Student Research 2015

2015 Research Grant Results

Name: Shanna Eisner Hirsch, Ph.D.

Title: Professional Development in Practice: Improving Novice Teachers’ Use of Evidence-based Classroom Management Practices

Research Proposal: When teachers use evidence-based classroom management (EBCM) students are more likely to be engaged (e.g., Simonsen et al., 2014). Additionally, teachers report higher levels of efficacy about themselves, their instruction, and their students (Kelm & McIntosh, 2012). However, novice educators possess minimal knowledge of EBCM practices (Stough & Montague, 2015). Poorly designed in-service professional development may contribute to their lack of knowledge (Ingersoll & Strong, 2012).

Despite much excellent work, scholars in the field have not yet adequately addressed professional development methods to improve novice teachers’ use of EBCM practices and monitor student outcomes (Yoon, Duncan, Lee, Scarloss, & Shapley, 2007). Without such tools, we will continue to have ill-prepared novice teachers who choose to leave the field of teaching (Ingersoll & Merrill, 2010). The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of a practice-based professional development (PBPD) on EBCM practices with teachers during their first three years of teaching. I evaluated the effects of PBPD on teachers’ use of EBCM as well as their knowledge, practice, self-efficacy while also monitoring student behavior and academic outcomes. I used a single-subject multiple baseline design across three groups of teachers to investigate the efficacy of a PBPD.

Research Questions: The primary research questions that drove this study are as follows: (1) To what extent can PBPD help teachers gain knowledge and implement EBCM practices? (2) To what extent does teachers’ use of EBCM practices maintain after the PBPD? (3) To what extent does student engagement increase after a teacher attended EBCM PBPD? (4) To what extent do self-reports of novice teacher efficacy and burnout change after completing EBCM PBPD?

Summary: This study tested the direct effect of a PBPD on EBCM practices for six novice teachers. All teachers in this study were able to demonstrate increased knowledge of EBCM practices as measured by a pre-and posttest. However, direct observation of teachers’ use of EBCM was variable. The mean scores changed for five of the six teachers however there was a great deal of overlaps between the Standard Condition and EBCM PBPD phase. Five teachers were observed between one month and two months after the conclusion of attending the EBCM PBPD. The rates maintained for three of five teachers. Although the effects obtained here are not overwhelmingly compelling, these findings are consistent with other investigations of professional development for classroom management with novice teachers (e.g., Briere, Simonsen, Sugai, & Meyers, 2015). Data from all of student participants indicate a significant change in engagement following the EBPB PBPD. This is perhaps the most pronounced functional relation between EBCM PBPD. All of the groups of students in the study improved their mean engagement levels as indicated by improvements for Groups One, Two, and Three, 85.46% (up from 62.38%), 83.39% (up from 62.92%), 89.09 (up from 80.69%), respectively.

With respect self-efficacy and burnout, data from all of the teachers indicate increased feelings of efficacy and decreased burnout. Although these findings are promising they must be interpreted with caution as they are descriptive (non-experimental) measures administered at three time-points.



Briere, D. E., Simonsen, B., Sugai, G., & Myers, D. (2015). Increasing new teachers’ specific praise rates using a within-school consultation intervention. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 17, 50-60.doi: 10.1177/1098300713497098

Ingersoll, R., & Merrill, L. (2010). Who’s teaching our children? Educational Leadership, 67(8), 14-20.

Ingersoll, R. M., & Strong, M. (2012). The impact of induction and mentoring programs for beginning teachers: A critical review of the research. Review of Educational Research, 81(2), 201-233.

Kelm, J. L. & McIntosh, K. (2012). Effects of school-wide positive behavior support on self-efficacy. Psychology in the Schools, 49, 137-147.

Simonsen, B., MacSuga-Gage, A. S., Briere, D. E., Freeman, J., Myers, D., Scott, T. M., & Sugai, G. (2014). Multitiered support framework for teachers’ classroom-management practice: Overview and case study of building the triangle for teachers. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 16, 179-190.

Stough, L. M., & Montague, M. L. (2015). How teachers learn to be classroom managers. In E. T. Emmer & E. J. Sabornie (Eds.), Handbook of Classroom Management (2nd Ed). New York, New York: Routledge. 

Yoon, K. S., Duncan, T., Lee, S. W.-Y., Scarloss, B., & Shapley, K. (2007). Reviewing the evidence on how teacher professional development affects student achievement (Issues & Answers Report, REL 2007–No. 033). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, Regional Educational Laboratory Southwest. Retrieved from