Sheryl Lazarus.

Six teams from ICI’s National Center on Educational Outcomes (NCEO) were selected to present posters at CEHD Research Day, the College of Education and Human Development’s annual showcase of promising work. Although this year’s Research Day was cancelled due to COVID-19 precautions, ICI is sharing the teams’ selected work with readers.

NCEO’s progress in unlocking clues to classroom success for students with significant cognitive disabilities who are learning English, its work showing why planning for transitions after high school needs to happen earlier for students with disabilities, and the availability of its extensive databases for future research, among other projects, were selected for poster presentations.

“Research Day is an important event for staying informed about our colleagues’ work, and we look forward to next year’s event,” said Sheryl Lazarus (pictured), NCEO director.

Among the work selected for presentation is a multi-tiered system of support framework to support the learning of all students. Jointly developed by NCEO and the TIES Center, the model illustrates how to align academics with behavior and social-emotional supports. Often, these types of models don’t include students with the most significant cognitive disabilities. This model, which has been well received in the field, includes these students, Lazarus said.

Another presentation that was selected highlighted NCEO projects that guide educators and parents toward making more informed and consistent decisions about classroom accessibility features and testing accommodations. Much of this work, including a form schools can adapt and use to make accessibility plans for English learners, was created for the state of West Virginia under a federal grant and is available free of charge on NCEO’s website.

Kristin Liu, NCEO assistant director, and another group of colleagues were chosen to present preliminary findings from a literature review that reveals gaps in how schools prepare and test students with the most significant cognitive disabilities.

“Our goal is to understand how these students learn a second language, but it’s challenging because they have many different developmental characteristics and first languages,” Liu said. “The population of English learners is growing, and the population of students with disabilities is growing, so we’re pretty confident the number of students with significant cognitive disabilities who are English learners is growing, too.”

Another team, led by former ICI Director David R. Johnson and Yi-Chen Wu, research associate, was selected to present data from a forthcoming paper that explores how families with intellectual and developmental disabilities, both English speaking and those who are learning English, plan for students’ futures after high school.

“We should include students with disabilities in transition planning as early as possible, even laying the groundwork as early as elementary school, to have the greatest impact on their outcomes,” Wu said.

NCEO’s Chris Rogers, along with Lazarus and graduate research assistant Angela Hochstetter, were selected to present information on the Center’s resources that can be used to learn more about what the research says about the effectiveness of various accommodations. These resources include accommodations literature reviews and online research databases called accommodations bibliographies that are available for use by other investigators.

“We have an extensive interactive online database, as well as research summaries, on the accommodations research literature, but people around the University often aren’t aware it exists and how it can be used in new ways,” Lazarus said. “Chris and Angela had a wonderful idea to highlight in a poster a snapshot of what we have, and we hope to find other ways to get the word out about this resource.”

Other NCEO investigators who worked on Research Day posters include Martha Thurlow, Cynthia Matthias, Michael Dosedel, Charity Funfe Tatah Mentan, Darrell Peterson, Erik Larson, Gail Ghere, Terri Vandercook, and Jessica Bowman.