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Just Because They Say It’s ‘Scientifically- based’ Doesn’t Mean It Will Work!

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Presentation on theme: "Just Because They Say It’s ‘Scientifically- based’ Doesn’t Mean It Will Work!"— Presentation transcript:

1 Just Because They Say It’s ‘Scientifically- based’ Doesn’t Mean It Will Work!

2 Changing Landscape P.L IDEA ‘03 Decrease in experimental studies 1980 (61%) (38%) Definition of “scientifically-based” = Random assignment/True Experiment National Reading Panel report Institute for Educational Sciences Configuration/role of OSEP Status of Part D in reauthorization

3 “….methodologically weak research, trivial studies, an infatuation with jargon, and a tendency toward fads.” National Research Council

4 Educational Research: The Hardest Science of All!!!

5 Standards for Field Testing Interventions (CRL) Practical and doable Easy for both teachers & students to learn Yield meaningful”real world” outcomes Broad in reach…..impacts non-SWDs Impact performance of SWDs to enable them to compete within criterion environment

6 Guiding Principles (CRL) Deal with complex realities of schools Participant input at all stages Use sound research methodologies/designs Collect many measures on interventions Field-testing in multiple stages Insist on both statistical & social significance Translate field protocols into user manuals Bring interventions to scale

7 Designing High Quality Research in Special Education: Group Experimental Design Gersten, Lloyd, Baker (1999)

8 The BIG Issue: Trade-off between Internal & External Validity “….the challenge to educational researchers is to sensibly negotiate a balance between those components that satisfy science (internal) & those that reflect the complexities of real classroom teaching (external).”

9 Good Research is Largely Dictated by….. How well independent variables are conceptualized & operationalized, the definition of the sample, & the dependent variables are selected to assess the impact of the intervention

10 On Independent Variables… Precise definitions needed Problems arise with PAR (flexibility) Syntheses/meta need precision Majority of literature: incomplete or very poor description of intervention Gap between conceptualization & implementation (# min., support, tchr. Training, etc.)

11 Improving Independent Variables Intervention transcripts Replications (others/component analysis) Fidelity measures throughout implementation (amt of training, lesson length, time, feedback) Good comparison groups (control teacher effects, feedback, time) (see p. 13

12 Improving Sample Selection & Description Sample size (difficult with SWDs) Stronger the treatment, smaller #s Increase power by increasing homogeneity Precise sample description (ELL, SES, achievement & cognitive levels, etc.) Random selection (survey); random assignment (intervention )

13 Quasi-Experimental Designs Students used from intact groups Determine similarity with pretests -- if variance exists, use procedures to adjust statistically Problems when differences on pretests exceed 1/2 SD of the two groups

14 Improving Quasi-Experiments Adequate prestesting with measures with good technical qualities Pretest data with more than.5 SD shouldn’t be used ANCOVA shouldn’t be used if SD>.5

15 Dependent Measures Those measures used to evaluate the impact of the intervention. The conclusions of a study depend on both the quality of the intervention and the measures used to evaluate the intervention.

16 Improving Dependent Measures Use multiple measures ( global and specific skill) Select measures non-biased toward intervention (teaching to the test) Ensure that not all measures are developed by researcher Select measures with good technical adequacy


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