`` Research and Development Office
Selected Development Project
Project Title

Conceptualizing and Contextualizing the 3-Tier Support Model for Inclusive Education in Hong Kong

Principal Investigator Dr POON-MCBRAYER Kim Fong 
Area of Research Project
Educational Leadership, Policy and Administration
Project Period
From 01/2017 To 12/2019
  1. To scrutinize the conceptualization of the 3-tier support model among principals, SENCOs, and teachers, and its relationship with practice effectiveness;
  2. To scrutinize the understanding of parents and students regarding the purpose of the 3-tier model and how this model has impacted student learning;
  3. To identify the leadership strategies that have led to effective implementation of the 3-tier support model;
  4. To map the pathway of specific practices and decision-making procedures of the 3-tier support model to help schools work toward effective inclusive education for all students;
  5. To offer specific policy advice to policymakers and schools in providing equitable education for all;
  6. To advance the existing theories and practices by contextualizing the model in an Asian culture.
Methods Used

This study comprises qualitative and quantitative methods. The first stage involves principals, special educational needs coordinators (SENCOs), and core subject teachers of 16 schools across the four regions of Hong Kong. To capture conceptualization and heterogeneous practices across schools and to increase sample representation, the participating schools are selected based on (a) status and experience in implementing 3-tier support model and (b) geographical locations. Principals and SENCOs are interviewed to plot school leaders’ conceptualization of and management strategies and how their plans trickle down to core subject teachers. To maximize variations for a broad understanding from teachers of various grades and subjects, three focus-group interviews will be conducted in each participating school, totalling 48 group interviews. As for the quantitative stage, a sampling frame will be used to select schools to test the hypotheses derived from the first stage. All resource schools for the school year 2018/2019 will be invited to participate. Other schools that adopt the 3-tier support model to inclusive education will be divided into subgroups (i.e., strata) based on school size, grade level (primary and secondary), and location (region). A random sample of schools will be taken from each subgroup. The research team plans to send the questionnaire to half of the eligible schools randomly selected from each region based on pre-determined stratification with an estimated return rate of 40% to 50% to represent 15% to 25% of the target population. Eligible respondents include principals, SENCOs, and core subject teachers of selected schools.

Summary of Findings
This project began in January 2017 and findings cannot be summarized at the moment.

Through capturing a territory-wide situation of how school personnel and parents conceptualize the 3-tier support model and its actual practice among core subject teachers (e.g., definition of quality teaching, decision-making and predictors for tier movements, and barriers in participants’ respective capacities), the project aims to provide much needed local data and indicators highly significant to local policy refinement, strengthening teaching quality, personnel preparation, and inclusive education practice in Hong Kong. In addition, the outcomes of this project will offer significant contribution to the international literature on cross-cultural conceptualization and practice of problem-solving multi-tiered intervention theories, as Hong Kong is the only region outside the U.S. to make such an approach the central feature of inclusive education.

Selected Output

Two articles utilizing data from this project have been published.

  1. Poon-McBrayer, K. F. (2018). Practicing response-to-intervention model: A case of leadership practices. International Journal of Whole Schooling, 14(1), 157-171.
  2. Poon-McBrayer, K. F. (2018). From great commission to inclusive education: A tangible illustration of missionaries’ legacy. Journal of Beliefs & Values. DOI: 10.1080/13617672.2018.1458576
Biography of Principal Investigator

Dr Kim Fong Poon-McBrayer, Associate Professor of The Department of Education Policy and Leadership, joined the University in 2008. She has been an educator at school and university levels for over 35 years. Dr Poon-McBrayer has served as a general/special education teacher at various levels in Hong Kong and the US. She was on faculty at the Monmouth University (USA), University of Hong Kong, and Nanyang Technological University (Singapore) as well as serving as a visiting professor to the University of Brunei, University of St. Joseph in Macau, and Nanyang Technological University. Dr Poon-McBrayer has been active in professional organizations, serving on numerous boards of directors of various professional organizations as well as editorial boards of various journals. Her research interests include conceptualisation of inclusive schooling, learning disabilities, transition planning, lifelong learning for students with disabilities, and policy analysis leadership development.

Funding Source

General Research Fund