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.

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.

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

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. 

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.

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.

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.

MCPER researchers to examine ways to improve outcomes for English learners as part of new center
July 9, 2020

English learners, students whose primary language is one other than English, represent one of the fastest-growing student populations in the United States. These students contribute an abundance of cultural and linguistic knowledge to schools. However, national data consistently show that these students underperform relative to their monolingual peers. There is, therefore, a pressing need to identify evidence-based practices to improve educational policies and instructional practices for English learners.

With a $10 million grant from the Institute of Education Sciences, a team led by David Francis of the University of Houston that includes MCPER researchers will meet this challenge by establishing a national research and development center dedicated to improving educational outcomes for English learners in the secondary grades.

Francis, the Hugh Roy and Lillie Cranz Cullen Distinguished University Chair of Psychology at the University of Houston, will serve as the director of the new research center. The MCPER team will include Sharon Vaughn, who will serve as the associate director, and Leticia Martinez and Phil Capin, who will serve as co-principal investigators. The investigative team will include other prominent researchers, including Diane August and Joel Gómez (Center for Applied Linguistics), Catherine Snow (Harvard Graduate School of Education), Michael J. Kieffer and Lorena Llosa (New York University), Suzanne Donovan (Strategic Education Research Partnership), and Jeremy Miciak and Coleen Carlson (University of Houston).

“This is an exciting opportunity for us to explore and better understand the specific needs of English learners and the most effective ways to enhance their academic outcomes,” Vaughn said. “I am thankful to have the opportunity to collaborate with this impressive team and eager to get started.” 

Federally funded research and development centers have a mission to produce and disseminate rigorous evidence and products that provide practical solutions to important educational challenges. The new educational research center will examine policies and system-level practices that influence English learners; develop and test content area literacy approaches for improving social studies and science knowledge among English learners; and develop a robust dissemination network to ensure that findings reach school teachers, administrators, and policymakers nationwide.

Specifically, the MCPER team will lead the development and testing of social studies practices for English learners in grades 6 and 9. Through a series of randomized control trials over the next 5 years, the center will test the effectiveness of these instructional approaches in Texas and New York.

Sharon Vaughn co-authors evidence brief on supporting students with disabilities
June 29, 2020

MCPER Executive Director Sharon Vaughn has co-authored an evidence brief on supporting students with disabilities, one of three works released to launch the EdResearch for Recovery Project. 

The project, a national effort led by the Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University and Results for America, is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. EdResearch for Recovery will provide "rapid-turnaround evidence briefs from top researchers to help answer the most pressing education-related questions from policymakers, educators, parents, and other advocates as they respond and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic," according to a press release. "The project team identified two dozen priority questions, and asked leading researchers to write short briefs—grounded in peer-reviewed research and evidence—to help inform key decision points and recovery strategies for policymakers, educators, and other leaders."

Vaughn co-authored her brief, Academic Supports for Students With Disabilities, with Nathan Jones of Boston University and Lynn Fuchs of Vanderbilt University. For more information, including a list of planned topics, visit the EdResearch for Recovery website.