Protocol for the systematic review of research on professional learning to promote implementation of a multitiered system of support in education

Jose M. Castillo, Jennifer R. Wolgemuth, DIana S. Ginns, Joseph Latimer, Nicholas Scheel, Meaghan McKenna, Amanda L. March, Sara Moulton, Joy Wang, Sarah Thoman, Andrew Jenkins, Kelli Henson, John M. Ferron

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Introduction A multitiered system of supports (MTSS) represents a widely adopted public health approach to education in the USA. Researchers agree professional learning is critical for educators to implement the critical components of MTSS; however, professional learning approaches vary in their designs and targeted outcomes. While researchers increasingly focus their inquiries on professional learning for MTSS, no systematic research review exists. Objectives The primary objectives for this mixed-methods review are to (1) understand how professional learning focused on MTSS has been operationalised (2) determine the impact of professional learning on educator (eg, knowledge) and implementation (eg, data-based decision-making processes) outcomes and (3) understand the contextual variables that influence professional learning in the USA. We aim to determine which elements of professional learning improve educators' capacity to implement MTSS. Methods and analysis We will include studies that use quantitative and qualitative methods. PsycInfo, PubMed, CIHAHL and ERIC will be the primary research databases used to search for studies published from January 1997 to May 2018. We also will search the US Institute for Educational Sciences and Office of Special Education Programs websites, ProQuest, Google Scholar, Science Watch and MSN. Finally, we will search the proceedings of relevant conferences, examine the reference lists of studies that pass full screening and contact authors for additional work. Data extraction will include participant demographics, intervention details, study design, outcomes, analyses and key findings. We will conduct a quality assessment and analyse the data using effect size and thematic analyses. Ethics and dissemination Institutional review board or ethics approval is not needed for this review of already published works. We will disseminate the findings through presentations at state, national and international conferences; presentations to stakeholders and agencies; publication in peer-reviewed journals; and posts to organisational and agency websites.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere024057
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2018


  • educator
  • implementation
  • multi-tiered system of supports
  • professional development
  • professional learning


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