Efficacy of the Responsive Classroom Approach: Results From a 3-Year, Longitudinal Randomized Controlled Trial


Efficacy of the Responsive Classroom Approach: Results From a 3-Year, Longitudinal Randomized Controlled Trial

Published online first in:
American Educational Research Journal 
March 6, 2014

Sara E. Rimm-Kaufman, University of Virginia
Ross A. A. Larsen, University of Virginia
Alison E. Baroody, University of Virginia
Timothy W. Curby, George Mason University
Michelle Ko, University of Virginia
Julia B. Thomas, University of Virginia
Eileen G. Merritt, University of Virginia
Tashia Abry, Arizona State University
Jamie DeCoster, University of Virginia


This randomized controlled field trial examined the efficacy of the Responsive Classroom (RC) approach on student achievement. Schools (n=24) were randomized into intervention and control conditions; 2,904 children were studied from end of second to fifth grade. Students at schools assigned to the RC condition did not outperform students at schools assigned to the control condition in math or reading achievement. Use of RC practices mediated the relation between treatment assignment and improved math and reading achievement. Effect sizes (ES) were calculated as standardized coefficients. ES relations between use of RC practices and achievement were .26 for math and .30 for reading. The RC practices and math achievement relation was greater for students with low initial math achievement (ES = .89). Results emphasize fidelity of implementation.