Programs delivered in the “real world” often look substantially different from what was originally intended by program developers. Depending on which components of a program are being trimmed or altered, such modifications may seriously undermine the effectiveness of a program. In the present study, these issues are explored within a widely used school-based, non-curricular intervention, Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports. The present study takes advantage of a uniquely large dataset to gain a better understanding of the “real-world” implementation quality of PBIS and to take a first step toward identifying the components of PBIS that “matter most” for student outcomes. Data from 27,689 students and 166 public primary and secondary schools across seven states included school and student demographics, indices of PBIS implementation quality, and reports of problem behaviors for any student who received an office discipline referral during the 2007–2008 school year. Results of the present study identify three key components of PBIS that many schools are failing to implement properly, three program components that were most related to lower rates of problem behavior (i.e., three “active ingredients” of PBIS), and several school characteristics that help to account for differences across schools in the quality of PBIS implementation. Overall, findings highlight the importance of assessing implementation quality in “real-world” settings, and the need to continue improving understanding of how and why programs work. Findings are discussed in terms of their implications for policy.
Prevention Science – Springer Journals
Published: Feb 14, 2013
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