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June 2012

From the National Center for Special Education Research (NCSER)

IES Grantees Recognized by CEC for Contributions to the Education of Children and Youth with Disabilities

At its recent annual meeting, the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) recognized two IES-funded grantees—Sharon Vaughn of the University of Texas at Austin and Louis Danielson of the American Institutes for Research—for their contributions to the education of children and youth with disabilities.

Sharon Vaughn

Sharon Vaughn received the CEC Special Education Research Award, which recognizes investigators whose research has made significant contributions to the education of children and youth with disabilities. Vaughn is currently the H.E. Hartfelder/Southland Corporation Regents Chair and Executive Director at the Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk in the University of Texas at Austin's College of Education. Over the past 30 years, her research has been instrumental in developing educational interventions and practices that improve the outcomes for students with disabilities, as well as expanding the implementation of research-based practices in the nation's classrooms.

With NCSER funding, Vaughn is involved in implementing a randomized controlled trial to evaluate the effectiveness of an individualized reading intervention and a dropout prevention intervention for adolescent struggling readers at high risk for dropping out of school. (For more information, see the project abstract.) In an NCER-supported project, she is conducting two randomized controlled trials to evaluate the effectiveness of the Collaborative Strategic Reading curriculum on adolescent struggling readers. She is also the Principal Investigator of a large-scale project funded under NCER's Reading for Understanding competition. As part of this project, she is developing two series of interventions and testing their efficacy through a multi-site cluster randomized design. Vaughn is also heavily invested in the training of future generations of researchers. As the Principal Investigator for the NCSER-funded Postdoctoral Research Training Fellowship Program at the University of Texas at Austin, she and her colleagues provide postdoctoral fellows training in interdisciplinary research in education sciences related to reading disabilities, with special emphasis on Response to Intervention.

Louis Danielson

Louis Danielson received the CEC J.E. Wallace Wallin Special Education Lifetime Achievement Award for his continued and sustained contributions to the education of children and youth with exceptionalities. Danielson, Managing Director at the American Institutes for Research, is a national leader in the field of special education with significant depth of knowledge in both special education policy and research. He had served in several leadership positions within the Department of Education's Office of Special Education Programs, including directing the IDEA Research Program until 2004. The results of his advocacy work include such accomplishments as the requirement of states to include students with disabilities in the National Assessment of Educational Progress, with or without accommodations.

Danielson recently received an NCSER-supported grant to investigate appropriate accommodations for students with disabilities. Through this research, he will be identifying a set of valid accommodations that could be implemented for students with word-reading disabilities to participate in standardized reading comprehension assessments, including different combinations of pacing assistance and reading aloud various components of the comprehension items. Danielson also received NCSER funding for a project in conjunction with the Ohio Department of Education to identify potential cognitive barriers in grade-level reading and mathematics state assessment items for low-performing students with disabilities, revise test items to remove those barriers, and evaluate the effectiveness of the revisions in removing these barriers. (For more information, see the project abstract.)

NCSER Investigators Named AERA Fellows

Two NCSER-funded investigators, Lynn Fuchs and Steve Graham of Vanderbilt University, were recently selected as American Educational Research Association (AERA) Fellows in recognition of their contributions to the field of education through exceptional scientific research.

Lynn Fuchs

Lynn Fuchs is the Nicholas Hobbs Professor of Special Education and Human Development, and she co-directs the Kennedy Center Reading Clinic. She conducts research on assessment methods for enhancing instructional planning and on instructional methods for improving reading and math outcomes for students with learning disabilities. With NCSER funds, she is developing a dynamic assessment for early mathematics in both English and Spanish versions. Fuchs is examining the contribution of this dynamic assessment, beyond static screening, for predicting students' mathematics outcomes in first grade. Fuchs is also one of the principal researches on NCSER's National Research and Development Center on Improving Mathematics Instruction for Students with Mathematics Difficulties, directing the intervention development research that is examining methods for enhancing at-risk fourth-graders' understanding of fraction magnitudes.

Steve Graham

Steve Graham is the Currey Ingram Professor of Special Education and Literacy. His research includes learning disabilities, writing instruction and writing development, and the development of self-regulation. Graham is a co-principal investigator on a recently funded NCSER project aimed at adapting an intervention, Strategic and Interactive Writing Instruction, for improving writing outcomes for deaf students in grades 3 to 5. Graham is also the co-principal investigator for a NCER-funded award that is developing and evaluating the Composition Builder, a web-based, guided-process writing tool that supports students in grades 6 to 8 in writing persuasive and expository compositions.