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News from November 2016

Project STRIVE making an impact on Texas teachers and students
November 2, 2016

MCPER’s Strategies for Reading Information and Vocabulary Effectively (STRIVE) project is collaborating with school districts in Central and South Texas to provide professional development and research-based instructional materials to fourth-grade teachers.

Over the course of the large-scale, 3-year research study, more than 200 fourth-grade teachers from more than 80 schools will receive training on practices to improve reading and social studies knowledge, reaching more than 5,000 students.

To date, fourth-grade teachers from 25 elementary schools have attended interactive training on the STRIVE lessons in preparation for implementing the practices in their classrooms this year. Anchored to the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS), the STRIVE lessons incorporate evidence-based reading practices targeting reading comprehension, vocabulary, and social studies content knowledge. In addition to the initial training, STRIVE teachers participate in several follow-up study team meetings to reflect on and discuss instructional practices.

Teachers are beginning to see the fruits of their labor. "I am already seeing positive changes in my students," said Emi Anderson, a fourth-grade teacher at Hirsch Elementary School in San Antonio. “The program has improved their ability to share and constructively question their classmates' ideas. My students are using the STRIVE reading and collaborative learning skills in other subjects, too."

Building on a prior Institute of Education Sciences Goal 2 intervention development grant, MCPER researchers will measure and compare the effects of STRIVE relative to a control condition to examine the efficacy of the professional development. The large number of students participating provides strong statistical power and reliability.

In the meantime, those involved with the program suggest that STRIVE is having a positive impact. "There is really a positive buzz about STRIVE in San Antonio ISD,” said District Administrator Ramses Escobedo. “The teachers participating in the project have said it is going well, and additional schools have asked to participate in STRIVE next year."

For more information, visit the STRIVE project page.

Tags: Reading Institute  Strategies for Reading Information and Vocabulary Effectively (STRIVE) 

News from October 2016

Mini-lessons, research briefs to support struggling students are now available online
October 24, 2016

The Targeting the 2 Percent project has developed two series of resources to develop educators’ instructional effectiveness with students with learning disabilities and difficulties.

The project created a set of mini-lessons structured around the five essential components of reading instruction that can be used with students in kindergarten to grade 5 whose data show a need in a specific component.

Also, professors and researchers in the field wrote 11 research briefs to support evidence-based instructional practices. Topics include the five essential components of reading, grouping practices, peer supports, instructional considerations for dyslexia, English language learners, and literacy instruction for students with autism.

For more information and to download the mini-lessons and research briefs, which were developed with the support of the Texas Education Agency, visit the Targeting the 2 Percent project page.

Tags: Reading Institute  Targeting the 2 Percent 

News from February 2016

Eunsoo Cho, MCPER colleagues win Samuel A. Kirk Award for journal’s best research article of 2015
February 25, 2016

Eunsoo Cho, a postdoctoral fellow in MCPER's Reading Institute, has been honored as the lead author of a prestigious journal's best research article of 2015.

"Cognitive Attributes, Attention, and Self-Efficacy of Adequate and Inadequate Responders in a Fourth-Grade Reading Intervention" won the Samuel A. Kirk Award for 2015, which recognizes the best research article in the journal Learning Disabilities Research & Practice. Cho's co-authors included MCPER researchers Garrett Roberts and Philip Capin, Associate Director Greg Roberts, Executive Director Sharon Vaughn, and Jeremy Miciak of the University of Houston.

For a description and full citation of the article, visit the MCPER Library. For more information or to obtain the article, visit the journal's website.

MCPER's Sarah Powell won the Kirk Award in the practice category.

Tags: Reading Institute  Texas Center for Learning Disabilities 

News from November 2015

Survey targets educators’ perspectives on instructional support and professional development needs
November 17, 2015

The Texas Education Agency and The Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk are conducting a survey to learn more about teachers’ perspectives on the literacy development of all learners and preferences for professional development. The information gathered will guide the development of training modules and classroom resources designed to assist teachers in the transition from state assessments based on modified standards to the general state assessment, the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR®). More information on this initiative is available on the Targeting the 2 Percent project webpage.

Educators who work with students in grades kindergarten to grade 5 are encouraged to complete the short survey.

To ensure that we hear from as many stakeholders as possible, we also ask that you forward this message to other possible participants.

Tags: Reading Institute  Targeting the 2 Percent 

News from May 2014

Colleen Reutebuch selected to attend Summer Research Training Institute on Cluster-Randomized Trials
May 12, 2014

Colleen Reutebuch, a director of MCPER's Reading Institute and principal investigator in the Language for Learning Institute, has been selected to attend the 2014 Summer Research Training Institute on Cluster-Randomized Trials from July 7 to 17 in Evanston, Illinois. The eighth annual event, hosted by the Northwestern University Institute for Policy Research and supported by the National Center for Education Statistics, aims to "increase the national capacity of researchers to develop and conduct rigorous evaluations of the impact of education interventions. The course sessions will provide intensive training on planning, implementing, and analyzing data for cluster-randomized trials," according to the event website.

Tags: Reading Institute Language for Learning Institute 

News from April 2014

MCPER postdoctoral fellow Eric Oslund accepts assistant professor position at Middle Tennessee State
April 30, 2014

Congratulations and best of luck to Eric Oslund, postdoctoral fellow in MCPER's Reading Institute, who has accepted an assistant professor position at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro. Oslund will begin his work in the interdisciplinary Ph.D. in literacy studies program within the Department of Elementary and Special Education on August 1.

Tags: Reading Institute 

News from March 2014

Four MCPER alums accept new positions at universities, research center
March 7, 2014

MCPER congratulates and wishes the best of luck to Farah El Zein, Audrey Leroux, Kristie Metz, and Michael Solis as they begin new positions at universities across the country and a research center overseas.

El Zein, a graduate research assistant with MCPER's Autism Spectrum Disorders Institute, has accepted a senior research associate position at the Awsaj Center for Education Research and Development in Doha, Qatar. Leroux, a graduate research assistant with the MCPER Reading Institute, has accepted an assistant professor position at Georgia State University in Atlanta. Metz, a former graduate research assistant with the Reading Institute, is completing her internship and will begin a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Solis, also a researcher with the Reading Institute, has accepted an assistant professor position at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.

Tags: Autism Spectrum Disorders Institute Reading Institute 

News from October 2013

Lisa McCulley leads workshops for California teachers on PACT strategies
October 22, 2013

MCPER's Lisa McCulley recently answered a request to lead a workshop in California on how to implement the research-based strategies developed as part of the Promoting Adolescents' Comprehension of Text (PACT) project—and the response has been very positive.

"You were a sensation," wrote Dr. Ruth Nathan, chair of McCulley's sessions from October 18 to 20 at Asilomar 62, an annual conference held in Pacific Grove, California. "And not only because of the thoughtful PACT protocol that you so beautifully took us through, but for your 'boots on the ground' knowledge that brought research-based and proven practice to teachers tired of being lectured to, teachers tired of Ivory Tower expertise with little classroom experience being forced on them in daylong workshops...and tired because so many of them have too many students (some as high as 39) in their very diverse classrooms. What a breath of fresh air!"

Conference organizers in California learned of the PACT intervention and its proven effects from "Improving Reading Comprehension and Social Studies Knowledge in Middle School," a paper in Reading Research Quarterly detailing a study that the What Works Clearinghouse recently found to "meet evidence standards without reservation." Nathan requested someone with teaching experience and work in the classrooms involved with PACT to lead four sessions and an "Around the Hearth" discussion. McCulley fit the bill. Before joining MCPER, McCulley was a secondary language arts and reading teacher for 21 years. For PACT, she both develops the intervention and supports teachers.

For more information, visit the PACT project page.

Tags: Reading Institute  Promoting Adolescents’ Comprehension of Text 

MCPER researchers publish analysis of interventions for struggling readers from 1980 to 2011
October 18, 2013

MCPER researcher Nancy Scammacca Lewis, Associate Director Greg Roberts, and Executive Director Sharon Vaughn, along with University of Houston colleague Karla Stuebing, have published an update to their wide-ranging meta-analysis of interventions for struggling readers. "A Meta-Analysis of Interventions for Struggling Readers in Grades 4–12: 1980–2011" will appear in an upcoming edition of the Journal of Learning Disabilities. Currently, the article is published online. In the new publication, the authors expand their 2007 review to include studies published from 2005 to 2011, finding considerably smaller mean effects. The authors attribute the decline in effect sizes in part to "increased use of standardized measures, more rigorous and complex research designs, differences in participant characteristics, and improvements in the schools' 'business-as-usual' instruction that often serves as the comparison condition in intervention studies."

Tags: Reading Institute 

Min Kyung Kim appointed president of the Council for Learning Disabilities Texas Chapter
October 7, 2013

Min Kyung Kim, a doctoral student in the UT Austin Department of Special Education and graduate research assistant for MCPER's CSESA project, has been appointed to serve as the 2013–2014 president of the Council for Learning Disabilities Texas Chapter. She also serves as a member of the council's Research Committee.

Kim earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education and her master’s degree in special education from Seoul National University of Education in Korea. She has taught elementary students in inclusive classrooms for more than 4 years, worked as an after-school coordinator for elementary students with learning difficulties in public schools, and served as a project coordinator for the High School English I Learning Disabilities Project at UT Austin.

Tags: Reading Institute