|Title:||Project VIEW (Visual Impairments Education in Writing)|
|Principal Investigator:||Hebert, Michael||Awardee:||University of California, Irvine|
|Program:||Educators and School-Based Service Providers [Program Details]|
|Award Period:||4 years (07/01/2019-06/30/2023)||Award Amount:||$1,399,158|
Previous Award Number: R324A190183
Co-Principal Investigator: Savaiano, Mackenzie; Rodgers, Derek
Purpose: The purpose of this study is to examine how a set of malleable teacher-level factors is related to the writing instruction practices of teachers of students with visual impairment (TVIs) and the general education teachers with whom they work, as well as the writing outcomes of students with visual impairment (VI). The teacher-level factors include preparation to teach writing, preparation to teach students with VI, beliefs and expectations about writing among students with VI, and collaborative practices between TVIs and general educators. While there is some research on effective writing instruction practices for the general population of students, very little is known about the writing instruction provided to students with VI by TVIs and general education teachers. There is also little known about the factors that influence the quantity and quality of writing instruction, and in turn, student writing outcomes. The current study is informed by previous research on factors related to writing instruction, such as preparation to teach writing, self-efficacy for teaching writing, and beliefs and attitudes about writing, but intends to extend this work by focusing on TVIs and the general education teachers with whom they work and examining malleable factors that may be particularly relevant for understanding writing instruction for students with VI. The anticipated results of this project are expected to inform the development of an in-service (and potentially pre-service) training program to improve teachers' writing instruction practices for students with VI.
Project Activities: The research team will conduct a cross-sectional study to investigate relations between teachers' writing instruction practices (quantity, quality, and degree of adaptations and accommodations to writing instruction) and writing outcomes for students with VI. Prior to beginning data collection, the research team will develop survey, interview, and observation protocols and pilot them with teachers in a different state. In each of the four project years, a cohort of TVIs, general education teachers, and students with VI will be recruited and data from student writing assessments, teacher surveys, interviews, and observations will be collected.
Products: The products of the project will include preliminary evidence of associations between a set of malleable teacher-related factors, teachers' writing instruction practices, and students' writing outcomes, as well as factors that mediate or moderate these associations. The project will result in peer-reviewed publications and presentations as well as additional dissemination products that reach education stakeholders such as practitioners and policymakers.
Setting: The research will primarily take place in elementary, middle, and high schools across Nebraska that serve students with VI. Data collection protocols will be piloted with TVIs in Iowa.
Sample: The total sample will include approximately 50 TVIs, 250 general education teachers who work with TVIs (5 per TVI), and 250 students in grades K-12 with VI in their classrooms (5 per TVI – 2 who write using only print, 2 who write primarily using braille, and 1 with multiple disabilities who may use varied writing modes).
Malleable Factors: The malleable factors under investigation include TVIs' and general education teachers' preparation to teach writing, preparation to teach students with VI, beliefs and expectations about writing among students with VI, and collaborative practices between TVIs and general educators.
Research Design and Methods: The research team will conduct an exploratory study to address the following aims: (1) describe the current writing instruction practices employed by TVIs and general education teachers to teach writing to students with visual impairments; (2) examine relations between the aforementioned malleable teacher-related factors and teachers' writing instruction practices and the potential moderating roles of student (such as writing ability), teacher (such as years of teaching experience), and setting (such as geographical setting – urban, rural, or suburban) characteristics; and (3) explore the indirect effect of the malleable factors on student writing outcomes through teacher writing instruction practices as well as potential moderators of this association. Prior to data collection, the research team will develop the survey, interview, and observation protocols and pilot them with teachers in Iowa. Across Years 1-4, they will recruit four cohorts of TVIs, five general education teachers per TVI, and five students with VI per TVI. In the beginning of the school year, the research team will administer and score students' writing assessments. Surveys will be administered throughout the school year to assess the malleable factors and teacher writing instruction practices. Midway through the year, the research team will conduct interviews with teachers to better understand specific practices used with individual students and accommodations they make based on developmental level. In addition, TVIs will submit video recordings of writing lessons and researchers will conduct one full-day observation of each TVI-student pair and a writing lesson for each general education teacher.
Control Condition: Due to the nature of the research design, there is no control condition.
Key Measures: The research team will develop a survey that includes three sections (administered at different time points) to assess the following: (1) information on moderator variables, including characteristics of teachers, students, and the educational setting (administered at the beginning of the year); (2) writing instruction practices (quantity and quality of writing instruction practices, adaptations made for students with VI) and malleable teacher-level factors; and (3) collaboration between TVIs and general education teachers. The research team will also develop interview protocols to assess writing instruction practices and specific adaptations and accommodations used for students with VI and based on developmental level. Interviews will also serve as an additional measure of malleable factors. Video recordings of TVIs' writing lessons and observations of TVIs' and general education teachers' writing instruction will be used as a direct measure of teacher writing instruction practices. Student writing will be assessed using four writing subtests of the Wechsler Individualized Achievement Test, Third Edition: the alphabet fluency, spelling, sentence combining, and essay composition subtests.
Data Analytic Strategy: Responses to closed-ended questions from the interviews will be quantified and used in the analyses described below. Responses from the open-ended questions will be coded for themes and will be used to provide context for the findings. Prior to conducting the primary analyses, confirmatory factor analysis will be performed to determine the appropriateness of creating latent variables of constructs assessed using multiple measures. Descriptive statistics will be calculated to identify what instructional practices TVIs and general education teachers use for teaching writing to students with VI. Researchers will use path models to examine associations between the malleable factors and teacher writing instruction practices. Moderator analyses will be conducted to explore whether characteristics of students, teachers, and the educational setting moderate the effects of the malleable factors on teacher writing instruction practices. Finally, the indirect effects of the malleable factors on student writing outcomes will be examined, with teacher writing instruction practices serving as the mediator. Further, moderated mediation will be assessed by incorporating the above moderators in the path model with student outcomes.