News from May 2021

Sharon Vaughn wins inaugural Dean’s Distinguished Research Award
May 25, 2021

MCPER Executive Director Sharon Vaughn is the first recipient of the College of Education Dean's Distinguished Research Award.

The honor, established to recognize a faculty member's distinguished and sustained record of research and scholarly contributions, was awarded by Dean Charles R. Martinez Jr.

Vaughn is renowned for her research on the development and evaluation of instructional practices to improve outcomes for students with reading difficulties. She is the most highly cited female professor at The University of Texas at Austin and among the 20 most highly cited professors overall. Vaughn also is the director of MCPER's Reading and Dropout Prevention institutes; the Manuel J. Justiz Endowed Chair in Math, Science, and Technology in Teacher Education; and a professor in the Department of Special Education: Learning Disabilities/Behavior Disorders program.

New service provides parents, caregivers with information from childhood experts via text messaging
May 20, 2021

MCPER is dedicated to disseminating information that supports families as they develop strong and healthy learners. To that end, we want to make our readers aware of a new texting service that provides parents and caregivers of kids prenatal to age 8 with information from early childhood experts on topics including developmental milestones; brain development; mental health and resilience; social-emotional competence; STEM; language and literacy; nutrition; health; and local events, resources, and activities.

Bright by Text is free to all Texans. To receive tips and learning games to your phone, text "#TexasKids" to 2-74448 or sign up online.

For more information, visit the Bright by Text website, view an informational flyer, or view a postcard provided in English and Spanish.

MCPER executive director, resource featured in The Dallas Morning News
May 7, 2021

A story in The Dallas Morning News that explores the benefits of quick, informal assessments for prekindergarten and kindergarten to lessen the "COVID slide" features MCPER expertise.

Executive Director Sharon Vaughn is quoted in the story, "How can a One-Minute Kindergarten Test Help Teachers Tackle the ‘Covid Slide?’," which also links to the MCPER publication 10 Key Policies and Practices for Reading Intervention. To read the story, visit the website of The Dallas Morning News.

UT Austin spotlights MCPER’s Precision Math project
May 4, 2021

A new feature by The University of Texas at Austin spotlights MCPER's Precision Math project, which aims to overcome systemic barriers and promote greater diversity, equity, and inclusion for multilingual students in early STEM.

Precision Math, funded by a $5 million grant from the National Science Foundation, is currently testing an evidence-based, integrated STEM intervention for first-grade multilingual students. At MCPER, the project is led by Christian Doabler, Leticia Martinez, and Maria Longhi. Also involved are UT Austin professor Eric Knuth and colleagues at the University of Oregon and Oregon Research Institute. 

For more information and to read the article, including quotes from Doabler and College of Education Dean Charles R. Martinez Jr., visit the UT Austin website.

Tags: Mathematics and Science Institute for Students With Special Needs 

News from April 2021

MCPER Executive Director Sharon Vaughn appointed to national education research committee
April 22, 2021

MCPER Executive Director Sharon Vaughn has been selected to serve on National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine's Committee on the Future of Education Research.

Vaughn will serve on the committee with educational research experts across the nation. Their goal is to inform the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) on "(a) critical problems where new research is needed; (b) new methods or approaches for conducting research; and (c) new types of research training investments," according to the National Academies website. The committee begins its work in early May.

News from February 2021

Christy Austin wins another award for her outstanding scholarship
February 24, 2021

MCPER's Christy Austin has won the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) John Wills Lloyd Outstanding Doctoral Research Award. 

The award includes a $500 stipend, up to an additional $500 for travel to receive the award at the CEC Annual Convention, a 1-year membership in CEC, an opportunity to present the research at the CEC 2021 Annual Convention, and an invitation to submit the research for publication in the journal Learning Disabilities Research & Practice.

This award is the second Austin has won in recent weeks. Previously, she won the CEC Student Research Award

News from January 2021

MCPER seeks postdoctoral scholar for new research opportunity
January 11, 2021

The Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk (MCPER) is looking for a postdoctoral scholar to participate on research teams developing and validating intensive interventions as part of multitiered systems of support (MTSS).

This paid position begins in August/September 2021. Members of traditionally underrepresented groups are encouraged to apply. Send a letter of interest and curriculum vita to Dawn Stanco.

This project is part of a $750,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Education. The aim of this 5-year grant is to prepare a cohort of highly qualified fellows to conduct research in special education, educational psychology, and other disciplines; understand how to interpret the findings and implications of this research; and prepare educators in how to intensify academic and behavioral interventions. The program will cover education sciences research related to academic outcomes for individuals with disabilities, methodology and statistics, and the policies and pragmatics of research in educational settings. 

MCPER Executive Director Sharon Vaughn, principal investigator of this project, and key investigators Greg Roberts, Nathan Clemens, Sarah Powell, Chris Doabler, and Elizabeth Swanson will collaboratively lead the project and serve as mentors. Together, they bring years of experience and expertise on quantitative methods, research design, assessment and effective intervention, quantitative methodology in program evaluation, data management and analysis, and modern measurement theory. 

News from December 2020

Christy Austin wins Council for Exceptional Children Student Research Award
December 4, 2020

MCPER’s Christy Austin has won a national award in recognition of her high-quality study on word-reading and word-meaning instruction for fourth- and fifth-grade students with dyslexia.

Austin won the Council for Exceptional Children Student Research Award for a manuscript based on her doctoral dissertation, which she completed with MCPER Executive Director Sharon Vaughn as her advisor. A maximum of four Student Research Awards are given annually. Austin will be recognized at the council’s 2020 Convention and Expo and will receive a cash award.

The study, “The Relative Effects of Instruction Integrating Word Reading and Word Meaning Compared to Word Reading Instruction Alone on the Accuracy, Fluency, and Word Meaning Knowledge of Fourth- and Fifth-Grade Students With Dyslexia,” found that the combined instruction significantly improved accuracy, fluency, and word-meaning knowledge immediately following the intervention and at a follow-up posttest. The findings suggest that students with dyslexia, who often receive intervention focused solely on word reading, would benefit from brief instruction in word meaning.

Though Austin continues her work with MCPER as a consultant, she now serves as an assistant professor at the University of Utah in the Educational Psychology Department’s Reading and Literacy Program.

News from October 2020

Project AIM is recruiting schools for 2020–2021 school year
October 2, 2020

Project AIM is seeking sixth-grade mathematics interventionists to partner in a 1-year algebra-readiness intervention study. Project AIM is designed to help struggling learners improve their mathematics achievement and reach grade-level performance.

To qualify, schools must have at least one math interventionist who teaches at least two class periods of students struggling in math. This randomized control trial study also requires comparison classes.

The Project AIM staff developed four intervention modules to improve students' mathematics performance through conceptual understanding, problem-solving ability, and self-regulation skills. Participating schools will receive all instructional materials upon completion of the study, allowing teachers to use the research-validated practices in subsequent years. In-person classes will be provided class materials. Online-based classes will be provided digital versions of materials. In addition, participating teachers will receive an $800 stipend and a half-day of professional development.

More information is available online or by contacting Principal Investigator Diane Pedrotty Bryant.

Tags: Mathematics and Science Institute for Students With Special Needs  Algebra-Readiness Mathematics Intervention for Middle School Students: Project AIM 

News from September 2020

Reading instruction workshops for fourth to sixth grades to be held online
September 30, 2020

MCPER and Humanities Texas are set to begin the third round of their popular workshops on best practices in reading instruction for fourth- through sixth-grade educators. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the workshops will be held online.

The series will consist of eight 2-hour sessions beginning October 7. The final session will be held on February 24. Participants are expected to attend all sessions. Presenters will include MCPER Chief Operating Officer Jennifer Schnakenberg and longtime MCPER collaborators Diane Haager and María Elena Argüelles.

The workshops will feature interactive sessions on word study and recognition, vocabulary, and reading comprehension with an emphasis on social studies texts, struggling readers, English language learners, and students who fell behind as a result of recent instructional disruptions. Each workshop will build on the previous session and align with the reading and comprehension Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills.  

Participating teachers will receive CPE credit and curricular materials.

For more information, including how to register, visit the Humanities Texas website.