Readiness to Implement Social Emotional Interventions

Readiness to Implement is a construct from the field of Implementation Science, that captures an organization’s (or school’s) capacity to implement a new intervention, program, or set of practices. In a chapter by Wanless, Groark, & Hatfield, in the Handbook of Social-Emotional Learning, readiness is described in detail and the SEED Lab has created a measure of readiness tailored to preschools. Shannon Wanless and Dr. Celene Domitrovich from Johns Hopkins University, edited a special issue of Prevention Science about readiness and across the studies included, it was evident that much more research is needed in this area to determine what readiness characteristics relate to later implementation quality. This line of research has the potential to help the field be much more efficient in deciding which schools should get intervention training, and what extra supports are needed for schools that may be less ready to move forward. With extra support, they may be more likely to achieve implementation, rather than waste time and resources on training that may not take hold. 

SEED Lab members Jennifer Briggs and Ashley Shafer supported data collection of our new Readiness to Implement Social-Emotional Interventions (RISE) measure, from 253 preschool teachers and directors in Pittsburgh. Preliminary results with a pilot sample were presented at the Society for Research in Child Development meeting in 2015 (Wanless, Briggs, & Pieri). Lab member, Afton Kirk, led the data management and analysis for the final sample and results suggested the measure had strong inter-item reliability, and showed similar levels of overall readiness across classroom types (Head Start, Pre-K Counts, and Private Centers). The greatest strength within Head Start and Private centers was, “I work hard at my job because it has a major impact on children’s development.” A challenge within all center types was, “Teachers in this school feel like the amount of stress in their job is manageable”. There was no significant relation between overall readiness and the number of years working at the current school, working with children, or highest level of education. Further research must explore this result to confirm this finding and to better understand what other than these demographic characteristics relates to teachers’ level of readiness for change. In a related pre-dissertation study, SEED Lab member, Cara Bliss and Shannon Wanless examined elementary teachers’ readiness and has presented these findings at the National Association for School Psychology. Bliss and Wanless also examined international readiness with an Italian sample using the RULER intervention, and presented these findings at the American Education Research Association in 2016. 

Please contact us for more details about our findings or if you are interested in using RISE to assess readiness in your intervention study.