Inside IES Research

Notes from NCER & NCSER

NCSER Researchers Receive Awards from the Council for Exceptional Children

In April, the annual Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) held its annual Convention and Expo, during which scholars were recognized for their research contributions to the field. A number of NCSER-funded investigators were among those honored by the CEC.

Michael Wehmeyer (right) received the CEC Special Education Research Award, which recognizes an individual or team whose research has made significant contributions to the education of children and youth with exceptionalities. Dr. Wehmeyer has served as the principal investigator (PI) on two NCSER-funded awards.  He tested the promise of efficacy for the Self-Determined Learning Model of Instruction, an intervention to promote self-determination, access to the general education curriculum, and support for the needs of students with disabilities to achieve academic and transition-related goals.  He and his research team are currently developing an assessment, the Self-Determination Inventory System, to measure self-determination for a range of disability groups as well as youth and young adults without disabilities.

Rob Horner (right) is the 2016 recipient of the Kauffman-Hallahan Distinguished Researcher Award. This honor, awarded by the CEC Division of Research, recognizes individuals or research teams who have made outstanding scientific contributions in basic or applied research in special education over the course of their careers. Dr. Horner has been the recipient of several IES-funded awards. He is currently testing the efficacy of Team-Initiated Problem Solving, a training and coaching intervention for teaching school teams to use behavioral and academic progress-monitoring data to define and solve problems. For a number of years Dr. Horner has also been a lead faculty member of the IES Summer Research Training Institute for Single-Case Intervention Research Design and Analysis, a professional development program that has increased the national capacity of education researchers to conduct methodologically rigorous single-case intervention studies.

Brian Boyd (left) is the winner of the 2016 Distinguished Early Career Research Award, an honor from CEC’s Division of Research that recognizes individuals with outstanding scientific contributions in special education research within the first 10 years after receiving a doctoral degree. Dr. Boyd has played key roles on several NCSER-funded grants, including as co-PI on an award to develop Advancing Social-Communication and Play (ASAP), an intervention aimed at improving the social-communication and play skills of preschoolers with Autism Spectrum Disorders. He is also the PI for a current grant examining the efficacy of ASAP.

All of this year’s CEC Division of Research award winners will give an invited presentation at the 2017 CEC Convention and Expo.  At this year’s convention, held April 13-16, the Division of Research award recipients from 2015 gave presentations. This includes two previous winners of the Distinguished Early Career Research Award – Karrie Shogren and Kent McIntosh – both of whom have been NCSER-funded investigators.

Karrie Shogren (right) had received an award from NCSER in which she analyzed data from the National Longitudinal Transition Study-2 to identify individual and environmental factors that predict self-determination and examine the relationship between self-determination and long-term outcomes of students with disabilities. As part of a current NCSER-funded project, Kent McIntosh (left) is conducting an exploratory study to identify malleable factors that enhance or inhibit the implementation and sustainability of school-wide social-emotional and behavior support practices, focusing on School-wide Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports.

The Division of Research was not the only CEC group awarding honors to NCSER-funded investigators. Maureen Conroy (right) was awarded the 2016 Outstanding Leadership Award from CEC’s Council for Children with Behavioral Disorders. This award recognizes an individual who has made significant contributions to research, leadership, teacher education, and policy in the field of behavior disorders. Dr. Conroy has received funding to develop a preventative classroom-based intervention that targets problem behaviors by preschool teachers and to evaluate the efficacy of BEST in CLASS, an intervention for young children at high risk for emotional and behavioral disorders.

IES congratulates all the winners!

Written by Amy Sussman, program officer, NCSER

IES Grantees Receive Award for Early Career Scientists and Engineers

By Dana Tofig, Director of Communications, IES

President Obama has named two Institute of Education Sciences (IES) grantees as recipients of the prestigious Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers. This is the highest honor given by the U.S. Government to science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers.

Christopher Lemons, of Peabody College of Vanderbilt University, and Cynthia Puranik, of Georgia State University, will be honored at a White House ceremony in the spring, along with 103 other recipients of the award. They were nominated for the award by the leadership of IES and the recipients were announced Thursday.

The awards, established by President Clinton in 1996, are coordinated by the Office of Science and Technology Policy within the Executive Office of the President. According to a White House statement, “the awardees are selected for their pursuit of innovative research at the frontiers of science and technology and their commitment to community service as demonstrated through scientific leadership, public education, or community outreach.”

Lemons and Puranik have both served as principal investigators for IES’ National Center for Education Research and National Center for Special Education Research.  Among the IES-funded research they have conducted together are “Enhancing Reading Instruction for Children with Down Syndrome: A Behavioral Phenotypic Approach” and “Peer Assisted Writing Strategies.”

Dr. Puranik, who was at the University of Pittsburgh when she was nominated, is currently an associate professor of Communications Sciences and Disorders in the College of Education and Human Development at Georgia State University in Atlanta. She is also an affiliate faculty for the Research on the Challenges of Acquiring Language and Literacy Initiative at Georgia State. In addition to the IES-funded research above, Dr. Puranik, was also the Principal Investigator for grant that sought to develop a test of emergent writing skills.

Dr. Lemons is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Special Education at Peabody College of Vanderbilt University and a member of the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center in Nashville. He is also co-director of the National Center for Leadership on Intensive Intervention, a senior advisor for the National Center on Intensive Intervention, and serves on the board of a number of scholarly journals, including his work as associate editor for the American Journal on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.