Exploratory study of the effectiveness of a professional development program on the academic achievement and classroom behavior of students with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder in British Columbia, Canada

Erica Clark, M. Anne George, Cindy Hardy, Wendy A. Hall, Peter D. MacMillan, Stacey Wakabayashi, Kathleen Hughes

Abstract


Clark, E., George, M., Hardy, C., Hall, W., MacMillan, P., Wakabayashi, S., & Hughes, K. (2014). Exploratory study of the effectiveness of a professional development program on the academic achievement and classroom behavior of students with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder in British Columbia, Canada. The International Journal Of Alcohol And Drug Research, 3(1), 25-34. doi:10.7895/ijadr.v3i1.119

Aim: Exploratory assessment of a professional development program for teachers supporting students with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD).

Design: A mixed-method research design, using qualitative descriptive and quasi-experimental methods, was employed.

Setting: The study occurred in selected public elementary schools in a British Columbia school district.

Participants: Elementary school teachers and students with FASD.

Measures: For the quasi-experimental component, the Behavior Assessment System for Children, 2nd edition (BASC-2) Teacher Rating Scale (TRS), and Student Observation System assessed classroom behavior. The Curriculum-Based Measure (CBM) assessed reading, writing, and mathematics skills of children with FASD. Inductive thematic analysis was used to derive themes from teachers’ interviews.

Findings: A statistically significant improvement in intervention students’ classroom behavior was observed. An improvement of moderate effect size was seen for academic achievement, although the changes were not statistically significant. Teachers reported that the professional development program changed their teaching practice. Intervention teachers described how they redefined students’ behaviors and adapted their teaching practice to accommodate students’ neurological deficits.

Conclusions: The results provide preliminary support for the effectiveness of the professional development program for elementary school teachers teaching students with FASD. Further research is needed with a larger sample size to reduce type II error. 


Keywords


fetal alcohol spectrum disorder; intervention; children; elementary school teachers; professional development

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7895/ijadr.v3i1.119

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