A Positive Culture of Support: PB4L School-Wide Final Evaluation Report

Publication Details

This report summarises the findings from the final phase of an evaluation of Positive Behaviour for Learning (PB4L) School-Wide. It describes the extent of implementation of School-wide in Schools, identifies short-term shifts and considers the longer term sustainability of the initiative.

Author(s): Sally Boyd and Rachel Felgate, New Zealand Council for Educational Research. Report for the Ministry of Education.

Date Published: August 2015

Summary

School-Wide in New Zealand: Main evaluation findings

This report summarises the findings from the final phase of an evaluation of Positive Behaviour for Learning (PB4L) School-Wide. It describes the extent of implementation of School-Wide in schools, identifies short-term shifts and considers the longer term sustainability of the initiative.

Overall, the findings suggest that School-Wide is being implemented as intended in many schools. Across a range of schools, School-Wide is resulting in many of the expected short-term shifts in practice and outcomes. A focus on School-Wide is being maintained in the short term at many schools. A few schools, particularly large secondary, may require adjustments to the support and resourcing model to fully implement the core features of School-Wide. Some schools are developing strategies to "keep School-Wide fresh" in the longer term. Other schools require more active support to address challenges to maintaining School-Wide over time.

What is School-Wide?

School-Wide is one component of PB4L. School-Wide is the New Zealand version of a proven international initiative called Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS). School-Wide offers primary, intermediate and secondary schools a way of building a consistent and positive school-wide climate to support learning based around shared values and behaviour expectations. School-Wide is a framework of key features that schools implement in ways that suit their context. It aims to engage the whole school community in adapting school structures, practices and philosophies related to behaviour, and in developing systems that everyone can use in a consistent way. Each school forms a team to implement School-Wide in a way that is collaborative, data-driven and problem solving. School staff are offered a package of School-Wide training and support which includes training days, cluster meetings with local schools and access to regionally-based School-Wide Practitioners who work with schools as they implement School-Wide.

School-Wide has three tiers. During Tier 1 schools put in place a core set of behaviour support systems and practices designed to be used consistently by all to encourage positive behaviour. Once the core features of Tier 1 are in place schools can move to Tier 2 (developing targeted interventions for small groups of students who need additional support) and Tier 3 (developing specialised interventions for students who need individualised support). School-Wide began in New Zealand in 2010. Each year around 100 schools join the initiative.

Design and focus of the evaluation

The New Zealand Council for Educational Research (NZCER) evaluation was a mixed-method study with a focus on process and outcomes. The evaluation focused on Tier 1 of School-Wide and ran from 2013 to 2015. The evaluation questions this report addresses are:

  • What short-term shifts is School-Wide supporting towards School-Wide outcomes for students and schools?
  • Are core School-Wide practices being implemented as intended?
  • What factors enable or hinder the shifts in schools?
  • What does effective support for School-Wide schools look like in a New Zealand context?

The evaluation had three phases:

Phase 1
In phase 1 we collected preliminary data about the implementation of School-Wide, and explored evidence for short-term shifts in schools that had been part of School-Wide for longer (i.e., joined School-Wide in 2010 and 2011). Phase 1 took place in Terms 3–4 of 2013. The preliminary findings from this phase are summarised in Boyd, Dingle, and Herdina (2014). "A positive culture of support" 2 Final report from the evaluation of PB4L School-Wide
Phase 2
Phase 2 included seven case studies of School-Wide schools that had experienced significant changes in practice. The main aim of the case studies was to explore what effective practice in School-Wide schools looked like in a New Zealand context. The school visits occurred in Term 3 of 2014. The case studies can be found in Boyd, Hotere-Barnes, Tongati'o, and MacDonald (2015).
Phase 3
Phase 3 involved a second round of data collection similar to that undertaken in phase 1. Focusing on the schools that had been part of the initiative since 2010/11, one main aim was to provide insights into the longer term implementation successes and challenges. The second aim was to collect further evidence of short-term shifts that were associated with School-Wide at 2010/11 and 2012/13 schools.

 
This report mostly summarises the information collected during phase 3. Information from phases 1 and 2 is also referred to. Data from the following existing and new sources are included in this report.

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