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Exploring General Education Pre-service Teachers’ Levels of Concern Regarding the Implementation of Response to Intervention

Description: Schools are increasingly challenged to respond to educational initiatives, implement accountability measures, and incorporate standards-driven curriculum changes introduced by laws such as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA) of 2004. IDEIA signified a shift in the field of education and intensified practitioners’ concerns about the identification and instruction of students with learning disabilities (LD). The revisions to IDEIA proposed alternative models for the evaluation and identification of students with LD, such as response to intervention (RTI). RTI is an educational framework that supports students at-risk for academic failure by focusing on preventative measures. As teachers’ roles evolve in response to innovations such as RTI, teacher preparation programs must adjust their focus and curriculum accordingly. A parallel mixed-methods design was used to explore 100 general education pre-service teachers’ levels of concern regarding the implementation of RTI based on the concerns based adoption model. The sample for the study integrated general education pre-service teachers enrolled in professional development schools (PDS) at two levels of candidacy, PDS1 and PDS2. Data collected was analyzed utilizing canonical correlation analysis (CCA), multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA), descriptive statistics, and thematic analysis. Results explain general education pre-service teachers’ levels of knowledge had a negative relationship with the levels of concern, as these appeared to be higher due to teacher candidates’ lack of knowledge. Qualitative findings supported this statement. Contributions to the literature are presented and may guide teacher preparation programs as they assess the readiness of their pre-service teachers to effectively implement RTI.
Date: August 2013
Creator: Barrio Renteria, Brenda Leticia
Partner: UNT Libraries

Examination of Contributing Factors for Successful Postsecondary Transitions to Institutions of Higher Education for Youth with High-incidence Disabilities

Description: Transitions are a natural part of life. Youth grow and develop physically, socially, psychologically, and intellectually during primary and secondary school years. The transition from secondary to postsecondary education is an important transition as youth not only move from high school to college, but also from adolescence to young adulthood. It is a time when young adults naturally desire to become more independent in pursuit of their personal dreams and aspirations. The purpose of this study was to examine the impact that academic, psychological, and social factors on youth with high-incidence disabilities as they strive to make successful postsecondary education transitions. Current trends indicate youth with high-incidence disabilities are graduating from high school and are attending vocational schools, colleges, and universities in increasing numbers. Transition barriers still limit many youth who could otherwise attend institutions of higher education regardless of disability type. Findings suggest academic and psychological factors most significantly predict successful postsecondary education transitions. Recommendations for improved transition planning and parental training are suggested.
Date: August 2013
Creator: Collins, Emerald R.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Educational Experiences of Youth with And/or At-risk for Emotional and Behavioral Disorders Residing in Foster Care Settings

Description: Research examining the academic experiences of youth with emotional and behavioral disorders (EBD) residing in foster care (FC) is scarce. Research is warranted to understand the academic strengths, weaknesses, and school disciplinary experiences of youth with EBD residing in FC. Data from the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-being II (NSCAW II) included data on eight participants classified as EBD. Having a limited number of participants classified as EBD in the data set, I used participants’ scores on the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) to classify participants who may be at-risk for EBD. Analyses were conducted to determine if significant relationships existed between participants’ internalizing and externalizing scores on the CBCL and their (a) scores on assessments of academic achievement and (b) behavior problems leading to suspension or expulsion. Results indicated that participants’ scores on the CBCL were not predictive of their academic achievement or of their numbers of behavior problems leading to suspension or expulsion.
Date: August 2013
Creator: Lewis, Calli G.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Effects of a Prototypical Training Program on the Implementation of Systematic Observational Data Collection on Iep Objectives for the Core Deficits of Autism Spectrum Disorders

Description: Legal mandates and best practice recommendations for the education of students with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) emphasize the importance of systematic, ongoing observational data collection in order to monitor progress and demonstrate accountability. The absence of such documentation in decision-making on instructional objectives indicates a weakness in bridging the research-to-practice gap in special education. Utilizing a multiple baseline design across participants, the current study evaluated the effects of a prototypical teacher training program (i.e., workshop, checklist, in-classroom training with feedback, and maintenance with a thinned schedule of feedback) on the frequency of data collection on core deficits of ASD and the use of data-based decision-making. Results indicate increases in daily mean frequency of data collection following intervention. Maintenance and generalization indicates variable responding across participants. Effect size (Cohen's d) indicates a large, clinically significant effect of the training program. Results are discussed in relation to training models, maintenance, and future research.
Date: May 2013
Creator: Harkins, Jessica L.
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Use of a Stimulus Control Transfer Procedure to Teach Spontaneous Manding to Children with Autism

Description: Current research indicates that the inability to spontaneously communicate needs or wants may result in the acquisition of unconventional forms of requesting such as aggression and tantrums. This in turn limits the amount of access that students with autism have to neurotypical peers and social environments. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of using a stimulus control transfer procedure on the acquisition of spontaneous mands. Four school-aged children with autism, two boys and two girls, participated in the study. A multiple baseline design across participants was utilized to demonstrate a functional relation between the stimulus control transfer procedures and the rate of spontaneous mands. Measurement variables included the frequency of spontaneous versus multiply-controlled mands during discrete trial training on a variety of verbal operants. Effectiveness of the intervention was analyzed through visual analysis and the magnitude of effect was assessed through effect size. Visual analysis indicated that three of the four participants learned to spontaneously mand for items out of view and demonstrated generalization across targets, staff and environments. The effect size for three participants were large (d = 1.94; d = 2.2; and d = 1.4), whereas the outcome of intervention for one participant (d = 0.98) indicated moderate effect. The overall (d = 1.15) outcome demonstrated a large effect of the intervention on the rate of mands. Based on the results of this study, it is recommended that early and intensive behavior intervention programs for children with autism incorporate this type of procedure for socially significant outcomes.
Date: December 2013
Creator: Ward, Karen D.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Preschool Teachers' Self-reported Levels of Preparation for Classroom Behavior Management

Description: Research indicates that serious behavior problems begin during the early childhood years. The study examined the perceived preparedness of teachers related to behavior management as well as preschool teachers' usage of evidence-based prevention and intervention strategies. The data indicates that preschool teachers feel prepared for managing aggression in their classrooms and report utilizing evidence-based prevention and intervention strategies regularly. Additionally, the data shows a weak relationship between teacher variables and the likelihood of feeling prepared for managing aggression or utilizing evidence-based strategies. The results can be used to gain a better understanding of special education preschool teachers' training needs in regard to behavior management and managing behavior problems in the preschool classroom.
Date: August 2013
Creator: Lohmann, Marla J.
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Extent of Autism Knowledge of Novice Alternatively Certified Special Education Teachers in Texas

Description: An increase in the prevalence rate of autism is not necessarily matched by a concurrent increase in the rate of highly qualified special education teachers. The low ratio of highly qualified teachers to the number of students with autism has resulted in chronic teacher shortages in this area. Alternative certification is used as a mechanism to alleviate the demand for highly qualified teachers in special education. However, alternative certification routes have often left novice teachers underprepared for teaching students with autism, more specifically in the implementation of evidence-based practices necessary for instructional effectiveness. The purposes of the study were: a) to assess the knowledge of novice alternatively certified (AC) teachers in the area of autism education; and b) to determine the extent to which age, credit hours of instruction, formal hours of instruction, amount of professional development, and number of students with autism predict the variance in knowledge scores. Participants included all novice (i.e., first-and second-year) alternatively certified special education teachers in the state of Texas. Data were collected through an electronic survey instrument disseminated state-wide to approximately 33 individuals. Multiple regression was conducted in order to determine the strongest predictors of autism knowledge scores. In addition, a multi-way ANOVA was performed to identify differences between groups. The largest predictor of knowledge of autism was hours engaged in self-directed learning. Overall, AC programs in Texas need to provide basic and core content in the area of autism to increase the knowledge of novice teachers.
Date: December 2013
Creator: Alward, Jennifer A.
Partner: UNT Libraries