Jeanne Wilcox of Arizona State University (ASU), a NCSER-funded researcher, was awarded the 2013 Margaret B. Lindsey Award for Distinguished Research in Teacher Education by the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE). The award recognizes an investigator whose research over the past decade has made a substantial impact on the field of teacher education. She received the award at the AACTE's annual meeting in Orlando, FL.
Wilcox received the award based on her 30-year career of significant contributions to early childhood and early childhood special education. The AACTE selection committee noted her extensive publication and presentation record in the field, as well as her sharing of knowledge and expertise in teacher education research with state, national, and international organizations. Her research encompasses effective training of graduate and undergraduate students to work with young children with special needs, with an emphasis on innovative teaching and teaching research.
Describing herself as a translational researcher who focuses on developing and evaluating teaching practices in real life settings, Wilcox said: "My primary focus is on trying to figure out what works. Of course when you are working with teachers and kids in preschools, it can be challenging to try and understand all the variables that come into play. You must have a high tolerance for messiness in your research design, and a creative streak to help you disentangle and understand the variables that result in children's growth and learning."
NCSER has awarded Wilcox three research grants: (1) developing a language and early literacy curriculum called Teaching Emergent Literacy and Language Across the Curriculum for use with preschool children with developmental disabilities; (2) conducting a randomized controlled trial of Teaching Emergent Literacy and Language Across the Curriculum; and (3) developing an Individualized Family Service Plan form and accompanying web-based performance support system to help service providers develop and increase the use of adaptive materials or assistive technology for infants and toddlers with disabilities.
Wilcox is the Nadine Mathis Basha Professor of Early Childhood, and Director, Infant Child Research Programs at ASU's Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College.
Lynn Gelzheiser of the State University of New York, Albany—along with co-authors Donna Scanlon, Frank Vellutino, Laura Hallgren-Flynn, and Christopher Schatschneider—received the Albert J. Harris Research Award for a journal article based on NCSER-funded research. The Albert J. Harris Award is given for a recently published journal article that makes an outstanding contribution to our understanding of prevention or assessment of reading or learning disabilities. Gelzheiser and her co-authors received the award during the Research Address and Award session of the International Reading Association's Annual Convention in San Antonio, TX on April 20.
Gelzheiser, the principal investigator, collaborated with Scanlon and Vellutino to extend their Interactive Strategies Approach for use with older struggling readers. The Interactive Strategies Approach—Extended (ISA-X) is designed to be responsive to individual students' capabilities, as it addresses multiple instructional goals, including motivation to read, foundational reading skills, word identification strategies, comprehension and general knowledge, and vocabulary.
The award-winning article describes a preliminary evaluation of the intervention with fourth-grade students. Half of the students received the ISA-X in the fall semester and the other half, the waitlist control group, did not receive the intervention until the spring. Results demonstrated significant effects of the intervention on measures of reading comprehension and accuracy, basic reading skills, and social studies vocabulary.
"The goal of this project was for public school teachers to promote growth among students with disabilities," Gelzheiser said. "We are grateful for the award, as it serves to draw attention to our finding that students with IEPs (Individualized Education Programs) can make meaningful progress in reading comprehension and content knowledge if they are provided with instruction that is comprehensive and tailored to their individual needs. With appropriate professional development, practicing teachers can provide comprehensive and responsive instruction and produce students who are stronger readers."
Gelzheiser and her colleagues are currently conducting research on the efficacy of the ISA-X with NCSER funding.