Funding Public Education, Research Proposal Example

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Research Proposal

Problem Statement

Special Education, according to Hocutt (1996), requires an average class of 15, teachers needing to have advance degrees, the provision of specialized education programs for each student to advance his or her individualized goals, the adoption of a variety of teaching strategies, the instituting of wider repertoire for managing students with disruptive behavior, and the collection and maintenance of data to monitor students progress and to become more knowledgeable about them.

However, it is crucial to know the interventions that are being used to effectively improve the academic outcomes of these students with their different type of disabilities, by investigating the different types of studies in the discipline that have yielded success, after conforming to the various WWC operating protocol.

Introduction

The What Works Clearinghouse (2012), in its WWC Evidence Protocol for K-12 Students with Learning Disabilities defines IDEA’s concept of Learning Disability as a disorder in which one or more of the basic physiological processes that are involved in understanding or in using language spoken or written, and manifest itself in the imperfect ability to listen, think, read, write spell, or to do mathematical calculation.

According to Swanson, Hoskyn and Lee (1999), an intervention has to be examined using three key constructs, namely the learning disabilities, the treatment and the outcomes in order for the appropriate educational authorities to ascertain its effectiveness. In terms of the disabilities, Swanson et al. (1999), informs that a non-judgmental stance has to be taken on the quality of the definition of learning disabilities reflected in the studies, while the treatment will have to be defined as a direct manipulation by the researcher of psychological variables for the purpose of assessing learning efficiency, accuracy and understanding. Swanson et al. (1999) also infer that treatment outcomes should cover six categories in order to be considered suitable to measure the learning capacity of students with disabilities: (a) the article or technical report must be identified, (b) design and methodological characteristics should be present, (c) sampling characteristics highlighted, (e) the parameters of the interventions illustrated, (f) components of the interventions  provided, and (g) the effect of size or the magnitude of the treatment effects. Following these criterion, the literature review will seek to isolate the most common and most relevant interventions for deaf students’ inclusion.

Literature Review

The Instructional Approach

In the process of analyzing the effectiveness of interventions used across educational institutions, Swanson et al (1999), recommends that the instructional approach embraced by Rosenshine (1995), Rosenshine & Stevens (1986), and Slavin, Stevens & Maddens (1988), because it requires daily reviews, a statement of the instructional objectives, presentation of new materials by teachers, guided practice , independent practice and formative evaluations.

According to Swanson et al. (1999), each intervention had an effect size based on Cohen’s “d” for both group and single subject design studies as well as specific goals like in the case of simultaneous and successive processing, which sought to examine the reading comprehension and information processing strategies of children, especially the their synthesis and verbalization synthesis during task performance (Brailsford, Snart & Das, 1984).

In searching for the interventions that were successful, Swanson et al. (1999), utilized computer strategy that involved the use of terms like learning disabled, reading disabled, and educationally handicapped, along with intervention treatment, and remediation phrases to discover 2900 abstract of articles, technical reports, chapters and dissertations. . This was followed by data evaluation, coding and inter-rating agreement, categorization of dependent measures, treatment of variables, the establishment of control group parameters, effect size calculation, and the development of composite scores for multiple interventions using the Gleser and Olkin (1994), ruling, before developing the units of analysis.

Visual Display Interventions

In a study conducted by Wolgemuth, Trujillo, Cobb& Alwell (N.D), using Jones, Pierce and Hunter (1998) process, it was revealed that visual display interventions significantly improved the reading comprehension, content learning and problem solving capabilities for secondary youths with learning disabilities.

The importance of the intervention, according to Wolgemuth et al. (N.D), was not only the improvement in performance that was observed, but also the fact that it marked the movement that Hyerle (1996) referred to as the visual shift from a teacher directed lecture and independent text classroom culture to a student centered and interactive “seeing” classroom setting.

Computer Aided Instructions

According to Dugan, Cobb &Alwell (1996), Computer Aided Instruction is the instructional use of computers to present materials, practice skills, monitor students’ learning as well as assess their needs and progress during the course of any academic study.

In a study conducted by Dugan, Cobb & Alwell (1996) between 1996 and 2005, the relationship between technology-based interventions and academic performance for 1491secondary aged youths who diversely had behavioral disorders, emotional disorders, learning disabilities, as well as moderate and severe disabilities.

During the period of the study, high schools, middle schools, special schools, and private and residential schools combined, accounted for 59%, 12.8%, 10.3% and 17.9% respectively of the student population engaging in the intervention process, and the age range was between 12 and 22 years old (Dugan et al. (1996).

The interventions used were all technology based and included computer or video base interventions, multi-media programs, CAI, and computer managed instruction (CMI), according to Dugan et al. (1996).

Relative Effectiveness of Dialogic, Interactive and Shared Reading Interventions

This research conducted by Trivette and Dunst (2007), was aimed at determining the relative effectiveness of three different approach to teaching beginning reading, and the model used were the Dialogic Reading (Zevenburg and Whitehurst, 2003), Interactive Shared Books (Wasik and Bond, 2001)) and Shared Readings (Button and Johnson, 1997).

Hypothetically, these researchers postulated that active child involvement in reading would prove to be a contributing factor that will benefit interventions to be applied in the future.

Dialogic Reading was defined as the switching of roles during the reading between adults and children, so that these children will learn to become story-tellers with the assistance of the adults whose function in the process will be as active listeners and questioners (WWC, 2006a).

With respect to Interactive Shared Book Readings, WWC, (2006b) defines it as the involvement of adult in reading of a book with a child or group of children and in the process uses a variety of techniques for the purpose of engagement in the text.

Shared Book Reading, according to WWC (2006b) is the process whereby an adult read a book with a child or group of children without extracting extensive interactions from them.

Methodology

In the academic world, an educational research is often considered to be one of the most challenging fields of research conduct. This consideration is often conditioned by the general academic perception that any research in the aforementioned field is characterised by the preference of qualitative over quantitative methodological approach. Thus, it is often viewed as rather subjective research than exact and neutral. Another potential challenge of the target research is the need to connect theoretical dimension of research with the practical data collection. For instance, evaluation of a certain program or new policy might not be properly justified through the empirical verification of the potential suggestions or the existing program’s outcomes. Other potential challenges of the present research might be “the academic naivety”, by which is meant an attempt to give research meaning beyond its actual potential (Lodico, Spaulding, & Voegtle, 2010). In this context is meant that researcher might consider that his/hers   exploration might be able to overcome limitations of subjectivity, validity, usefulness and be able to change something in the existing system of education. While the author might be able to overcome the internal inconsistencies of the research, the external factor of validity and accuracy of information will remain a substantial challenge of the whole project.

In order to be sequential, the present project is aimed at a research as the main methodological approach. The main reason why this type of research conduct was chosen is because it corresponds to the research question of how the governmental K-12 or “No Child Left Behind” educational funding was affected by the economic crisis and further recession. The preference is given to the research over development and evaluation, because the aim of the present project is to find the current situation of governmental funding and not to imply how the situation should be improved (Wallen & Fraenkel, 2011). Thus, research, aiming at description and acknowledgment of certain states of affairs in the framework of cause-effect relationship, corresponds better to the target project objectives. The author argues that before applying development or evaluation methods, research method should be used.  Therefore, in a long-term perspective, the present project can evolve into an evaluative or developmental research, which would “inform the decision making process during the development of a product/program in order to improve the product/program being developed and the developers’ capability to create things of  this kind in future situations” (Akker, 1999, p. 4). Thus, unlike in development and evaluation, in the research the emphasis is placed not on the supportive role of the project in its explanation of the existing situational specifics, which perfectly corresponds to project’s objectives.

In the framework of the research method, the project will include the following procedures. First of all, in order to understand how the governmental funding had changed under the influence of the recession, it is essential to emphasise the legal framework of governmental commitment to the mentioned initiative and its priority among other governmental policies (Leedy& Ormrod, 2005).  This procedural step will cover the exploration of the official governmental document referring to the target issue from the point of exact governmental commitment to it, which means reading subsequent parts of constitution, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 and further regulations on the federal level. In this context, analysis of the texts will be conducted from the point of their conceptual rather than contents analysis perspective. The main resource of the aforementioned materials would be the official website of the Ministry of Education and links to the websites indicated in it.

The second procedural step would involve practical interviewing of the governmental officials responsible for the program development and implementations, teachers delivering the program and parents of the target children group.  This step would be able to give an opportunity for the researcher to collect empirical data on the topic and also to achieve interdisciplinary evaluation of the problem from practitioners’ point of view. In this regard, the interviewing would be conducted with the application of the semi-structured interviewing method, meaning that the initial list of questions will be provided in advance with a further opportunity to ask additional questions during the actual meeting, telephone or skype conversation (Lodico et al., 2010).   The potential questions would include the following: “How is government sponsoring the K-12 program?”, “Are there any potential ways to increase funding?”, “What are the more important priorities in comparison to this?”, “Whether this amount is enough?”, “What are the reasons for the current situation?”. The list of people for the interview will depend largely on official’s availability and desire to conduct interview on the first place. That is why it is advisable to create two lists – the first one of people who are the most preferable for the project and the second list in case the first candidates refuse or additional information is required (Leedy& Ormrod, 2005).

The third step would be entirely devoted to the quantitative analysis of the existing statistics on the governmental funding. The field of interest would include data on how much funds were devoted to the target policy from the time of its introduction to the nowadays. Thus, the comparative analysis of the previous statistics and the present data will be conducted. The relevance of this procedural step for the project question is in factual explanation of the change in funding before and after crisis of 2008/2009 from strictly financial and objective perspectives (Wallen & Fraenkel, 2011). The main reason why this step was included is because it contributes to the general; objectivity of the research. In other words, strict financial matters would contribute to the relatively subjective and situation-conditioned opinions of the people, both interviewed and those conducting research (Wallen & Fraenkel, 2011). The final procedural step would be an analysis of all data collected and its interpretation from the cause-effect perspective. The relevance of this step is of crucial significance because at this point the answer to the research question will be given. A particular feature of this step is that the researcher would have to mange to keep the balance between subjectivity of the qualitative method and relative dryness of the quantitative. In other words, the researcher will have to analyse the data and available arguments from the point of their validity and trustworthiness, which is again quite subjective matter (Leedy& Ormrod, 2005). Thus, the success of the present project will depend on this balance.

In order to keep the balance between personal perception of the case and academic objectivity, evaluative plan is required. First of all, evaluation of the legal framework will be conduct on the basis of conceptual relevance for the research question. In other words, it would be essential to discover how much government is required to spend on the target initiative and what might be the legal limitations of this commitment. For instance, it would be relevant to see whether the War on Terror had significant legal priority over the target policy of K-12. In this context, legal and official documents will be read and quoted in order to support researcher’s central thesis (Lodico et al., 2010). Secondly, interviewing data will be evaluated on the basis of the position of the interviewed individual and particular interest in the target policy and relationship to the governmental institution or final beneficiaries. In this context additional academic opinions and analysis might be of the relevant source for opinion seeking. In this context, review of the working conclusions by peers might be helpful to preserve the ground of balance and efficiency of the research.

An essential aspect of interviewing part of the research is that researcher should try to keep his study of the topic from situational understanding of individuals’ personal attitudes to the target topic (Leedy& Ormrod, 2005). In this context, relevant evaluative technique would be writing down data collected during the interview and analysing it only some time after the initial conduct of the interview (Wallen & Fraenkel, 2011). In such a way the researcher will be able to abstract himself from the individual interviewed and pay attention only to the data collected during the conversation. Further on, evaluation of the statistical data will be conducted on the basis of its source, time frame of collection, overall number of states covered and potential statistical and finical discrepancies (Wallen & Fraenkel, 2011). Thus, attention should be paid not only to the amount of funds devoted to the target policy, but also their origins and relevance under the increasing requirements of the educational system. Attention will be also paid to the relevance of funds from the point of inflation rates increase and general economic conditions of recession.

The general assumption of the target research is that the data available from the official websites and governmental archives is valid and corresponds to the real states of affairs with a slight statistical inconsistency due to the inflation rates and potential outdated ways of data collection when the case refers to the decades-old statistics. Another assumption is that the target research would be relevant mainly for the specialists in the field of education and potentially for the academics in the target field. It is quite unlikely that policy-makers and specialist in other fields would be interested in this project or might use it for an exhaustive evaluation of the target topic. The specific assumptions include the following. First of all, the validity of conclusions depends on the validity of statistical and interviewing data available and objectivity of the researcher; thus, it can differ from the existing, generally accepted viewpoint on the subject matter (Leedy& Ormrod, 2005). Secondly, the final relevance of the project to the field of education will depend on the conclusions and their contribution for further analysis of the target topic.

The main limitation of the present research is the subjectivity of both data collected by researcher and the one available on-line on the official web-sites. Therefore, 100% accuracy of conclusions is impossible. Thus, the research would still bear certain percentage of inaccuracy and uncertainty, which would not be overcame by procedural improvement (Wallen & Fraenkel, 2011). On the other hand, the aim of the research is not in evaluation of the existing policy, but in its description and conditionality due to the recession. Therefore, the project would still be able to fulfil its objectives. The specific limitation of qualitative method is balanced by use of quantitative analysis. The researcher’s subjectivity would be further measured by the peers’ review of the project and its further validation.

The main delimitation of the research is in its wide scope of federal level of funding, without specification of the policy conduct on the local level. This limitation is conditioned by the timeframe and scope of the project. On the other hand, the present project might be the basis for the future more specific research of the target topic on the states and local levels.  Another restriction of the project is that it is devoted only to the governmental K-12 or “No Child Left Behind” educational funding affected by recession and not the whole scope of governmental funding of education. The project also does not pay attention to the distribution of those funds between different levels of study. Those delimitations might be unravelled in further research projects in case this one proves to be efficient and successful.

Implications

Discussion

Conclusion

References

Akker, van den Jan (1999) (Ed.). Design Approaches and Tools in Education and Training. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publisher.

Leedy, P.D. & Ormrod, J.E. (2005). Practical Research: Planning and Design. New Jersey, NJ: Pearson Education.

Lodico, M.G., Spaulding, D.T. and Voegtle K.H. (2010). Methods in Educational Research: From Theory to Practice. 2nd Edition. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Wallen, N.E. & Fraenkel, J.R. (2011).  Educational Research: A Guide to the Process. 2nd Edition. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Brailsford, A., Snart, F., & Das, J.P., (1984). Strategy Training and Reading Comprehension Journal of Learning Disabilities Vol. 17 pp.287-290

Button, K., & Johnson, M. (1997). h e role of shared reading in developing effective early reading strategies. Reading Horizons, 37, 262-273.

Cutspec, P. A. (2004). Influences of dialogic reading on the language development of toddlers. Bridges, 2(1), 1-12. Available at http://www.researchtopractice.info/bridges/bridges_vol2_no1.pdf

Cutspec, P. A. (2006). Effects of dialogic reading on the language development of 4- and 5-year-old children. Bridges, 4(3), 1-15. Available at http://www.researchtopractice.info/bridges/bridges_vol4_no3.pdf

Dugan, J.J., Cobb, R.B., & Alwell, M. (1996). The Effects of Technology-Based Interventions on Academic Outcomes for Youth with Disabilities National Post-School Outcomes Center. Retrieved from: http://nichcy.org/research/summaries/abstract69 on 06/15/12

Gleser, L.J., &Olkin, I., (1994). Stochastically dependent effect sizes. In H. Cooper & L.V. Hedges (Eds.) The handbook of research synthesis (pp. 339-355) Russell Sage Foundation Glass GV New York (1976).

Hocutt, Ann, M, (1968).  Effectiveness of Special Education: Is Placement the Critical Factor?  The Future of Children SPECIAL EDUCATION FOR STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES Vol. 6 Issue1 – Spring1996 Retrieved from:  http://www.princeton.edu/futureofchildren/publications/docs/06_01_04.pdf  on 06/15/12

Hyerle, D. (1996).  Visual tools for constructing knowledge.  Alexandria, VA:  Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Jones, B.F., Pierce, J., & Hunter, B. (1988).  Teaching students to construct graphic representations.  Educational Leadership, 46, 20-25

Swanson, H. L, Hoskyn, M. Lee, C. (1999). Interventions for Students with Learning Disabilities A Meta-Analysis of Treatment Outcomes Guilford Press Spring Street NY

Rosenshine, B. (1995). Advances in research on instruction. The Journal of Educational Research, 88(5), 262-268.

Rosenshine, B., & Stevens, R. (1986). Teaching functions. In M. Wittrock (Ed.), Handbook of research on teaching (3rd Ed.) (376-391). New York: Macmillan.

Slavin, R. E., Stevens, R. J., & Madden, N. A. (1988).  Accommodating student diversity in reading and writing instruction:  A cooperative learning approach. Remedial and Special Education, 1988, Vol.9 pp. 60-66

Trivette, C.M. & Dunst, C.J. (2007).Relative Effectiveness of Dialogic, Interactive and Shared Reading Interventions Center for Early literacy Learning Vol.1 Issue No.2 Retrieved from: <http://www.earlyliteracylearning.org/cellreviews/cellreviews_v1_n2.pdf on 06/16/12>.Web.

Wasik, B. A., & Bond, M. A. (2001). Beyond the pages of a book: Interactive book reading and language development in preschool classrooms. Journal of Educational Psychology, 93, 243-250.

What Works Clearinghouse. (2006a, October).  Dialogic reading. Rockville, MD: Author. Retrieved December 21, 2006, from http://www.whatworks.ed.gov/Intervention.asp?iid=271&tid=13&pg=topic.asp

What Works Clearinghouse. (2006c). WWC study review standards. Rockville, MD: Author. Retrieved February 14, 2006, from:

http://www.whatworks.ed.gov/review/process/study_standards_final.pdf

What Works Clearinghouse. (2006b, September). Shared book reading. Rockville, MD: Author. Retrieved December 21, 2006, from http://www.whatworks.ed.gov/InterventionReportLinks.asp?iid=277&tid=13

What Works Clearinghouse. (2007, January).  Interactive shared book reading. Rockville, MD: Author. Retrieved from:

www.whatworks.ed.gov/InterventionReportLinks.asp?iid=276&tid=13, on 06/16/12.

What Work Clearinghouse (2012) .WWC Evidence Review Protocol for K12 Students with Learning Disabilities Version2 Retrieved from: http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/pdf/reference_resources/sld_protocol_v2.pdf  on 06/15/12

Wolgemuth, J.R., Trujillo, E., Alwell, M. & Cobb, R.B. (N.D). The Effects of Visual Display Interventions on Academic Outcomes for Youth with Disabilities:  A Systematic Review. US Department of Education Retrieved from: www.psocenter.org/content_page…35/VisualDisplaysReview.doc , on 06/15/12

Zevenbergen, A. A., & Whitehurst, G. J. (2003). Dialogic reading: A shared picture book reading intervention

CELL Reviews Volume 1, Number 2 for preschoolers. In A. van Kleeck, S. A. Stahl, & E. B. Bauer (Eds.), On reading books to children: Parents and teachers (pp. 177-200). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

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