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IES Grant

Title: Building up Mathematical Problem Solving of Students with Extensive Support Needs
Center: NCSER Year: 2019
Principal Investigator: Root, Jenny Awardee: Florida State University
Program: Early Career Development and Mentoring      [Program Details]
Award Period: 4 years (07/01/2019–06/30/2023) Award Amount: $495,731
Type: Training Award Number: R324B190019

Mentors: Jitendra, Asha; Bouck, Emily; Compton, Donald

Purpose: The Principal Investigator (PI) will conduct a program of research for improving math outcomes among secondary students with extensive support needs (students who require ongoing support, such as students with intellectual disability, autism, or multiple disabilities). In addition, the PI will participate in mentoring and training activities to develop knowledge and skills related to math content and pedagogy, mixed methods research, and grant writing and grants management. Math skills are integral to students' independence in postsecondary, daily living, vocational, and leisure settings. However, the scope of instruction for secondary students with extensive support needs is limited to a narrow set of skills as teachers who work with these students often do not feel adequately prepared to teach more than just the very basics of math. As such, it is crucial to develop research-based interventions that build the mathematical competence of learners with extensive support needs and are feasible for teachers to implement. The PI intends to address this need by iteratively developing and testing the feasibility, usability, and promise of a math problem-solving programfor middle and high school students with extensive support needs.

Research Plan: The purpose of the research plan is to iteratively develop, refine, and evaluate a math problem-solving intervention across three phases. During Phase 1 (Years 1 and 2), the PI will iteratively develop the intervention procedures and measurement systems, including the teaching scripts, word problems, instructional materials, and generalization measures. In Year 1, the initial version of the intervention will be developed based on the literature and observations of teachers and students with extensive support needs. A single-case design study will be conducted to test whether students who participate in the intervention show improved math problem-solving skills and ability to generalize to other types of math problems. In Year 2, the intervention will be revised based on data from Year 1 and tested in a second single-case design study. The PI will use results of the Phase I development activities to revise the intervention before conducting a third single-case design (SCD) study to test the intervention's feasibility and usability in Phase 2 (Year 3). Data from the feasibility and usability study will be used to modify and develop a final manualized intervention, which will be tested in Phase 3 (Year 4). The promise of the final version of the intervention for improving students' math outcomes will be evaluated in a fourth and final SCD study. Across all phases, the PI will conduct interviews with teachers before, during, and after each SCD study to get their feedback on implementation, acceptability, and possible revisions. Teachers will also complete social validity surveys. Fidelity will be assessed both quantitatively and qualitatively, with interviews and observations informing the development of a treatment fidelity checklist that will produce a quantitative fidelity score. Data from the SCD studies will be analyzed using visual and statistical analysis. In addition, the PI will conduct a cost analysis to determine the cost of implementing the final version of the intervention.

Career Plan: Through a career development plan, the PI intends to (1) expand her knowledge of mathematical content and pedagogy, (2) increase her knowledge and skills related to mixed methods research, and (3) develop expertise in grant writing and management. To accomplish these goals, the PI will conduct monthly meetings with mentors, receive guidance from expert consultants, engage in directed readings, audit courses and participate in workshops related to qualitative research, and attend trainings on grant writing and grants management.