayers as a result of suspensions and lost economic benefit, are quantified. The impact of school suspension varies widely by school district, with California’s largest districts incurring the greatest losses. For example, suspensions in the Los Angeles Unified School District for a 10th grade cohort are estimated to cause $148 million in economic damage. The report calculates a total statewide economic burden of $2.7 billion over the lifetime of the single 10th grade cohort.

Rumberger, R., & Losen, D. (2017). The Hidden Cost of California’s Harsh School Discipline: And the Localized Economic Benefits from Suspending Fewer High School Students. The Center for Civil Rights Remedies at the Civil Rights Project, UCLA, and California Dropout Research Project.

Effectiveness, Transportability, and Dissemination of Interventions: What Matters When?

Schoenwald, S. K., & Hoagwood, K. (2001). Effectiveness, transportability, and dissemination of interventions: What matters when?. Psychiatric services52(9), 1190-1197.

The Impacts of Reading Recovery at Scale: Results From the 4-Year i3 External Evaluation

A recent large-scale evaluation of Reading Recovery, a supplemental reading program for young struggling readers, supports previous research that found it to be effective.  In a 4 year, federally funded project, almost 3,500 students in 685 schools found that generally students benefitted from the intervention. Students receiving Reading Recovery receive supplemental services in a 1:1 instructional setting for 30 minutes 5 days a week from an instructor trained in Reading Recovery.  In the study reported here, students who received Reading Recovery had effect sizes of .35-.37 relative to a control group across a number of measures of reading.  These represent moderate effect sizes and account for about a 1.5 month increase in skill relative to the control group.  Even though the research supports the efficacy of the intervention, it also raises questions about its efficiency.  The schools that participated in the study served about 5 students and the estimated cost per student has ranged from $2,000-$5,000.  These data raise questions about the wisdom of spending this much money per student for growth of about a month and a half.

Sirinides, P., Gray, A., & May, H. (2018). The Impacts of Reading Recovery at Scale: Results From the 4-Year i3 External Evaluation. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 0162373718764828.

The impact of tier 1 reading instruction on reading outcomes for students in Grades 4–12: A meta-analysis

This meta-analysis examines the impact of 1st tier reading instruction on reading outcomes for students in grades 4-12 in an Multi-tiered System of Support (MTSS) service delivery model. 37 studies met criteria for inclusion in the meta-analysis. The study finds small, but positive effects for 1st tier reading instruction on comprehension, vocabulary, and indicates minimum evidence for struggling readers maintaining or improving reading comprehension over struggling students receiving typical instruction. Hedges’s g was used calculating effect sizes. Because of the limited number of studies examining phonics/word recognition and fluency instruction, it was not possible these critical instruction areas in this meta-analysis.


Swanson, E., Stevens, E. A., Scammacca, N. K., Capin, P., Stewart, A. A., & Austin, C. R. (2017). The impact of tier 1 reading instruction on reading outcomes for students in Grades 4–12: A meta-analysis. Reading and Writing30(8), 1639-1665.


Promoting Positive Youth Development Through School-Based Social and Emotional Learning Interventions: A Meta-Analysis of Follow-Up Effects

This meta-analysis of school-based social and emotional learning (SEL) interventions examined the impact of SEL on key outcomes: social-emotional skills, positive attitudes, positive social behavior, academic performance, conduct problems, emotional distress, and drug use. A total of 82 studies met the criteria for inclusion in the meta-analysis. To be included, studies needed to examine school-based social and emotional learning interventions that were universal, or administered to all students, instead of focusing on students with specific social or behavioral problems. A majority of the studies used randomized designs, monitored implementation, and employed reliable and valid outcome measures. Researchers found that students in school-based SEL interventions demonstrated positive benefits in seven outcomes for 56 weeks to 195 weeks (3.75 years) following program participation. An effect size of 0.33 was found for academic performance (based on grades and test scores drawn from school records).

Taylor, R. D., Oberle, E., Durlak, J. A., & Weissberg, R. P. (2017). Promoting positive youth development through school-based social and emotional learning interventions: A meta-analysis of follow-up effects. Child Development, 88(4), 1156–1171.

Tutor Trust: Affordable Primary Tuition: Evaluation report and executive summary November 2018

The purpose of this study is the examination of low-cost interventions to improve the performance of disadvantaged students. The intervention was designed to improve the performance of students by providing small-group tutoring sessions. The research found that children who received tutoring progressed more in math compared to children in control schools (effect size = +0.19). 

Torgerson, C. J., Bell, K., Coleman, E., Elliott, L., Fairhurst, C., Gascoine, L., Hewitt, C. E., & Torgerson, D. J. (2018). Tutor Trust: Affordable Primary Tuition. The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF).

Why Do School Psychologists Cling to Ineffective Practices? Let’s Do What Works.

This article examines the impact of poor decision making in school psychology, with a focus on determining eligibility for special education. Effective decision making depends upon the selection and correct use of measures that yield reliable scores and valid conclusions, but traditional psychometric adequacy often comes up short. The author suggests specific ways in which school psychologists might overcome barriers to using effective assessment and intervention practices in schools in order to produce better results.


VanDerHeyden, A. M. (2018, March). Why Do School Psychologists Cling to Ineffective Practices? Let’s Do What Works. In School Psychology Forum, Research in Practice(Vol. 12, No. 1, pp. 44-52). National Association of School Psychologists.

Troubleshooting Behavioral Interventions: A Systematic Process for Finding and Eliminating Problems

This article describes a systematic process for finding and resolving problems with classroom-based behavioral interventions in schools. 

Witt, J. C., VanDerHeyden, A. M., & Gilbertson, D. (2004). Troubleshooting behavioral interventions: A systematic process for finding and eliminating problems. School Psychology Review33, 363-383.

Australian Society for Evidence Based Teaching

This web site provides evidence-based resources for free to teachers, principals, and parents.

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