We explore how secondary students with disabilities (enrolled in 6th to 12th grades) navigated the COVID-19 global health crisis within the ecological model of resilience, particularly exploring the role of self-determination. We aimed to give voice to secondary students with disabilities to better understand the strengths that facilitated wellbeing during this period of adversity.
#tagline: Students voiced ways in which they used a range of self-determined actions to navigate their new online learning environments and their wellbeing in multiple contexts. These resources are left untapped without supports that foster the development of students’ individual strengths and positive adjustment.
Toste, J. R., Raley, S. K., Toews, S. G., Shogren, K. A., & Coelho, G. (2021). “Eye opening and chaotic”: Resilience and self-determination of secondary students with disabilities amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Journal of Education for Students Placed At Risk.
We conducted two single-case design studies to examine the effects of a program aimed at improving struggling readers (3rd grade) oral reading fluency performance through self-monitoring, goal setting, and motivation training. Students' oral reading fluency scores increased across intervention phases, suggesting that self-determination and motivation training have the potential to support student performance.
#tagline: Data Mountain supported increased oral reading fluency performance for struggling readers in the third grade.
Didion, L. A., Toste, J. R., & Benz, S. A. (2020). Self-determination to increase oral reading fluency performance: Pilot and replication single-case design studies. Learning Disabilities Research & Practice, 35(4), 218-231.
We analyzed effects from a corpus of 132 published articles. While past research has provided accumulating evidence that motivation is associated with reading, this is the first meta-analysis that has been conducted in which this relation is shown to be significant and stable across K-12 students. Findings further suggest that the theoretical construct used to operationalize motivation may moderate associations with reading, and lend evidence for the bidirectional nature of this relationship. We would argue that motivation is not tangential to, but a critical component of reading development.
#tagline: While motivation and reading are inarguably related, earlier reading performance is a better predictor of motivation than motivation is of later reading.
Toste, J. R., Didion, L., Peng, P., Filderman, M. J., & McClelland, A. M. (2020). A meta-analytic review of the relations between motivation and reading achievement for K-12 students. Review of Educational Research, 90(3), 420-456.
We examined effects from 28 studies of teacher professional development and its impact on reading outcomes for K-8 students. Teacher PD had a moderate, significant effect on reading achievement. We were unable to consider several potential moderators; for example, only 3 studies included middle school students, and only 4 studies including disaggregated outcomes for students with or at-risk for reading disability.
#tagline: PD is important, but there is a continued need for high-quality studies that explore the relation between teaching learning and change in practice.
Lemons, C. J., & Toste, J. R. (2019). Professional development and coaching: Addressing the “last mile” problem in educational research. Assessment for Effective Intervention, 44(4), 300-304.
We developed and tested the efficacy of a multisyllabic word reading (MWR) intervention, with and without an embedded motivational belief training component. This study included struggling readers in 3rd and 4th grades randomly assigned to one of three conditions: (1) multisyllabic word reading only (MWR); (2) multisyllabic word reading with motivational beliefs training (MWR+MB); and (3) business-as-usual comparison (BAU). Students in both MWR conditions outperformed the BAU condition on measures of word reading fluency. Students in MWR+MB condition outperformed the MWR-only group on sentence-level comprehension and outperformed the BAU in ratings of attributions for success in reading.
#tagline: Evidence for efficacy of MWR intervention for upper elementary students, and suggestion that embedded motivational beliefs training can strengthen intervention outcomes.
Toste, J. R., Capin, P., Vaughn, S., Roberts, G. G., & Kearns, D. M. (2017). Multisyllabic word reading instruction with and without motivational beliefs training for struggling readers in the upper elementary grades: A pilot investigation. The Elementary School Journal, 117(4), 593-615.
The working alliance encompasses both the emotional (bond) and collaborative (task
and goal) aspects of relationship. We examined whether ratings of classroom working
alliance differed between students with and without high-incidence disabilities (SWD),
and the interaction of disability status with teacher- or student-rated alliance variables
in predicting school-related outcomes. Results indicated working alliance differentially
predicted outcomes; students’ ratings of collaboration predicted greater academic
competence and school satisfaction for SWD when compared with their peers.
#tagline: Positive classroom working alliance may serve a protective function for students with disabilities.
Toste, J. R., Bloom, E. L., & Heath, N. L. (2014). The differential role of classroom working alliance in predicting school-related outcomes for students with and without high-incidence disabilities. The Journal of Special Education, 48(2), 135-148.
Through systematic review of the literature, we examined (1) the self-determination skills are taught to improve reading outcomes for students with or at-risk for learning disabilities (LD) in kindergarten through fifth grade, and (2) the effects of interventions that teach self-determination skills on reading outcomes for elementary students with or at-risk for LD. It is critical that foundational self-determination skills are taught in the elementary grades so that individuals will be empowered into adulthood; however, application of self-determination both at the elementary level and focused on students with LD remains limited.
#tagline: Research on elementary students with LD has focused almost exclusively on self-regulation. There remains a gap in what we know about the potential for self-determination skills to support reading achievement.
Didion, L., Toste, J. R., Benz, S., & Shogren, K. A. (2021). How are self-determination components taught to improve reading outcomes for elementary students with or at-risk for learning disabilities? Learning Disability Quarterly.
We examined effects from 28 studies of teacher professional development and its impact on reading outcomes for K-8 students. Teacher PD had a moderate, significant effect on reading achievement. We were unable to consider several potential moderators; for example, only 3 studies included middle school students and only 4 studies including disaggregated outcomes for students with or at-risk for reading disability.
#tagline: PD is important, but there is a continued need for high-quality studies that explore the relation between teaching, learning, and change in practice.
Didion, L. A., Toste, J. R., & Filderman, M. J. (2020). Teacher professional development and reading achievement of K-12 students: A meta-analytic review of the effects. Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness, 13(1), 29-66.
We analyzed the use of instructional time for 35 8th grade social studies teachers. Each teacher had their classes randomly assigned to business-as-usual (BAU) instruction or the PACT Program. Generally, teachers spent more time engaged in interactive instruction in PACT classes compared to BAU. Instructional behaviors were significantly related to changes in content knowledge acquisition in the BAU classes. However, in PACT classes, teachers’ instructional behaviors were not significantly related to changes in content acquisition, except for non-instructional activities and non-content related video, which both had negative effects.
#tagline: While interactive instructional time remains important, the instructional methods utilized during this time are equally (if not more) impactful on student achievement.
Toste, J. R., Vaughn, S., Martinez, L. R., & Bustillos-SoRelle, D. (2019). Content-area reading comprehension and teachers’ use of instructional time: Effects on middle school students’ social studies knowledge. Reading and Writing, 32(7), 1705-1722.
We tested the hierarchical model of achievement motivation (Elliot & Church, 1997), which argues that achievement goals provide a critical link between personality motives (mindset) and achievement-related behaviors (engagement) in struggling readers. For 4th and 5th-grade struggling readers, the findings from this study suggest that the effect of mindset on reading comprehension is completely mediated by achievement goals (mastery and performance-avoidance goals) and emotional engagement.
#tagline: Motivational variables help explain individual differences in reading comprehension for struggling readers.
Cho, E., Toste, J. R., Lee, M., Ju, U. (2019). Motivational predictors of struggling readers’ reading comprehension: The effects of mindset, achievement goals, and engagement. Reading and Writing, 32(5), 1219-1242.
We developed the Classroom Working Alliance Inventory, with parallel teacher (CWAI-T) and student (CWAI-S) forms. In this study, we examined the construct validity of the CWAI. Multilevel confirmatory factor analyses supported a two-factor model, representing the emotional and collaborative elements of relationship. These findings provide evidence for the validity of the construct of classroom working alliance in capturing the working relationship between teacher and student.
#tagline: The CWAI can be used reliably with both teachers and students to assess working alliance within the classroom setting.
Toste, J. R., Heath, N. L., Connor, C. M., & Peng, P. (2015). Reconceptualizing teacher-student relationships: Applicability of the working alliance within classroom contexts. The Elementary School Journal, 116, 30-48.
We conducted a component analysis of two versions of an evidence-based, first grade reading program (Peer-Assisted Learning Strategies): PALS+Fluency, modified program with a repeated reading component, or PALS-Only. Students in either intervention outperformed those in the control group on phonological awareness, word reading, and reading fluency. PALS-Only students improved PA skills (over PALS+Fluency) with stronger effects for those with weaker pretreatment PA.
#tagline: These findings help us better understand For who is repeated readings (and PALS for that matter) more or less beneficial?
Fuchs, D., Cho, E., Toste, J. R., Fuchs, L. S., Gilbert, J., McMaster, K. L., Svenson, E., & Thompson, A. (2021). A quasi-experimental evaluation of two versions of first-grade PALS: One with and one without repeated reading. Exceptional Children, 87(2), 141-162.
We analyzed data from the ECLS-K: 2011 (a nationally representative, longitudinal dataset) to investigate whether data-focused training predicted teacher use of data on four decision-making outcomes: monitor progress of specific skills, identify skill deficits, monitor overall progress of students performing below benchmark, and determine placement in instructional tiers. Professional development focused on data use significantly predicted teachers' use of data across all four dimensions related to reading instruction. For math instruction, data use was not as consistently reported across outcomes.
#tagline: Teacher professional development (PD) on data use predicts their increased data use for a variety of decision-making purposes.
Filderman, M. J., Toste, J. R., & Cooc, N. (2020). Does training predict second grade teachers’ use of student data for decision making in reading and math? Assessment for Effective Intervention.
In this replication study, strugglers readers in 4th and 5th grades were randomly assigned to one of three conditions: (1) multisyllabic word reading only (MWR); (2) multisyllabic word reading with motivational beliefs training (MWR+MB); and (3) business-as-usual comparison (BAU). We broadened the scope of the motivational beliefs training to include goal setting in addition to positive attributions/self-talk. Intervention students significantly outperformed controls on an expanded assessment battery, including proximal measures of affix and multisyllabic word reading, and standardized measures of decoding, spelling, and text comprehension.
#tagline: Relatively brief MWR intervention improves outcomes for upper elementary struggling readers, but findings lead to questions about how to train and measure complex cognitive processes.
Toste, J. R., Capin, P., Williams, K. J., Cho, E., & Vaughn, S. (2019). Replication of an experimental study investigating the efficacy of a multisyllabic word reading intervention with and without motivational beliefs training for struggling readers. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 52(1), 45-58.
We examined reading interventions that integrated data-based decision making (DBDM) for struggling readers in grades K-12. Across 15 studies, we reported small positive effects for reading interventions with DBDM. We also noted that few studies utilized standardized curriculum-based measurement probes, and adjustments made to instruction were varied and lacked details for how data were used to make these decisions. There is a need for more experimental research to systematically investigate DBDM practices.
#tagline: DBDM improves students’ reading performance. While effects seem modest, they are meaningful in that they represent outcomes for students with intensive academic needs who are often inadequately responsive to even the highest quality interventions.
Podcast interview with Jess and Marissa discussing this work.
Filderman, M. J., Toste, J. R., Didion, L. A., Peng, P., & Clemens, N. H. (2018). Data-based decision making in reading interventions: A synthesis and meta-analysis of the effects for struggling readers. The Journal of Special Education, 52(3), 174-187.
We examined profiles of first graders who responded adequately or inadequately to Tier 2 intervention, and assessed how these profiles differ based on two different identification methods: (a) reading composite with weighted standardized scores at the end of first grade, and (b) local norms on word identification fluency progress monitoring. The groups identified by these two methods differed in both academic and cognitive skill profiles. When measuring growth on progress monitoring measures, there were noted differences that distinguished adequate and inadequate response.
#tagline: Students deemed to be inadequate responders to Tier 2 reading intervention differ based on classification criteria.
Toste, J. R., Compton, D. L., Fuchs, D., Fuchs, L. S., Gilbert, J. K., Cho, E., Barquero, L. A., & Bouton, B. D. (2014). Understanding unresponsiveness to Tier 2 reading intervention: Exploring the classification and profiles of adequate and inadequate responders. Learning Disability Quarterly, 37(4), 192-203.