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News from November 2012

Iowa statewide newsletter publishes second installment of three-part series by Sharon Vaughn
November 18, 2012

The second article in a three-part feature by MCPER Executive Director Sharon Vaughn has been published in Each and Every Child, a statewide newsletter to parents and teachers in the Iowa special education community. "Differentiating Instruction: 1 Child at a Time" appears in the October 2012 issue of the newsletter, published by the Iowa Department of Education Bureau of Learner Strategies and Supports (download a PDF of the newsletter). In the article, Vaughn explores how to differentiate instruction via the key components of explicit instruction, systematic instruction, and opportunities for student response and feedback. For more information on the the first article in the series, see the September announcement.

Tags: Reading Institute 

MCPER wins $1.5 million grant to create algebra-readiness intervention modules
November 18, 2012

MCPER has received a $1.5 million federal grant to improve the algebra readiness of sixth- and seventh-grade struggling students. The 3-year Institute of Education Sciences grant will fund a new Mathematics Institute initiative, Project AIM. The project will create algebra-readiness intervention modules (AIMs) for students who score below the 25th percentile on a mathematics screening measure. About 500 students and 24 intervention teachers at middle schools in Texas and Missouri are expected to participate. The project will lead trials and feasibility studies at the schools during the first 2 years of the grant. Then, the project will develop and refine the modules, based on student outcomes and teacher satisfaction. Small-scale experimental studies will take place in the third year.

Tags: Mathematics and Science Institute for Students With Special Needs  Algebra-Readiness Mathematics Intervention for Middle School Students: Project AIM 

Michael Solis successfully defends dissertation, becomes MCPER’s newest doctor
November 17, 2012

Congratulations to Michael Solis, who successfully defended his dissertation to earn a Ph.D. in special education with a specialization in learning disabilities/behavioral disorders through the College of Education's Department of Special Education. Dr. Solis is pictured presenting on his dissertation, The Effects of a Multicomponent Reading Intervention and a Comparison Condition on the Reading Comprehension of Adolescent Students Who Are Adequate Word Readers and Low in Reading Comprehension. Several MCPER researchers served on Solis' dissertation committee, including Andrea Flower, Mark O'Reilly, Herbert Rieth, Greg Roberts, Daniel Robinson, and Sharon Vaughn.

Tags: Reading Institute 

Australian scholar visits MCPER to investigate Collaborative Strategic Reading
November 17, 2012

Olivia Rothwell, a high school special education teacher and doctoral student in special education, visited MCPER via a New South Wales Premier's Teacher Scholarship to learn more about Collaborative Strategic Reading (CSR) in preparation for a study in her native Australia.

To investigate CSR, Rothwell went straight to the source, CSR co-creator and MCPER Executive Director Sharon Vaughn.

"For this field, Dr. Sharon Vaughn is the guru," said Rothwell, pictured above. "It's been an absolute treat. There is no one I can discuss CSR with in more depth. In a short amount of time, I've been able to get my head around some very important issues."

Vaughn created CSR, a fully developed intervention that features a set of reading strategies, more than 10 years ago with Dr. Janette Klingner of the University of Colorado at Boulder. 

Rothwell, who is pursuing her doctorate in special education and disability studies from the University of New South Wales, is collaborating with experts here in preparation for a study of CSR's effectiveness. She will implement CSR in a support class for females with mild intellectual disabilities in a government high school in Sydney, Australia. 

"It will be the first implementation study of CSR in Australia," she said. "So it is important for me to coordinate with other academics and learn from their experience."

Austin was the second stop on Rothwell's scholarship-funded trip. She previously visited Klingner and her team in Boulder, who are partners in MCPER's CSR project. Rothwell also observed middle school classrooms in Denver Public Schools that implement CSR. 

In Austin, Rothwell met with MCPER directors and researchers who participated in the CSR project to learn from their classroom experiences and discuss methodological concerns relating to Rothwell's planned study. She also sat in on MCPER researcher Dr. Michael Solis' reading difficulties class on CSR and met with MCPER's Min Kyung Kim to discuss Kim's work on technology applications to adapt CSR for high school students with autism. Later, Rothwell observed CSR implementation in middle schools in Bastrop and Del Valle independent school districts, both in the classrooms of former CSR project teachers and those who were just trained on CSR. 

Rothwell said she was particularly drawn to CSR because through its implementation, focus on teacher and student feedback, and subsequent refinement, researchers like Vaughn and Klingner have forged relationships with both students and their communities. "More than a directive, CSR is really a conversation: How do we, as researchers, best help teachers help students? I don't think there are other researchers in this field who look as seriously at helping and hearing from the community," she said. "A lot of intervention packages out there are about selling. This is like a big gift."

Tags: Reading Institute  Collaborative Strategic Reading Project 

MCPER researcher Jennifer Galindo to lead brown bag on hierarchical linear modeling
November 17, 2012

Jennifer Galindo, a researcher with the Collaborative Strategic Reading and Promoting Adolescents' Comprehension of Text projects at MCPER and doctoral student in educational psychology with an emphasis in quantitative methods, will lead a brown bag presentation November 12 on hierarchical linear modeling (HLM). "Using HLM to Analyze Educational Data," held from noon to 1 p.m. in the Pittenger Room (SZB 418), will draw upon information from a workshop hosted by Steve Raudenbush and Tony Bryk on HLM and the use of HLM 7 that Galindo attended. Galindo's presentation will begin with a brief introduction to HLM and how the models are useful for analyzing educational data. Galindo will set up a model in HLM 7 and discuss the analysis and results. The discussion will continue with a demonstration of how HLM 7 can use multiple imputation to impute data when missingness is an issue. Also, Galindo will show a walkthrough of how to set up a cross-classified model in HLM 7.

Tags: Language for Learning Institute Reading Institute 

Current MCPER partner, former staff researcher Jeanne Wanzek wins Distinguished Early Career Researc
November 10, 2012

Jeanne Wanzek, a close partner with MCPER and former researcher with the Vaughn Gross Center, is one of two winners of the Distinguished Early Career Research Award, sponsored by the Council for Exceptional Children Division for Research and the Donald D. Hammill Foundation. The annual award "recognizes individuals who have made outstanding scientific contributions in special education, in basic and/or applied research, within the first 10 years following receipt of the doctoral degree," according to the Division for Research website. Wanzek, currently a researcher with the Florida Center for Reading Research and assistant professor with Florida State University, will receive a $1,000 cash reward at the Council for Exceptional Children conference in April in San Antonio and lead a featured presentation at the 2014 annual conference.

Tags: Reading Institute  Promoting Adolescents’ Comprehension of Text