A fountain on Louisville's campus

The University of Louisville | Photo by Jeremy Chisenhall

Three University of Louisville education researchers will study student behavior and classroom engagement through nearly $3 million in grants.

With a $1.5 million Kentucky Department of Education grant, Terry Scott and Amy Lingo will develop training courses on student behavior for schools across the state. As leaders of the Kentucky Academic and Behavior Response to Intervention project, the duo expects to provide statewide training sessions, video modules and on-site support, according to a UofL news release.

“In our research, we apply scientific methods to understand how specific actions can be implemented,” Scott, who leads UofL’s Center for Instructional and Behavioral Research in Schools, said in the release.

“Our goal is to find the best way for teachers to foster student engagement, differentiate instruction, handle disruptive students and promote positive behavior.”

A third researcher, social work professor Andy Frey, won an additional $1.4 million in a four-year federal grant, UofL said. Alongside Scott, Frey will study ways to improve classroom engagement rates.

Earlier this year, Scott found that student discipline — including suspensions — drops as students are more engaged in lessons. His research, which included visits to hundreds of Jefferson County classrooms, backed longstanding teacher beliefs with data.

Scott is working with additional researchers, including some at the University of Florida, to determine if you can use classroom-level data to predict disproportionate suspensions for students of color. Black students are around three times as likely to be suspended in JCPS, but research shows they are just as likely to misbehave as their white peers.

An earlier version of this story incorrectly said Frey and Scott are working under a three-year grant. It is a four-year grant.