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IES Contract

Title: Innovative IEP Goal Creation: Equipping Special and General Educators
Center: NCSER Year: 2019
Principal Investigator: Corto, Melissa Awardee: Education Modified
Program: Small Business Innovation Research in Special Education      [Program Details]
Award Period: 2 years (6/26/2019 – 6/25/2021) Award Amount: $900,000
Type: Phase II Development Award Number: 91990019C0038

Project Website:

Video Demonstration of the Phase I Prototype:

Purpose: In this project, the team will fully develop and test EdMod, a web-based platform for special education practitioners and administrators to efficiently and effectively manage data and information to improve academic, functional, and social and emotional outcomes for students with or at risk for disabilities. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is the federal law outlining that effective special education begins with individualization and a student-centered approach to instruction. Special education practitioners often lack the tools and resources to implement and track the collaborative plans, called IEPs (Individualized Education Programs) that schools, parents, and providers design together to determine educational placements, services and accommodations specific to each child with a disability.

Project Activities: During Phase I in 2018, the project team developed a prototype of EdMod, including the user interface for entering data, an information management system for housing data, and the reporting engine for organizing and presenting information. At the end of Phase I, a pilot study included six middle school special education teachers. Results demonstrated that the new prototype functioned as planned, and teachers were able to successfully enter IEP goals and identify the instructional practices for addressing goals. Each of the teachers agreed that the prototype served as a valuable resource for managing and adjusting practices based on the information. In Phase II, the team will fully develop the architecture to host and integrate diverse sources of IEP data with larger management platforms that schools already use, a filter to sort and analyze data, a recommendation portal to identify and select evidence based practices, and enhancements for how administrators provide permissions.

After development is complete, the research team will conduct a pilot study with 20 special education teachers over 6 months, with half using EdMod and half doing business-as-usual procedures for implementing and tracking IEPs for students in special education classes. The study will assess feasibility and usability, fidelity of implementation, and whether the EdMod shows promise for improving special educators' ability to efficiently and effectively carry out the implementation of IEPs of students with or at risk for disability.

Product: The project team will develop the EdMod platform for special education practitioners to enter and track information specific to IEPs, such as diagnosis classification, goals, and data collection of those goals. The platform will then generate research-based strategies for teachers to support students with or at risk for disabilities during classroom instruction or in testing. The platform will present essential information to teachers to inform the daily workflow, to equip teachers to implement sound instructional practices that are appropriate for the unique needs of each child, and ultimately provide schools and districts with a user-friendly solution to ensure the intended purpose of federal and state policies are fulfilled.