Key Takeaway: Students often set goals based on teacher expectations. In this study, the implementation of the Self-Determined Learning Model of Instruction (SDLMI) led to students setting a lack of academic or social goals and an abundance of home living goals; this may suggest lower adult expectations for students with significant support needs. Therefore, it is crucial for students to consider their own interests when setting goals and for teachers to set high expectations during the process. Teachers need to be aware that the SDLMI is designed to promote student agency as the students are the ones who set and go after goals for their future. —Michael Ho

Burke, Shogren, and Carlson (2021) examined and analyzed the types of goals transition-age students with intellectual disabilities set as part of a statewide implementation of the SDLMI. The purpose of this study was to analyze the goals set by students using the SDLMI in a specific context to inform future research and practice. Goal content was emphasized, as opposed to goal attainment. Additionally, the skills associated with self-determination during the entire period of the study were identified. 

The authors investigated the following four research questions: 

  1. What types of goals did transition-age students with intellectual disability set when supported by their teachers to use the SDLMI to enhance postschool outcomes?
  2. How many students had goals across areas and/ or multiple goals in the same area (e.g., academics, vocational education and employment, postsecondary education, home living, social and relationships)?
  3. Within goal areas, what subtopics were represented (e.g., academic goal subtopics may include content mastery, class participation and engagement, study skills, etc.)?
  4. How many goals that incorporated skills associated with self-determination were taught using the SDLMI (e.g., choice making, decision-making, problem-solving, etc.)?

Here are the major takeaways from the article:

  • Apart from being an evidence-based practice for transition-age students with disabilities, “the SDLMI is a model of instruction in which trained facilitators (e.g., teachers) teach students self-regulated problem-solving skills that can be applied to setting and going after goals. The SDLMI comprises three distinct phases—Phase 1: Set a goal, Phase 2: Take action, Phase 3: Adjust goal or plan.”1,2
  • The current literature mentions that SDLMI provides evidence that the model impacts goal attainment. However, there is limited research on how SDLMI supports the content of the goals students set and how goal content may affect goal attainment during transition planning.
  • The current study analyzed 1,546 goals set by 667 transition-age students with intellectual disabilities in Rhode Island. The sample was collected over a period of three years
  • In response to the first research question, primary goal categories, from most identified to least identified, were as follows: home living, vocational education and employment, academics, leisure and recreation, communication, transportation, social and relationships, finances, community access, and postsecondary education. 
  • In response to the second research question, “almost half of the students (n = 315; 47.2%) had goals across multiple categories within a given school year, and 164 total students (24.6%) had repeated goals (i.e., the same goal more than once) within a school year.” This suggests that teachers need to be aware that there is a significant amount of students that may have a diverse range of goals to pursue beyond their secondary education.
  • In response to the third research question, the top subcategories that students identified with were ‘Expressing wants and needs and making requests,’ ‘General speech and language skills,’ ‘Email,’ ‘Driving,’ ‘Taking the bus,’ ‘General transportation knowledge,’ ‘Activities with others,’ ‘Meeting new people,’ ‘Engaging in conversation with others,’ ‘Identifying and counting currency,’ ‘Writing checks or balancing a checkbook,’ and ‘Making purchases.’ Although the subcategories were diverse, there is a lack of identified focus on academic and social goals.
  • In response to the fourth research question, skills associated with self-determination, that were set from either the student’s perspective or the teacher’s perspective, were choice making (5.5%), self-advocacy (4.4%), planning (3.8%), and decision-making (3.4%) were the most common.
  • “Teachers shift toward the role of a supporter rather than a director of goal setting, and the wording of goals is a reflection of buy-in to this process.” The SDLMI needs to fulfill its purpose of emphasizing student agency and student-driven goals.
  • There is a higher number of identified student goals pertaining to home living skills instead of academic or social skills. This suggests that the teachers’ low expectations of students in the area of academic and social skills may be impacting what and how students set goals. Hence, the need for high expectations from educators supporting students in the goal-setting process for academic and social skills cannot be stressed enough.
  • The study has a few limitations, such that student data cannot be linked across three years of the study; therefore, the data cannot be analyzed for growth and change. Furthermore, student goals used in this study may be a reflection of the teacher’s interpretation or adjustments. The teachers may have contributed to student goals from the teachers’ perspectives among students who needed intensive support to communicate their goals.

Summarized Article:

Burke, K. M., Shogren, K. A., & Carlson, S. (2021). Examining Types of Goals Set by Transition-Age Students With Intellectual Disability. Career Development and Transition for Exceptional Individuals, 44(3), 135–147. 

Summary by: Michael Ho—Michael supports the MARIO Framework because it empowers learners to take full control of their personalized learning journey, ensuring an impactful and meaningful experience.

Additional References:

  1. Shogren, K. A., Raley, S. K., Burke, K. M., & Wehmeyer, M. L. (2018). The Self-Determined Learning Model of Instruction: Teacher’s guide. Kansas University Center on Developmental Disabilities.
  1. Wehmeyer, M. L., Palmer, S. B., Agran, M., Mithaug, D. E., & Martin, J. E. (2000). Promoting causal agency: The Self-Determined Learning Model of Instruction. Exceptional Children, 66(4), 439–453. https://doi.org/10.1177/001440290006600401

Key Takeaway: As educators, we need to put more emphasis on creating a balance between gaining proficiency as a teacher and as a subject specialist. Teachers, particularly those in the secondary level, must be able to build relationships and develop pedagogical knowledge, but at the same time extend their learning within subject disciplines and reignite the passion for the subject areas that brought them to teaching. —Jerome Lingo

Teacher exodus and retention have always been an issue in the teaching profession. Premature departures are often rooted in workload isolation and burnout, a lack of work-life balance, poor leadership or administrative support, and teaching in remote or isolated environments. However, a promising solution to teacher exodus, especially within the secondary school context, is creating a discipline-based community of practice intervention to provide identity development for early career teachers and ongoing learning in subject areas for all teachers. The Teacher as Practitioner (TAP) program is believed to keep teachers optimistic about their long-term, quality engagement in the teaching profession. 

In order to retain educators, it is integral that we acknowledge teachers’ two sub identities: teacher and subject specialist. As Morris and Imms suggest, “it is critical that teachers can teach well; that is they develop pedagogical knowledge and skills, they build relationships with students, staff, and parents, and they work as part of the overall school community. On top of that, it is also essential for them to be subject specialists with expert skills and knowledge about the subject areas they are trained to teach.” Unfortunately, especially for beginning teachers, there is much emphasis on the art of teaching over being a subject specialist. “Teachers slowly diminish personal practice of their disciplines and having two sub identities lead to competing demands on teachers’ time, focus, and belief systems.” As a result, “diminishing this practice negatively impacts the quality of teaching,” and more often leads to an early exit from teaching. 

The big question is—how can schools and teacher education providers develop teachers as both educators and subject specialists? According to Morris and Imms, there are three supports that can be offered. First, it is essential to balance ongoing learning in both domains. Induction and mentoring are often removed after one to three years and do not support teachers across the course of their careers. Providing professional networking opportunities that aim to support a teacher’s practice as part of their “ongoing individual professional learning [can] also become a community of practice where teachers can share and discuss their discipline practice and its impact on their classroom teaching.” 

Second, we need to provide teachers opportunities to interrogate their identity and consider how their growing experiences shape both their identity development and classroom practice. Lastly, as a community, we should explore what support could be provided to teachers as they develop their identity in the early years of their career and as their needs change over time within and beyond the classroom walls. 

With these elements in mind, maybe then increased teacher retention can be achieved, and we can constructively help our educators to understand their work and their place in society. 

Summarized Article:

Morris, J. E., & Imms, W. (2021). ‘A validation of my pedagogy’: how subject discipline practice supports early career teachers’ identities and perceptions of retention. Teacher Development, 1-13.

Summary by: Jerome Lingo — Jerome believes the MARIO Framework is providing structure and common meaning to learning support programs across the globe. Backed up with current research on the best practices in inclusion and general education, we can reimagine education . . . together.

Key Takeaway: Children with reading disorder (RD) have an increased risk of anxiety disorders, the most common mental health disorder in children. Fortunately, preliminary research suggests that an improvement in anxiety symptoms is associated with an improvement in academic performance over time. These findings highlight the importance of practitioner awareness of the common co-occurrence of RD and anxiety and provide support for: 1) screening for anxiety disorders in children diagnosed with RD and 2) comprehensive intervention that addresses both academic and mental health needs of children with RD. —Ashley Parnell

Reading disorder (RD), a type of specific learning disorder (SLD) that involves impairment in word reading, reading fluency, and/or reading comprehension, is common in the general population, with reported prevalence ranging from 5% to 17%. Children with RD have an increased risk for developing other psychiatric disorders, including anxiety disorder, and show higher anxiety levels than children without learning disabilities. However, “this co-occurrence is often under-recognized and under-treated resulting in less than optimal outcomes in all areas including emotional outcomes.”1

Given these concerns and statistics, the purpose of the current study from Hossain, Bent, and Hendren was to examine the association between anxiety symptoms and overall academic performance in children with RD, in hopes that a better understanding of this relationship would result in improved screening and treatment. 

Participants included 128 children (aged 7-14) from three special education schools that specialized in teaching students with RD. Teachers completed two rating scales every three months for two years, one that measured anxiety symptoms and another that measured academic progress in content areas including reading, writing, and math. 

Comparison of the two measures occurred over the two-year time period and at each time point of survey completion, both revealing a significant association between anxiety and academic performance with increased levels of anxiety symptomatology being associated with poorer academic performance in children with RD. Of specific importance, findings suggest that an improvement in an individual’s anxiety symptoms is associated with an improvement in their academic performance over time. 

Given the prevalence of anxiety and RD in isolation and comorbidly, these findings highlight the importance of screening for anxiety disorders in children that have been diagnosed with RD upon diagnosis and on a regular basis. Once identified, an interdisciplinary, comprehensive, targeted intervention that addresses both academic and mental health needs is recommended.

Summarized Article:

Hossain, B., Bent, S., & Hendren, R. (2021). The association between anxiety and academic performance in children with reading disorder: A longitudinal cohort study. Dyslexia.

Summary by: Ashley M. Parnell — Ashley strives to apply the MARIO Framework to build evidence-based learning environments that support student engagement, empowerment, and passion and is working with a team of educators to grow and share this framework with other educators.

Additional Reference: 

  1. Hendren, R. L., Haft, S. L., Black, J. M., White, N. C., & Hoeft, F. (2018). Recognizing Psychiatric Comorbidity With Reading Disorders. Frontiers in psychiatry, 9, 101. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2018.00101

Key Takeaway: Family engagement allows teachers to better understand and support their students. As a result, building positive, cooperative relationships between home and school environments is key to a child’s success, regardless of grade level. —Taryn McBrayne

In this article, authors Alanzi and Eddy (University of North Texas) provide a detailed review of Lepkowska and Nightingale’s (2019) book Meet the Parents: How Schools Can Work Effectively with Families to Support Children’s Learning. As part of the review, Alanzi and Eddy discuss all 9 chapters, highlighting credible strategies from the book that seek to help teachers and school leaders foster positive relationships between home and school environments. 

Here are some key takeaways from the book: 

  1. Dealing with Loss – The authors (Lepkowska and Nightingale) suggest that teachers should work with both their students and their families during bereavement in order to support the child as they work through their loss. More specifically, “The authors argue that we [teachers] need to be more direct with students in addressing situations of bereavement; for example, we should use the words ‘dead’ and ‘died’ with children rather than ‘passed away.’ “
  1. Digital Citizenship/Safety – As summarized by Alanzi and Eddy, “The research found that the presumption that educated parents would be more adept in the online world was inaccurate.” For this reason, arguments for digital safety are made throughout the book. Alanzi and Eddy suggest digital safety be implemented in all school curriculums and for school leaders to engage parents in conversations about digital safety and personal information protection.
  1. Students’ Aspirations – The book argues that “close tracking of children’s progress and focusing on social skills and reasons for absences are ways to support higher achievement in students.” Therefore, communication with families is crucial to understanding a child’s learning progress. 
  1. Parent Meetings – The authors of the book highlight the value of partnership. Put simply, parent-teacher conferences and additional meetings should not be limited to teachers’ reports of student progress but should involve the family in discussions about the child’s learning as well. 
  1. Inclusion – The importance of parental cooperation in the protection of children is addressed, reinforcing that “the topic of threats to students’ emotional and physical wellbeing (ex: bullying, prejudice, etc.) can be difficult to broach with parents, but parents’ cooperation is crucial to protect children.”
  1. Supporting Special Education Students – In order to implement “best strategies and approaches to support [students] in achieving higher levels of attainment,” teacher and family cooperation is paramount. 

Additional chapters highlighted in the article include the development of new schools in the community and the appropriate use of media. 

Ultimately, Alanzi and Eddy’s review concludes that Lepkowska and Nightingale’s book is particularly useful not only for parents, teachers, and school leaders but also for anyone wishing to better support and understand students. However, the authors note that strategies surrounding medical health safety could be a useful addition to the book given the growing need for mental and social health support amongst today’s youth. 

Summarized Article:

Alanazi, F. & Eddy, C.M.  (2021). Meet the Parents: How Schools Can Work Effectively with Families to Support Children’s Learning, British Journal of Educational Studies, Vol. 69 (1), 119-121, DOI: 10.1080/00071005.2020.1810478

Summary by: Taryn McBrayne – Taryn believes in the power of student voice and, through the MARIO Framework, strives to create more opportunities for both educators and students to regularly make use of this power.

Additional Reference:

  1. Lepkowska, D. and Nightingale, J. (2019) Meet the Parents: How Schools Can Work Effectively with Families to Support Children’s Learning (Routledge). 

Key Takeaway: Teachers sometimes treat their students differently from one another, focusing more on the low-performing students. As a result, feedback is given to these students in a manner that directs and controls their learning, rather than encouraging higher-level thinking. —Shekufeh Monadjem

Eddie Denessen (University of Leiden), Annelies Keller (University of Leiden), Linda Van Den Bergh (Fontys University), and Paul Van Den Broek (University of Leiden) formed a hypothesis stating that there is a difference in how teachers treat their students and that teachers offer more frequent and challenging interactions to those students who have high academic achievements and a higher socioeconomic status. 

Educational policies are calling for more individualized and differentiated ways of teaching in order “to promote the learning opportunities of each individual student. To reach this goal, teaching should be tailored to individual students’ needs.”1 But to what extent are the student-teacher interactions free from bias? According to the authors, “with differential treatment of students, teachers may exacerbate or reduce achievement differences in their classroom.” This behavior may result in teachers “treating their high-expectation students more favorably.”

A study conducted in eight fourth-grade classrooms in the Netherlands indicated that there was indeed a difference in teacher-student interaction, but contrary to expectation, teachers “interact more frequently with their low-performing and low-expectation students.”

The study also examined the feedback that was given to the students in the class. “Feedback can be the most powerful tool to support students’ learning, but effects depend on the quality of the feedback interactions.” Effective feedback needs to be related to a goal and directly applicable to the learning habits and thought processes of the student. Feedback can be given either in a directive or facilitative way. When giving directive feedback, “teachers tell students how to process information . . . carry out a task . . . or they ask questions for which they expect a certain answer.” This method can be successfully used when a new concept is taught. However, with the use of facilitative feedback, “teachers prompt students to think by asking them open-ended questions or by giving them hints that facilitate learning,”2 and therefore help students to construct their knowledge. This type of feedback is used to foster higher-level thinking and learning. 

Ultimately, it was observed by the authors that “teachers showed a rather directive style of teaching, more targeted at weaker students in their classrooms.” The low-performing “students were given more turns and more feedback.” It was also noted that the teachers provided these students with directive feedback, indicating that teachers took more control over these students’ learning.

Summarized Article:

Denessen, E., Keller, A., Van Den Bergh, L., and Van Den Broek, P. (2020), Do Teachers Treat Their Students Differently? An Observational Study on Teacher-Student Interactions as a Function of Teacher Expectations and Student Achievement. Hindawi Education Research International, Vol 2020.

Summary by: Shekufeh – Shekufeh believes that the MARIO Framework builds relationships that enable students to view the world in a positive light as well as empowering them to create plans that ultimately lead to their success.

Additional References:

  1. S. A. Parsons, M. Vaughn, R. Q. Scales et al., (2017). “Teachers’ instructional adaptations: a research synthesis,” Review of Educational Research, vol. 88, no. 2, pp. 205–242.
  2. J. M. Faber, C. A. W. Glas, and A. J. Visscher, (2018). “Differentiated instruction in a data-based decision-making context,” School Effectiveness and School Improvement, vol. 29, no. 1, pp. 43–63. 

Key Takeaway: There are some studies supporting the notion that learning with ease suggests fluency and can lead to better performance. However, this can lead to a misconception that learning has to be easy and facing challenges is problematic. It is important to establish that difficulties are part of learning and that disfluency can open up possibilities for identity exploration. Virtual learning environments (VLEs) can be designed in such a way that they support this exploration, by looking at features such as gamification, engagement and connection, and learning supports. —Nika Espinosa

In their article, Oyserman and Dawson look at the framework of identity-based motivation and how it connects to virtual learning environments (VLEs). Identity-based motivation is about the self and the motivational power behind it. This includes procedural readiness, action readiness, and dynamic construction. “Together, these core aspects provide a framework for understanding the interplay between people’s sense of who they are, their actions, their interpretations of experienced ease and difficulty, and how learning environments may frame these processes.” 

The authors used the identity-based motivation lens to examine how to enhance VLEs. With the current global context, digital learning platforms have boomed. According to Lenhart (2016), “almost all (92%) adolescents currently go online daily and nearly three in four (72%) play games, regardless of their socioeconomic status, age, race, or gender.”1 But even before the global pandemic, as technology aims to further enhance our lives, digital platforms are increasingly being used in education. Oyserman and Dawson believe that VLEs have the potential to provide opportunities for identity exploration because they are versatile and dynamic. “As such, they can scaffold either a learn-with-ease norm that diminishes engagement with schoolwork and forecloses identity exploration or a learn-through-difficulty norm that enhances both.” Moving forward, we need to understand how to effectively use VLEs and how they can complement face-to-face learning.

In connection with identity-based motivation and the research mentioned by the authors, it can be inferred that students in a difficulty-as-importance context outperform students who are in a difficulty-as-impossibility context or even students who are not posed with either context. This is a consideration when designing VLEs. When VLEs are successful, they have the potential to improve engagement and connection when learning. “This is more likely when the VLE learning norm does not conflate ease with learning but instead links learning and engaging with difficulty.” According to the authors, VLEs can be used to identify probable future identities in relation to identity-based motivation. For example, an activity that is science-based could encourage the learner to consider a possible future in the same field. 

Meaningful learning comes with effort.2,3 When students acknowledge and accept the notion of difficulty-as-important, engagement and connection increase. In the context of well-designed VLEs, these can also be used to promote self-discovery.  

Article Summarized: 

Oyserman, D., & Dawson, A. (2021). Successful learning environments support and harness students’ identity-based motivation: A primer. The Journal of Experimental Education, 1–15. https://doi.org/10.1080/00220973.2021.1873091

Summary by: Nika Espinosa—Nika believes that personalized learning is at the heart of special education and strives to collaborate with educators in providing a holistic, personalized approach to supporting all learners through the MARIO Framework.

Additional References:

  1. Lenhart, A. (2016). Teens, social media & technology overview, Pew Research Center, https://www.pewresearch.org/ internet/2018/05/31/teens-social-media-technology-2018/
  2. Kornell, N., & Bjork, R. A. (2007). The promise and perils of self-regulated study. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 14(2), 219–224. https://doi.org/10.3758/bf03194055
  3. Yan, V. X., Bjork, E. L., & Bjork, R. A. (2016). On the difficulty of mending metacognitive illusions: A priori theo- ries, fluency effects, and misattributions of the interleaving benefit. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 145(7), 918–933. https://doi.org/10.1037/xge0000177

Key Takeaway: The pandemic has disrupted teaching and learning in many ways. Students with IEPs likely had these documents changed to adapt to the current mode of learning. In particular, students with social-based interventions may have needed to put these on hold as social distance and virtual learning made these infeasible. As students return to a more normal school routine, IEP teams will have to reassess students’ Present Level of Performance (PLOP) and likely conduct reassessment and revision of IEPs. —Ayla Reau

Students with autism rely on routine and often require individualized instruction. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the disruption to education worldwide, Sarah Hurwitz, Blaine Garman-McClaine, and Kane Carlock (Indiana University Bloomington) sought to investigate how special educators and specialists adapted practices for such students in response to pandemic schooling conditions. 

“Special education professionals were asked to complete an online survey inquiring about service provision for students with autism during the COVID-19 pandemic.” Participants reported:

  • making changes to Individualized Education Plans (IEPs). 
    • Adding Individualized Continuity of Learning Plans (ICLPs) to describe how service could be provided across learning modalities (i.e. online, hybrid, face-to-face). 
    • Adjusting service minutes to provide more flexibility
  • “having less time to work on behavioural goals, track student progress, or help students interact socially.” Some educators dropped social-based IEP goals and spent much less time implementing social interventions due to distancing requirements and inapplicability to virtual instruction, “with about 80% reporting more difficulty addressing social goals than before the pandemic.” 
  • having to stop using peer helpers and running social groups, which afforded fewer opportunities for social skills practice. 
  • making modifications to every aspect of teaching including materials, personnel, and format. Modifications were also made to who implemented the interventions, including coaching paraprofessionals who would then deliver small group instruction over Zoom and build collaboration with parents.

Overall, special education teachers described feeling less able to meet IEP requirements during online learning “and struggled to deliver the services, support, and attention that their students needed.”

However, the results also indicated the importance of collaboration between teachers and guardians. Getting and keeping caregivers involved in a child’s education is imperative to maintaining progress, especially while the children work from home. Since parents may not have the required training and experience needed to effectively implement their child’s education plan, offering the option to hold virtual parent-teacher meetings and case conferences may facilitate access. 

Educators also found that while some students with more intense needs struggled, others actually preferred virtual instruction. “For some students with autism, staying at home where they feel comfortable and can engage in self-regulating activities without negative social consequences, may reduce their stress and have positive impacts on learning.” This raises concerns for the future when social expectations resume. 

The authors conclude that students with disabilities are likely to have had a diminished learning experience during the pandemic. “As such, compensatory services may be required going forward.” They suggest that as schools return to more normal functioning, “IEP teams should assess what services were, in fact, delivered during school closures and across the changing educational modalities, and then conduct an assessment of each student’s current needs (i.e. reassess their Present Level of Performance (PLOP)).” If regression has occurred or limited progress was made in meaningful skills, the authors suggest IEP teams issue a COVID-19 compensatory services plan. Further, they predict reassessment and revision of IEPs to become common requirements as in-person learning resumes.  

Schools must also continue to address mental health and provide additional layers of support for teachers to address burnout, in order to retain the teachers they have, especially special education teachers. 

It is important to note that participants were all from public schools in Indiana, and the data was collected from a specific moment in the pandemic (middle of the 2020-2021 academic year), so their “perspective is grounded in experiences from a state that endeavored to open schools early, with precautions, allowing many school districts to offer hybrid and full-time in-person learning for considerable portions of the year.”

Summarized Article:

Hurwitz, S., Garman-McClaine, B., & Carlock, K. (2021). Special education for students with autism during the COVID-19 pandemic: “Each day brings new challenges”. Autism : the international journal of research and practice, 13623613211035935. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1177/13623613211035935

Summary by: Ayla Reau—Ayla is excited to help continue to grow the MARIO Framework, seeing the potential for it to impact all students across any educational context.

Key Takeaway: Teacher attitudes, beliefs, and perceptions are critical in how they have the potential to contribute to or reduce educational inequalities. —Matt Piercy

Kate M. Turetsky, Stacey Sinclair, Jordan G. Starck, and J. Nicole Shelton (2021) investigated psychological contributors to educational inequality and the far-reaching impact of teacher psychology. Teachers’ gender-biased perceptions, fixed mindsets, and disparate assessment were all examined. Systematic factors (ie. socio-economic and racial/ethnic disparities), the broader educational system and society, and parents all factor into educational inequalities. However, a field of research is burgeoning in how teacher psychology also plays a pivotal role. Further, changing teachers’ attitudes, perceptions, or beliefs is essential.

The authors investigated two significant questions:

  1. Which teacher attitudes, perceptions, and beliefs contribute to educational inequality?
  2. How does teacher psychology exacerbate or mitigate educational inequality?

Here are the major takeaways from the article:

  • Research confirms how teachers often hold more negative perceptions and expectations of students from marginalized groups but also assess them more negatively compared with advantaged groups. This disparate assessment is evidenced across several nations including New Zealand,1 Sweden,2 Brazil,3 Germany,4 and the United States.5 Patterns of such disparities, including high-stakes national exams, are evidenced by comparisons with blind evaluations.
  • Teachers overestimating students led to larger gains in math standardized test scores. Whereas underestimation predicted smaller gains. These effects strengthened as students increased in age and were larger for girls of all races and also Black and Latino boys.6
  • No substantive change in mathematics achievement or a narrowing of the gender gap was noted from 1999 to 2011. This is attributed to teacher gender-biased perceptions of ability between boys and girls in grade school.7,8
  • The authors cite a US university-wide study where 150 STEM professors and more than 15,000 students revealed how courses led by faculty with a fixed versus growth mindset led to a racial achievement gap.9
  • Focusing intervention on teachers may reduce educational inequalities even without specifically targeting students. Blind grading is one recommended strategy but also teacher training programs where high-quality instruction emphasizes the importance of engaging all students.10

Summarized Article:

Turetsky, K. M., Sinclair, S., Starck, J. G., & Shelton, J. N. (2021). Beyond students: how teacher psychology shapes educational inequality. Trends in Cognitive Sciences.

Summary by: Matt Piercy — Matt appreciates how at the heart of the MARIO Framework is a passion to develop relationships and a desire to empower students to uncover their purpose while building upon strengths. Further, Matt is inspired by how the MARIO team supports educators and is quickly and nobly becoming a collaborative force in pursuit of educational equity.

Additional References:

1. Meissel, K., Meyer, F., Yao, E. S., & Rubie-Davies, C. M. (2017). Subjectivity of teacher judgments: Exploring student characteristics that influence teacher judgments of student ability. Teaching and Teacher Education, 65, 48-60.

2. Hinnerich, B. T., Höglin, E., & Johannesson, M. (2015). Discrimination against students with foreign backgrounds: Evidence from grading in Swedish public high schools. Education Economics, 23(6), 660-676.

3. Burgess, S., & Greaves, E. (2013). Test scores, subjective assessment, and stereotyping of ethnic minorities. Journal of Labor Economics, 31(3), 535-576.

4. Sprietsma, M. (2013). Discrimination in grading: Experimental evidence from primary school teachers. Empirical economics, 45(1), 523-538. 

5. Glock, S. (2016). Does ethnicity matter? The impact of stereotypical expectations on in-service teachers’ judgments of students. Social Psychology of Education, 19(3), 493-509.

6. Jamil, F. M., Larsen, R. A., & Hamre, B. K. (2018). Exploring longitudinal changes in teacher expectancy effects on children’s mathematics achievement. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 49(1), 57-90.

7. Robinson-Cimpian, J. P., Lubienski, S. T., Ganley, C. M., & Copur-Gencturk, Y. (2014). Teachers’ perceptions of students’ mathematics proficiency may exacerbate early gender gaps in achievement. Developmental psychology, 50(4), 1262.

8. Cimpian, J. R., Lubienski, S. T., Timmer, J. D., Makowski, M. B., & Miller, E. K. (2016). Have gender gaps in math closed? Achievement, teacher perceptions, and learning behaviors across two ECLS-K cohorts. AERA Open, 2(4), 2332858416673617.

9. Canning, E. A., Muenks, K., Green, D. J., & Murphy, M. C. (2019). STEM faculty who believe ability is fixed have larger racial achievement gaps and inspire less student motivation in their classes. Science advances, 5(2), eaau4734.

Key Takeaway: When students determine their own goals and design their own rubrics for measuring outcomes, goal attainment is dependent on whether the student’s rating or the teacher’s rating is utilized as the outcome measure. Further research is needed to determine why student and teacher ratings can diverge and to what degree these can be used to draw conclusions on the efficacy of interventions. —Akane Yoshida

The Self-Determined Learning Model of Instruction (SDLMI) is “a teaching model implemented by teachers to enable their students to self-direct and self-regulate their actions in pursuit of goals” (Shogren et al., 2017). In this 2021 article, Shogren et al. analyze their findings from a 3-year trial in which they examined the impact of different educator supports for the implementation of SDLMI in inclusive, secondary core content classes. Students participating in the study were supported in creating their own Goal Attainment Scaling (GAS) rubrics to rate themselves and to allow their teachers to rate them. 

The authors’ analysis sought to determine the following:

  1. How much agreement is there between student and teacher ratings of student goal attainment?
  2. Does the impact of different educator supports for the implementation of SDLMI on goal attainment outcomes vary across student and teacher ratings?
  3. Does the impact of student disability status on goal attainment outcomes vary across student and teacher ratings?

In relation to research question 1, the authors found that there was “only a fair amount” of agreement on student goal attainment outcomes, and those discrepancies were most pronounced where ratings suggested that outcomes were far less or far more than expected. Of this, the authors suggest:

Could it be that students and teachers are providing different perspectives, likely influenced by unique contextual factors, of goal attainment outcomes? Furthermore, how do student and teacher ratings correspond to actual student skills and use of these skills in general education classrooms? Are student or teacher ratings more aligned with actual performance?” 

In relation to research question 2, the authors conclude thus:

[T]he findings suggest a critical need to attend to the role of differing perceptions of outcomes in the analysis of intervention efficacy. When examining the impact of student versus teacher ratings in estimating the effect of teacher implementation supports, student ratings of goal attainment suggested a larger impact as teachers received more intensive supports for implementation.” 

With regards to research question 3, the impact of student disability status on differences in goal attainment ratings between students and teachers, the authors found that student disability status led to teachers giving substantially lower ratings of goal attainment compared to students, prompting them to wonder:

[D]o students overestimate their strengths while teachers identify areas of additional instructional needs and supports? Or are teachers’ expectations of students’ capacities shaped by students having an identified disability…Or are both meaningful yet independent, self-perceptions of outcomes that could predict observed outcomes in distinct ways?” 

The authors state the need for ongoing research to be conducted, to further explore how students with disabilities in inclusive settings can be supported to successfully engage in goal setting, as well as determine to what extent student ratings and teacher ratings are aligned with actual behavior in the classroom.

Summarized Article:

Shogren, K. A., Hicks, T. A., Raley, S. K., Pace, J. R., Rifenbark, G. G., & Lane, K. L. (2021). Student and teacher perceptions of goal attainment during intervention with the Self-Determined Learning Model of Instruction. The Journal of Special Education, 55(2), 101-112.

Summary by: Akane Yoshida — Akane believes that developing supportive and nurturing relationships with students is key to helping them to attain their personal benchmarks for success. She loves how the MARIO Framework operationalizes this process and utilizes systematic measurement of student learning and teacher effectiveness to guide interventions.

Additional References:

  1. Shogren, K. A., Wehmeyer, M. L., Burke, K. M., & Palmer, S. B. (2017). The Self-Determination Learning Model of Instruction: Teacher’s Guide. Lawrence, KS: Kansas University Center on Developmental Disabilities.

Key Takeaway: In evaluating the intervention strategies we employ with students, we must consider both global effectiveness and effectiveness for target populations, as the success of the intervention may differ depending on the student population it is serving. As educators, we strive to be measured in practice, so monitoring the impact of an intervention within our own unique context is one way to responsibly apply what we have learned from the research base. —Erin Madonna

Self-questioning (SQ) strategy intervention is designed to engage the learner in monitoring their own understanding as they read, increasing their active construction of meaning in the process. Previous studies have shown SQ to be an effective intervention for improving comprehension, and it is cited in both the National Reading Panel report (2000)1 and Willingham’s subsequent analysis (2006-2007)2 as being supported by conclusive evidence. Furthermore, “past systematic reviews for this student population have shown that combining self-questioning strategy with paragraph restatement/summarization,3 main idea generation, and text structure analysis4 have yielded positive outcomes.”

Daniel and Williams’ purpose in undertaking this review was to address the lack of specificity in previous syntheses pertaining to the effect of the SQ strategy instruction on the development of reading comprehension skills in struggling K-12 readers rather than on a heterogenous population as previous reviews have undertaken. 

Comprehension strategies have the potential to enable struggling readers to digest text as proficient readers would.5 There are two categories of SQ strategies that have been explored in previous studies: top-down and bottom-up. The top-down strategy puts the question-generation responsibility on the student, asking them to pose and answer their own questions while reading a text. The bottom-up approach involves the teacher generating questions prior to reading, with the student actively seeking answers during the reading of the text. One benefit of a top-down approach, as shared by the authors, is that students are able to generalize their use of the strategy to other contexts. “Teaching students to independently use the strategy through a top-down approach provides them with tools to problem solve comprehension failures independently. Hence, only interventions that used the top-down approach to learning self-questioning strategy were included in this synthesis.”

Ten studies met the criteria for inclusion pertaining to the diagnostic category of students: experiment design, isolated SQ strategy instruction utilizing student-generated questions, the use of measures of reading comprehension, and English language instruction. There were 129 students identified as having a reading-based learning disability, and 137 students identified as struggling readers were included in this review. Students with comorbidity of additional diagnoses were not included. The frequency, cohort size, and duration of the strategy instruction varied between the included studies.  

In discussing the results of the included studies as well as findings from their literature review, the authors highlighted some potential hypotheses indicated in the data:

  • The “self-questioning strategy may be more effective for students who are moderately below grade level in reading.”6
  • “Students who read three or more years below grade level may need more intensive interventions such as increased frequency and duration of sessions to gain proficiency in strategy use.”7 
  • The SQ strategy may be more effective with elementary students than with secondary students.8,9 
  • “While both explicit and non-explicit strategy instruction may be beneficial for improving struggling readers’ reading comprehension, explicit strategy instruction may improve generalization and allow students to use self-questioning strategy independently.”
  • “While self-questioning strategy may benefit some students, we recommend that teachers monitor students’ comprehension outcomes and if the strategy is not having the desired effect, to consider alternative reading comprehension strategies.”

This review did not find conclusive support for the effectiveness of isolated SQ strategy instruction for students identified with a learning disability or as a struggling reader, but it did identify avenues for further investigation. The authors were careful to note important limitations to the current synthesis, namely the scarcity of research directly measuring the isolated SQ strategy amongst students identified with a learning disability or as struggling readers, small sample sizes in the included studies, and the challenge of isolating the impact of the SQ strategy in studies looking at multiple interventions.

Summarized Article: 

Daniel, J., & Williams, K. J. (2019). Self-questioning strategy for struggling readers: A synthesis. Remedial and Special Education, 0741932519880338.

Summary by: Erin Madonna – Erin philosophically aligns with the MARIO Framework’s deeply rooted conviction that all learners are capable, and she firmly believes in MARIO’s commitment to the use of evidence-based practices drawn from the field of current multidisciplinary research.

Additional References: 

  1. National Reading Panel. (2000). Teaching children to read: An evidence-based assessment of the scientific research literature on reading and its implications for reading instruction. Washington, DC: National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.
  2. Willingham, D. T. (2006–2007). The usefulness of brief instruction in reading comprehension strategies. American Educator, 30(4), 39–50.
  3. Sencibaugh, J. M. (2007). Meta-analysis of reading comprehension interventions for students with learning disabilities: Strategies and implications. Reading Improvement, 44(10), 6–22. Retrieved from https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ765530
  4. Berkeley, S., Scruggs, T. E., & Mastropieri, M. A. (2010). Reading comprehension instruction for students with learning disabilities, 1995-2006: A meta-analysis. Remedial and Special Education, 31, 423–436. doi:10.1177/0741932509355988
  5. Pressley, M., Borkwski, J. G., & Schneider, W. (1989). Good information processing: What it is and how education can promote it. International Journal of Educational Research, 13, 857–867.
  6. Nolan, T. E. (1991). Self-questioning and prediction: Combining metacognitive strategies. Journal of Reading, 35, 132–138.
  7. Vaughn, S., Wanzek, J., Murray, C. S., & Roberts, G. (2012). Intensive interventions for students struggling in reading and mathematics: A practice guide. Portsmouth, NH: Research Corporation, Center on Instruction.
  8. Scammacca, N. K., Roberts, G. J., Vaughn, S., & Stuebing, K. K. (2015). A meta-analysis of interventions for struggling readers in grades 4–12: 1980–2011. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 48, 369–390
  9. Wanzek, J., & Vaughn, S. (2007). Research-based implications from extensive early reading interventions. School Psychology Review, 36, 541–561.]