Teachers' and Students' Preferences for Mathematics Interventions: Implications for Teacher Acceptability in Consultation

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  • This article was downloaded by: [University of Regina]On: 18 November 2014, At: 23:11Publisher: RoutledgeInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954Registered office: Mortimer House, 37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH,UK

    Journal of Educational andPsychological ConsultationPublication details, including instructions forauthors and subscription information:http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/hepc20

    Teachers' and Students'Preferences for MathematicsInterventions: Implicationsfor Teacher Acceptability inConsultationChristopher T. Arra & Michael W. BahrPublished online: 09 Dec 2009.

    To cite this article: Christopher T. Arra & Michael W. Bahr (2005) Teachers' andStudents' Preferences for Mathematics Interventions: Implications for TeacherAcceptability in Consultation, Journal of Educational and Psychological Consultation,16:3, 157-174, DOI: 10.1207/s1532768xjepc1603_2

    To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1207/s1532768xjepc1603_2

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    http://www.tandfonline.com/page/terms-and-conditions

  • Teachers and Students Preferencesfor Mathematics Interventions:

    Implications for TeacherAcceptability in Consultation

    Christopher T. ArraNorthern Virginia Community College

    Michael W. BahrUniversity of Missouri St. Louis

    Teacher and student acceptability of academic interventions is an importantfactor for school- based consultants to consider in determining the use and ef-fectiveness of academic interventions. This study compared the acceptabilityof 3 theoretically distinct mathematics interventions: a cognitive, a behav-ioral, and a traditional intervention. The study lasted 8 weeks. A total of 18teacher-candidates (TCs) and 55 fourth grade students were exposed to 1 of 3mathematical interventions and were asked to rate the acceptability of eachintervention. Results showed that both TCs and students rated the interven-tions as equally acceptable. These findings, though useful to bothschool-based consultants and trainers, are in contrast with previous findingssuggesting that teachers prefer cognitive and cooperative interventions overbehavioral interventions (de Mesquita & Zollman, 1995).

    Effective classroom intervention strategies are one way to help preventand remediate difficulties in mathematics (Skinner, Shapiro, Turco, Cole,& Brown, 1992). School-based consultants and university trainers canwork to develop and implement reliable and valid interventions in the

    JOURNAL OF EDUCATIONAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL CONSULTATION, 16(3), 157174Copyright 2005, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.

    Correspondence should be sent to Christopher T. Arra, Northern Virginia Community Col-lege, Division of Business and Social Sciences, 15200 Neabsco Mills Rd., Wood-bridge, VA 22191. E-mail: cara@nvcc.edu

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  • area of mathematics (Rhymer, Hennington, Skinner, & Looby, 1999) thatare sensitive to both teacher (de Mesquita & Zollman, 1995) and studentpreferences (Elliott, Witt, Galvin, & Moe, 1986; Fink, 1995). The need forsuch information is great, given that there is little research on the accept-ability of math interventions. This article briefly reviews general issuespertaining to treatment acceptability and presents findings from a studyin the area of mathematics.

    TREATMENT ACCEPTABILITY: TEACHER ANDSTUDENT PREFERENCES

    Models of Treatment Acceptability

    Treatment acceptability is a judgment by laypersons, clients, and othersof whether treatment procedures are appropriate, fair, and reasonablefor the problem or client (Kazdin, 1981). Several models of treatment ac-ceptability have been developed. The first, developed by Witt and Elliott(1985), stressed the interrelationship of four elements: treatment accept-ability, treatment use, treatment integrity, and treatment effectiveness.Reimers, Wacker, and Koeppl (1987) expanded on Witt and Elliottswork and focused on the importance of understanding a treatment be-fore acceptability can be assessed. Accordingly, a treatment perceived aslow in acceptability will likely be low in compliance or teacher imple-mentation, whereas a treatment rated as high in acceptability will likelyresult in high compliance.

    Nastasi, Varjas, Schensul, Silva, Schensul, and Ratnayake (2000) pro-vided yet another model of treatment acceptability known as the Participa-tory Intervention Model (PIM). The goal of the PIM is to integrate previousresearch into a contemporary approach that promotes ownership and em-powerment of consultees. Increased ownership and involvement hope-fully results in sustained intervention use after consultation has ceased.

    Teacher Acceptability

    Although several models of acceptability exist, many effective classroominterventions are still unused by teachers due to low levels of acceptability(Martens, Peterson, Witt, & Cirone, 1986; Witt, 1986). For example, Witt dis-cussed four factors that have been linked to teachers continued use of anintervention: (a) perceptions of intervention effectiveness, (b) time and per-

    158 ARRA AND BAHR

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  • sonnel resources required, (c) theoretical orientation of the intervention,and (d) the degree to which the treatment is ecologically intrusive. Whenjudging an interventions effectiveness, teachers often do not have dataconcerning the effectiveness of a treatment, and they often rely on per-ceived effectiveness of an intervention. With regard to time and personnelresources, Witt found that teachers prefer interventions that require lesstime and fewer personnel resources.

    Witt, Martens, and Elliott (1984) investigated the influence of time in-volvement, intervention type, and problem severity on teacher acceptabil-ity and found that interventions requiring high levels of time were lessacceptable for many classroom problems except when behaviors werevery severe. In a related study, Martens et al. (1986) assessed teacher per-ception of effectiveness, ease of use, and frequency of use for variousschool-based interventions. The highest rated interventions were redirec-tion, manipulation of material reward, alteration of classroom environ-ment, consultation, time-out, and removal from classroom.

    de Mesquita and Zollman (1995) studied preferences for mathematicalinterventions with 62 elementary school teachers rating their preferencesfor either cognitive, behavioral, or cooperative interventions. The resultsindicated that the teachers significantly preferred the cognitive and coop-erative learning interventions over the behavioral approach, although nodifferences existed between the cognitive and cooperative approaches.The primary limitation of this investigation was that it was unknownwhether the participants had actually used these interventions in theirown teaching; thus, they may have rated interventions with which theywere unfamiliar.

    Overall, previous research (Witt, 1986; Witt, Elliott, & Martens, 1984) ontreatment acceptability with teachers has suggested a preference for inter-ventions that are effective, easy to implement, and require short periods oftime to implement. Although several studies (e.g., Martens et al., 1986;Witt, 1986; Witt, Elliott, & Martens, 1984) have increased knowledge of in-tervention acceptability, the research, for the most part, has been analo-gous in nature with little emphasis on ensuring that participants havesufficient knowledge and use of the interventions they rate. Particularly inthe area of mathematics, research that directly exposes teachers to inter-ventions and examines acceptability is needed.

    Student Acceptability

    Relative to teacher preferences, even fewer studies assess student accept-ability of interventions. Goldberg and Shapiro (1995) assessed acceptability

    PREFERENCES FOR MATHEMATICS INTERVENTIONS 159

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