MU faculty release third edition of guidebook expanding on interventions for school children

The guidebook features 83 interventions to help students from preschool to high school.

MU faculty identify and explain interventions for K-12 students in their new guidebook, Effective School Interventions: Evidence-Based Strategies for Improving Student Outcomes, Third Edition.

“It’s a book for practitioners to use to find the right interventions for students,” Matthew Burns, associate dean for research for the College of Education, said.

This guidebook features 83 evidence-based interventions. The interventions are targeted to students from pre-K all the way to high school. The interventions target behavioral and academic issues, which typically affect one another. These interventions were created to assist teachers, social workers and practitioners who work with children, Burns said.

According to the guidebook, available research documenting their effectiveness and data suggesting that EBI are enhancing student outcomes.

EBI are used during times when a practitioner can sense or predict a child suffering or underperforming.

“[The interventions] are all practical and instructional techniques,” Burns said. “They’re nothing you buy, but they are things that you can use as a school-based practitioner to help kids. They’re focused on instructional techniques and activities as opposed to buying something.”

Authors Burns, Chris Riley-Tillman, department chair for educational, school and counseling psychology and Natalie Rathvon, a retired George Washington University professor, have broadened their use of interventions to include more age groups and issues in the third edition of this guidebook.

“[This book] is different because we expanded it,” Burns said. “It’s based on the same framework, but it’s different in that we expanded it by adding in important skills for intervention success.”

Some interventions did not make the cut for the third edition.

“We removed a number of interventions that didn’t have as strong of an evidence basis as we would like,” Riley-Tillman said.

The interventions chosen are supported heavily through previous research. The more research supports an intervention, the more likely it is to be featured. The authors also made a point to make all interventions free to use, making them more accessible to practitioners.

Some companies sell interventions separately, which can become costly when a practitioner is dealing with 20 or more children.

Another aspect that is measured are the previously recorded success rates of the intervention.

“What we wanted to do was to was pick interventions that are free,” Riley-Tillman said. “The book is not there to push interventions that [are] sold by companies, we wanted people to use stuff in the book without having to purchase anything.”

This edition acts as a guide for teachers, social workers and practitioners working with children to help them solve children’s behavioral and academic issues. Whether it be on the playground, the bus or inside the classroom, this guidebook provides practitioners with viable, easy to follow interventions, Burns said.

“We’re hoping that schools continue to use [the book],” Burns said. “It’s a great resource and a great tool. It could really help out a lot of school-based practitioners.”

Edited by Olivia Garrett | ogarrett@themaneater.com

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