Sierra research was to see how special educators react

Sierra Driggers

December 3, 2017

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EDPY 401

Article Summary #3



Lee, A. o.,
Browder, D. M., Flowers, C., & Wakeman, S. (2016). Teacher Evaluation of
Resources Designed for Adapting Mathematics for Students With Significant
Cognitive Disabilities. Research & Practice For Persons With Severe
Disabilities, 41(2), 132-137.doi:10.1177/1540796916634099

Brief overview:

The researchers were interested in examining the usefulness
of two resources created to accommodate teachers in modifying grade-level
mathematics for students with cognitive disabilities. When teaching a student
with cognitive disabilities, the student does not understand and learn the same
way as a regular student. As the academic expectations and goals for students
with cognitive disabilities have increased, this suggests the need for an aid
or resource to assist a special educator. Previous research suggests that
special educators do not have access to aides that meet the current state
standards for teaching a student with cognitive disabilities. However, there
are a variety of resources out there that other teachers can use, but often
these resources are focused on the “general educator” audience. The resources
being tested included a resource that was designed to increase mathematical
content knowledge while giving examples of its relevance for students with
significant cognitive disabilities. The second resource was designed to give
special educators a model for providing access to grade-level mathematics
through the use of evidence-based practices. The researchers asked these two
main questions during their study, “How do teachers evaluate the usefulness of
an online mathematics content module?” and “How do teachers evaluate the
usefulness of the resource called Math Activities with Scripted Systematic
Instruction (MASSI)?” The goal of this research was to see how special
educators react and feel about the two resources supplied to them, and whether
or not they find them useful. Another reason was to provide special educators
with a resource(s) to build their own personal knowledge of the content they
would be teaching (i.e., mathematics). The central motivation for this research
was to provide special educators with an aid to help them teach their students
the content for their grade level.

Sample & Methods:

The sample in this study consisted of 125 special education
teachers from two eastern states in the US, that are currently teaching
students who participated in the alternate assessments based on alternate
achievement standards (AA-AAS). 58% of the participants had more than 10 years
of experience. 42% held a special education teaching license; 50% of the
participants held a dual license. 67% of participants taught at the secondary
level of education. In addition, 70% taught in a self-contained setting. 76%
taught students with autism, 71% taught students with severe intellectual
disabilities, 69% taught students with multiple disabilities, 54% taught
students with moderate intellectual disabilities, 36% taught students with
visual impairments, and 82% percent selected two or more categories of

Qualitative data was collected during the study through a
questionnaire/survey that consisted of 28 close ended questions, which was
self-reported by each participant to determine the quality of the resources, as
well as the answers to the research questions. Quantitative data was also collected
through frequencies and percentages (data analysis/statistics) that were used
to examine the research questions at hand.

Type of study and key

I believe the study follows a descriptive design, because
the author is describing the feedback the researchers received about the
resources they provided special educators to improve content instruction. Due
to it being a descriptive study, there isn’t an identifiable independent,
dependent, mediating, or control variable.

Recap major findings
& their relevance to education/ classrooms:

In this study, the researchers found that by providing the
teachers with two specific resources to improve classroom instruction for
students with cognitive disabilities and allowing the teachers to participate
in a one day training program, the results and feedback were positive. The
results indicated that the majority of teachers (84%) saw the program and
resources to be useful in increasing content knowledge for themselves. They
found that a lot of the time teachers have to “refresh” themselves before
teaching certain content that they don’t remember; therefore, there was a need
for these specific resources. Also, depending on the level of disability each
student has, determines how to teach each one. The resources provided models
for teaching students and providing information for them at their different
cognitive levels. The results also indicated that 97% of the responding
participants were likely to use the MASSI to teach their students. The results
also stated that there are other resources required, because a lot of the
students being taught do not meet the prerequisites for MASSI. This study
indicated that the teachers were more likely to use a resource to improve the
teaching of students with cognitive disabilities if the resources were readily
available to them. I believe that having more resources available to educate
students is very beneficial and needed.  Every student with a cognitive disability does
not learn at the same level and their disabilities vary; therefore, more
resources needed to be provided before the educators could use the ones being
reviewed in the research.

Questions I still have are whether or not the results and
feedback would be the same if the sample was more diverse. The sample could be
improved by including teachers from multiple other states, along with gender
variations (which was not mentioned in the study). Another question I still
have is whether or not the resources would be just as effective as the
educators believe they would be if they were actually applied within the
classroom and instruction. This would then possibly prove how beneficial the
resources actually would be through an experimental direction of the implication
of the resources. If the resources then prove to be just as beneficial as
current feedback states, then I believe that the resources should be available
for special educators teaching students with cognitive disabilities.