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IES Grant

Title: 5E Model Professional Development in Science Education for Special Educators (5E-SESE)
Center: NCSER Year: 2018
Principal Investigator: Karvonen, Meagan Awardee: University of Kansas
Program: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics      [Program Details]
Award Period: 4 years (09/01/2018-08/31/2022) Award Amount: $1,400,000
Type: Development and Innovation Award Number: R324A180202

Purpose: The purpose of this project is to develop the 5E Model Professional Development in Science Education for Special Educators (5E-SESE), an online system of professional development for special education teachers who are teaching science to students with significant cognitive disabilities (SCD). With many states adopting rigorous Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), science achievement expectations for students with SCD are increasing. Yet teachers are not prepared to provide instruction that helps students with SCD meet these expectations. The 5E inquiry cycle (Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, and Evaluate) is a common learning cycle structure in many science curricula. The goal of 5E-SESE is to support teachers' use of this inquiry-based teaching model and Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles to design and implement science lessons. The project will also evaluate the 5E-SESE system's usability and feasibility; potential to improve teachers' knowledge, practices, and attitudes; and promise for improving students' opportunities to learn and science achievement.

Project Activities: The research team will develop and test the intervention in three phases. In the first phase, they will develop the initial version of the intervention and evaluate its usability and feasibility. In the second phase, they will refine the intervention and evaluate its usability, participant satisfaction, and fidelity of implementation. In addition, they will determine whether there are changes in proximal teacher outcomes from pre- to post-test. In the third phase, they will evaluate the intervention's usability, implementation fidelity, participant satisfaction, and changes in teacher and student outcomes using a quasi-experimental design. This will be supplemented by the collection and analysis of qualitative data to identify potential contextual factors that influence implementation and outcomes. In the final phase, they will evaluate feasibility and satisfaction under more natural conditions and examine teacher outcomes.

Products: The products of this project will include a fully developed professional development intervention for teachers instructing students with SCD in science, as well as peer-reviewed publications and presentations.

Structured Abstract

Setting: The research will take place through the online professional development system. Teachers who teach science to students with SCD in Grades 3-8 will be recruited from districts in Iowa, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin. The participating districts are in rural and urban locations and include a range of school settings (e.g., self-contained, fully integrated educational settings for students with SCD).

Sample: Approximately 183 teachers and 384 students with SCD in Grades 3-8 will participate in the study over the 4-year project.

Intervention: The professional development system includes 21 modules and instructional coaching in an online environment to engage participants in a 5E inquiry cycle for their own learning, which enables them to experience the inquiry cycle that they will then use with their students. The 5E cycle, common in many science curricula, represents the following learning cycle structure: Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, and Evaluate. Each teacher completes three foundational modules and three content modules that they select from 18 available modules on NGSS-aligned content standards for students with SCD. Each content module incorporates a 5E cycle and coaching for goal setting, lesson development and implementation, and reflection. The modules are designed to develop both content knowledge (i.e., the concepts and practices of science) and pedagogical content knowledge (i.e., understanding how to teach the science content). The modules include the use of Dynamic Learning Map Essential Elements (NGSS-aligned science content standards used in many states) and principles of UDL when planning science instruction.

Research Design and Methods: In Phase 1, the research team will develop the initial version of the intervention and evaluate usability and feasibility via course logs, post-test surveys, and focus groups. In Phase 2, they will evaluate usability, participant satisfaction, and fidelity of implementation using a refined version of the intervention. In addition, they will explore changes from pre- to post-test in teacher outcomes (i.e., instructional practice and science content knowledge). In Phase 3, they will conduct a pilot study using a quasi-experimental design with a pretest and multiple post-tests to evaluate usability, implementation fidelity, participant satisfaction, and the potential impact on teacher and student outcomes (i.e., students' opportunities to learn and science achievement). They will supplement the quasi-experimental study with qualitative data collection to identify potential contextual influences (e.g., organizational factors such as number of teachers of students with SCD and the infrastructure to support co-planning among teachers) on implementation and outcomes. In Phase 4, the research team will make the full intervention available to previous field test participants and evaluate feasibility under more natural conditions, including teacher use of system components, teacher satisfaction, and changes in proximal teacher outcomes.

Control Condition: In the pilot study, teachers in the control group, located in other districts, will use business-as-usual instruction without receiving systematic professional development in science instruction.

Key Measures: Teacher outcomes will be measured through a researcher-developed science content knowledge measure (developed from items from Harvard's Project MOSART [Misconceptions-Oriented Standards-Based Assessment Resources for Teachers] and AAAS Science Assessment item bank), Pedagogy of Science Teaching Test (measure of pedagogical content knowledge), a researcher-designed lesson observation protocol and instructional practices inventory (measure of teaching practice), Science Teaching Efficacy Belief Instrument (measure of science teaching self-efficacy and outcome expectancy). Teachers and principals will also participate in interviews to gather qualitative, contextual data. Student outcome measures include a Curriculum Indicators Survey (measure of teacher report of students' opportunities to learn) and the Dynamic Learning Maps science alternate assessment (measure of science achievement). Researchers will develop usability and satisfaction measures by adapting existing measures and develop project-specific implementation fidelity measures and qualitative protocols.

Data Analytic Strategy: The researchers will use multi-level models to examine the impact of the professional development on teacher and student outcomes, with teachers and students nested within districts. They will conduct moderation analyses using covariates (e.g., baseline values) and other predictors (e.g., teacher and student characteristics, fidelity). For qualitative interview data, they will transcribe, code, and look for patterns to provide context to the quantitative results. They will use descriptive statistics to understand usability, feasibility, fidelity, and satisfaction.