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Collaborative Research Review Project Results in Publication Submission

Collaborative Research Review Project Results in Publication Submission

By the time we headed to the Dairy Barn for ice cream on Saturday night, we were pretty much spent. But, after working all day for three days in a row, we had all but concluded our manuscript, which after a few more email exchanges and a bit more online collaboration, we have submitted for publication.

Our Collaborative Research Review Project (CRRP) had begun with a brief meeting at the NCLII All-Scholar Meeting in Minnesota in the fall of 2017. Participating scholars included Victoria Whaley (UCONN), Carlin Conner (SMU), Jennifer Stewart (SMU), and Britta Bresina (UMN). NCLII faculty Devin Kearns (UConn) would be our advisor, and he presented us an interesting research question: how do reading intervention programs teach morphology? He had previously conducted a related review, focused on teaching syllables and syllable division, but this particular question posed a new opportunity for us to grow in our own scholarship. We set an ambitious goal to have the review completed and a paper submitted in less than a year.

From that meeting forward, Devin led the team well. We collaboratively developed research questions. Each of us was assigned a particular aspect of the search for programs. Carlin Conner gathered program names from several online sites and a teacher survey from another study. Jennifer Stewart searched for online programs and apps. Britta Bresina conducted a search of the literature to identify researcher-developed programs. Victoria Whaley created a coding system for our research questions and began coding the programs we already had available.

Over the next several months, we met online, gathered and coded programs, and began to examine our data. With shared accountability, we advanced our research until we determined that the most efficient way to complete our double coding and writing would be to meet in person. In June 2018, we spent three days together at the University of Connecticut in what we affectionately dubbed “Writing Camp.” In that time, we completed double coding, inter-observer agreement calculations, drafted the paper, and completed a poster for presentation at the OSEP Project Director’s meeting.

Our collaboration on this project strengthened our professional relationships and skills as scholars. We will be better able to work together in the future and lead similar projects because of the opportunity our CRRP project provided. We are grateful to Devin for his leadership on this project and to NCLII for the funding and experience!

The contents of this website were developed under a grant from the U.S. Department of Education, #H325H140001. However, those contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the U.S. Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government. Project Officer, Celia Rosenquist.

SPOTLIGHT on Cross-institutional Collaboration: Project FOCUS

Project FOCUS is an IES-funded Goal 1 project that ultimately aims to help schools “focus” on implementing a key set of malleable variables (those that can be changed by the school) associated with reading outcomes. NCLII faculty member Stephanie Al Otaiba (SMU) is the Principal Investigator while Aki Kamata and NCLII faculty members Jill Allor and Paul Yovanoff serve as Co-PIs. NCLII faculty member Francesca Jones is also participating in this research. Other NCLII faculty who have consulted with Project FOCUS include Michael Coyne, Chris Lemons, Dan Maggin, Jessica Toste, and Jeannie Wanzek.

The project’s immediate goal is to learn which factors about Response to Intervention (RTI) or Multi-tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) implementation are associated with stronger reading outcomes for students in Tier 3 or for students receiving dyslexia services or special education services for reading disabilities. A strong rationale for Project FOCUS is growing concern in the field of special education that variable RTI implementation results in a diluted Tier 3 and less potent special education for students with the most intense needs.

Project FOCUS involves data collection across multiple sites in multiple states in partnership with NCLII, allowing for a variety of RTI models as well as geographic and socioeconomic locations to represent a range of school risk. The project is nearing the end of its second year of data collection. Collaboration with NCLII Scholars has been instrumental in ramping up Project FOCUS; these Scholars include Kristi Baker, Carlin Conner, Veronica Mellado De La Cruz, and Jennifer Stewart (SMU); Rachel Donegan (Vanderbilt); Katie Leonard and Tori Whaley (UConn); and Skip Kumm and Gina Braun (UIC).

Scholars have been involved in the process of interviewing RTI campus leaders, recruiting schools, conducting informational sessions with school staff, completing observations of reading lessons on-site, preparing video trainings, collecting staff surveys and school-wide reading data, coding data, and disseminating findings, among other tasks. These sources will be used to more closely consider factors related to challenges faced by schools, including RTI implementation and teachers’ knowledge of RTI implementation. 

The completion of Project FOCUS will result in a rich database that will allow for the design of feasible and promising interventions for students in order to improve professional development for teachers and to better understand school system supports that can help improve implementation of Tier 3 and special education. For more information, visit the website.

The contents of this website were developed under a grant from the U.S. Department of Education, #H325H140001. However, those contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the U.S. Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government. Project Officer, Celia Rosenquist.

SPOTLIGHT: Faculty-Scholar Collaboration

Professor Paul Yovanoff

NCLII Scholar Sarah Wilkinson

We are completing a cross-site collaboration to advance the findings from Project Intensity. The collaboration has two beneficial objectives. First, the data obtained through Project Intensity have not been thoroughly analyzed. Second, the collaboration will increase our methodological skill.

Project Intensity is an IES Intervention Development (Goal 2) grant that began in 2013 and is nearing completion. The reading intervention “Friends on the Block” is designed for students with intellectual disability. Findings are promising (Allor eta al, in review a; Allor et al, in review b;). The multiple baseline single-case research is a within-case (N=18) multiple baseline across reading levels design. The data structure includes baseline and intervention phases, with each case replicated across reading levels. Various design features offer an excellent opportunity for us to explore, (a) choice of effect-size indices, (b) choice of meta-analytic model, and (c) rescaling of the outcome measure.

Worth noting, for purposes of developing methodological skill, we are re-analyzing a second data set. Dr. Moira McKenna (a former advisee of Dr. Robert Horner at the University of Oregon) has generously offered her dissertation data for re-analysis. Moira’s 2006 dissertation (McKenna, 2006) research focused on the use of functional behavior analyses to improve reading outcomes. The data file is useful as a classic multiple baseline single-case study for modelling both case and intervention covariates. We will use current procedures to re-analyze Moira’s data.

Allor, J. H., Yovanoff, P., Al Otaiba, S., Ortiz, M. B., & Conner, C. (in review a). Literacy intervention for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities: A meta-analysis. Exceptional Children.

Allor, J. H., Gifford, D. B., Jones, F. G., Al Otaiba, S., Yovanoff, P., Ortiz, M. B., & Cheatham, J. P. (in review b). The effects of a text-centered literacy curriculum for students with intellectual disability. American Journal for Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.

McKenna, M. (2006). The role of function-based academic and behavior support to improve reading achievement. (Doctoral Dissertation). Retrieved from Pro-Quest (3224106).

The contents of this website were developed under a grant from the U.S. Department of Education, #H325H140001. However, those contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the U.S. Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government. Project Officer, Celia Rosenquist.

Mental Health Services in Schools: Literature Review

It all started in St. Louis. An inspiring presentation fueled conversations with faculty and fellow scholars about the need to consider mental health-related characteristics to inform intensive interventions, thus planting the seed for collaboration. Our project, a meta-analytic review of the effects of school-based Mental Health Services for students with or at-risk for mental health disorders, has allowed us the opportunity to engage with other scholars and faculty members to explore an area of shared interests.

As scholars, we have been able to use this project to learn meta-analytic techniques with the continued support of faculty. We have worked cohesively as a team, engaging in frequent conference calls for decision-making and management of task assignments. Our mantra – to maintain high levels of communication and stay decisive in our plan of action – in addition to our complementary work styles have been driving forces for this project’s success. While we have hit obstacles along the way, we worked through challenges by drawing upon each other’s previous research experiences. In this way, we each provided leadership during different aspects of the project, capitalizing on each of our respective strengths. Finally, we have greatly appreciated the support of our faculty member mentors (Betsy Talbott and Dan Maggin), who have provided a context situated in our early-career researcher “zone of proximal development.” Betsy and Dan have provided us the space required to hone our independent research skills, while also providing guidance as needed throughout the process.

-Scholars: Skip Kumm, Sam Gesel, Caitlyn Majeika

The contents of this website were developed under a grant from the U.S. Department of Education, #H325H140001. However, those contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the U.S. Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government. Project Officer, Celia Rosenquist.