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IES Grant

Title: Promoting System-Wide Implementation of Evidence-Based Practice for Students with Severe Disabilities through Multi-Tier Professional Development
Center: NCSER Year: 2016
Principal Investigator: Brock, Matthew Awardee: Ohio State University
Program: Early Career Development and Mentoring      [Program Details]
Award Period: 4 years (7/1/2016-6/30/2020) Award Amount: $399,968
Goal: Training Award Number: R324B160009

Mentors: Laura Justice; Samuel Odom (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill)

Purpose: The Principal Investigator (PI) will conduct a program of research for improving the instructional strategies of paraprofessionals working with students with severe disabilities, and will participate in activities to develop expertise in randomized controlled trials with growth modeling, single-case designs, and grant writing. Previous research has identified three key features of professional development that promote fidelity; professional development must include effective training strategies (e.g., modeling, performance feedback, and self-monitoring), be sustained over time, and emphasize generalization of implementation fidelity to authentic contexts. However, there is currently no efficient and effective way to use these features to train large groups of paraprofessionals. The PI intends to develop and test the promise of a multi-tier system of training to improve paraprofessional implementation of systematic instructional strategies (i.e., simultaneous prompting, least-to-most prompting, and data collection and graphing) as well as outcomes for students with severe disabilities, preschool through high school.

Research Plan: The purpose of this project is to develop a paraprofessional training model and conduct a series of studies to refine and test the model. As a first step, the PI will develop a multi-tier training protocol for paraprofessionals that is grounded in features of effective staff training identified through the literature. The primary training sessions will provide opportunities for paraprofessionals to practice and receive feedback on implementation of instructional strategies, develop implementation plans, and share data on self-monitoring of their implementation. Next, the PI will pilot test the training to determine whether it can improve paraprofessional implementation fidelity and subsequent targeted student goals using a randomized controlled trial. The PI will then focus on more intensive training for paraprofessionals that do not respond to the primary level of training. This secondary training will involve paraprofessionals sharing videos of their instruction with one another to obtain feedback and develop an action plan for improvement. The PI will test this protocol in a single-case design study, identify a larger sample of paraprofessionals who do not respond to primary training, and test the promise of this secondary training among non-responders in a randomized controlled trial. Finally, the PI will develop the tertiary training consisting of one-to-one coaching. The protocol will be tested in a single-case design study, identifying a larger sample of paraprofessionals who do not respond to secondary training and then testing its promise using a series of single-case design studies. The PI aims to determine the effects of each tier individually and the combined multi-tier paraprofessional training program on implementation of systematic instructional practices, as well as examine the potential mediating effect of fidelity and moderating effects of various paraprofessional and student characteristics.

Career Plan: Through a career development plan, the PI intends to (1) develop expertise in randomized controlled trials with growth modeling, (2) develop expertise in single-case design and analysis, (3) establish an independent publication record, (4) develop IES grant proposals, and (5) build relationships with colleagues with shared research interests. To accomplish these goals, the PI will engage in monthly meetings with mentors, conferences, courses in longitudinal data analysis, intensive summer institutes for cluster-randomized trials and single-case design, and grant-writing workshops.


Journal article, monograph, or newsletter

Brock, M. E., Cannella-Malone, H. I., Seaman, R. L., Andzik, N. R., Schaefer, J. M., Page., E. J., Barczak, M., and Dueker, S. (2017). Findings across Practitioner Training Studies in Special Education: A Comprehensive Review and Meta-Analysis. Exceptional Chuildren. doi:10.1177/0014402917698008