Skip Navigation

Institute of Education Sciences


Funding Opportunities | Search Funded Research Grants and Contracts

IES Grant

Title: State Toolkit for Examining Post-School Success (STEPSS) Professional Development (PD) Project
Center: NCSER Year: 2012
Principal Investigator: Unruh, Deanne Grantee: University of Oregon
Program: Professional Development for Teachers and Related Services Providers      [Program Details]
Award Period: 9/1/2012-8/31/2015 Award Amount: $1,500,000
Goal: Development Award Number: R324A120277
Description:

Co-Principal Investigator: Charlotte Alverson

Purpose: State and national data show that youth with disabilities are less likely to attend postsecondary education or be employed than their peers without disabilities. State Education Agencies (SEAs) collect transition-related student data as part of their federal reporting requirements that can be used to improve youth outcomes by targeting areas of need and identifying appropriate evidence-based practices, yet there is no standard practice for using these data. The purpose of this study is to develop and test a professional development intervention, State Toolkit for Examining Post-School Success (STEPSS) Professional Development (PD) Project, that trains district Data Teams to use data-based decision making (DBDM) to develop, implement, and evaluate action plans in which evidence-based practices (EBP) and predictors of post-school success (PPSS) are used to improve students' secondary transition skills.

Project Activities: Approximately 20 school districts will be purposively selected from each of the four partner states. In year 1 of the study, the professional development modules and measures will be developed through the use of a Design Team consisting of the research team, SEA and Lead Education Agency (LEA) personnel from each state, and an expert panel. During year 2, the STEPSS PD modules will be tested and refined with four school districts. Finally, the pilot study will include 16 school districts purposively selected into treatment or comparison groups. The researchers will collect teacher outcome data, review documents, and conduct interviews with teachers/district administrators to evaluate the results of implementation. The intervention will be revised through an iterative process of implementation, data collection, and data analysis.

Products: The products of this project will include a fully developed district-level professional development intervention that trains districts' Data Teams in using DBDM to select EBP/PPSS using an action research model, peer-reviewed publications, and presentations.

Structured Abstract

Setting: This research will take place in high schools in Kentucky, Arizona, Oregon, and Rhode Island.

Sample: Approximately 20 school districts will be purposively selected from each of the four partner states. The 10 intervention school districts will be identified across the four states. The research team will then select from within each state a comparison school district that is matched based on the following key district characteristics: district size, percent of students with disabilities, racial diversity, and rural/urban locale.

Intervention: The intervention to be developed is State Toolkit for Examining Post-School Success (STEPSS) PD, which includes modules focused on making data-based decisions to implement evidence-based practices in transition using an action research model to accompany STEPSS. STEPSS is a web-based, data-based decision-making tool focused on educators' use of secondary transition data to improve in-school transition programs for youth with disabilities. Data Teams will use secondary transition data to determine barriers, challenges, and opportunities to develop action plans that identify evidence-based practices to meet the transition needs for youth with disabilities. Teachers and district administrators will take part in STEPSS PD and online modules to implement an action plan focused on evidence-based practices and predictors of post-school success (EBP/PPSS).

Research Design and Methods: This development study will use an iterative development process in years 1 and 2 of the study and a quasi-experimental design for the pilot study. During the iterative development phase, researchers will obtain feedback from the Design Team and expert panel. They will refine the measures by testing the PD modules and implementation measures from teachers and administrators from four school districts (2 intervention districts, 2 comparison districts) in year 2 of the study. The results of the initial test will be shared with the Design Team and the modules and measures will be refined. In year 3, researchers will pilot the PD with 16 school districts (8 interventions, 8 comparisons). Teachers and district administrators will use the STEPSS tool to review their state and district secondary transition outcome data, engage in an action research process of identifying a transition service gap, forming action research questions, reviewing additional data, developing an action plan based on the EBP/PPSS, implementing the action plan, and evaluating the impact of the action plan to solve the identified service gap.

Control Condition: Eight school districts will comprise the comparison group, each matched to a within-state intervention district on district size, percent of students with disabilities, racial diversity, and rural/urban locale.

Key Measures: The Data Teams' knowledge of EBP/PPSS, DBDM, and data interpretation will be evaluated through the online learning modules. In addition, the Data Team will be interviewed on their knowledge of DBDM and action planning. The researchers will conduct document reviews to examine current procedures for DBDM and action planning. An online survey and nominal group technique will be used by Design Teams to determine barriers, challenges, and opportunities for using secondary transition outcome data to inform the design process. The measures will be developed as part of the project (e.g., fidelity and feasibility forms for the Design Team, Data Team surveys and interviews, nominal group technique protocols, Goal Attainment Scales). These measures will be used to inform the iterative design process and document Data Teams' increased participant knowledge and change in behaviors for (a) using a data-based decision-making process, and (b) selecting and implementing evidence-based practices in secondary transition with participatory action planning.

Data Analytic Strategy: Quantitative data will be analyzed using descriptive statistics, frequency, t-tests, and analysis of covariance to determine content knowledge of EPB/PPSS and data interpretation, and process knowledge of DBDM. For the Goal Attainment Scales, t-scores will be used to evaluate the goal attainment score. Qualitative data will be analyzed using inductive and deductive emergent-themes coding and content analysis.


Back