Desiree W. Murray, Duke University
David Rabiner, Duke University
Abstract: Although attention problems adversely impact the academic performance of millions of students each year, effective interventions to enhance academic achievement for inattentive students have not been clearly documented. Recently, attention training interventions based on cognitive models of attention (i.e., Computerized Attention Training, CAT) have been developed with promising evidence of efficacy. Computer assisted instruction (CAI) is also considered to have great potential for improving academic performance in inattentive students. Although these programs are widely used in public schools, they have not been rigorously evaluated, and demonstrating the efficacy of either approach could have significant educational implications in that computer-based interventions can be readily disseminated.
The present study is a rigorous school-based evaluation of whether CAT, CAI, or their combination improves academic achievement in 1st graders with attention problems. Participants this year are 45 1st grade students identified via teacher ratings as highly inattentive. Following baseline assessments of students' achievement in reading and math, and classroom observations of their behavior, students were randomly assigned to receive CAT only, CAI only, CAT+CAI, or a wait-list control condition. Thirty hours of intervention will be provided this spring in 4 30-minute sessions per week, after which achievement measures and classroom observations will be repeated. A final wave of assessment data will be collected next year to assess for long-term effects, and a second cohort will be recruited. Results will allow us to determine whether either intervention, or their combination, improves attention, achievement, and school performance in students with attention difficulties.