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IES Contract

Title: A Comprehensive Tool for Supporting Social and Emotional Learning Instruction for Students with High-Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder
Center: NCSER Year: 2016
Principal Investigator: Childress, Debra Awardee: 3-C Institute for Social Development
Program: Small Business Innovation Research in Special Education      [Program Details]
Award Period: 2 years (5/1/2016-4/31/2018) Award Amount: $899,904
Type: Phase II Development Award Number: EDIES16C0015

Project Website:

Video Demonstration of the Phase I Prototype:

Purpose: This project team will fully develop and test IvyScip, an online platform to support special education teachers and practitioners in formatively assessing, providing instruction, and tracking the social and emotional learning of elementary school students with High-Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder (HF-ASD). Research demonstrates that social and emotional learning instruction can play a significant role in the academic success of students with HF-ASD, almost all of whom demonstrate social cognition and language deficits. In spite of recent advances in diagnosis and treatment, there are few data-driven resources to support the social and emotional learning of students with HF-ASD.

Project Activities: During Phase I (completed in 2015), the project team developed a prototype of the IvyScip, including the front end user interface through which special education practitioners complete an assessment battery on strengths and needs of individual students, and a back-end information management system to house and organize the data. The research team tested the prototype with 61 special education practitioners and administrators at the end of Phase I. Researchers reported that respondents found the prototype useful and easy to use, and were likely to use the full product if developed as intended. In Phase II, the team will fully develop the software engine which will generate Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) for students based on the assessments, instructional materials for addressing student needs, and a mechanism to track student growth and needs over time. After development is complete, the research team will conduct a pilot study to assess the feasibility and usability, fidelity of implementation, and the promise of the platform for increasing the social and emotional learning of elementary school children with HF-ASD. The study will occur over six months and include 60 pairs of special education practitioners and grade school age students diagnosed with HF-ASD. Half of the pairs will be randomly assigned to use the product for the full six months and the other half will only use the platform for the final three months. Researchers will compare the pre-and-post scores of the groups on social emotional learning.

Product: The key components of the IvyScip platform will include a user interface for teachers to complete an assessment battery on individual students diagnosed with HF-ASD, a backend system for storing data, data-driven recommendations for supporting student needs, and reports on student progress over time. The platform will also include an online teacher implementation guide.