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IES Grant

Title: TAGG-A: Developing, Validating, and Disseminating a New Secondary Transition Assessment for Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities Taught to Alternate Achievement Standards
Center: NCSER Year: 2016
Principal Investigator: Williams-Diehm, Kendra Awardee: University of Oklahoma
Program: Transition to Postsecondary Education, Career, and/or Independent Living      [Program Details]
Award Period: 4 years (7/1/20166/30/2020) Award Amount: $1,599,940
Type: Measurement Award Number: R324A160160
Description:

Co-Principal Investigator: Renee Cameto (SRI International)

Purpose: The purpose of this project is to create a new transition assessment for students with significant cognitive disabilities (SWSCD) taught to alternate achievement standards, Transition Assessment and Goal Generator—Alternate (TAGG-A). TAGG-A is based on an assessment originally developed with previous IES funding that was focused more generally on students with disabilities to plan for life after high school. Federal laws require use of transition assessments to identify the needs of secondary students and support them prior to high school graduation. However, few assessments exist with sufficient evidence of validity for SWSCD and none have constructs derived from research associated with post-school outcomes to help students, parents, and educators plan for transition from high school. The TAGG-A will be easily accessible to educators and pre-service faculty across the country to use for assessing further education, employment, and independent living behaviors of SWSCD that research has identified as associated with positive postsecondary outcomes of transition-aged SWSCD. The tool will enable the users to include student transition goals, identify interventions, and provide supports that can be incorporated into transition plans and Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) and enable all users to track progress over time.

Project Activities: The research team will replicate the methods used to develop the web-based TAGG creating three versions: TAGG-AS (Student), TAGG-AF (Family), and the TAGG-AP (Professional). The assessment development will begin with a literature review to include research-identified behaviors, and theory where appropriate, to build and define TAGG-A constructs, items, and the scoring system. Two nationwide field tests will be conducted to establish validity. When completed, educators will be able to download at no-cost from the TAGG-A website the TAGG-A Technical Manual, User's Guide, and other supporting material.

Products: The primary products from this project include the TAGG-A Technical Manual, User's Guide, and other supporting material available online. In addition, products include peer-reviewed publications and presentations.

Structured Abstract

Setting: The research will take place in secondary schools across the country within 20 participating states and the home of parents with participating transition-aged SWSCD.

Sample: A total of 850 transition-aged SWSCD will participate across 3 years of data collection. A total of 335 special education professionals and 850 parents or guardians of SWSCD will evaluate students using the TAGG-A.

Assessment: The web-based TAGG-A will be used to assess further education, employment, and independent living behaviors that research has identified as associated with positive postsecondary outcomes of secondary transition-aged SWSCD. The TAGG-A will have three versions: TAGG-AS (Student), TAGG-AF (Family), and the TAGG-AP (Professional). Universal Design for Learning principles will be used to create items accessible to students with varied cognitive and communications skills, and educators will select one or more of these delivery options for their students: (a) audio, (b) word highlighting, and (c) visual representation. The intervention's algorithms will produce graphic results organized by construct (i.e., education, employment, independent living) and respondent (i.e., student, family, professional). The results will also include lists of students' greatest and relative strengths and needs, a written summary of results, two recommended annual transition goals based on each student's greatest needs and relative strengths, and three measureable objectives and coordinated activities matched with the transition goals. This output from the profile can then be placed into the transition sections of students' IEPs and transition plans to increase compliance with the laws as well as make the use and implementation of the plans easier for everyone on the IEP team.

Research Design and Methods: Two nationwide field tests will be conducted to inform the development and refinement of TAGG-A constructs, items, and scoring system, as well as to confirm the reliability and validity of the TAGG-A. To obtain initial user comments and make revisions, the research team will conduct item try outs and social validity checks with all users (professionals/teachers, families, and students). Universal Design for Learning principles will be used to create items accessible to students with varied cognitive and communications skills.

Control Condition: Due to the nature of this study, there is no control condition.

Key Measures: The Support Intensity Scale-Children's Version (for students up to age 16) and the Support Intensity Scale-Adult (for students older than age 16) will be used assess concurrent validity. Researchers will also develop a social validity and feasibility survey to determine the clarity, usefulness, and adequacy of the TAGG-A constructs, items, annual transition goals, objectives, coordinated activities, and different item rating methods.

Data Analytic Strategy: Psychometric tests and Item Response Theory (IRT) scaling will be conducted with the data combined from both field tests. Content (constructs from research), response processes, internal structure (exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses, differential item functioning, IRT scaling), and relations to other tools (concurrent and discriminant validity) will be analyzed to establish and confirm validity evidence. Survey results and data obtained online will be used to create usable and meaningful profiles for the students. Researchers will use correlational analyses to assess relationships between TAGG-A results and demographic variables (education, SES, age, family structure), placement, family living arrangement, and post-school outcomes.

Related IES Projects: Transition Success Assessment (R324A100246)


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