Inside IES Research

Notes from NCER & NCSER

The Comprehensive Assessment of Leadership for Learning: How We Can Support School Leaders to Improve Learning for All Students

As educational accountability policies continue to hold school leaders responsible for the success of their schools, it is crucial to assess and develop leadership throughout the school year. In honor of School Principals’ Day and the IES 20th Anniversary, we are highlighting NCER’s investment in formative leadership measures. In this guest blog, researchers Rich Halverson and Carolyn Kelley from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Mark Blitz from the Wisconsin Center for Education Products and Services discuss the development and evolution of their IES-funded Comprehensive Assessment of Leadership for Learning (CALL).

What is CALL?

CALL is a survey tool based on a distributed leadership model that emphasizes the work of leaders rather than their positions or identities. In 2008, we led a team of researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison to identify the key leadership tasks necessary for school improvement, regardless of who made the tasks happen. The CALL survey invites each educator in a school to assess the degree to which these core tasks are conducted, then aggregates these responses to provide a school-level portrait of the state of leadership practice in their school.

How was CALL developed?

Our CALL team relied on over 30 years of research on leadership for school improvement to name about 100 key tasks in five domains of practice. The team then worked over a year with expert educators and leaders to articulate these tasks into survey items phrased in language that teachers would readily understand as describing the work that happens every day in their schools. We designed each item to assess the presence and quality of leadership practices, policies, and programs known to improve school quality and student learning. We validated the survey with qualitative and quantitative analyses of survey content, structure, and reliability.

What inspired you to develop CALL?

We believed a measure like CALL is necessary in the era of data-driven decision-making. Educators are inundated by accountability and contextual data about their schools, but they are left on their own for data to help them understand how to develop and implement the strategies, policies, and programs that support student success. Traditional school data systems leave a hole where feedback matters most for educators–at the practice-level where the work of leaders and educators unfolds. That is the hole that CALL is designed to fill.

How is the CALL different from other leadership surveys?

Traditional surveys include items that invite educators to rate their leaders on important tasks using Likert scale measures. The results of these surveys produce scores that allow leaders to be rated and compared. But, as a school leader, it is hard to know what to do with a 3.5 score on an item like “My principal is an effective instructional leader.” CALL items are designed differently. Each CALL item response represents a distinct level of practice, so respondents can learn about optimum practices simply by taking the survey. If the collected responses by educators in your school averaged a “2” on one of the items, the description of the next level practice (“3”) clearly articulates an improvement goal.

In addition, our online CALL reporting tools provide formative feedback by allowing users to compare item and domain scores between academic departments and grade levels, as well as across schools. The reports name specific areas of strength and improvement, and also suggest research-driven strategies and resources leaders can use to improve specific aspects of leadership.

How did CALL transition into a commercial measure?

The CALL project provides a model of how IES-funded research can have broad impact in schools around the country. We are thrilled that CALL developed into the rare educational survey that was embraced by the people who tested it as well as the research community. Many of our development partners asked about whether they could continue with CALL as the survey took on new life as a commercial product after our grant ended.

The Wisconsin Center for Education Products and Services (WCEPS) provided us with the business services and the support to bring CALL to market. CALL became a WCEPS partner in 2014 and has since developed into a successful leadership and school improvement resource. Under the leadership of WCEPS’s Mark Blitz, the CALL model became a framework to build successful collaborations with learning and research organizations across the country.

Leading professional learning groups such as WestEd, WIDA, the Southern Regional Education Board, and the Georgia Leadership Institute for School Improvement worked with Mark and the WCEPS team to build customized CALL-based formative feedback systems for their clients. Research partners at East Carolina University, Teachers College, and the University of Illinois at Chicago used CALL to collect baseline data on leadership practices for school improvement and principal preparation projects. CALL has also developed customized versions of the survey to support leadership for personalized learning (CALL PL) and virtual learning (Long Distance CALL). These partnerships have provided opportunities for hundreds of schools and thousands of educators to experience the CALL model of formative feedback to improve teaching and learning in schools.

What’s the next step for CALL?

In 2021, the CALL project entered a new era of leadership for equity. With the support of the Wallace Foundation, we created CALL for Equity Centered Leadership (CALL-ECL) to provide school districts with feedback on the leadership practices that create more equitable schools. CALL-ECL is part of a $100 million+ Wallace Foundation initiative to transform how districts across the country develop partnerships to prepare and support a new generation of equity-centered leaders. According to Wallace Research Director Bronwyn Bevan, “The foundation is excited about CALL-ECL because it will help leaders identify the organizational routines that sustain inequality and replace them with routines that help all students thrive.”

Our $8 million, six-year CALL-ECL project will document the development of these new preparation and support program, and will create a new CALL survey as an information tool to describe and assess equity-centered leadership practices. We believe that by 2027, CALL-ECL will be able to share the practices of equity-centered leadership developed through the Wallace initiatives with districts and schools around the world. Our hope is that CALL-ECL will give school leaders and leadership teams the data they need to continually evolve toward better opportunities and outcomes for all young people.


Richard Halverson is the Kellner Family Chair of Urban Education and Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis in the UW-Madison School of Education. He is also a co-director of the Comprehensive Assessment of Leadership for Learning and leads the Wallace Foundation Equity-Centered Leadership Pipeline research project.

 

Carolyn Kelley is a distinguished professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis. Dr. Kelley’s research focuses on strategic human resources management in schools, including teacher compensation, principal and teacher evaluation, and leadership development.

 

Mark Blitz is the project director of the Comprehensive Assessment of Leadership for Learning (CALL) at the Wisconsin Center for Education Products & Services.

 

 

This blog was produced by Katina Stapleton (Katina.Stapleton@ed.gov), program officer for NCER’s education leadership portfolio.

 
 
 

Research to Inform Stronger Adult Education ESL Policy and Practice

April is National Bilingual/Multilingual Learner Advocacy Month! As part of the IES 20th Anniversary celebration, we are highlighting NCER’s investments in field-initiated research. In this guest blog, Drs. Nikki Edgecombe (Community College Research Center at Teachers College, Columbia University) and George Bunch (University of California, Santa Cruz) discuss their IES-funded study focused on identifying the policies and practices that support multilingual learners (MLs) in community colleges, the important role of adult education English as a Second Language (adult ed ESL), and some of the lessons learned. MLs in community colleges, a significantly understudied population, include students who were classified as English learners in K-12 but also more recent arrivals to the US with a wide variety of education backgrounds and adult immigrants and refugees who have lived in the US for a number of years.  

Vital Role of Adult Education ESL

The demands on and opportunities for adult education programs, specifically adult ed ESL, are growing. The programs are affordable and accessible to immigrant communities and people with lower levels of academic preparation—many of whom were hit hard by the pandemic and disproportionately experienced negative education, health, and economic consequences. Simultaneously, the pandemic highlighted the increasing, critical need for multilingual workers across fields, including education, healthcare, and government. Adult ed ESL programs can help bring those workers into the labor market.

According to the National Reporting System for Adult Education, in program year 2021-22, nationally, free or low-cost adult education programs enrolled about 900,000 students, with nearly 50 percent in English language acquisition or integrated English literacy and civics education programs. Sixteen states house adult education programs in community and technical colleges, often in addition to other community-based and educational settings (see this site for information about state grants). These programs provide a unique opportunity for students to improve “everyday” English skills and serve as a ready-made pathway to a postsecondary credential. Yet, the programs and their students face a number of challenges. 

Asking the Questions Practitioners Want Answers To

For the last 4 years, we examined policies and practices that affect the experiences and outcomes of MLs in a large midwestern community college district. The research has focused on adult ed ESL, in part at the recommendation of our district partners. The district serves thousands of ESL students annually, and institutional leaders have actively pursued improvements to program access, instruction, and progression. As we learned more about the improvement efforts underway, we were able to gain a clearer picture of the stringent federal and state policies adult education operates under, which have at times challenged district leaders' ability to make the kinds of changes necessary to enhance student outcomes. Our institutional partners are not deterred, however, and continue to seek ways to strengthen their adult education program, make it more student-centered, and make policy more effective. They consider research an important resource in this improvement process. As such, we both documented their efforts and examined how the policy context affected what they were doing.

What We Are Finding

We wanted to better understand who the MLs are, their life circumstances, their college experiences, and their goals. We reported the following trends to our community college partners.  

  • Adult ed ESL students are older and less likely to be working than their peers in credit programs. As a group, they are more likely to either have not earned a high school diploma or GED or have previously earned a baccalaureate degree or higher. Adult ed ESL students in our survey sample report enrolling in adult ed ESL to improve their everyday English literacy skills, to strengthen their employment prospects and prepare themselves for the language and literacy demands of further postsecondary education.
  • The multiple ESL levels required by policy may generate obstacles to progression, particularly for students who initially place in the lower levels of the sequence. MLs in our partner district place into 1 of 6 adult ed ESL courses. As research has previously established, community college students rarely persist through long sequences of courses, and our preliminary administrative data analysis shows students in our sample generally persist for less than 2 semesters. In response, our district partner developed a full-time position to help students in the transitions into, through, and out of adult education; has offered short (4- and 8-week) courses; built out dedicated academic and nonacademic supports; and created an intentional on-ramp to credit programs. Nonetheless, the length of the sequence appears to undermine retention and progression.
  • The prescribed assessment and placement procedures make it difficult for community college-based adult ed ESL programs to meet the varied English language learning needs of enrollees. Language learning is a complex phenomenon that requires students to develop a range of productive (speaking and writing) and receptive (listening and reading) literacy skills for a wide range of academic, professional, and community participation goals. That learning can look quite different for different students in different education environments and proficiency measurement is equally complex. Our district partner used one of the federally mandated assessments to both place students and measure their proficiency gains. The test is relatively inexpensive and easy to administer, but it only measures reading, just one aspect of language proficiency, leaving no consistent record of proficiency levels in speaking, listening, and writing.

New Directions in Adult Ed ESL Policy Research

Early findings from the study have the potential to inform changes in policy and practice at our district partner. Our findings also raise issues that federal and state policymakers and practitioners working on the ground may need to work together to answer, including how policy systems can balance the perceived need for standards and accountability with community colleges’ need to structure and administer the programs in ways that best meet the needs of MLs.

To pursue this line of inquiry, we will explore the origin and rationale for adult ed ESL policy and how that policy translates from federal to state to institutional providers. We will also learn more about the goals and experiences of adult ed ESL students coming out of the pandemic, explore the perceptions and experiences of adult educators and program staff, and provide formative feedback on the reform efforts underway at our district partner with a particular focus on whether and how policy is helping or hindering their ability to meet their goals.


This blog was produced by Dr. Meredith Larson (Meredith.Larson@ed.gov), research analyst and program officer at NCER.

Smooth Sailing Using the Neurodiversity Paradigm: Developing Positive Classrooms Experiences for Autistic Students

In honor of Autism Awareness Month, we’d like to highlight an IES-funded research project on autism spectrum disorder and discuss how the current framework of neurodiversity informs this research. In recent years, the neurodiversity paradigm has been an increasingly popular way of viewing autism and other neurodevelopmental conditions. Neurodiversity is a term coined in the late 1990s by Judy Singer to refer to natural human variation in neurotypes. Neurodivergent individuals diverge from the norm, usually with conditions such as autism, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, or dyslexia. Rather than focusing on deficits, this paradigm supports a strength-based view of these conditions while still acknowledging individual challenges. For this blog, we interviewed Dr. Jan Blacher and Dr. Abbey Eisenhower, principal investigators who created a professional development (PD) program supporting general education teachers of students on the autism spectrum. In the interview below, the researchers describe how their PD program works and how it uses the neurodiversity paradigm to strengthen relationships between autistic students and their teachers.

What is Smooth Sailing and what led you to develop it?

Headshot of Dr. Abbey EisenhowerHeadshot of Dr. Jan Blacher

Smooth Sailing is the nickname for our PD for general education teachers in kindergarten through second grade who have at least one student on the autism spectrum in their classrooms. The catalyst for the program was the findings from our previous project on student-teacher relationships, indicating that teachers are central to facilitating positive school experiences, especially for autistic students. Warm, positive student-teacher relationships are predictive of academic engagement and social adjustment.

The program provides coaching-based support for teachers, equips them with strategies for building strong relationships with autistic students, and enables them to expand on their students' strengths and interests in the classroom. Developed by educators, clinicians, and researchers in partnership with teachers and autistic individuals, Smooth Sailing uses an autism-affirming, neurodiversity perspective throughout the program.

What makes this program unique?                                                                                                                

Smooth Sailing recognizes the importance of relationships—especially student-teacher relationships—in making school a positive and welcoming place for students.

Our program prioritizes a neurodiversity perspective on autism: We recognize autism as a set of differences that are part of the diversity of human experience. In order to best support autistic students, we must provide an affirming context that embraces their strengths and differences. This approach contrasts with a deficit-based model, which focuses on changing children and their behaviors. The deficit model could impair relationships between students and their teachers, making academic engagement and social adjustment worse.

Finally, Smooth Sailing is unique for centering on autistic people as key contributors to shaping program content so that the program reflects the lived realities of autistic students.

What have you learned while developing and testing the Smooth Sailing intervention?

We have learned several important lessons:

(1) During the initial research for our intervention, findings indicated that only 8% of general education teachers in the study had received any professional training in autism. This provides a clear-cut mandate for more autism-focused training for these educators.

(2) After the intervention, general education teachers endorsed three key Smooth Sailing strategies for reaching out to their autistic students: (a) identifying interests, (b) celebrating talents, and (c) having one-on-one time to form stronger relationships. We learned that these simple strategies are ones every teacher can adopt to create more inclusive classrooms and cultivate stronger relationships with students, especially autistic students.

(3) Overall, teachers who received the Smooth Sailing PD experienced significant improvements in the quality of their relationships with autistic students, including higher student-teacher closeness and lower student-teacher conflict, compared to teachers who had not received the program. Thus, in addition to other positive outcomes for teachers and children, we learned that our brief program (12 hours over 4 weeks) was sufficient for moving the needle on the critical construct of student-teacher relationship quality.

How does respect for neurodiversity inform the Smooth Sailing intervention and your philosophies as researchers?

One key factor that has been transformative to the resulting Smooth Sailing program has been our close consultation with current and former autistic students. As part of developing the Smooth Sailing program for teachers, our research team interviewed many autistic adolescents and adults about their school experiences, their advice for teachers, and their opinions on making schools more affirming and inclusive. In addition, we closely engaged autistic adults as expert consultants during our program development process. These consultants advised on teacher-focused content, reviewed materials, and weighed in on program changes.

The rich information we learned from the interviews and intensive consultation substantially impacted the content of the resulting program. To offer one example, these interviews showed us the outsized power of a positive student-teacher relationship, even with just one teacher, in making school a bearable place for autistic students.

Because many autistic students describe their school experiences as ableist and marginalizing, our team's programming aims to disrupt these school problems by building strong student-teacher relationships and fostering teachers' understanding of autism through an affirming, neurodiversity-informed lens. By incorporating first-person perspectives of autistic students and adults in its creation and content, our programs affirm the lived realities of autistic students. 

What needs are still unmet for general education teachers working with autistic students?

We have heard from teachers and administrators at all K-12 levels—high school, middle school, and later elementary school—that they would like access to similar autism-focused PD programs targeted to the student age ranges they teach. We think that creating a school culture that affirms neurodiversity starts by fostering understanding between students and all school staff, not just primary classroom teachers.  

What's next for the Smooth Sailing project?

We hope to expand the Smooth Sailing PD program to the early childhood education context. Unfortunately, our research has shown that, by the time they enter elementary school, one out of every six autistic children has been expelled from a preschool or childcare program. Viewed through a social justice lens, this preschool expulsion is an educational equity issue.

Early childhood educators are key to improving these early school experiences. We believe that preschool and childcare educators can be catalysts in providing an inclusive environment by forming strong relationships with autistic and neurodivergent children. That said, most early childhood educators report having no professional training in autism, feeling underprepared to meet the needs of autistic children, and wanting more support for inclusion. We hope that programs like Smooth Sailing can be applied to support educators working with preschool-age children who are autistic or neurodivergent, many of whom are not yet diagnosed, so that their first school experiences can be enriching and inclusive.

Jan Blacher is a distinguished research professor in the School of Education and the director of the SEARCH Family Autism Research Center at the University of California, Riverside. Abbey Eisenhower is an associate professor in the Psychology Department at the University of Massachusetts, Boston.   

This blog was authored by Juliette Gudknecht, an intern at IES, along with Emily Weaver (Emily.Weaver@ed.gov), program officer at NCSER with oversight of the portfolio of autism grants.

English Learners: Analyzing What Works, for Whom, and Under What Conditions?

April is National Bilingual/Multilingual Learner Advocacy Month! In this guest blog, Dr. Ryan Williams, principal researcher at the American Institutes for Research, describes his IES-funded project focused on identifying factors that help explain variation in the effects programs have on English learner student outcomes using a broad systematic review and meta-analysis.  

Over the past two decades, empirical research on programs that support English language and multilingual learners has surged. Many of the programs that researchers have studied are designed to support English literacy development and are tailored to the unique needs of English learners. Other programs are more general, but researchers often study program impacts on English learners in addition to impacts on a broader population of students. Relatively few attempts have been made to identify common findings across this literature. Even fewer attempts have been made to identify meaningful sources of variation that drive program impacts for English learner students—that is, understanding what works, for whom, and under what conditions. To help provide educators and policymakers answers to those important questions, we conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of the effectiveness of programs and strategies that may support English language learner students.

Our Systematic Review Process

We conducted a broad search that combed through electronic databases, unpublished ‘grey’ literature (for example, working papers, conference presentations, or research briefs), and sources that required hand-searching such as organizational websites. After documenting our primary decision-making factors within a review protocol, we applied a set of rigorous criteria to select studies for inclusion in the meta-analysis. We ultimately identified 83 studies that met our inclusion criteria. Each of these were randomized field studies that included English learner students in grades PK-12 and student academic learning outcomes such as English literacy, mathematics, science, and social studies. Each of the included studies was systematically coded to capture characteristics about the research methods, students and schools, settings, programs, outcome measures, and importantly, the program impacts that the studies reported. We then conducted a meta-analysis to understand the relationships between the characteristics we coded and the program impacts.

Preliminary Findings

We are still working on finalizing our analyses; however, our initial analyses revealed several interesting findings.

  • Programs that included support for students to develop their first language skills tended to have larger improvements in student learning. This is consistent with prior research that suggests that supporting first language development can lead to improved learning in core content areas. However, the initial findings from this meta-analysis build on the prior research by providing empirical evidence across a large number of rigorous studies.
  • There are some particularly promising practices for educators serving English learner students. These promising practices include the use of content differentiation, the use of translation in a student’s first language, and a focus on writing. Content differentiation aligns with best practices for teaching English learners, which emphasize the importance of providing instruction that is tailored to language proficiency levels and academic needs. The use of first language translation can be helpful for English learner students, as it can support their ability to access and comprehend academic content while they are still building their English proficiency. Focusing on writing can also be particularly important for English learners, as writing is often the last domain of language proficiency for students to develop. Our preliminary findings that English learner writing skills are responsive when targeted by instructional programs may hold implications for how to focus support for students who are nearing but not yet reaching English proficiency.
  • The type of test used to measure program impact was related to the size of the program impact on student learning that studies found. Specifically, we found that it is reasonable to expect smaller program impacts when examining state standardized tests and larger impacts for other types of tests. This is consistent with findings from prior meta-analyses based on more general student populations, and it demonstrates the same applies when studying program impacts for English learner students. Statewide standardized tests are typically designed to cover a broad range of state content standards and thus may not reflect improvements in more specific areas of student learning targeted by a given program. On the other hand, researcher-developed tests may align too closely with a program and may not reflect broader, policy-relevant, changes in learning. Our initial evidence suggests that to understand program impacts for English learner students—or any group of students—we may want to use established, validated assessments but not only consider statewide standardized tests.

Next Steps

In terms of next steps, we will complete the meta-analysis work this summer and focus on disseminating the findings through multiple avenues, including a journal publication, review summaries on the AIR website, and future conference proceedings. In addition, we are working to deepen our understanding of the relationships identified in this study and explore promising avenues for practice and future research.

If you’d like to continue learning and see the results of this study, please continue to check back at AIR’s Methods of Synthesis and Integration Center project page, located here.


This blog was produced by Helyn Kim (Helyn.Kim@ed.gov), program officer for the English Learners portfolio, NCER.

Paving Better Paths to the Future through Gender-Specific Curricula Interventions

Young women and men with disabilities face unique barriers in the transition from school to adulthood. In recognition of the IES 20th anniversary, we are spotlighting Paths 2 the Future, a career development intervention for students with disabilities with gender-specific versions for boys and girls. For this blog post, virtual intern Audrey Im checks in with IES grantees Dr. Lauren Lindstrom (University of California, Davis) and Dr. John Lind (University of Oregon) about their experiences iteratively developing Paths 2 the Future. What started as an intervention to provide career guidance to high school girls with disabilities has now expanded to a package of interventions that also address the needs of high school-aged men with disabilities and underserved students of all genders.

Headshot of Dr. Lauren Lindstrom

In 2007, Lauren Lindstrom (then a senior research associate at the University of Oregon) received a grant from the National Center for Special Education Research (NCSER) to develop PATHS, a curriculum to improve education and career outcomes of high school girls with learning disabilities, ADD/ADHD, and emotional or behavioral disabilities. Lindstrom and her team created a curriculum advancing gender equity, disability awareness, and career readiness, which was then implemented in six high schools as an 18-week program.

According to Dr. Lindstrom, her team created PATHS just for girls after examining the disparate post-school outcomes for high school girls with disabilities enrolled in existing transition programs. “I consistently noticed that the girls were less likely to go to work, and if they went to work, they were working in really low-wage jobs,” she said. “And this was with the benefit of an intervention, right? Same kind of disabilities, same schools, but very different outcomes. So that really sparked my interest.”

In 2015, Dr. Lindstrom received a second grant to conduct a randomized controlled trial to test whether the intervention, now called Paths 2 the Future (P2F), improved career knowledge and skills among participants.

“We realized that this was probably one of the very first randomized controlled trials of a gender-specific career intervention,” Lindstrom said.

Lindstrom and her team sampled 366 girls with high-incidence disabilities in 26 Oregon high schools. The girls randomly assigned to the P2F intervention received the curriculum’s four core modules on self-awareness, disability knowledge, gender identity, and career and college readiness. They also received extensive information on career-related activities. The girls in the control group received the existing transition services of their respective schools. This study period lasted one 18-week semester and included a 6-month follow up with the students.

The P2F study found that the girls in the treatment group not only had more awareness of their identity and career possibilities after completing the curriculum, but they also had more confidence to talk about those topics. “The nature of being in a girl-only class really mattered,” Lindstrom said. “The students told us they felt safe there. They said things like ‘I’m a different person now. I feel empowered to talk, to think differently about my future.’” Lindstrom’s study also found that students in the treatment group were more likely to seek and have work experience in high school, an important observation as early work experience has proven to be a predictor for their future employment.

Headshot of Dr. John Lind

Lindstrom’s co-PI and research collaborator, Dr. John Lind, wondered if the P2F model would also work for boys. Lind, a research associate at the University of Oregon, received a 2019 IES grant Paths to the Future for Young Men (P2F-Young Men) to modify the P2F curriculum to take into account the specific needs of high school boys with high-incidence disabilities. These needs included (but were not limited to) building healthy relationships, breaking down gender stereotypes, and managing anger and stress.

“I think these needs are applicable to a range of genders but doing it in a classroom with just young men opens up the opportunity for potentially deeper discussions,” Lind said. “And that’s feedback that we’ve gotten anecdotally from the teachers we work with.”

After fully developing the P2F-Young Men curriculum, the researchers are currently conducting a small randomized controlled trial with eight teachers and their students at Oregon high schools. Although they are still in the process of collecting data for this study, Lind noted that teachers report that having a gender-specific curriculum helped the boys feel more comfortable in having discussions. “This is anecdotal at this point,” Lind acknowledged, “but if that stands true by the end of our study, I think that’s a really important finding.”

To Lindstrom and Lind, having separate curriculum interventions for different genders was necessary to address gender-specific issues and foster a safe learning environment. At the same time, they felt that it was important for all students across the gender spectrum to have access to these curricula to promote social-emotional development and build knowledge of career pathways.

“Teachers and schools have come to us and said, well is it just for cisgender students or people who are born as a certain gender? And our answer to that is no,” Lind affirmed. “What we’ve done with P2F-Young Men is create a transition curriculum for people who identify as young men. We start early in the curriculum of getting to know yourself, exploring yourself, your strength.”

In 2017, through funding from the National Center for Education Research (NCER), Lindstrom and Lind also developed a non-gender-specific version of the curriculum called P2F for All. This curriculum was targeted to underserved youth who face barriers to educational attainment and, due to a variety of reasons, may not be receiving transition services or college and career readiness support. Their study developed and tested the new P2F for All curriculum and found that it increased participating students’ career readiness, emotional coping skills, and interpersonal skills.

P2F for All aimed to take the findings from their gender-specific studies focused on the needs of students with disabilities and create a new, comprehensive career readiness curriculum—one that succeeded at addressing the needs of underserved students, not just those identified for special education services, regardless of gender. “What we strive to do in special education is provide services that are individualized and meet the needs of the person,” Lind said. “I think we’ve got a range of lessons to address that, and, ultimately, I think that lessons could be pulled out of a menu to meet specific needs for all students.”

Lauren Lindstrom is a professor and dean of the School of Education at the University of California, Davis. Prior to UC-Davis, Dr. Lindstrom served more than 25 years as an academic and administrator at the University of Oregon’s College of Education. Dean Lindstrom is an active researcher whose areas of interest include inclusive education, gender equity, career and college readiness and transition services for youth with disabilities. 

John Lind is a research associate at the University of Oregon’s College of Education. As a former special education teacher, Dr. Lind has extensive experience developing and implementing strength-based interventions for youth with disabilities, including adolescents with emotional and behavior disabilities. He has also worked as an educational consultant, providing training and technical assistance to international, national, and state departments of education on issues related to IDEA, effective classroom management, multi-tiered levels of support, and inclusion. Currently, he is the director of the SIGnetwork, a clearinghouse of resources for the OSEP-funded State Personnel Development Grantees.

This blog was written by Virtual Student Federal Service Intern Audrey Im and produced by Katina Stapleton (Katina.Stapleton@ed.gov). Akilah Nelson (Akilah.Nelson@ed.gov) is the program officer for the IES Transition to Postsecondary Education, Career, and/or Independent Living portfolio. The blog is part of a larger series on DEIA in Education Research.