IE2016 Cross-site_croppedResearchers at the Anita Zucker Center hosted a weeklong meeting at the end of June with their research collaborators from Vanderbilt University to review preliminary data collected in the first year of their study and plan for year two.

Led by Anita Zucker Center Director Patricia Snyder, their project, The Impact of Professional Development on Preschool Teachers’ Use of Embedded Instruction Practices, is funded by the Institute of Education Sciences. The project compares several approaches to professional development to determine which are most effective for helping preschool teachers implement embedded instruction practices with young children with disabilities.

Researchers are examining the impact of the intervention on the quality of teachers’ embedded instruction practices, including the number of learning opportunities provided to young children during different types of classroom activities. For the children involved in the study, social and adaptive behaviors and pre-academic, language and literacy outcomes are being evaluated.

Using a randomized controlled trial, the researchers are examining the efficacy of two variations of a professional development intervention known as Tools for Teachers when compared to business-as-usual professional development. Embedded instruction, a multi-component approach for planning, implementing, and evaluating instruction for preschool children with disabilities, is the focus of the interventions. The interventions, designed to support teachers in monitoring and evaluating embedded instruction practices, were fully developed and validated in an earlier IES Goal 2 project.

The University of Florida and Vanderbilt University are conducting concurrent studies in five school districts in each of their states as part of the larger study.

The University of Florida team: Patricia Snyder, PI; James Algina, Co-PI; Mary McLean, Co-PI; Brian Reichow, Investigator; Crystal Bishop, Project Coordinator; Joy Polignano, Data Manager.

The Vanderbilt University team: Mary Louise Hemmeter, Co-PI; Catherine Corr, Project Coordinator and James Kretzer, Data Coordinator.