Classroom collaboration: Implementing consultation-based prereferral intervention in elementary multidisciplinary teams

Sara Kopp Kuralt, Fordham University


This study attempted system-wide institutionalization of consultation-based prereferral intervention into school norms and work behaviors. Five replications of a field-based Treatment Package were conducted over a 2-year implementation period. Subjects in this study were existing multidisciplinary Child Study Teams (CST's) who participated in a staff development process in which components of the prereferral model were taught, modeled, and practice. Diagnostic dimensions of the change model monitored throughout the study included Stages of Concern (SoC) of team users, Level of Use (LoU) of the new practice and the configuration of innovation components (IC) being implemented. Successful implementation in all five schools was indicated by (a) increased teacher referrals to the CST; (b) decreased psychoeducational evaluations conducted; (c) decreased placements in special education; and (d) attainment of criteria based on the dimensions of the concerns-based change model modified for use with teams. In addition, team members rated competency in the components of prereferral as important to their role and function and reported that the Treatment Package had resulted in increased skill in these areas. Prereferral intervention was successfully institutionalized at the end of 3 years at four of the five replication sites. Referral, evaluation, and placement behaviors established during implementation were maintained; and Routine Use of the new model and expression of low Relative Intensity of SELF concerns by these CST's were achieved. In addition, a grade-level sample of students referred during this study demonstrated gains in reading achievement significantly greater than those of students referred prior to implementation of the prereferral model. Successful implementation of prereferral intervention at all five school sites replicated on a system-wide basis the findings of previous researchers regarding the potential of the prereferral model for serving a greater number of teachers and students, redirecting collaborative professional effort toward classroom implementation of effective instructional strategies, and providing a wider range of services. Findings also demonstrated the potential of the prereferral model for increasing the achievement of referred students. Moreover, results of this study indicated that institutionalization of a prereferral model into school organizational norms and behaviors can be achieved through utilization of a field-based Treatment Package deliberately designed to ensure such institutionalization.

Subject Area

Educational psychology

Recommended Citation

Kuralt, Sara Kopp, "Classroom collaboration: Implementing consultation-based prereferral intervention in elementary multidisciplinary teams" (1990). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9034633.