An Analysis of the Effects of Prereferral Interventions on the Reduction of Inappropriate Classroom Behaviors
Stremel, Gerald L.
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The problem. The author identified a number of concerns with traditional special education services which suggest the need to investigate different methods of remediating student problems within the mainstream classroom environment. These included: (a) the educational community's failure to meet the intent of P.L. 94-142, (b) an increasing number of individuals with mild disabilities, (c) the high cost of special education, (d) the lack of objectivity in determining which students are eligible for special education, and (e) the general ineffectivenegs of special education instructional services. The purpose of this study was to determine whether consultants using the Mainstream Assessment Team: A Handbook on Prereferral Intervention (MAT) (Fuchs, Fuchs, Reeder, Gilman, Fernstrom, Bahr, & Moore, 1989) as an operational tool, could successfully assist classroom teachers in reducing inappropriate behaviors of students being considered for special education evaluation. Procedures. Three school psychologists (serving as consultants) received abbreviated instruction in all phases of the MAT. Working with regular education teachers from three different elementary schools, the consultants used MAT techniques in intervening with 14 different students under consideration for special education referral. Findinqs. Compared to gender-matched peers, who served as comparison students, the 14 target students demonstrated a significant reduction in inappropriate behavior, indicating that the MAT can be an effective tool in reducing inappropriate behavior in the mainstream classroom environment. Conclusions. While the MAT proved successful in reducing inappropriate behaviors, additional efforts are necessary to validate its utility as an operational treatment methodology.Specifically, more work is needed in: (a) understanding the dynamics in selecting and training consultants, (b) identifying the types of problems treatable by the MAT, (c) broadening sample sizes and constructing longitudinal studies to strengthen external validity, and (d) socially validating the MAT as a treatment intervention. While this study demonstrated the potential of the MAT as an effective classroom intervention method, until these issues are addressed, its overall usefulness and generalizability in remediating problems without relying on special education services is indeterminable.