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Special Education part of New IES grant to study Common Core State Standards for students with disabilities

by The College of Education / Mar 14, 2012

Photo of James ShrinerJames Shriner, associate professor in Special Education, is the principal investigator for a new Institute of Education Sciences (IES) grant titled “Implementing the Common Core State Standards for Students with Disabilities: Research and Development of Web-based Supports for IEP Team Decision.”

Along with Shriner, John Trach, associate professor, and Susan Carty, visiting project coordinator, both in Special Education, are co-investigators. IES has funded the grant with $1,478,443 for three years, from 2012 to 2015.

Every student with disabilities who receives special education services through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act has an Individualized Education Program (IEP). Schools are now turning toward the new Common Core Standards and must consider their use in the developing IEPs and providing instruction for students with disabilities. In this project, the research team will further develop a tutorial program called IEPQ-Core to assist IEP teams in planning specially designed instruction and writing measurable annual goals linked to these new standards.

The study’s population will include 60 teachers and 420 students with disabilities age 8 to 13.

Shriner said the project should assist Illinois teachers with the transition to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). “The original tutorial was developed with the prior Illinois Learning Standards in mind and was well-received statewide,” he explained.

“The key issue is about the extent to which we can ‘translate’ the guidance offered in the original version to the CCSS in a meaningful way,” Shriner said. “The CCSS are structured much differently by content area; reading/language arts standards are organized differently than the math standards. Each has very little in ‘common’ with the other, and that will make teachers' jobs more difficult. We hope to help.”

The grant is a collaborative effort within the College of Education among Shriner, Trach, Carty, and two members of the Information Technology Group, Rachel Weber and G. David Frye. Drs. Martha Thurlow and Yi-Chen Wu of the University of Minnesota are co-investigators.