Recent years have seen increasing numbers of classroom-based interventions designed to enhance the school readiness of at-risk preschoolers. Even the most comprehensive, well-designed programs can suffer from limited effectiveness due to low-frequency implementation by teachers. The current study presents findings from the Building Bridges (BB) project, an integrated program targeting school readiness in Head Start and low-income child care centers. Previous studies have reported the role of teacher-level and program-level characteristics in predicting teacher implementation of an intervention. The present study examines the role of student characteristics—language and math ability, social skills, and behavioral functioning—in predicting implementation exposure. These associations were examined in the context of program type (Head Start, child care) and intervention condition (consultation, no consultation). 88 classrooms (41 Head Start, 47 child care) participated in the BB intervention. Implementation exposure was predicted by several distinct student characteristics. Teachers whose students exhibited poorer language skills implemented significantly more BB activities, a finding that was consistent across program types and intervention conditions. A marginally significant trend was identified for oppositional behavior when interacted with intervention group in that teachers whose students demonstrated higher rates of oppositional behavior implemented fewer intervention activities when they did not have a consultant. Teachers in child care centers with a BB consultant had higher rates of implementation than did teachers in all other groups. These findings provide important information regarding the student-level characteristics that should be evaluated in order to optimize implementation of an intervention.
Prevention Science – Springer Journals
Published: May 22, 2012
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