Does Compass Improve Common Elements of Instructional Quality?

Friday, May 15, 2015: 5:30 PM-7:00 PM
Imperial Ballroom (Grand America Hotel)
L. A. Ruble1, W. H. Wong1, A. D. Rodgers1, J. Grisham-Brown2, M. Moon1 and J. H. McGrew3, (1)University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY, (2)Early Childhood,k Special Education, & Rehabilitation Counseling, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY, (3)Psychology, Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis, Indianapolis, IN

Implementation science is concerned with the factors that hinder or facilitate the use of evidence-based practices (EBP) in real world settings.  Teachers who work in inclusive early childhood settings and serve children with a wide variety of needs are challenged to design, implement, and evaluate EBPs necessary for teaching each child, including children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD; Grisham-Brown, Hemmeter, & Pretti-Frontczak, 2005). As a result, research is needed on key elements of instruction that a) teachers can implement with fidelity and b) that support young children to achieve important learning outcomes.  An instructional quality measure was developed that captures common elements of teaching sequences (Grisham-Brown & Ruble, 2013) for designing intervention plans, and measuring implementation fidelity in inclusive early childhood settings. This measure assumes that regardless of the EBP employed, the following must occur in order for the child to have an opportunity to demonstrate the targeted skill: 1) the environment must be arranged so that there is an opportunity for the child to demonstrate the response; 2) the child must be engaged in meaningful activities with high-interest materials; 3) the teacher, peer, or environment must provoke the child to initiate or respond; and 4) the child must be given an opportunity to respond. Once the child responds, the teacher must make a decision about how to close the teaching sequence if the child 1) demonstrates the expected response, or 2) needs further support to demonstrate the expected response. This preliminary work is guided by the premise that teachers are more likely to implement consistent instruction with fidelity if they can focus on common elements.


 This poster will examine whether teaching quality increases during COMPASS consultation using a common elements approach to measurement.


Data are from a secondary analysis of 29 special education teachers of students with ASD between 3 and 8 years participating in an RCT of COMPASS consultation (Ruble, et al., 2013). COMPASS is a consultation approach designed to identify ecologically valid goals and teaching strategies to improve child educational outcomes and consists of an initial 3-hour parent-teacher consultation that produces a social, communication, and learning skill goal (e.g., start and complete a task independently), followed by four, 1-hr, teacher coaching sessions spaced equally throughout the remaining school year. For each coaching session, teachers prepare a videorecording of their implementation of the three intervention plans.  For this project, the first and fourth coaching sessions were analyzed using the Sequence of Common Elements measure. Paired t-tests were used to determine mean score differences between the two coaching sessions for each learning domain (social, communication, and learning skills).


Results showed that coaching 4 mean scores for all three learning domains was significantly higher compared to coaching 1 mean scores (p < .000; Figure 1).


Instructional quality based on a common elements of teaching sequences approach is sensitive to change during COMPASS consultation. Future research on the utility of the measure for improving educational outcomes is warranted.