Teacher Predictors of Curriculum Adherence
Apr 28 2022
Social and emotional learning (SEL) is necessary for the academic achievement of a student and for their future success in many aspects of their lives. Ensuring that SEL is taught with fidelity is a goal for many schools and depends not only on instructional support, but other factors such as years of teaching, and rigorous classroom management. —Shekufeh Monadjem
The Importance of Social and Emotional Learning
Students learn best when they are in a caring and safe environment, where they have trusting relationships with their teachers and peers. These relationships promote the development of social and emotional skills that are crucial for “academic achievement and life success.”1 In their study, Thierry, Vincent, and Norris (2022) explained that in order to foster social and emotional learning (SEL) among students, they suggest using the National Commission on Social, Emotional and Academic Development’s (2018) recommendations for districts and schools. One of these recommendations is the adoption of an evidence-based SEL curriculum for the explicit instruction of social and emotional skills.
The Importance of Using Fidelity When Implementing Curriculum
One major factor to consider when introducing a new curriculum is ensuring that it is being used with fidelity, in order for students to make the maximum gains. A number of research reviews confirm that SEL curricula when implemented with “high levels of fidelity are more likely to improve students’ social-emotional competence and academic performance.”2
Other important factors are the socio-emotional competency levels of teachers and their ability to build positive relationships with students. This is based on five core competencies:
- Social awareness
- Relationship skills
- Responsible decision-making
Building positive relationships with students requires teachers to be skilled in all competencies.
Sixty pre-kindergarten to 1st-grade teachers participated in this US-based study from 7 schools. 52% of the participants were African-American, 30% White, and 18% Hispanic. The following teacher-level predictors were examined over the period of the first month in which the curriculum was implemented: “1) teacher demographics, including ethnicity/race and years of teaching experience; 2) self-efficacy for managing classroom behavior; 3) emotional support; 4) classroom organization; and 5) instructional support.”
The scoring system used was the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS), which has shown to be a valid and reliable tool that “essentially operationalizes positive teacher-student relationships according to specific interactions that teachers have in capturing the following three domains of teacher-student interactions: (1) emotional support, (2) classroom organization, and (3) instructional support.”3 Independent observers assessed teachers on these interactions during the initial month of the curriculum.
Teachers with “greater pre-implementation classroom management self-efficacy and more teaching experience had higher adherence to the curriculum” and therefore had higher levels of fidelity. Hispanic teachers who taught bilingual classes were less likely than White, non-Hispanic teachers to adhere to the curriculum schedule, as they needed more implementation support to match their caseload. Instructional support proved to be the only positive predictor of the quality of lesson delivery.
Limitations of the Study
One limitation of the study was the small sample size, and another was that only the initial fidelity of the first month of the implementation of the curriculum was measured, not the long-term delivery.
Thierry, K. L., Vincent, R. L., & Norris, K. (2022). Teacher-level predictors of the fidelity of implementation of a social-emotional learning curriculum. Early Education and Development, 33(1), 92-106.
Summary by: Shekufeh Monadjem – Shekufeh believes that the MARIO Framework builds relationships that enable students to view the world in a positive light as well as enabling them to create plans that ultimately lead to their success.
- Jones, D. E., Greenberg, M., & Crowley, M. (2015). Early social emotional functioning and public health: The relationship between kindergarten social competence and future wellness. Journal of Public Health, 105(11), 2283–2290.
- Derzon, J. H., Sale, E., Springer, J. F., & Brounstein, P. (2005). Estimating intervention effectiveness: Synthetic projection of field evaluation results. Journal of Primary Prevention, 26(4), 321–343.
- Burchinal, M., Vandergrift, N., Pianta, R. C., & Mashburn, A. J. (2010). Threshold analysis of association between child care quality and child outcomes for low-income children in pre-kindergarten programs. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 25(2), 166–176. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecresq.2009.10.004