News from July 2019

MCPER launches initiative to improve academic, behavioral interventions for Texas students
July 30, 2019

MCPER has received a $2 million, 1-year grant from the Texas Education Agency to develop and disseminate information about best practices related to academic and behavioral interventions.

Tiered Interventions Using Evidence-Based Research (TIER) will develop a set of modules related to multitiered systems of support in academics and behavior to improve the outcomes of students with or at risk for disability. The project also will create on-demand versions of each module so educators across Texas can access the materials independently at their convenience.

"We are thrilled to have the opportunity to work with the Texas Education Agency and educators across Texas to ensure that all schools have support systems in place to improve the outcomes of students with disabilities," said Sarah Powell, TIER principal investigator. "We are embarking on an ambitious project with materials that could be utilized by every educator in Texas."

For more information, visit the TIER project webpage.

Tags: Response to Intervention Institute  Tiered Interventions Using Evidence-Based Research (TIER) 

New project examines reading intervention efficacy for students with disabilities
July 9, 2019

MCPER researchers have been awarded a 5-year, $3.3 million grant from the Institute of Education Sciences to examine the efficacy of a reading intervention for students with disabilities.

The project, Promoting Comprehension and Content Acquisition for Students With Disabilities, targets middle school students with learning disabilities in a study of the previously developed PACT intervention. Approximately 16,000 students, including an estimated 1,280 students with disabilities, will participate in the study implemented by social studies teachers at 32 urban and suburban middle schools in Texas and Tennessee.

PACT was developed and tested for efficacy with middle school students in social studies classrooms as part of a previously funded Institute of Education Sciences project. Data from that study suggest the intervention is promising for learners with disabilities, but it has yet to be rigorously tested with this group of students.

"We are grateful and excited for this opportunity to build on our previous PACT research," said Leticia Martinez, co-principal investigator of the project and director of MCPER's Language for Learning Institute. "There is a need to identify evidence-based practices to assist teachers in improving outcomes for our students with disabilities, considering how many of these students receive instruction in the general education classroom, and we intend for our findings to contribute to this knowledge base."

MCPER Executive Director Sharon Vaughn is the principal investigator of the project. In addition to Martinez, MCPER Associate Director Greg Roberts and Jeanne Wanzek of Vanderbilt University are co-principal investigators.

Tags: Reading Institute 

Sarah Powell wins Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers
July 5, 2019

Sarah Powell, principal investigator of multiple MCPER projects and fellow in the Mathematics and Science Institute for Students With Special Needs, has won the prestigious Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers.

The award is the "highest honor bestowed by the United States Government to outstanding scientists and engineers who are beginning their independent research careers and who show exceptional promise for leadership in science and technology," according to a White House press release. President Trump announced the winners on July 2. Powell was nominated by the U.S. Department of Education. She will receive the award at a White House ceremony.

Established in 1996 by President Clinton, the award "embodies the high priority placed by the government on maintaining the leadership position of the United States in science by producing outstanding scientists and engineers and nurturing their continued development. The Awards identify a cadre of outstanding scientists and engineers who will broadly advance science and the missions important to the participating agencies," according to the National Science Foundation website.  

Please join us in congratulating Powell on this outstanding achievement.

Tags: Mathematics and Science Institute for Students With Special Needs