PREDICTORS OF STUDENT REFERRALS TO PROBLEM-SOLVING TEAMS: CHILD STUDY TEAMS AND INSTRUCTIONAL CONSULTATION TEAMS
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This study identified predictors of elementary school student problem-solving team referrals from among a broad range of student and teacher measures, including student demographic characteristics, services received, academic achievement, behavior, and student-teacher relationship quality, as well as teacher demographic characteristics, education and experience, and beliefs and practices. The participant sample included first through fifth grade students (n = 13,025) and their classroom teachers (n = 570) within schools (n = 26) concurrently implementing two problem-solving team models that differed in theoretical framework, focus, and process: Child Study Teams (CS Teams: Moore, Fifield, Spira, & Scarlato, 1989) and Instructional Consultation Teams (IC Teams: Rosenfield & Gravois, 1996). Using multinomial hierarchical general linear modeling (HGLM) and the Hierarchical Linear Modeling program (HLM 7.01: Raudenbush et al., 2011), statistically significant effects were found for student sex; Hispanic race/ethnicity; reading, writing, and math achievement; prior ratings of classroom concentration; and closeness in the prior student-teacher relationship on student referrals to both problem-solving teams relative to not being referred to a problem-solving team. Student African American and Unspecified/Other race/ethnicity, prior internalizing behavior problems, teacher sex, teacher age, and 11+ years of total teaching experience uniquely statistically significantly predicted referrals to CS Teams. Student Asian race/ethnicity, being a new student to the district, receiving special education services the prior school year, having a conflict laden relationship with the prior teacher, and 11+ years of teaching experience at the current school uniquely statistically significantly predicted referrals to IC Teams. Planned post hoc coefficient contrasts compared the predictors of student referrals to IC Teams and CS Teams. Findings indicate that student sex and race/ethnicity, being new to the district, receiving special education the prior school year, relationship quality with the prior teacher, severity of academic or behavior problems, and teacher age statistically significantly differentiated referral between the two problem-solving teams. However, with odds ratios ≤ 2.5, the sizes of all effects in this study were small (Chen, Cohen, & Chen, 2010; Chinn, 2000). Limitations include generalizability, missing data, model misspecification, and constraints of standard statistical analysis software.