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IES Grant

Title: Electronic Performance Support Systems (EPSS) as Assistive Technologies To Improve Outcomes for Secondary Students
Center: NCSER Year: 2007
Principal Investigator: Fitzgerald, Gail Awardee: University of Missouri, Columbia
Program: Transition to Postsecondary Education, Career, and/or Independent Living      [Program Details]
Award Period: 1/1/2008 to 12/31/2009 Award Amount: $840,150
Type: Development and Innovation Award Number: R324B070176
Description:

Purpose: The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004 requires that students with disabilities have access to the general education curriculum. Although students with learning disabilities and students with emotional and behavioral disorders spend the majority of their day in the regular classroom, they have been described as "actively inefficient" learners, which means they use simpler, less effective strategies for learning. Adaptive devices and assistive technology devices that emphasize self-regulation and learning strategies may provide students with learning disabilities and emotional and behavioral disorders with the support they need to learn well in regular education classrooms. The purpose of this project is to conduct an initial evaluation of the potential efficacy of the use of StrategyTools Support System, an electronic performance support system, designed to help secondary students with disabilities improve their ability to learn on their own in the context of general education classes.

Project Activities: StrategyTools is a set of computerized support tools developed for secondary students. The tools are computer templates resembling graphic organizers that are designed to provide support to students in the following areas: getting organized, learning new information, demonstrating learning, working on projects, solving personal problems, and planning for the future. First, students and their classroom teachers identify a specific goal or problem for the students to work on that is intended to improve an academic, behavior, or transition outcome. The students and teachers then use Strategy Coach, an interactive website that accompanies StrategyTools, to help them choose the appropriate tool for the academic, behavior, or transition problem that they have decided to address. Students can refer to the selected tool to monitor their progress toward reaching their goal or solving their problem.

Researchers will use single subject methodology to conduct an initial evaluation of the StrategyTools Support System.

Products: The products of this project include a fully developed software intervention to improve access to the general education curriculum for secondary students with disabilities, published reports, and presentations.

Structured Abstract

Purpose: The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004 requires that students with disabilities have access to the general education curriculum. Although students with learning disabilities and students with emotional and behavioral disorders spend the majority of their day in the regular classroom, they have been described as "actively inefficient" learners, which means they use simpler, less effective strategies for learning. Adaptive devices and assistive technology devices that emphasize self-regulation and learning strategies may provide students with learning disabilities and emotional and behavioral disorders with the support they need to learn well in regular education classrooms. The purpose of this project is to conduct an initial evaluation of the potential efficacy of the use of StrategyTools Support System, an electronic performance support system, designed to help secondary students with disabilities improve their ability to learn on their own in the context of general education classes.

Setting: High schools located in Pennsylvania and New York.

Population: Research subjects will include 24 secondary students receiving special education services under the learning disability or emotional disturbance category; reported as having academic and/or behavioral deficits; in 9th or 12tth grade at the time of the study; with documented poor impulse control skills; and with observed deficits in organizational skills, self-regulation, and use of learning strategies.

Intervention: A fully developed model—StrategyTools Support System—will be implemented in this research project as the independent variable. The system assists students in developing self-regulation and learning strategies using cognitive-behavioral approaches to improve success in school and transition planning. StrategyTools Support System includes multiple components to support those who assist students and adults in school and at home, including: StrategyTools—39 computerized tools organized into 6 goal areas (getting organized, learning new information, demonstrating learning, working on projects, solving personal problems, and moving into the future); Strategy Coach—an interactive web site containing information about the tools and interactive practices; and StrategyTool Resources—a hypertext infobase with information about the strategies and implementation tips.

Research Design and Methods: This research study will utilize a multiple baseline design across 12 teacher-student dyads at the 9th- and 12th- grade levels. Within the primary design, a second multiple baseline across settings will be conducted for each student. Throughout baseline and intervention phases, fidelity of treatment will be assessed.

Control Condition: The control condition is standard education practice in the participating schools.

Key Measures: Multiple measures will be gathered to answer the research questions. The primary dependent variable will be correct and complete use of the selected strategies and tools provided in the model as measured in two ways: rubric scoring on usage and correctness of student-made tools; and scoring of goal attainment scales for tool usage in acquisition, fluency, generalization, and maintenance stages. Ongoing data collection will include systematic behavioral observation, curriculum-based measures, individually determined behavioral targets, use of extant data, and researcher field notes. Pre-test/post-test/follow-up data to document change on standardized measures will include the PIAT Individual Achievement Test, Social Skills Rating System, ARC Self-Determination Scale, TPI Transition Planning Inventory, and Attention Deficit Disorders Evaluation Scale (ADDES). Perceptions of acceptability, feasibility, and sustainability will be gathered from a series of surveys and interviews with teachers, students, and parents.

Data Analytic Strategy: Visual analysis will be the primary data analytic strategy used to assess performance within and across conditions. Visual analysis will involve interpretation of the level, trend, and variability of performance occurring during baseline and intervention conditions. In addition, statistical analysis will be used to make within-group pre-test/post-test comparisons.

Publications from this project:

Fitzgerald, G., Mitchem, K., Miller, K., & Hollingsead, K. (2010). Electronic performance support tools for adolescents: An implementation manual for strategy tools. Columbia, MO: University of Missouri.

Mitchem, K., & Fitzgerald, G. (2012). Using electronic performance support systems to improve academic performance of secondary students with disabilities. Journal of Special Education Technology, 28 (3), 1–20.

Mitchem, K., Fitzgerald, G., & Koury, K. (2013). Electronic performance support system (EPSS) tools to support teachers and students. In H. Y.Yang, Z. Yang, D. Wu, & S. Liu (Eds.), Transforming K–12 Classrooms with Digital Technology, pp. 98–118. IGI Global, Hersey, PA.


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