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1.4: Benefits of Using What Works

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    In contrast, there are a plethora of interventions that have been shown to improve student work through rigorous research. As mentioned previously, the What Works Clearinghouse is a repository for interventions that have undergone extensive research and a process of review to determine their effectiveness. Utilizing the two previous examples as a starting point, we will examine how research based interventions have been shown to increase student educational outcomes.

    First, we examine the educational methodology of learning styles. Landrum and Landrum (2016) discuss an alternative instructional methodology that has a robust research base to pull from and guide practice. The alternative they discuss is instructional choice. Instructional choice is when, “… the student is provided with two or more options, can independently select an option, and is provided with the selected option.” (Jolivette, Stichter, and McCormick, 2002, p. 28). Lane and colleagues (2015) described the types of choices as across-task (e.g., choosing the order of tasks to be completed, or which to complete from a list of options), and within-task choices (e.g., asking the students to choose materials for task completion, providing choice of environmental variables like where to complete the assignment). Further, they discuss the large number of studies that have shown choice to be an effective and easy intervention to improve student engagement and achievement.

    With respect to stereotypical behaviors, Losinski and Ennis (2016) suggest that function-based interventions are a more research-based approach than sensory integration approaches. Specifically, changes to antecedent variables have been shown to reduce the occurrence of stereo-typical behaviors. For example, adjusting the setting of instruction that may increase anxiety in the student may help to reduce those behaviors. Further, research has shown that many stereotypical behaviors may help the student to cope with different stimuli or may soothe the student. In either case, examining the antecedents and consequences that maintain that behavior may allow the practitioner to determine interventions based on those variables and select replacement behaviors. For example, Losinski, Hirsch, Cook, and Sanders (in press) found that antecedent exercise can reduce these stereotypical behaviors in students with low functioning autism, particularly as compared to SIT.

    Examples of interventions shown to be effective for students with disabilities are many, and it is more a matter of determining the specific need of the child and matching it with interventions specifically for that child that is needed. Very often teachers apply a one-size-fits-all approach to dealing with students with disabilities. However, it is imperative that practitioners utilize data to inform their decisions and seek out those inventions that have been shown to help.

    This page titled 1.4: Benefits of Using What Works is shared under a CC BY-ND license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Mickey Losinski (New Prairie Press/Kansas State University Libraries) .

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