|Title:||Preparing Preschool Teachers to Engage in Reliable and Individualized Progress Monitoring Practices using an Online Asynchronous Training|
|Principal Investigator:||Shepley, Collin||Awardee:||University of Kentucky|
|Program:||Early Career Development and Mentoring [Program Details]|
|Award Period:||4 years (9/1/2021 – 8/31/2025)||Award Amount:||$697,576|
Mentors: Rajeev Darolia; Melinda Ault; Erin Barton; Kristi Pretti-Frontczak
Purpose: The Principal Investigator (PI) will conduct a program of research for improving progress monitoring practices among preschool teachers while participating in mentoring and training activities around research methods, dissemination, and being an efficient and effective faculty member. Despite agreement between early childhood educators and professional organizations on the importance of progress monitoring in preschool classrooms, many preschool teachers do not engage in these practices regularly. A lack of training, support, and professional development is often cited as a barrier to engaging in progress monitoring. To address this need, the PI will develop and evaluate an online asynchronous training targeting research-based progress monitoring practices. The training will prepare teachers to engage in (1) data collection, (2) data analysis, and (3) data-based decision making to inform individualized instruction for children for whom universal instructional practices are not effective. In alignment with the online training, two measures will be created: one that assesses teachers' content knowledge surrounding progress monitoring and another that measures teachers' implementation fidelity with progress monitoring practices.
Research Plan: The PI will iteratively develop, refine, and pilot test the online training and teacher assessments across four years. Years 1 and 2 will focus on the development and refinement of the training and assessments through field tests, focus groups, and iterative single-case studies. In Year 1, the PI will develop the online training and assessments and conduct a field test to gather feedback on the usability and functionality of the training and assessments. Using the results of the field test, the PI will revise the training and assessments. In Year 2, the PI will conduct a focus group with preschool teachers for the purpose of gathering data on the cultural relevance of the content presented in the training. A series of single-case design studies will be used to iteratively evaluate the effects of the training on teacher content knowledge and implementation (using the measures developed and refined in Year 1). The training and assessments will be further refined in preparation for the pilot study. In Year 3, a randomized controlled trial will be conducted with approximately 27 preschool teachers and 81 children to evaluate the impact of the online training on teachers' fidelity with progress monitoring practices and children's progress on individualized goals. Year 4 of the project will be focused on data analysis and preparation of products and materials for dissemination. In addition to examining the promise of the online training for improving teacher and child outcomes, the PI will evaluate the cost to implement the training.
Career Plan: Through a career development plan, the PI intends to (1) build skills in contemporary research methods, (2) disseminate research in accessible ways, and (3) establish practices that promote efficiency and effectiveness as a tenure-track faculty member. These goals will be accomplished through formal and informal mentoring, advice from consultants, methodological training institutes, directed readings and course lectures, faculty development programs, and mentor-created writing retreats.