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September 2022 Newsletter

Welcome to the first Wing Institute at Morningside newsletter for the 2022-23 school year.  We hope that everyone had a wonderful summer and is feeling prepared to deal with the challenges this school year will offer.  As a reminder, the emphasis in the newsletter is to focus on issues on the implementation of instructional and behavior support practices that have strong scientific support.  If effective practices are not implemented well, then the promise of the practice is not likely to be realized.  This will continue to be the focus of the newsletter.  In this issue, you will find a discussion of the importance of assessing treatment integrity across all tiers in a multi-tiered system of support.  There are reviews of four recent research publications.  Lastly, there is a brief description of a micro-conference on Questionable Research Practices in Single Case Research hosted by the Wing Institute at Morningside.  The goal of the conference was to improve the reporting of research reports.  By improving the quality of research reports, we can have greater confidence that the results of the research are trustworthy.  This may result in the adoption of effective interventions and improved outcomes for students.

Wing Institute at Morningside Academy News

Over the summer, the Wing Institute at Morningside funded four micro-conferences exploring questionable research practices in single case research.  Each of the micro-conferences had 15-20 participants who were experts in single case research methods.  The participants were researchers, editors and associate editors of journals, professors who taught single case design, and authors of textbooks on single case design.  A questionable research practice is one that may contribute to bias in the reporting of research.  This is not to imply that researchers are deliberately engaging in deceptive practices.  Some of the identified practices have been standard practices within the field and have been accepted without critical examination.  The purpose of the micro-conferences was to carefully examine all practices associated with conducting and reporting single case research.  In addition to identifying questionable research and reporting practices, improved practices were suggested.  There is no benefit to identifying questionable practices if suggestions for improvement cannot be identified.  The point is to improve research practices to improve the quality of the evidence that is published.
This work is fundamentally important because to the extent that research reports are biased, it will lead to overestimates of the effects of interventions.  In turn, this may result in educators adopting practices that do not have strong empirical grounding resulting in failure to achieve the desired outcomes for students.  Evidence-based practice in education assumes that high-quality evidence about the effects of interventions will lead to better decision-making by school administrators and better outcomes for students.
Now that the micro-conferences have been completed, we are in the next phase of this project., which is to synthesize all of the comments and suggestions made by the participants. Ultimately, we will send a survey out to a larger group of experts to determine which practices they consider questionable.   We will also ask if the suggested improvements to reporting practices are reasonable.  Secondly, if the participant does consider a practice to be questionable, they will be asked to estimate how serious a problem it is and how often they think it occurs.  Once we have analyzed the participants responses to the survey the results will be summarized in a future newsletter.  We look forward to sharing this information. 
We would like to thank the participants in the micro-conferences for so generously giving their time.  The success of this project is a by-product of their commitment to improving reporting practices within single case research.
We would also like to thank Morningside Academy for so generously supporting this initiative.  The accomplishments of this project would not have been possible without Morningside's support.

Wing Institute Commentary

Focus on Implementation: Implementing Multi-Tiered Systems of Support

Over the last two decades, multi-tiered systems of support have become a common framework for organizing service delivery in public schools.  The effectiveness of multi-tiered support systems depends on adopting effective programs and implementing those programs well.  An effective program implemented well is the best way to obtain desired benefits.  An effective program implemented poorly loses much of its impact.  Conversely, an ineffective program will not likely produce significant student benefits even if implemented well.  Despite the critical importance of thoughtful, systematic implementation, more attention has been paid to identifying effective programs than implementation.
In terms of an overall implementation strategy, ensuring that the universal tier of intervention achieves the desired benefits is necessary.  This requires an empirically supported intervention implemented well.  If the desired benefits are not obtained, it is not possible to know if a student’s failure to benefit is a result of an ineffective program, poor implementation, or if the student requires more intensive instructional or behavioral support.  The lack of clarity about the source of the issue can contribute to poor decision-making.  The student might be referred to more intensive support when the actual problem is poor implementation.  Valuable and limited school resources may be allocated to the student when the resources would be better spent on improving implementation.  If the universal intervention is implemented well, a decision that a student requires more intensive services if they are not progressing is more likely to be correct and benefit the student. 
If a student is referred to the second tier of intervention support, the implementation logic is the same as the universal tier.  If a student is to progress, a scientifically supported intervention must be adopted and implemented well.  Suppose the intervention has scientific support and is implemented well, and the student is not making progress.  In that case, the student will likely benefit from even more intensive interventions presuming that the intervention has scientific support and is designed to address the identified problem.
High-quality implementation of effective programs across all three tiers of a multi-tiered system of support is necessary to assure valid decision-making.  To date, relatively little research has been completed evaluating treatment integrity across all three tiers.  Measures of implementation at each level are important, but ultimately it is necessary to measure across tiers to determine the most effective and efficient approaches so we can be confident in the decisions we are making at each tier.


What is Measured for Treatment Integrity at Tier 1 in Multi-Tiered Systems of Support?

The measurement of treatment integrity is important any time an intervention is implemented.  The measurement of treatment integrity is complex when assessing it at the level of universal intervention for an entire school.  Should we measure integrity at the level of the school or at the level of the individual classroom?  

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Where do Teachers Get Informations about Behavior Management Systems?

Teachers report that behavior management is one of the greatest challenges in the profession and  they feel unprepared to deal with difficult behavior.  One of the questions to be answered is where do teachers get information about behavior management?   

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Are Principal Evaluations of Teacher Scores Trustworthy?

Teacher evaluation is ubiquitous in US public schools.  Typically, it involves a principal observing a teacher several times over the course of a school year.  In an effort to standardize ratings, a scoring rubric is followed; however, the ratings are ultimately subjective, and the items on the rubric are subject to interpretation.   

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What is the Most Efficient and Effective Method of Instruction to Assure Mastery during Acquisition of New Skills?

Educators are always looking for instructional methods that are effective and efficient.   Effective interventions can vary with respect to how rapidly content is learned.  Efficient methods result in rapid learning of content.   

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