Combining the Self-Determined Learning Model of Instruction and Peer Supports: Examining the Impact on Academic, Social, and Functional Outcomes for Students With Autism Spectrum Disorders
Co-Principal Investigator: Hume, Kara; Boyd, Brian
Purpose: The purpose of this project is to examine the initial efficacy of a comprehensive intervention combining two research-based interventions, the Self-Determined Learning Model of Instruction (SDLMI) and Peer Supports (PS), on academic, social, and functional outcomes for secondary students with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in inclusive general education classrooms. Efficacy studies of the SDLMI and PS have been conducted separately, establishing impacts on outcomes for students with disabilities. However, each intervention has unique features that, if combined, has the potential to more comprehensively address the complex needs of youth with ASD in secondary schools.
Project Activities: The research team will recruit schools that support at least 10–12 secondary students with ASD in inclusive core content instruction. Recruited schools will be randomly assigned to one of three conditions: (a) PS only; (b) SDLMI only; (c) SDLMI + PS. In Years 2, 3, and 4, respectively, cohorts of 12 schools per year will participate in their randomly assigned treatment level for two academic semesters. After the implementation year, students with ASD will be followed for the remainder of the project (up to three years) to examine maintenance of outcomes.
Products: Products include information about the efficacy of the comprehensive SDLMI + PS intervention. The project will also result in a final data set, peer-reviewed publications and presentations as well as additional dissemination products that reach education stakeholders such as practitioners and policymakers.
Setting: The research will take place in high schools that support at least 10–12 secondary students with ASD in inclusive core content instruction in rural, urban, and suburban schools in Kansas and North Carolina.
Sample: The sample will include 36 high schools and approximately 432 students in ninth to eleventh grade with ASD who receive core content instruction in a general education classroom and their peers without disabilities.
Intervention: Schools will be randomly assigned to using PS only, SDLMI only, or SDLMI + PS. In the comprehensive SDLMI + PS intervention evaluated in this project, the SDLMI will be used to engage youth with ASD in the process of identifying academic and social goals to be achieved in the general education classroom, and PS will be used to enable peers to deliver supports to promote progress toward those goals in the general education classroom.
Research Design and Methods: The research will be conducted across 5 years. A longitudinal, cluster randomized controlled trial (RCT) design will be used. The first year of the project researchers will finalize partnership agreements with schools and deliver initial training to teachers and other implementers. Implementation of the intervention with the first cohort of schools and students will begin in Year 2 with additional cohorts added in Years 3 and 4. Follow-up data will be collected through Year 5. Data analysis, cost analysis, and cost effectiveness analysis will be concentrated in Year 5.
Control Condition: There is no control condition. Schools are randomly assigned to one of three conditions: PS only, SDLMI only, or SDLMI + PS.
Key Measures: Academic measureswill include grades, course and grade completion, accrued credits, state standardized tests, PISA, and observational data collected using the Access CISSAR. Social measureswill include the Social Skills Improvement Rating Form and Social Connections and Relationships Assessment, and observational data collected with the MS CISSAR. Functional measureswill include the Self-Determination Inventory. Goal Attainment Scaling will be used to assess both social and behavior outcomes. Autism symptomology will be measured with the SRS-2.
Data Analytic Strategy: Researchers will analyze the data using multivariate multilevel modeling to examine change across proximal and distal outcomes. Researchers will conduct cost analysis and cost-effectiveness analysis, using the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER).
Related IES Projects: Determining the Efficacy of the Self-Determined Learning Model of Instruction (SDLMI) To Improve Secondary and Transition Outcomes for Students With Cognitive Disabilities (R324B070159); Center on Secondary Education for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders (CSESA) (R324C120006); Assessing Self-Determination in the Era of Evidence-Based Practices: The Development and Validation of Student and Adult Measures of Self-Determination (R324A130065); Promoting Positive Transition Outcomes for Students with Intellectual Disability: A Research Institution-SEA Partnership in Rhode Island (R324L160002); The Self-Determined Learning Model of Instruction: Examining the Impact of Implementation Supports on Teacher and Student Outcomes (R324A170008); Efficacy Follow-Up Study of the CSESA Model (R324A180091)