Interventions That Is Effective in Improving the Academic Outcomes for Students With Disabilities, Research Paper Example
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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.
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 the treatment outcomes should cover six categories in order to be considered suitable to measure the learning capacity of students with disabilities, and these are, (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.
Qualifications for Interventions
The interventions to be used in any process, according to WWC (2012), must be replicable, which means that the authors must provide sufficient information such that the same intervention can be used in various settings, be available through public channels, and be implemented by others besides the developer of the approach.
Additionally, according to WWC (2012), interventions have to be relevant in terms of the time frame, the topic and the nature of the sample presented. It’s outcomes must also include the nine domains, namely alphabetic, reading fluency, reading comprehension, general reading achievement, math, writing, science, social studies and progressing in school, when their effectiveness are being measured under standardize test conditions at different levels.
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.
These series of steps according to Swanson et al. (1999), covers both strategy instruction and direct instruction, although the former in application is focused on teaching a few words at a time to ensure mastery, while the latter model highlights sub-analysis or segmentation to improve learning capacity.
Types of Interventions
A synopsis of the interventions used in meta-analysis conducted by Swanson et al. (1999), on students with learning disabilities, include attribution training, bibliotherapy, simultaneous and successive processing, computer aid instruction (CAI) , which include self spell programs, spelling, reasoning skills, math, reading and writing, comprehension- monitoring strategies, consultative services, counseling, creativity training, curriculum based measurement–programming, diagnostic-prescriptive, direct instruction, goal setting, hemispheric simulation, language strategies and memory strategies.
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.
The study was conducted using seven study groups involving 318 youths, with learning disabilities, development disabilities, and hearing deficits, according to Wolgemuth et al. (N.D). In terms of instruction, a variety of instructional techniques including praise, direct instructions, modeling, guided practice, corrective feedback, group work, verbal prompts, and reciprocal teaching were used according to Wolgemuth et al. (N.D), to augment the \Jones et al. (1998) model.
This model entail the presenting of one good example of a complete graphic outline, a modeling of the outline to be used, the provision of procedural knowledge, coaching, and the providing of practice opportunity.
The study results showed conformance to established industry standards, especially with respect to the average size effects, which stood above the 0.8 that Cohen (1988) consider as a large effect.
On the basis of the results being in conformance with the norm for studies of this nature, the conclusion that Visual Display Interventions significantly improved the learning capacity of disabled students should be accepted and replicated in other environments, to facilitate comparative measurements and reinforcements.
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).
Academic interventions using CAI were focused on reading, mathematics, writing, and health mainly with 35.9 % 17.9 % 12.8 % and 5.7% respectively accounting for the time spent these areas.
According to Dugan et al. (1996), the team found that, (a) technology based interventions had significant positive effect on academic related outcomes on secondary school students with disabilities, (b) the technology does not appear to be difficult to use by the students, and (c) there were no significant difference across gender, race SES or the country in which the intervention was implemented.
Base on a 2005 survey, which showed that computer use in schools has risen to 91%, and the results obtained from the current study, Dugan et al. (1996) conclude that more and more teachers should be provided with pre and in-service training, so that they can maximize the impact of CAI on students, especially those that are in need of special education.
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).
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.
A total of 13 studies made up of 6 investigated dialogic, 3 investigated shared book reading and 4 investigated interactive shared book reading, were conducted, and these children’ responses for all three areas when prompted, were coded on a continuum going from passive to active; for the purpose of conducting secondary synthesis, where they will be used to relate to more positive outcomes (Trivette and Dunst, 2007).
A total of 729 children were involved in the reading instruction interventions, with the largest reading group being in the 48-52 months age group and low socio-economic background accounted for the highest percentage representation of population (Trivette and Dunst, 2007).
Only studies that conformed to the WWC (2006c) standard were selected for this research project, which was all implemented in English at center-based programs, and involved children in the 305 age group, because of the need to ensure inclusion in syntheses at a later date, according to Trivette and Dunst (2007).
According to Trivette and Dunst (2007), only WCC (2006) search procedures were used to identify the interventions that were selected, and they involved searching databases, hand searches of core journals, website searches, conference proceedings, articles submitted by researchers, other individuals as well as relevant organizations and experts on specific topics.
Interventions identified as relevant to the study first had to be screened to determine their threshold relevance and then their methodological rigor, according to Trivette and Dunst (2007).
- The three practices differed in part according to the children involvement in the reading exercises. Dialogic reading interventions were found to require greater involvement while shared reading exacted the least (Trivette and Dunst, 2007).
- Two of the studies, namely Crain-Thoren and Dale (1999) and Maulte (1991) included children with identified developmental delay or children that will be eligible for pre-school special education (Trivette and Dunst, 2007).
After analyzing the 13 studies involving 729 children in the three interventions, Trivette and Dunst (2007), identified the following results,
- The degree of participation in the reading episodes were significantly related to both linguistic processing and print related outcomes as well as other outcomes,
- Relationship between studies coded as more passive were significantly related to all outcomes,
- When all three readings were taken together with the older children (48-52 months old), they were more effective , and this was supported by the larger Z readings obtained for that group, and
- Reading sessions that were 15 minutes or less were found to be more effective (Trivette and Dunst, 2007).
Reading Interventions involving young children in reading episodes it has been shown are more likely to result in positive outcomes, and the results from this study should be replicated with great success where it will be implemented.
Equipping special education classes in particular with the requirements advocated by Hocutt (1996), where a class size of 15 as well as having teachers with advance degrees were seen as critically important, and applying, after conducting the necessary need assessments, any combinations of the interventions identified by Swanson et al. (1999), Visual Display Intervention (Wolgemuth et al. (N.D), Computer Aided Instruction (Dugan et al. (1996), and Dialogic, Interactive Shared Reading and Shared Reading Interventions (Trivette and Dunst 2007), should all significantly improve the academic outcomes of these children.
This is as a result of the WWC standards, and the academic relevance and methodological rigor that were applied to all these studies by those who conducted the research themselves as well as the researchers in their searching strategies.
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