Prevention Science

, Volume 14, Issue 1, pp 40-51

First online:

Setting-Level Influences on Implementation of the Responsive Classroom Approach

  • Shannon B. WanlessAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology in Education, School of Education, University of Pittsburgh Email author 
  • , Christine L. PattonAffiliated withHarvard Family Research Project, Graduate School of Education, Harvard University
  • , Sara E. Rimm-KaufmanAffiliated withCenter for Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
  • , Nancy L. DeutschAffiliated withCurry School of Education, University of Virginia

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We used mixed methods to examine the association between setting-level factors and observed implementation of a social and emotional learning intervention (Responsive Classroom® approach; RC). In study 1 (N = 33 3rd grade teachers after the first year of RC implementation), we identified relevant setting-level factors and uncovered the mechanisms through which they related to implementation. In study 2 (N = 50 4th grade teachers after the second year of RC implementation), we validated our most salient Study 1 finding across multiple informants. Findings suggested that teachers perceived setting-level factors, particularly principal buy-in to the intervention and individualized coaching, as influential to their degree of implementation. Further, we found that intervention coaches’ perspectives of principal buy-in were more related to implementation than principals’ or teachers’ perspectives. Findings extend the application of setting theory to the field of implementation science and suggest that interventionists may want to consider particular accounts of school setting factors before determining the likelihood of schools achieving high levels of implementation.


Implementation Intervention Social-emotional learning Mixed methods