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IES Grant

Title: Developing Infrastructure and Procedures for the Special Education Research Accelerator
Center: NCSER Year: 2019
Principal Investigator: Cook, Bryan Awardee: University of Virginia
Program: Unsolicited and Other Awards: Special Education Research      [Program Details]
Award Period: 2 years (09/01/2019-08/31/2021) Award Amount: $575,273
Type: Other Goal Award Number: R324U190001

Co-Principal Investigators: Therrien, William; Wong, Vivian

In this project, researchers will develop and pilot test the Special Education Research Accelerator (SERA), a platform for organizing many research teams to collaboratively conduct high-quality, large-scale replication studies with diverse samples of learners with disabilities. The goal of SERA is to accelerate the process of gathering evidence on educational interventions for these learners and address some of the limitations of the special education research base. These include a lack of adequately powered randomized controlled trials (RCTs), especially for low-incidence disability populations; lack of transparency and openness; scarcity of independent, systematic replications; and limited diversity among researchers, study samples, settings, and contexts.

To accomplish these goals, the research team will conduct a 2-year project to (a) develop infrastructure supports for SERA, (b) conduct a pilot test of SERA and analyze the data, and (c) assess the feasibility and usability of SERA. During Year 1, the research team will develop resources for training and technical assistance for research partners; templates for formalizing partnership relationships (data sharing agreements and IRB protocols); and an online data portal to house resources, facilitate data collection efforts, and track communication among the research team and partners. In Years 1 and 2, the research team will conduct a pilot study of SERA. Specifically, they will recruit research partners from across the U.S. who have expressed interest in being involved in open science projects; work with partners to select an intervention, outcome measures, and sample eligibility criteria; and train research partners on the intervention and study procedures. Research partners will then recruit students and conduct random assignment, implement the intervention and collect data, and submit data to the research team. In Year 2, the research team will analyze data to determine whether certain assumptions required for replication of results were met, estimate site effects and the pooled effect across sites on learner outcomes, evaluate replication success, and describe the quality of the data from research partners and the technical assistance provided by the research team. Finally, the research team will solicit feedback from research partners and facilitate an external review of the SERA processes, procedures, materials, and data to evaluate the feasibility and usability of SERA and inform future iterations of the platform.

Related IES projects: Developing Methodological Foundations for Replication Sciences (R305D190043); Integrated Replication Designs for Identifying Generalizability Boundaries of Causal Effects (R305D220034)