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Augmented and Virtual Realities in Special Education Contexts
Augmented and Virtual Realities in Special Education Contexts
A Meta-Analysis
Toriel Herman
The augmented and virtual reality applications literature base spans more than 30 years with one of the first studies conducted by Meredith Bricken in 1991. With the advances in technology, researchers are increasingly examining the use of augmented reality (AR) and ...
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The augmented and virtual reality applications literature base spans more than 30 years with one of the first studies conducted by Meredith Bricken in 1991. With the advances in technology, researchers are increasingly examining the use of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) within educational contexts, more specifically special education contexts. VR is one of the fastest growing technologies (Nuguri, Calyam, Oruche, Gulhane, Valluripally, Stichter, & He, 2021) and AR is growing rapidly showing advances in interaction, navigation, and tracking within education, entertainment, business, medicine, and other settings (Ablyaev, Abliakimova, & Seidametova, 2020). Despite AR and VR demonstrating documented success with enriching learning opportunities and task performances (Billingsley, Smith, Smith, & Meritt, 2019; Bricken, 1991; Nuguri et al., 2021), there is limited research on applying these programs directly within a school setting for students with disabilities. To understand the effectiveness of AR and VR, a meta-analysis of six studies was conducted using hierarchical linear modeling focusing on functional, transitional, and social skills. Participants included 18 students ages 6-15-years-old all with a special education diagnosis (i.e., Intellectual Disability or Autism). Results suggest that these interventions are effective in developing functional, transitional, and social skills with students with disabilities. Most notably, participants aged 14-15 years old showed the greatest effect estimates. There were no differences for sex. Limitations and potential future directions in supporting students with disabilities are discussed.
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2021
Workload Manageability
Workload Manageability
Exploring the Perceptions of School-Based Speech-Language Pathologists
Kerry McLaughlin Pringle
Legal reform measures and evidence-based referral processes significantly expanded speech-language pathologists’ scope of practice; however, contemporary research initiatives fail to directly address perceived challenges that arise as a result of workload inequities....
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Legal reform measures and evidence-based referral processes significantly expanded speech-language pathologists’ scope of practice; however, contemporary research initiatives fail to directly address perceived challenges that arise as a result of workload inequities. Therefore, the purpose of this qualitative research study was to investigate speech-language pathologists’ perceptions of workload management within the public-school setting. The contents of this narrative systematically describe federal and state legislative actions pertaining to professional responsibilities and the conceptual frameworks that are often used to evaluate personal and job-related workload implications. A purposeful sampling approach allowed the co-investigator to assemble a team of eight school-based speech-language pathologists, currently employed in public-school districts located in Southwestern Pennsylvania, who met an explicit set of criteria relevant to the premise of the investigation. Participants were interviewed and data was analyzed utilizing descriptive coding followed by NVivo coding in order to identify major themes and patterns in regard to the following research questions: What workload responsibilities do school-based speech-language pathologists perceive as the most demanding? How do school-based speech-language pathologists describe the relationship between perceived workload demands and job performance? How do school-based speech-language pathologists view the impact of perceived workload demands on their body, mood, and/or behavior? Four major themes emerged from the data and indicate the following: SLPs have a clear understanding of the terms caseload and workload in regard to school-based speech and language support services; Workload obligations perceivably cause SLPs to encounter psychological and physical implications, including stress, anxiety, and frustration; Workload obligations perceivably impact SLPs’ ability to meaningfully provide therapeutic services; and the roles and responsibilities of school-based SLPs are perceivably misinterpreted and/or misunderstood by educational stakeholders, including administrators, teachers, and parents. Findings from this study may contribute to future professional development initiatives, caseload dissemination methods, and the growing body of literature related to the topic.
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2021
Effects of implementing a transition curriculum using Google Classroom on the self-determination, post-secondary readiness, and career readiness skills of high school students with high incidence disabilities
Effects of implementing a transition curriculum using Google Classroom on the self-determination, post-secondary readiness, and career readiness skills of high school students with high incidence disabilities
Katie Williams
Students with high incidence disabilities continue to fall behind when compared to their nondisabled peers who experience much greater post-secondary and employment success after high school. The purpose of the study was to determine if using Google Classroom to impl...
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Students with high incidence disabilities continue to fall behind when compared to their nondisabled peers who experience much greater post-secondary and employment success after high school. The purpose of the study was to determine if using Google Classroom to implement a transition curriculum would affect the career readiness, post-secondary readiness, and self-determination skills of students with high incidence disabilities. The literature review revealed that there are several definitions and theories defining the components that comprise an effective transition curriculum. Using Google Classroom transition modules were created and implemented that focused on the components: age-appropriate assessments, individualized and student-centered planning and goal setting, career exploration, post-secondary training exploration, employment preparations, and self-determination. A quantitative study was designed to determine whether utilizing Google Classroom had an effect on the self-determination, career readiness, and post-secondary readiness skills of the student participants. Two rating scales were utilized, and a Wilcoxon signed-rank test was used to analyze the data. Utilizing Google Classroom had an overall positive effect on the self-determination, career readiness, and post-secondary readiness skills. The transition curriculum also had a positive effect on all areas except leisure activities. This positive effect has many implications on future transition educational practices and post-high school outcomes for students with disabilities. This positive effect could help students secure financial stability and successfully live independently after high school.
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2021
Examining Teachers’ Attitudes Toward the Inclusion of Students Using Alternate Standards in Regular Standards Core Academic Classes
Examining Teachers’ Attitudes Toward the Inclusion of Students Using Alternate Standards in Regular Standards Core Academic Classes
Wendy Daniels Stewman
Creating a fully inclusive educational environment continues to be a topic for educational reform. Children with disabilities have the right to access their education in the Least Restrictive Environment. In the United States, this right is protected by the Individua...
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Creating a fully inclusive educational environment continues to be a topic for educational reform. Children with disabilities have the right to access their education in the Least Restrictive Environment. In the United States, this right is protected by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (2004). Approximately 13.3% of the total number of students with disabilities in the United States are educated in a separate setting. In comparison, 49.2% of all students with a disability in the United States identified as having a cognitive impairment continue to be educated in a separate class setting (U.S. Department of Education, 2019). This study will use mixed methods (quantitative and qualitative data) analysis to examine the attitude of middle school teachers toward the inclusion of students with a cognitive impairment who access their curriculum using alternate standards in the regular education class setting, available training, and needed resources. This study identified factors which influence teacher attitudes toward the inclusion of students using alternate standards, available training, and teacher perceptions for needed resources for an effective inclusion program at the middle school level. The information from the study will be used to provide recommendations to school leaders related to improving supports, training, and services for teachers with the goal of increasing the participation of students using alternate standards in the regular education setting.
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2021
Middle school teacher and support staff perceptions of Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS)
Middle school teacher and support staff perceptions of Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS)
A case study in a suburban western Pennsylvania middle school
Emily Mazzant
This dissertation focuses on teacher and staff perceptions of Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) implementation at the middle school level. MTSS implementation at the secondary level proves to be a daunting task which includes many complex facets. Ensuring that t...
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This dissertation focuses on teacher and staff perceptions of Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) implementation at the middle school level. MTSS implementation at the secondary level proves to be a daunting task which includes many complex facets. Ensuring that teacher and staff insights are sought out and taken into account when implementing school-wide programming such as MTSS can increase program success and fidelity. Specifically, this study examines three research questions: (1) How do middle school teachers and school support staff perceive implementation of a multi-tiered system of support? (2) How do these perceptions impact the buy-in and level of understanding of MTSS implementation? (3) In what ways do middle school teachers understand the MTSS framework? Utilizing a qualitative, single subject case study design methodology, this study sought to explore how teacher and staff perceptions and understanding of MTSS can impact implementation. The study took place in a suburban, western Pennsylvania middle school, in which the researcher is employed. The constant comparative method of coding was utilized in order to uncover themes related to the collected data. The following themes were uncovered through data analysis: support for all students and addressing individual student needs is a part of the MTSS process, the need for all staff to be involved in MTSS, insufficient communication with off-team teachers, discussion of forms as a part of the MTSS process, parental involvement was not discussed as a priority in responses, and procedures and logistics are discussed in relation to MTSS rather than the day to day implementation through working with students. Results of this study indicate that seeking opinions from teachers and staff regarding program implementation can provide valuable information for schools and districts to consider and highlights the importance of professional development focused on MTSS.
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2021
Overcoming Childhood Adversity
Overcoming Childhood Adversity
A Collective Case Study of the Influence of ACEs on the Work of Special Education Teachers
Kristyn Whisman
In order to fully realize student-focused trauma-informed care, educational settings must become trauma-informed environments wherein all who are served and all who are employed are supported through trauma-informed care. The purpose of the study was to identify the ...
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In order to fully realize student-focused trauma-informed care, educational settings must become trauma-informed environments wherein all who are served and all who are employed are supported through trauma-informed care. The purpose of the study was to identify the ways in which adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) influenced the work of special education teachers, how they overcame their ACEs, and describe the supports that are necessary to create a trauma-informed environment for them. The literature review revealed the significant toll ACEs have on physical and mental health, as well the social and emotional tone of a classroom. A holistic collective case-study design and narrative analysis was used to evaluate three semi-structured interviews with special education teachers employed in the 2020-2021 school year in southern Pennsylvania. Semi-structured interview transcripts were combined into one composite interview transcript, which served as the data set for analysis. Analysis revealed the following salient themes: special education teachers are called to their work, ACEs created an adulthood awareness childhood struggles, ACEs encouraged connections with students and their families, personal relationships were the key to overcoming ACEs, trauma-informed care is for students only, resilience in the real world, and the division that exists between general education and special education teachers.
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2021
Perspectives of special education teachers on students with disabilities in an inclusive setting
Perspectives of special education teachers on students with disabilities in an inclusive setting
A comparative analysis
Ronald Steven Carlisle
In this study, the educational discussion focused on inclusion, methods for teaching in inclusive classrooms, and positive aspects of inclusion for academic growth. Also studied were the perspectives of special education teachers on students with disabilities in an i...
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In this study, the educational discussion focused on inclusion, methods for teaching in inclusive classrooms, and positive aspects of inclusion for academic growth. Also studied were the perspectives of special education teachers on students with disabilities in an inclusion setting. Inclusion in public school districts is a very debated and sensitive subject that has been controversial for many years. Inclusion denotes the education of students with disabilities and students that do not have disabilities in the same classroom setting. The data collected from this study was analyzed using measures of central tendency, specifically the mode and percentages and the chi-square test of independence. Data analysis was conducted to determine the perspectives of special education teachers on the controversy of inclusion practices for students with disabilities in two separate clusters, grades K-3 and 4-6, respectively. The qualitative analysis results revealed the presence of two main themes regarding teacher attitudes on inclusion: (a) Risks of inclusion are special education student lack of success, increased burden on teachers, and class disruptions; and (b) Inclusion can benefit all students. Results of the quantitative analysis revealed no statistically significant relationship between years spent in a special education environment and teacher inclusion attitudes. These results suggest that teachers’ views on inclusion are varied and are not significantly influenced by their years of experiences teaching in a special education environment. Recommendations for future research include changes to the study design and data collection techniques. Implications for positive social change include increased teacher confidence, diverse learning opportunities for all students, and the potential for a positive shift in societal beliefs about special education student capabilities and the benefits of inclusion.
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2021
Preventing Abandonment of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) Devices for Students with Autism: Parent Perspectives for Successful Implementation
Preventing Abandonment of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) Devices for Students with Autism: Parent Perspectives for Successful Implementation
Sheri Lake
The purpose of the present study was to investigate the perspectives of parents of students with ASD who use high-tech AAC in educational settings. Although the use of AAC in school settings has been studied, research has not narrowed its scope to focus on children w...
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The purpose of the present study was to investigate the perspectives of parents of students with ASD who use high-tech AAC in educational settings. Although the use of AAC in school settings has been studied, research has not narrowed its scope to focus on children with ASD who use high-tech speech generating devices (SGDs) and receive special education services in school settings. By analyzing both qualitative and quantitative data, this study aims to create an initial framework for successful implementation of AAC for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. A mixed methods design was chosen for this study. Parametric and nonparametric statistics were utilized to test the theory that ease of use, device usefulness, and ease of learning the AAC technology positively influence parent satisfaction. Transcripts from semi-structured interviews were manually coded to identify qualitative themes related to parent satisfaction with their children’s AAC devices. Three qualitative themes emerged: parents feel like they are not equal members of the IEP team, parents act as self-advocates, and parents have difficulty trusting the recommendations made by the school team. Quantitative data analyses revealed a strong positive correlation between ease of use and satisfaction, ease of learning and satisfaction, and usability and satisfaction. Triangulation of data through qualitative analysis confirm that satisfaction is related to ease of use, ease of learning, and usability of the high-tech AAC device. Future studies should investigate parent perspectives that lead to abandonment of speech generating devices in different regions of the United States and across underrepresented groups. In addition, preservice programs in special education and speech-language pathology should be studied in order to determine the extent to which students entering the field have been taught to engage in family-centered practice. Finally, future research should investigate strategies that lead to successful implementation of speech generating devices with children with ASD.
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2021
Principals' perspectives in determining the least restrictive environment for students with disabilities in rural Northwestern Pennsylvania schools
Principals' perspectives in determining the least restrictive environment for students with disabilities in rural Northwestern Pennsylvania schools
Brandon Maines
his research was conducted to determine the perspectives of principals in determining the least restrictive environment for students with disabilities. When principals are placed into the role of Local Education Agency (LEA) they are part of the decision-making proce...
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his research was conducted to determine the perspectives of principals in determining the least restrictive environment for students with disabilities. When principals are placed into the role of Local Education Agency (LEA) they are part of the decision-making process for determining the least restrictive environment (LRE) for individuals with disabilities in their schools. This research focused on the perceptions and attitudes that the principals have as it relates to special education. The research utilized a two-part investigation. For the first part, principals were asked to answer questions related to demographic data and educational experiences. Then, were asked a series of questions related to their attitudes toward inclusionary practices. Principals were then asked several hypothetical questions related to determining the LRE for students with disabilities. In the second part of the research, participants engaged in a face to face virtual interview that asked a series of questions related to their role as the LEA in their school and the perspectives that each principal had in relations to determining the LRE for students with disabilities. The results of the research indicated that principals lack the fundamental capacity to fully understand special education and its implications. The research showed and overwhelming need for in-depth professional development in the area of special education for principals as it relates to leading their schools and special education population. The need to build capacity to lead initiatives such as inclusion within their school is imperative in moving forward to ensure that individuals with special needs are educated in the LRE.
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2021
The Efficacy of Equine-assisted Activities on Social Outcomes of Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder
The Efficacy of Equine-assisted Activities on Social Outcomes of Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder
A Qualitative Case Study
Trisha Huston
Individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have shown improvement through the use of various therapeutic approaches. Identifying these approaches that engage individuals with ASD is essential in facilitating opportunities for lessening the impact of symptoms. A ...
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Individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have shown improvement through the use of various therapeutic approaches. Identifying these approaches that engage individuals with ASD is essential in facilitating opportunities for lessening the impact of symptoms. A recent CDC report indicates the prevalence to be 1 in 54 children are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (Roth, 2020). While the prevalence continues to escalate, the epidemiology has yet to be discovered. While there is no cure for autism spectrum disorder (ASD), there are forms of therapy that have been proven to be successful in lessening the associated symptomatic behaviors. The most distinct classifiers related to ASD include sensory impairments, communication and speech delays, and restrictive, yet repetitive patterns of behavior or interests. This study intends to examine the parental viewpoint on correlations existing between equineassisted therapies (EAT) and communication skill improvements of adolescents with autism. Equine-assisted therapies have been found to be successful in the improvement of modality, communication deficits, and behavioral needs of individuals with disabilities. The parental viewpoint and input of such therapies has not been as stringently studied.
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2021
Effectiveness of a Summer Intervention Program on Improving Kindergarten Readiness in At-Risk Students
Effectiveness of a Summer Intervention Program on Improving Kindergarten Readiness in At-Risk Students
Nicole Billak
While a wealth of knowledge exists supporting the need for early intervention in improving kindergarten readiness, very few programs have offered an evidence-based solution to providing remediation for at-risk children demonstrating weak academic or social readiness ...
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While a wealth of knowledge exists supporting the need for early intervention in improving kindergarten readiness, very few programs have offered an evidence-based solution to providing remediation for at-risk children demonstrating weak academic or social readiness skills during the kindergarten registration process. Often, children who are identifies as having weak readiness skills at kindergarten registration will need to wait until school begins in the fall to receive intervention, putting students further at-risk for school failure. The United Way of Mercer County’s Success By 6™ program offers a 6-week intervention for students identified during registration as having poor readiness skills. This study determined the effectiveness of Success By 6™ on improving both academic and social readiness skills deemed necessary for school success. A total of 216 students completed the Kindergarten Readiness Test at the beginning and the end of the program. Teachers also rated students’ social emotional learning using the Social Skills Improvement System Social Emotional Learning Progress Monitoring Scales. Results from paired sample t-tests indicated a statistically significant improvement in students’ academic readiness, t(215) = 16.58 p < .001, after completing the program. Students also made statistically significant gains in social emotional skills needed for kindergarten readiness, t(231) = 22.13, p < .001, after participating in the program. Both calculations revealed large effect sizes (d = 1.13 and 1.45, respectively). Implications of this research can effect social change at local, state, and federal levels in order to expand evidence-based practices in early childhood education.
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2021
The Impact of Discontinue Criteria on Potential Gifted Students' Scores on the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children - Fifth Edition
The Impact of Discontinue Criteria on Potential Gifted Students' Scores on the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children - Fifth Edition
Dana Iera
Gifted identification varies across the United States between states, districts, and school psychologists. Although multiple measures of cognitive ability exist, one of the most popular tools is the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children- Fifth Edition, published i...
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Gifted identification varies across the United States between states, districts, and school psychologists. Although multiple measures of cognitive ability exist, one of the most popular tools is the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children- Fifth Edition, published in 2014. This standardized assessment measures cognitive abilities and is now in its fifth edition. The most notable difference is the use of five primary index scales, rather than four, that combine to yield a Full Scale IQ score. Another change is that the discontinue criteria are shorter for a few subtests within the measure. Although this leads to a shorter test administration time, many gifted advocates believe that this shortened discontinue criteria may underestimate gifted students' abilities by not allowing them to demonstrate knowledge beyond those three missed items (National Association for Gifted Children, 2018; Silverman and Gilman, 2020). The purpose of this study is to begin to explore how those shortened discontinue criteria on the Verbal Comprehension Index may or may not impact potentially gifted students’ scores and moreover, gifted eligibility. Understanding how these shortened discontinue criteria may or may not impact scores will help to guide districts and school psychologists into proper identification methods and criteria and a further understanding of the Verbal Comprehension Index on the WISC-V. This study will focus on the following questions: How do shortened discontinue criteria impact potential gifted students' scores on the Similarities subtest? How do shortened discontinue criteria impact potential gifted students' scores on the Vocabulary subtest? With limited verbal subtests, how does the WISC-V's shortened discontinue criteria impact potential gifted scores on the Verbal Comprehension Index? How do these discontinue criteria impact how school psychologists and schools determine eligibility?
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2021
Providing Tier 2 math Interventions within Core Instruction
Providing Tier 2 math Interventions within Core Instruction
Diane Pauli
In 2004 the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act was reauthorized allowing states to use various models to determine Specific Learning Disability. The thought behind allowing schools and districts to use other models besides the discrepancy model involved the ...
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In 2004 the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act was reauthorized allowing states to use various models to determine Specific Learning Disability. The thought behind allowing schools and districts to use other models besides the discrepancy model involved the overidentification of Specific Learning Disabilities in students. One of the models stated in the reauthorization was Responsiveness to Intervention, RtI. Throughout the country, different models of RtI have been used and embraced by schools and districts. In PA, the decision to use RtI for SLD determination is up to each school and district. In the past ten years, RtI has is now part of a framework called Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS). It is a systemic, constant improvement framework where data-based problem solving using benchmark and other assessments to make decisions is used to determine the needs of all students. RtI is part of that process. As more and more schools incorporate MTSS and RtI, this study seeks to examine the impact on student benchmark assessment scores when RtI is used within math core classrooms. This study also included an examination of the influence of professional development on teacher efficacy, including understanding all of the components of RtI, benchmark assessments, small group instruction, and evidence-based interventions. The study used both quantitative and qualitative methods. The quantitative methods included analysis of data from the Acadience benchmark assessment scores for 2nd grade students from three elementary schools. Data involved fall, winter, and spring assessment scores. The qualitative portion included interviews with teachers who attended the professional development training offered by the researcher and subsequent iterative analysis of interview transcripts and field notes. The results did not provide evidence that targeted professional development had an impact on student achievement. Students benchmark scores did not improve significantly from the winter to the spring. Only one teacher made a growth over the expected growth that was projected. Analysis of the teacher interviews indicates that teachers varied in their perception of professional development. Discussion of the findings and implications for further research are included.
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2021
Examining the Efficacy of Universally Delivered Social and Emotional Learning Curriculum, Second Step: A Mixed-Method Study of the Effects on Regular and Special Education Student Behavior and Teacher Instructional Competence
Examining the Efficacy of Universally Delivered Social and Emotional Learning Curriculum, Second Step: A Mixed-Method Study of the Effects on Regular and Special Education Student Behavior and Teacher Instructional Competence
Joseph Jablonski
Since the establishment of social emotional learning (SEL) as a conceptual framework to increase students’ prosocial and emotional competencies, research has been conducted to provide an evidence base to its programmatic effects. This study examined the efficacy of S...
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Since the establishment of social emotional learning (SEL) as a conceptual framework to increase students’ prosocial and emotional competencies, research has been conducted to provide an evidence base to its programmatic effects. This study examined the efficacy of Second Step, a universally delivered SEL curriculum. Evidence of efficacy is supplied through a mixed-method research design providing three separate data metrics for quantitative and qualitative analysis. The sample set was derived from the behavior data of 505 students who attended a suburban K-5 elementary school in northwest Pennsylvania for two consecutive years. Also included in the sample are 22 teachers who participated in a voluntary survey. Quantitative analysis was conducted through a quasi-experimental design utilizing a McNemar test to determine the statistical significance of negative behavior prevalence in comparing two school years. Additional quantitative data was supplied through a Likert-scale questionnaire. Contextual qualitative information was supplied from an open-ended survey. Through this study, it was determined that the Second Step SEL program had a statistically significant impact on the behaviors of students as well as an impact on the climate of the building. While teachers felt the stress of teaching the newly implemented SEL curriculum during the COVID-19 pandemic, results from the study suggest that the benefits of implementing the program outweighed this negative effect. Results also showed an impact on students in the special education emotional support subgroup. The evidence this study provides will help schools work to strengthen their students’ social, emotional, and behavioral capacities.
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2021
A Phenomenological Qualitative Inquiry: Assistive Technology Use or Discontinued Use in the School Setting
A Phenomenological Qualitative Inquiry: Assistive Technology Use or Discontinued Use in the School Setting
Kendra Bittner
This phenomenological qualitative inquiry was designed to explore the phenomenon of using assistive technology (AT) or putting AT “on the shelf” in the school setting. The purpose of this study was to identify factors involved in educators’ use or discontinued use AT...
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This phenomenological qualitative inquiry was designed to explore the phenomenon of using assistive technology (AT) or putting AT “on the shelf” in the school setting. The purpose of this study was to identify factors involved in educators’ use or discontinued use AT in the school setting. The researcher wanted to learn more about educator efficacy with implementing AT and interviewed 10 participants of various stakeholder roles in the AT decision-making process. Participants shared their insight through one of two options: a live interview or a written questionnaire. Key findings were generated through emergent themes from the sample’s responses. Findings indicated that participants used AT continuously when there was buy-in from IEP team members. AT was discontinued by this sample due to lack of buy-in and challenges with the technology. Further research stemming from this study includes the exploration of instructional coaching as an approach to support educators with the use of AT in the school setting.
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2021
Music, Identity, & Authenticity: Reflecting the Narratives of Black Queer Men through Piano-Based Music Improvisation
Music, Identity, & Authenticity: Reflecting the Narratives of Black Queer Men through Piano-Based Music Improvisation
Fred Perkins
This thesis is the dissemination of the findings of a research study exploring piano-based music improvisation and the lived experience of Black queer men. The overall aim was to explore how five Black queer men experience the intersections of their racial identity a...
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This thesis is the dissemination of the findings of a research study exploring piano-based music improvisation and the lived experience of Black queer men. The overall aim was to explore how five Black queer men experience the intersections of their racial identity and sexuality in various social environments through piano-based music improvisation. This study grew out of my own experiences as a Black queer man and my ability or lack thereof to authentically express my racial identity and sexuality in specific social environments. Participants were chosen through convenience sampling and were prompted to engage in a series of piano improvisations, where they were asked to musically communicate how they experience their racial identity and sexuality within their biological family, friend group, and society. Data was collected through video recordings of the improvisations, written reflections to questions about the experience, and through transcriptions of the member checking discussions. Following each improvisation, participants were asked to reflect upon two questions regarding their process and experience during the improvisation. The recorded improvisations were then analyzed using Dr. Kenneth Bruscia’s Improvisation Assessment Profiles (IAPs) and interpretations about the participants’ experiences were made. Member checking was utilized to ensure an accurate representation of the participants’ experiences. Themes of 1) prejudice, 2) sense of identity, 3) impacts of relationships, and 4) responses to trauma that emerged in the verbal data were discussed in the context of the individual and collective experiences of the participants with implications for the practice of music therapy.
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2021
A Qualitative Analysis of Administrative Oversight of Inclusionary Environments in Secondary Classrooms
A Qualitative Analysis of Administrative Oversight of Inclusionary Environments in Secondary Classrooms
William Jordan
The position of principal has evolved into one with many responsibilities ranging from managerial to visionary leader. Federal legislation has placed an added layer of responsibility through the implementation of Public Law 94-142 which supported social justice refor...
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The position of principal has evolved into one with many responsibilities ranging from managerial to visionary leader. Federal legislation has placed an added layer of responsibility through the implementation of Public Law 94-142 which supported social justice reforms that were meant to include students with disabilities and provide an education for them alongside their non-disabled peers. The changes brought about by this legislation and its iterations, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and No Child Left Behind Act, have supported inclusionary actions taken by schools and placed importance on effectiveness of the programs used to educate all students. Despite more students with disabilities being included in general education classrooms, schools still struggle with supporting effective inclusionary programs. This study conducted an exploration of a principal’s decision making processes by gathering descriptions of their background experiences, leadership, and structural management of inclusionary environments. It offers insight into what inclusionary environments look like through the eyes of the principal. Research was conducted through a case study with three principals using phenomenological techniques. This study revealed four themes that provide a vibrant description of the inclusionary environments in these principal’s buildings. The principals interviewed in this study discussed their background experiences as teachers, their professional certification coursework, leadership approaches and the structural management of inclusion. Their insight can help one to think about inclusion as they do on a daily basis.
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2020
A Qualitative Analysis of Administrative Oversight of Inclusionary Environments in Secondary Classrooms
A Qualitative Analysis of Administrative Oversight of Inclusionary Environments in Secondary Classrooms
William Jordan
The position of principal has evolved into one with many responsibilities ranging from managerial to visionary leader. Federal legislation has placed an added layer of responsibility through the implementation of Public Law 94-142 which supported social justice refor...
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The position of principal has evolved into one with many responsibilities ranging from managerial to visionary leader. Federal legislation has placed an added layer of responsibility through the implementation of Public Law 94-142 which supported social justice reforms that were meant to include students with disabilities and provide an education for them alongside their non-disabled peers. The changes brought about by this legislation and its iterations, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and No Child Left Behind Act, have supported inclusionary actions taken by schools and placed importance on effectiveness of the programs used to educate all students. Despite more students with disabilities being included in general education classrooms, schools still struggle with supporting effective inclusionary programs. This study conducted an exploration of a principal’s decision making processes by gathering descriptions of their background experiences, leadership, and structural management of inclusionary environments. It offers insight into what inclusionary environments look like through the eyes of the principal. Research was conducted through a case study with three principals using phenomenological techniques. This study revealed four themes that provide a vibrant description of the inclusionary environments in these principal’s buildings. The principals interviewed in this study discussed their background experiences as teachers, their professional certification coursework, leadership approaches and the structural management of inclusion. Their insight can help one to think about inclusion as they do on a daily basis.
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2020
The Instructional Leadership Role of Pennsylvania Public School Principals and Their Effect on Special Education Practices
The Instructional Leadership Role of Pennsylvania Public School Principals and Their Effect on Special Education Practices
Amanda Truitt-Smith
Pennsylvania public-school principals are expected to be instructional leaders for all students within their district. When it comes to leadership for students with disabilities, this role can be problematic due to a lack of experience in the field of special educati...
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Pennsylvania public-school principals are expected to be instructional leaders for all students within their district. When it comes to leadership for students with disabilities, this role can be problematic due to a lack of experience in the field of special education and pre-service special education training. Special education leadership should be a significant concern for school administrators as their roles have increased to ensuring successful outcomes for all students, the increased number of students placed in special education, the high cost associated with educating students in special education, and the due process ramifications if educational outcomes are not achieved. The research has demonstrated that overall, public-school principals receive little to no formal training in leading special education in pre-service or on-going professional development. The purpose of this research study was twofold. The research is helpful to colleges and universities when developing plans of study and programming for future public-school principal and leadership training degrees and certificates. This research also provides a platform where current Pennsylvania public-school principals can identify where their special education knowledge is lacking and how to become a better instructional leader for their own district’s special education population. This study provided insight into understanding the factors that contribute to the lack of special education training in special education programs by higher education entities.
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2019
A Phenomenological Study of Public High School Inclusive Extracurricular Opportunities
A Phenomenological Study of Public High School Inclusive Extracurricular Opportunities
Perspectives of Parents of Neurotypical Students
Rachel Ann Pasquerilla
Special educators, school leaders and parents across the nation are exploring the benefits of inclusive opportunities for high school students with and without disabilities. Peer Mediated Intervention (PMI) is a long-standing literature-backed set of teaching procedu...
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Special educators, school leaders and parents across the nation are exploring the benefits of inclusive opportunities for high school students with and without disabilities. Peer Mediated Intervention (PMI) is a long-standing literature-backed set of teaching procedures and models that promote prosocial development in individuals with developmental disabilities across the lifespan. Although PMI literature includes benefits to typical peers, little to no information exists specific to the high school and young adult population. The present study gathers qualitative interview data from four parent participants to gain authentic feedback about the takeaways for their typical high school student from their perspective. Many positive implications were uncovered in the thematic coding and data analysis process. Positive implications for peers can be utilized as support for the development and maintenance of future inclusive extracurricular activities in public high schools. Discussion around the findings of the study provide school leaders with clear and concise examples of this support, including but not limited to: increase in personal self-worth and empathy, college and career readiness opportunities, and community acceptance carryover.
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2019
A Survey Approach to Effects of Work Relates Stress Among Special Education Teachers
A Survey Approach to Effects of Work Relates Stress Among Special Education Teachers
Jessica Hall-Wirth
Teacher stress studies suggest that teacher stress has become progressively heightened. Researchers have acknowledged that teachers are stressed, and in turn, there has been an increase in burnout and turnover within the field. Seemingly, even with the magnitude of a...
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Teacher stress studies suggest that teacher stress has become progressively heightened. Researchers have acknowledged that teachers are stressed, and in turn, there has been an increase in burnout and turnover within the field. Seemingly, even with the magnitude of attention dedicated to preventing occupational stress, the prevalence is growing. In response, this study aimed to understand special education teachers and the stressors within their occupation. This study used a questionnaire using a Likert scale and opened ended questions to gain a better understanding of the stressors and overall well-being of special education teachers. The mixed methods approach allowed for a comprehensive look at 45 K-12 special education teachers within four school districts in Western Pennsylvania. The data was collected from April to May of 2018 and used the themes: (a) working conditions, (b) professional responsibilities, (c) student needs, and (d) student behavior to categorize the data. Data suggested that the working conditions and professional responsibilities provided the most stressors for special education teachers. The questionnaire also provided insight on an individual’s inability to differentiate between types of stressors. The implications of these findings for future research, professional development, and wellness education are discussed within this study.
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2018
A Survey Approach to Effects of Work Relates Stress Among Special Education Teachers
A Survey Approach to Effects of Work Relates Stress Among Special Education Teachers
Jessica Hall-Wirth
Teacher stress studies suggest that teacher stress has become progressively heightened. Researchers have acknowledged that teachers are stressed, and in turn, there has been an increase in burnout and turnover within the field. Seemingly, even with the magnitude of a...
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Teacher stress studies suggest that teacher stress has become progressively heightened. Researchers have acknowledged that teachers are stressed, and in turn, there has been an increase in burnout and turnover within the field. Seemingly, even with the magnitude of attention dedicated to preventing occupational stress, the prevalence is growing. In response, this study aimed to understand special education teachers and the stressors within their occupation. This study used a questionnaire using a Likert scale and opened ended questions to gain a better understanding of the stressors and overall well-being of special education teachers. The mixed methods approach allowed for a comprehensive look at 45 K-12 special education teachers within four school districts in Western Pennsylvania. The data was collected from April to May of 2018 and used the themes: (a) working conditions, (b) professional responsibilities, (c) student needs, and (d) student behavior to categorize the data. Data suggested that the working conditions and professional responsibilities provided the most stressors for special education teachers. The questionnaire also provided insight on an individual’s inability to differentiate between types of stressors. The implications of these findings for future research, professional development, and wellness education are discussed within this study.
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2018
Teachers' Attitudes Towards Inclusion and the Effect on Professional Development
Teachers' Attitudes Towards Inclusion and the Effect on Professional Development
Sub-Title test field.
Joyce A. Carr
Inclusive education has increased for students with disabilities within our public schools since the reauthorization of IDEA ( 1997). This change has resulted in a paradigm shift for both general and special education teachers. Research has shown the success of inclu...
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Inclusive education has increased for students with disabilities within our public schools since the reauthorization of IDEA ( 1997). This change has resulted in a paradigm shift for both general and special education teachers. Research has shown the success of inclusive education is impacted by many factors, one being the attitude of the teachers. Attitude is comprised of three components, Behavioral, Cognitive and Affective (Gregory & Noto, 2012). Understanding what component is a strength or an area that could use improvement will enable educational leaders to develop professional development and training opportunities to address their educators' gaps in attitude in regards to inclusive education. This study identified whether there was a relationship between teacher attitude about inclusion and their teaching assignment, level at which they teach and/or years of teaching experience. A survey was conducted resulting in 219 participants completing the necessary information to be included in the research, which included three demographic questions, as well as a nine item Likert scale questionnaire. General education teachers made up 69.90% of the participants, special education teachers made up 30.10%. Elementary educators were 58% of the respondents, secondary were 42%. Regarding years of teaching experiences for the participants, 7.3% had 0-3 years, 11.9% had 4-9 years and the largest majority of respondents, 80.80%, had ten years or more. After receiving the survey for this quantitative study, responses were analyzed using SPSS, descriptive statistics, Cronbach a, t-Tests, ANOVA and multiple linear regression. Findings of this study indicated general education teachers have a lower level of agreement than their special education colleagues in both the cognitive and affective components of attitude towards inclusion for students with disabilities. Results also indicated that teachers with more than ten years of teaching experience have lower cognitive agreement than those who have taught for fewer years. Lastly, the study showed there was no significant difference in regards to the three components based on the grade level teachers taught. From this study, recommendations for professional development and trainings, as well as future research, were addressed.
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2018
A Critical Analysis of Classroom Management Issues Within Early Childhood Classrooms
A Critical Analysis of Classroom Management Issues Within Early Childhood Classrooms
Cybill Reed
Classroom management has been the topic of many research studies in the past (Anderson & Kinaid, 2005; Carter & Pool, 2012; Chu, 2015; Ersozlu & Cacyi, 2016; Evertson, 1989; Grining, et al., 2010; Ritz et al., 2014). The purpose of this study was to examine what earl...
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Classroom management has been the topic of many research studies in the past (Anderson & Kinaid, 2005; Carter & Pool, 2012; Chu, 2015; Ersozlu & Cacyi, 2016; Evertson, 1989; Grining, et al., 2010; Ritz et al., 2014). The purpose of this study was to examine what early childhood teachers regarded as disruptive behaviors, what strategies were used to manage said behaviors, and the usefulness of using said strategies. All participants in this research were currently teaching in a Head Start or Pre-K classroom. To collect data for this study, a mixed method study was conducted. A quantitative survey was conducted to gather information on the types of classroom management strategies that were used and the frequency and usefulness of said strategy. To gather qualitative data for this study, four open-ended questions were asked at the beginning of the survey to gather more in-depth answers from teachers on classroom management. The participants interviewed for this study were certified teachers who were employed as early childhood teachers located in Western Pennsylvania. The interviews occurred during the 2017-2018 school year. Results from this study included five main findings. First, it was determined that disruptive behaviors vary between early childhood classrooms and that teachers would benefit from learning classroom management strategies that focus on managing a range of behaviors. Second, lack of knowledge in the time and consistency it takes to shape behaviors leads to teachers not committing to research-based classroom management techniques. Third, teachers have not had enough training in using research-based classroom management techniques for those techniques to be considered useful and effective in their classroom. Fourth, teachers need additional support within their classroom to better meet the needs of diverse learners. Finally, when specific research-based teaching strategies were used frequently, teachers found them to be very useful. Findings suggest that early childhood teachers would benefit and are in need of additional trainings in how to use research-based classroom management techniques to manage disruptive behaviors.
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2018