Printer Friendly

Acquisition of Content Area Vocabulary for Students with Learning Disabilities.

Abstract

This study compared the effects of two variations of the constant-time-delay (CTD) procedure on the observational learning of students with learning disabilities in a small-group instructional arrangement. Each student was taught to read two individualized lists of content area vocabulary words. The target words of other students in the group served as the observational words for each student. An adapted alternating treatments design was used to compare the effects of the two instructional conditions on students' target words. A repeated measures ANOVA with Condition and Time as within-subjects variables was used to analyze the observational learning results. In the first condition, a group attentional response (Everybody Writes) condition was used in which all students copied the target word on an erasable board before the target student answered. In the second condition, an individual attentional response (Only Target Student Writes) condition was used; only the target student copied the word on the erasabl e board before responding. Results indicate that both conditions were equally effective for learning target words, but the Everybody Writes condition was more effective in promoting observational reading of other students' target words. There was no significant interaction effect for spelling of other students' target words. The majority of the students scored within a range established by general education peers on measures of oral reading rate of observational words taught under the Everybody Writes condition.

The current demand for accountability in education emphasizes the importance of instructional strategy selection by teachers of students with disabilities. Teachers must select intervention strategies that research has demonstrated to be both effective and efficient in terms of maximizing instructional learning time (Carta, Schwartz, Atwater, & McConnell, 1991; Christenson, Ysseldyke, & Thurlow, 1989). Unfortunately, much of the research in the area of learning disabilities focuses on issues of identification and characteristics rather than on specific academic interventions for these students. In a survey spanning ten years of research, Lessen, Dudzinski, Karsh, and Van Acker (1989) found that less than 4% of the published articles in eight major special education journals addressed academic interventions for students with learning disabilities. Lessen and his colleagues made several suggestions regarding un-researched and under-researched areas of instruction for students with learning disabilities. One und er-researched area includes the "replication of successful one-to-one instructional interventions that could be potentially effective and efficient for group instruction" (p. 120).

Constant time delay (CTD) is a response prompting procedure that has an extensive research base in which the majority of studies have been conducted in a one-to-one setting. CTD has been shown to be both effective and efficient in teaching a variety of skills to learners with a range of disabilities, including students with learning disabilities. In a review of the CTD literature, Wolery and his colleagues (Wolery, Holcombe, et al., 1992) analyzed the results of 36 studies and found that the procedure was successful in teaching discrete skills to 98% of the participants. In addition to the high success rate, errors by students with mild disabilities typically were less than 5 percent.

The CTD procedure is easily implemented in classroom settings. It is a near-errorless instructional strategy in which the teacher always provides a response prompt if the student waits for assistance in stating the correct answer. The response prompt used in the CTD procedure should be a controlling prompt; that is, it should increase the probability of a correct response by the student. During initial trials, the teacher presents the task direction, then immediately presents the controlling prompt. There is no delay between the task direction and presentation of the controlling prompt; thus, these trials usually are described as 0-s delay trials.

During subsequent trials, a fixed delay interval (e.g., the number of seconds in which the teacher waits for a student response) is inserted between the presentation of the task direction and the controlling prompt. This provides the student with the opportunity to respond without assistance when possible. A student who is unsure of the correct response may choose to wait until the teacher provides the controlling prompt. Correct answers given by the student both before and after the prompt are reinforced by the teacher, typically with verbal praise. If a student makes an error either before or after receiving the prompt, the teacher provides the correct answer and requires the student to repeat the response. The goal of the CTD procedure is for the student to consistently respond correctly to the task direction or target stimulus prior to the presentation of the controlling prompt (Wolery, Ault, & Doyle, 1992).

Most published reports of CTD describe teachers working with students individually. One method for improving the efficiency of the CTD procedure is to implement it in group settings. Several previous studies have explored the use of CTD with groups of students with mild disabilities (Keel & Gast, 1992; Winterling, 1990; Wolery, Ault, Gast, Doyle, & Mills, 1990, Wolery, Cybriwsky, Gast, & Boyle-Cast, 1991).

Teaching students in groups, as opposed to individually, provides the potential for observational learning: acquisition of information that is presented to other members of the group (Browder, Schoen, & Lentz, 1986-87). A second means of improving instructional efficiency is through incidental learning. Incidental learning refers to the acquisition of related, non-target information that is presented within the instructional context (Wolery & Gast, 1990). This related information may be presented either before or after the student's response. Studies conducted with students with mild disabilities have investigated the incidental acquisition of spelling (Gast, Doyle, Wolery, Ault, & Baklarz, 1991; Keel & Gast, 1992; Shelton, Gast, Wolery, & Winterling, 1991; Winterling, 1990), word definitions (Keel & Gast, 1992; Shelton et al., 1991), and science and social studies facts (Wolery, et al., 1991). Both observational and incidental learning appear to have potential to enhance the instructional efficiency of the C TD procedure as students acquire information that is not directly taught.

In a previous study, the first author examined the effectiveness of the CTD procedure with a group written attentional response (i.e., all students copy the word prior to the target student responding) to teach reading of multi-syllable basal vocabulary words to fifth-grade students with learning disabilities in a resource room setting (Keel & Gast, 1992). All students improved their reading of words from their individual word sets from 0% during baseline sessions to 100% during the final probe condition. Observational learning probes conducted at the end of each probe condition demonstrated that immediately following instruction on a particular word set, students also could read 100% of the other students' word sets correctly. At the end of the study, students maintained accurate responding to most of these words (mean = 91%, range = 83%-100%). The results indicate the procedure was effective in promoting the acquisition of observational learning for students with learning disabilities in a group instruction al arrangement. Requiring all students to copy the visual model of each word before responding may have contributed to this high level of observational learning. The purpose of the present study was to determine if requiring all students or only the target student to copy the visual model before responding would be more effective in promoting expressive word reading and spelling of observational words (words targeted for other students) by students with learning disabilities.

Method

Participants

Four students from each of three resource rooms and three students from a non-graded, multi-age, integrated primary regular education classroom in a mid-sized southeastern city participated in this project. All students had been identified as having learning disabilities according to state and local guidelines; each received reading instruction either from the resource room teacher or from the special education teacher housed within the integrated primary program. Table 1 summarizes information about each student according to the guidelines published by the Council for Learning Disabilities (CLD) Research Committee (1992). Students' prerequisite skills (e.g., attending to group instruction, copying letters from a model, waiting for prompts) were evaluated prior to initiation of the study.

One student at each school does not appear to meet state eligibility criteria for learning disabilities placement (i.e., discrepancy of 15 or more standard score points between intelligence and achievement measure). For Student 3 at School A, Student 2 at School B, and Student 1 at School D, the eligibility team determined that a severe language comprehension problem was a probable factor in the low Full Scale IQ scores. Each of these students had standard scores on language tests that were more than one standard deviation below their Full Scale IQ scores, and they all received speech and language therapy at least two times per week. Student 1 at School C also had significant social skills deficits in addition to his deficits in reading.

Four special education teachers participated in the study. Teachers were trained individually in all implementation procedures by the experimenter. Each teacher demonstrated reliable performance (i.e., 90% or above on each procedural step) of each of the procedures prior to the implementation of the study. Teachers were provided with a notebook with detailed scripts for each component of the project and copies of all stimulus sheets and data collection forms.

Settings

All sessions took place in public school classrooms. Three classrooms were resource rooms; the fourth was a non-graded, integrated regular education classroom. Two resource rooms were located in elementary schools; the third was located in a middle school. In each classroom, sessions took place in a small group at a table with students' backs to nonparticipating students in the classroom. Each teacher used established classroom management procedures; no additional behavior management procedures were implemented with participants in any of the classrooms during the study.

Experimental Design

An adapted alternating treatments design (AATD) (Sindelar, Rosenberg, & Wilson, 1985) was used to compare the effects of the two independent variables (group versus individual written attentional response) on students' acquisition of their target words. The AATD allows the researcher to compare the effects of two procedures using two equivalent and functionally independent sets of stimuli. In this research project, the two sets of stimuli included reading, science, or social studies vocabulary words. A third set of unknown words of equivalent difficulty was used as a no-treatment comparison. Since the majority of words chosen for the study, including those in the control set, were not phonetically regular, generalization of learning to the no-treatment control words would not be expected. All of the words were selected from a pool of words identified by the teacher as important for all students in the group. Table 2 presents the word sets selected for the students at School A.

Procedures for determining the equivalence and independence of the two word sets for each student are an important consideration in the use of the AATD. Target words for each student were divided into two equivalent sets using the following criteria: (a) high-imagery versus low-imagery words (Hargis, 1982); (b) phonetic properties, including beginning or ending sounds; and (c) structural properties (i.e., number of syllables).

The two treatment conditions were alternated during the experimental condition, with instruction on one set each day. Differences between the two conditions are demonstrated in an AATD when acquisition of one set of stimuli occurs at a faster rate. AATDs may be replicated across subjects, settings, or behaviors. In this study, the design was replicated across 15 subjects and four settings. Since students produced the same type of response on both sets of their target words (they copied the word and then read the word aloud), this design should demonstrate that both sets of target words were learned at an equivalent rate.

Observational reading and spelling data were analyzed using a repeated measures ANOVA with Condition (Everybody Writes vs. Only Target Student Writes) and Time (Baseline, Individual Criterion, Group criterion, Maintenance) as within-subjects variables. Significant differences between the two conditions would indicate that one condition was more effective in promoting observational learning than the other.

Determining Criterion Response Rates

To assess student progress toward mastery of a particular skill, a criterion for functional performance must be established (Howell, Fox, & Morehead, 1993). The most common criterion measure of expressive word reading in previous CTD studies has been accuracy or percentage of correct responses (cf. Gast, et al., 1991; Keel & Gast, 1992; Shelton et al., 1991; Winterling, 1990). Accuracy of response, however, is not sufficient as a measure of proficient reading performance because students who do not read fluently as well as accurately often experience great difficulty constructing meaning from large amounts of connected text (Howell et al., 1993).

Timed-probes measuring rate of both correct and incorrect responses were used to evaluate student fluency (i.e., rate and accuracy) on the two word sets. Fluency is a more sensitive measure of student performance than accuracy alone, and it allows comparisons of performance across different behaviors (Wolery, Bailey, & Sugai, 1988). None of the previously-published CTD studies have used fluency as a criterion measure. Howell and his colleagues (1993) caution practitioners strongly against arbitrarily establishing proficiency levels for students with disabilities; therefore, a systematic procedure was used to establish local peer norms as criterion rates for the current study.

Koorland, Keel, and Ueberhorst (1990) summarized the literature on establishing criterion response rates and outlined specific procedures for establishing local norms. These procedures were used to establish local norms at each of the four schools targeted for the study. The experimenter selected a regular classroom at the same grade level as the majority of group members at each school. From this classroom, all word set probes and observational reading and spelling probes were presented to three regular education students who were proficient at the reading level from which the target words were drawn. The experimenter then determined the median correct rates across the word sets; these rates were used as the criterion response rates for that school. The goal for errors was set at zero errors per minute.

Instructional Materials

Five sets of word cards (4.25" X 5.5") for each word were printed on a laser printer with letters approximately one inch in height. The cards were placed in the order in which they would be presented to students. A white erasable board, marker, and eraser were provided to each student at the beginning of each instructional session. These boards were approximately 9" by 12". The markers designed for use with the erasable board allowed for quick and easy erasure after each response. A multifunction timer was provided for teacher use during probe sessions.

Baseline Procedures

Baseline sessions were conducted individually and continued for a minimum of three consecutive sessions or until a stable trend had been established. Each student was presented with a stimulus sheet for a word set containing three trials of each of the four words from that set and asked to read the words as quickly and accurately as possible. Correct responses were defined as words that the student read aloud with correct pronunciation. Self-corrections also were counted as correct responses. Incorrect responses were defined as words that the student read incorrectly, skipped, or indicated that he or she did not know. The number of words read correctly and incorrectly and total seconds elapsed were recorded on a data sheet; then, these raw data were transformed into correct rate per minute and percent correct. The teacher provided non-response-contingent feedback at the end of each baseline session. The correct rate data were plotted on a graph for each student, and the process was repeated for the student's remaining word set and the notreatment comparison set. During the baseline condition, students received instruction on another word set to introduce them to the CTD procedures. None of the target words were taught during this time period.

General Instructional Procedures

One small-group instructional session took place each school day when at least two students were present. Two variations of the constant time delay procedure were used to teach eight target words to each student, four words under each condition. Each student received 20 trials during each session (4 words X 5 trials). If a student was absent, his or her words were presented by the teacher to ensure that other students were exposed to the words for observational learning.

Each session took place in a small-group instructional arrangement (1:3 or 1:4) and consisted of 60 or 80 trials (20 trials per student X 3 or 4 students). Students' opportunities to respond occurred in sequential order. Each student's words were presented in random order, but each word was presented at least one time before any word was repeated. The experimenter constructed three different student response sequences that met these conditions and provided the teacher with sheets that displayed the student's name, target word, and a meaningful sentence consequent statement. These sentences used the word in a context that either defined the word or provided a contextual example of the word's use (e.g., An anchor is a heavy weight that keeps a boat in place in the water.). Consequent statements were delivered by the teacher after any type of correct response.

The controlling prompt in the constant time delay procedure was the instructor's verbal model of the target word. During the first instructional session, 0-s delay trials were implemented for the first presentation of each word. The teacher held up the first card for the first student in the group. The teacher requested that either the target student or all students copy the word from the card, then presented the task direction ("[Target student]. What word?"), immediately followed by the presentation of the controlling prompt (verbal model of target word). The 0-s delay trials were continued until each student's words had been presented one time. A 3-s delay interval was used for the remaining trials in that session and during all subsequent sessions. During the 3-s delay trials, the teacher held up the word card, requested that either the target student or all students copy the word from the card, presented the task direction ("[Target student]. What word?"), and implemented the 3-s delay interval. If the s tudent did not respond within the delay interval, the teacher delivered the controlling prompt (verbal model of the target word) and waited 3 s for a response. Although teachers did not record the students' responses during instruction, they provided different consequences for each response type. Five potential response types were possible during each instructional session; these types are described in Table 3.

The two conditions were alternated daily, with instruction on one set occurring each day. Individual timed probes were initiated on the third day of instruction. This alternating sequence was continued until students reached criterion on both word sets.

Specific Instructional Procedures

The two instructional procedures used in the comparison were identical with the exception of the attentional cues and responses. For each condition, the CTD procedure was implemented as described above. Two types of attentional responses were compared: group (Everybody Writes) versus individual (Only Target Student Writes) copying of the target word on the erasable boards.

Condition 1: Everybody Writes. During this condition, the teacher presented the target stimulus (word card), then presented the group attentional response cue ("Everybody, copy the word."). All students copied the word on their erasable boards. When students finished copying, the teacher continued with the instructional trial, presenting the task direction "(Target student), what word?" The appropriate consequent event for the student's response was provided. (See Table 3 for consequent events for each response type.)

Condition 2: Only Target Student Writes. During this condition, the teacher presented the target stimulus (word card), then presented the individual attentional response cue ("[Target student], copy the word."). When the target student finished copying, the teacher continued with the instructional trial, presenting the task direction "(Target student), what word?" The appropriate consequent event for the student's response was provided. (See Table 3.)

Timed-Probe Procedures

Timed probes were presented to each student individually prior to each instructional session beginning with the second instructional session for each word set. In addition, the timed probe for the no-treatment comparison word set was administered once per week. The timed-probe sessions were conducted in the same manner as the baseline-probe sessions with two exceptions. First, the teacher stated a goal in terms of the number of seconds in which the students should be able to read the words at the end of instruction. These goals were derived from the criterion response rates set at each school. Second, rather than providing non-contingent feedback at the end of each probe session, the teacher provided contingent feedback relative to the goal. This feedback contained (a) the number of correct and incorrect responses the student made, and the number of seconds the student took to complete the probe, (b) the number of seconds required to reach the criterion rate, and (c) a comparison of the student's performance to his or her performance on the last session. The process was repeated the following day for the student's other word set. The data were plotted on each student's individual graph. The procedure for administering baseline probes was used for the no treatment comparison word set.

Measurement of Observational Learning

Students had the opportunity to observe words being directly taught to other students during each instructional session. Their ability to read these observational words was measured at least four times during the study: (a) prior to the first instructional session (during baseline), (b) when a student reached his or her individual criterion, (c) when all members of the group reached criterion on their target words, and (d) at maintenance, one week after completion of the study. When possible, maintenance checks were continued at one-week intervals. Stimulus sheets for observational learning probes contained two trials for each observational word presented in random order.

Measurement of Incidental Learning of Spelling

During instruction, students also practiced writing their observational words in the group attentional response condition. Spelling, however, was considered incidental because it was not specifically targeted for instruction. Students only copied the words from models; they did not have any instructional opportunities to attempt to spell the words without a visual model. Students' acquisition of spelling was measured at the same time as observational learning probes. All spelling assessments were conducted individually.

The teacher provided the student with a response sheet for a word set and dictated each of the student's observational words for that set. The spelling probes were timed, so that both percent correct and correct rates for letter sequences (White & Haring, 1980) could be calculated. Letter-sequence scoring is considered appropriate for acquisition learning because it takes into account improvements in the students' behavior as they progress toward mastery. The teacher instructed the student to write each dictated word as quickly and accurately as possible. If the student did not begin to write a word and did not indicate he or she didn't know it, the teacher allowed 15 s, then said "Next word" and presented the next word. When the student had attempted to write all of his or her words, the teacher recorded the elapsed time, in seconds, on the data collection form. The teacher provided non-contingent feedback at the end of each probe. Then, this process was repeated for the student's observational words from t he other word set.

Maintenance Procedures

When students reached criterion on the target words taught in the study, instruction began on new sets of words, with teachers continuing to use the constant time delay procedure. Students did not receive additional instruction on their target or observational words Three maintenance probes on target words were conducted at School A, one probe was conducted at Schools B, C, and D. At this time, the school year ended. Additional measure of observational learning for reading and spelling also were conducted one week after the completion of the intervention phase of the study.

Reliability Procedures

Reliability assessments on both scoring of learner responses and procedural fidelity (Billingsley, White, & Munson, 1980) were conducted once for each word set during the baseline condition and once per week during the instructional conditions and timed-probe sessions. All reliability assessments were conducted by the experimenter.

To assess both dependent measure reliability and procedural reliability during baseline and timed-probe sessions, the reliability observer used a modified probe data collection form. This included a reduced-size student probe sheet and the procedural steps to be followed by the teacher. The observer independently scored each response as correct or incorrect by circling all incorrect responses while timing the student as he or she read the words. The observer compared her data sheet with the teacher's data sheet and assessed point-by-point reliability (Kelly, 1977) on student responses. The total number of agreements was divided by the total number of agreements plus disagreements and multiplied by 100 to obtain a percentage. Eight procedural behaviors were measured during each timed-probe sessions. Seven teaching behaviors were monitored during the two instructional conditions. The percentage of correct procedural steps during probes and the instructional sessions was calculated by dividing the number of pro cedural steps observed by the total number of possible steps and multiplying by 100.

Results

The purpose of the study was to determine if an individual or group written attentional response (Everybody Writes vs. Only Target Student Writes) would be more effective in promoting reading and spelling of observational (non-target) words by students with learning disabilities. Because of the importance of reliable implementation of the procedures by the four classroom teachers, results related to reliability are presented first. Next, a comparison is made between the results of students on their target word probes and the criterion for percent correct and correct rate established at each school. Finally, results describing the differences between the two instructional conditions for reading and spelling of observational words are presented.

Reliability

Dependent measure reliability. Reliability data were collected on student responses for a mean of 34% (range = 31%-38%) of all timed-probe sessions across all four schools. Dependent measure reliability was 100% for all timed-probe sessions at each school.

Procedural reliability. Procedural reliability data for timed-probe sessions were collected at the same time as dependent measure reliability data. All teachers implemented all procedural steps during timed-probe sessions with 100% accuracy.

Procedural reliability data for the Everybody Writes and Only Target Student Writes conditions were collected during a mean of 37% (range = 29%-40%) of instructional sessions across all four schools. Only one teacher had reliability scores of less than 100% on any instructional step; however, all of her procedural errors were made during the first two reliability data collection sessions. No additional errors were made.

Target Word Reading Rate Comparisons

The results of the criterion rate assessments conducted with general education students at each school are presented in Table 4. The target rate for School A was 82 words correct per minute. The target rates for School B, C, and D were 72, 48, and 78 words correct per minute, respectively. Although the error rates varied across the schools, the error rate criterion for target words was established at zero for all four schools. Fourteen of the fifteen students who participated in the study met or exceeded the accuracy and rate goals established at their school for each of their target word sets. These gains were sustained for all maintenance probes. Because the procedure for responding to target words was the same across both conditions, the students' performance was similar on their two sets of target words. Figure 1 shows the correct rates for each student at School A on the Everybody Writes, Only Target Student Writes, and No Treatment word sets. One student at School B did not reach the criterion rate of 72 words correct per minute on either word set; however, he increased his accuracy rate from 0 words per minute during baseline to more than 50 words correct per minute during instruction, well within the correct rate range established for his school (See Table 4). The mean number of sessions required for students to reach criterion on both target words sets was 12 (range = 9 to 16). As expected, few of the students made gains on the no-treatment control word sets. The mean correct rate for all students on the no-treatment control words was 7 (range = 0 to 26). The mean error rate for all students on these words was 36 (range = 4 to 65).

Reading of Observational Words

The data gathered during observational learning probes were used to compare the effects of the Everybody Writes and the Only Target Student Writes conditions on the observational learning demonstrated by each student's oral reading rate on the two word sets. Visual inspection of each student's data demonstrated the rate of corrects to be higher in the group attentional response (Everybody Writes) condition, although most students did not reach the rate criterion established by the general education students for either set of observational words. Ten students reached the percentage criterion, for the Everybody Writes words while only seven students reached the percentage criterion for the Only Target Student Writes words. Summary data for each of the four schools and sample graphs from Schools A and B are provided in Table 5 and Figures 2 and 3 respectively.

A 2 X 4 repeated measures ANOVA revealed a significant Condition X Time interaction (F(3, 36) = 17.43, p [less than].001). This shows that the relative increase in correct rate in the Everybody Writes condition was unlikely to have occurred by chance. The main effects for Condition (F(1, 12) = 63.89, p [less than] .001) and Time, (F(3, 36) = 65.29, p [less than].001) also were significant. Figure 4 displays the means for the Everybody Writes and Only Target Students Writes conditions at each of the four measurement opportunities.

Spelling of Observational Words: Incidental Learning

Data gathered during spelling probes were used to compare the effects of the Everybody Writes and Only Target Student Writes conditions on incidental spelling of observational words demonstrated by each student's rate of correct letter sequences on each of the two word sets. Visual inspection of each student's data demonstrated slightly higher rates favoring the Everybody Writes Condition for 10 of the 15 students. Six students reached the rate criterion established by the general education students for the Everybody Writes words; three students reached the criterion rate for the Only Target Student Writes words, and only one student reached the percentage criterion for either set of words. Summary data for each of the four schools and a sample graph from School A are provided in Table 6 and Figure 5. A 2 X 4 (Condition X Time) repeated measures ANOVA showed no significant interaction effects (F(3, 33) = 1.33, p =.280); however, the main effects for Condition (F(1, 11) = 9.22, p [less than] .01) and Time, (F (3, 33) = 16.73, p [less than].001) were significant. Figure 6 displays the means for the Everybody Writes and Only Target Students Writes conditions at each of the four measurement opportunities, demonstrating the main effects for both Condition and Time.

Discussion

The results of this study replicate and extend previous research on the use of the constant time delay procedure in group instructional arrangements. All students learned to read and spell words that were assigned to other students during the study. Although most students did not reach the median criterion rate for reading observational words established by the general education students at their school, ten of the 15 students reached the percent correct criterion for the Everybody Writes condition compared to 7 students who reached the percent correct criterion for the Only Target Student Writes condition. Three of the students were able to maintain 100% correct on observational words taught during the Everybody Writes condition; eleven of the students maintained at least 80% correct on observational words taught during this condition. No students achieved 100% correct on observational words taught during the Only Target Student condition, and only five students achieved at least 80% correct. The level of ob servational learning obtained by students in the current study is similar to those obtained in other studies of expressive word reading with students with mild disabilities (Keel & Gast, 1992; Shelton et al., 1991; Winterling, 1990). In 9 to 16 sessions, students were able to learn their own target words, as well as 50-100% of the words targeted for other students in their group.

The results indicate that the Everybody Writes condition was more effective in promoting greater levels of observational learning of nontarget words than was the Only Target Student Writes condition. On oral reading rate measures, the Everybody Writes condition consistently resulted in higher performances by students with learning disabilities than the Only Target Student Writes condition. The significant interaction effect obtained from the repeated measures ANOVA suggests that this effect is unlikely to have occurred by chance. In addition, two-thirds of the students were able to perform at the percent correct criterion established by their peers without disabilities on non-target words taught under the Everybody Writes condition. Although most students did not reach the median correct rate established by the general education students, all students performed within the range established at their school.

These results may be interpreted with regard to the literature on opportunity to respond and academic learning time for students with mild disabilities. Greenwood, Deiquadri, and their colleagues (Greenwood, 1991; Greenwood, Deiquadri, & Hall, 1984; Stanley & Greenwood, 1981) investigated the relationship between academic engagement and achievement, finding that low-performing, low-socioeconomic status (SES) students frequently were less engaged in academic instruction than their high-performing, high-SES peers. The majority of the students who participated in this study were from disadvantaged homes, and all had a history of poor achievement; yet, when taught under conditions that required high levels of engagement (i.e., group responding), all of the students were able to perform at rates within a range established by general education students at their schools. Students also maintained high rates of accuracy for up to three weeks following the conclusion of the intervention.

The results indicate that the Everybody Writes condition was slightly more effective in promoting greater levels of written spelling of non-target words than was the Only Target Student Writes condition; however, the effects were not as consistent as those for reading. While these results were less compelling, it is important to point out that spelling was not a direct target of instruction during these groups. Despite this, all students made progress over baseline as a result of instruction, and two-thirds of the students performed better on the words taught under the Everybody Writes condition. The significant effect for Time both replicates and extends the previous research on the incidental acquisition of written spelling when the target skill is expressive word reading ( Gast, et al., 1991; Keel & Cast, 1992; Shelton et al., 1991; Winterling, 1990; Wolery et al., 1990). These results suggest that students are unlikely to reach mastery on spelling of difficult words when spelling is not directly taught. F uture research should focus on methods to improve the rate of incidental learning for students in group instructional arrangements by making the importance of learning this information more explicit.

Wilson and Wesson (1986) suggest that more teacher-led instructional groups should be incorporated throughout the day to increase the amount of academic learning time in classrooms that serve students with learning disabilities. The CTD procedure, implemented in a group instructional arrangement, appears to be an effective and efficient method of providing instruction to students with learning disabilities. The majority of time delay sessions conducted in this study were less than 15 minutes in length: a viable amount of time within a larger reading instructional period. In addition, special educators working in inclusive settings could use this procedure to pre-teach vocabulary related to upcoming topics from expository text. By using group attentional responses, such as the Everybody Writes condition used in this study, teachers can promote increased amounts of observational learning among students in the group.

Wilson and Wesson (1986) also suggest that teachers increase participation by all students. The group written attentional response required all students to participate at a high rate throughout the instructional session. Teachers participating in this investigation reported that their students appeared to be more attentive during the Everybody Writes condition. This high level of engagement may have contributed to the greater gains in observational learning made by students on words taught under this condition.

In summary, it appears that incorporating high levels of student responding through a group attentional response is useful in promoting observational learning of oral reading skills, with a lesser impact on spelling skills. In addition, teachers reported higher levels of attentive behavior during instruction during the Everybody Writes condition. Also, students reported that they enjoyed learning using the procedure. Students also maintained their skills at a high rate of accuracy after intervention on these words was concluded. Future research should focus on making this strategy more efficient and easily implemented in inclusive settings for students with learning disabilities.

Limitations

As with all single subject research, caution should be exercised in interpreting the results of this study. The constant time delay procedure itself has been demonstrated to be effective in teaching a variety of skills to learners with a range of disabilities (See Wolery, Holcombe, et al., 1992 for a review of the CTD literature); therefore, teachers may make reasonable assumptions about the effectiveness of the procedure itself.

The procedures involving the group written attentional response (Everybody Writes) were initially described by Keel and Gast (1992). The current study replicated the results of the group attentional response across four different schools, with children of different ages, and teachers with different levels of experience. Although these findings suggest that the group written attentional response is more effective in promoting observational learning of reading, additional studies should attempt to replicate these findings in other settings. Investigations could focus on the management of variables related to the presentation of trials and timed probes to make the procedure easy to implement with a larger number of students.

Although there was a significant interaction effect for Time by Condition for observational reading, these results also must be interpreted with caution. First, the students who participated in the study were not randomly chosen from the general population; they were members of a small population of students with specifically identified learning needs. Second, only a small number of students participated in the study. Again, caution needs to be exercised when generalizing the results of the study to populations other than those who show similar characteristics to those students who participated in the investigation.

Finally, it should be noted that the procedures described in this study are designed to promote acquisition and fluency on a focused task: content area vocabulary word reading. No attempt was made to measure the students' ability to read connected text, nor were any comprehension measures included in the study. Although rapid decoding of vocabulary words is an important skill, it is merely a means to an end: comprehension of connected discourse. The constant time delay procedure should be used as only one small part of a total reading and literacy program.

References

Billingsley, F. F., White, O. R., & Munson, R. (1980). Procedural reliability: A rationale and an example. Behavioral Assessment, 2, 229-241.

Browder, D. M., Schoen, S. F., & Lentz, F. E. (1986-87). Learning to learn through observation. Journal of Special Education, 20, 447-461.

Carta, J. J., Schwartz, I. S., Atwater, J. B., & McConnell, S. R. (1991). Developmentally appropriate practice: Appraising its usefulness for young children with disabilities. Topics in Early Childhood Special Education, 11, 1-20.

Christenson, S. L., Ysseldyke, J. E., & Thurlow, M. L. (1989) Critical instructional factors for students with mild handicaps: An integrative review. Remedial and Special Education, 10, 21-31.

CLD Research Committee (1992). Minimum standards for the description of participants in learning disabilities research. Learning Disability Quarterly, 15, 65-70.

Gast, D. L., Doyle, P. M., Wolery, M., Ault, M. J., & Baklarz, J. L. (1991). Acquisition of incidental information during small group instruction. Education and Treatment of Children, 14, 1-18.

Greenwood, C. R. (1991). Longitudinal analysis of time, engagement, and achievement in at-risk versus non-risk students. Exceptional Children, 57, 521-535.

Greenwood, C. R., Delquadri, J., & Hall, R. V. (1984). Opportunity to respond and student academic performance. In W. L. Heward, T. E. Heron, D. S. Hill, & J. Trap-Porter (Eds.), Focus on behavior analysis in education (pp. 58-88). Columbus, OH: Merrill.

Hargis, C. H. (1982). Teaching reading to handicapped children. Denver: Love Publishing Co.

Howell, K. W., Fox, S. L., & Morehead, M. K. (1993). Curriculum-based evaluation: Teaching and decision making (2nd ed.). Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole.

Keel, M. C., & Gast, D. L. (1992). Small-group instruction for students with learning disabilities: Observational and incidental learning. Exceptional Children, 58, 357-368.

Kelly, M. B. (1977). A review of the observational data-collection and reliability procedures reported in the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 10, 97-101.

Koorland, M. A., Keel, M. C., & Ueberhorst, P. (1990). Setting aims for precision learning. Teaching Exceptional Children, 22, 64-66.

Lessen, E., Dudzinski, M., Karsh, K., & Van Acker, R. (1989). A survey of ten years of academic intervention research with learning disabled students: Implications for research and practice. Learning Disabilities Focus, 4, 106-122.

Shelton, B. S., Gast, D. L., Wolery, M., & Winterling, V. (1991). The role of small group instruction in facilitating observational and incidental learning. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in the Schools, 22, 123-133.

Sindelar, P. T., Rosenberg, M. S., & Wilson, R. J. (1985). An adapted alternating treatments design for instructional research. Education and Treatment of Children, 8, 67-76.

Stanley, S. O., & Greenwood, C. R. (1981). Assessing opportunity to respond in classroom environments: How much opportunity to respond does the minority disadvantaged child receive in school. Exceptional Children, 49, 370-373.

White, O. R., & Haring, N. G. (1980). Exceptional teaching (2nd ed.). Columbus, OH: Merrill.

Wilson, R., & Wesson, C. (1986). Making every minute count: Academic learning time in LD classrooms. Learning Disabilities Focus, 2, 13-19.

Winterling, V. (1990). The effects of constant time delay, practice in writing or spelling, and reinforcement on sight word recognition in a small group. Journal of Special Education, 24, 101-116.

Wolery, M., Ault M. J., & Doyle, P. M. (1992). Teaching students with moderate to severe disabilities: Use of response prompting strategies. New York: Longman.

Wolery, M., Ault, M. J., Gast, D. L., Doyle, P. M., & Mills, B. M. (1990). Use of choral and individual attentional responses with constant time delay when teaching sight word reading. Remedial and Special Education, 11, 47-58.

Wolery, M., Bailey, D. B., & Sugai, G. M. (1988). Effective teaching: Principles and procedures of applied behavior analysis with exceptional students. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

Wolery, M., Cybriwsky, C. A., Gast, D. L., & Boyle-Gast, K. (1991). Use of constant time delay and attentional responses with adolescents. Exceptional Children, 57, 462-474.

Wolery, M., & Gast, D. L. (1990). Efficiency of instruction: Conceptual framework and research directions. Article submitted for publication.

Wolery, M., Holcombe, A., Cybriwsky, C., Doyle, P. M., Schuster, J. W., Ault, M. J., & Gast, D. L. (1992). Constant time delay with discrete responses: A review of effectiveness and demographic, procedural, and methodological parameters. Research in Development Disabilities, 13, 239-266.

[Graph omitted]

[Graph omitted]

[Graph omitted]

[Graph omitted]

[Graph omitted]

[Graph omitted]

[Graph omitted]

[Graph omitted]

[Graph omitted]

[Graph omitted]

[Graph omitted]

[Graph omitted]

[Graph omitted]

[Graph omitted]

[Graph omitted]

[Graph omitted]

[Graph omitted]

[Graph omitted]
Table 1

Description of Participants in Study



 FS Ver.
School Subject Gender Age Ethnicty IQ IQ

 A 1 M 9-10 White 122 [a] 111
(Suburban) 2 F 10-11 White 89 [a] 95
 3 F 10-8 African/American 75 [b] 80
 4 M 10-5 African/American 98 [a] 95

 B 1 M 9-4 African/American 103 [b] 97
(Suburban) 2 M 9-3 African/American 69 [a] 66
 3 M 10-1 African/American 83 [a] 91
 4 M 10-6 African/American 90 [a] 87

 C 1 M 8-11 African/American 76 [b] 87
(Urban) 2 M 10-6 African/American 90 [b] 92
 3 M 9-8 African/American 97 [a] 85

 D 1 M 13-4 African/American 64 [b] 64
(Rural) 2 M 12-10 African/American 80 [b] 75
 4 F 13-4 White 91 [c] NA
 4 M 13-0 African/American 92 [a] 91





 Reading
 Perf. standard
School IQ score Grade

 A 130 94 [a] 4
(Suburban) 86 68 [b] 4
 74 83 [c] 4
 102 70 [b] 4

 B 111 73 [d] 3
(Suburban) 74 82 [e] 3
 77 74 [a] 3
 95 72 [a] 3

 C 69 82 [a] 2
(Urban) 90 57 [b] 3
 112 67 [b] 3

 D 69 68 [a] 6
(Rural) 89 67 [a] 6
 NA 73 [a] 6
 96 65 [a] 6



Key: Full Scale IQ a: Wechsler Intelligence Scales for Children -
Revised b: Wechscler Intelligence Scales for Children-III c: Kaufman
Assessment Battery for Children

Reading Standard Score a: Kaufam Test of Educational Achievement,
Reading Composite b: woodcook Reading Mastery Tests-Revised, Total
Reading Score c: Woodcock-Johnson Achievement Tests, Reading d:
Diagnostic Achievement Battery-2, Reading e: Test of Early Reading
Ability

Grade Level Mainstream grade level in which student participates
Table 2

Words Sets for School A Students


 Student Set 1 Set 2

 1 arithmetic speedometer
 cerebrum aisle
 explanation conversation
 buoyant unbearable

 2 decorations kindergarten
 anchor triceps
 endurance protection
 poisonous attractive

 3 binoculars mosquitoes
 attendant spaghetti
 paralyzed connected
 illegal ridiculous

 4 engineer pyramid
 molecules instructions
 pulses avoid
 immediately occasionally

No-Treatment certificate
Control Set attorney
 patented
 magnifying
Table 3

Potential Response Types for Constant-Time-Delay Procedure


Response type Definition

Unprompted Student responded correctly before
Correct the teacher presented the controlling
 prompt (verbal model). Unprompted
 corrects also have been referred
 to as anticipations in the time
 delay literature.

Prompted Student made no response within the
Correct 3-s delay period, so the teacher
 provided the controlling prompt
 (verbal model). Following the
 prompt, the student responded
 correctly within 3 s after the teacher
 presented the controlling prompt.
 This type of response also has been
 referred to as a correct wait in the
 time delay literature.

Unprompted Student responded incorrectly prior
Errors to the delivery of the controlling
 prompt (verbal model).
 Unprompted errors also have
 been referred to in the literature
 as non-wait errors.

Prompted Student made an incorrect response
Errors after the controlling prompt (verbal
 model) is delivered. This error type
 also has been referred to as a
 wait error.

No Response Student made no response within 3 s
Errors after the controlling prompt (verbal
 model).







Response type Consequence

Unprompted This type of response was
Correct reinforced with verbal praise. To
 provide a meaningful context for
 the target word, the teacher also
 used the word in a sentence.


Prompted The teacher did not provide
Correct verbal praise; the word was used
 in a meaningful sentence.








Unprompted When an unprompted error
Errors occurred, the teacher said "No.
 Wait for me to tell you if you don't
 know. That word is (target word).
 What word?" The student was
 required to imitate the prompt.

Prompted The teacher said "No, that word is
Errors (target word). What word?" The
 student was required to imitate
 the prompt.


No Response Consequences for no
Errors response errors were exactly the
 same as those for prompted errors.
 The teacher said
 "No, that word is (target word)
 What word?" The student was
 required to imitate the prompt.
Table 4

Ranges of Correct and Error Rates for General Education Students on
Oral Reading Probes of Target Words


 Correct rate range
School Student Gender (Words per min.)

A 1 F 30-90
 2 F 9-80
 3 M 14-90

Medians for School A 52

B 1 M 23-120
 2 F 26-120
 3 M 60-120

Medians for School B 72

C 1 F 25-75
 2 F 11-54
 3 M 30-80

Median for School C 48

D 1 M 0-56
 2 F 45-120
 3 M 72-120

Median for School D 78



 Error rate range
School (Words per min.)

A 0-15
 0-26
 0-17

Medians for School A 6

B 0-22.5
 0-24
 0-12

Medians for School B 0

C 0-28
 0-15
 0-36

Median for School C 10

D 0-22
 0-45
 0-8

Median for School D 3
Table 5

Mean Correct Rates and Percent Correct for Reading Observational Word


School Condition Group attentional
 response
 (Everybody Writes)


 Correct Rate Percent
 Correct

A
Baseline 1.67 3
Individual Criterion 31.55 71
Group Criterion 42.04 83
Maintenance 1 43.58 90
Maintenance 2 57.47 95
Maintenance 3 93

Target Rate and % Correct 52 92

# of Students Meeting Criterion 3 3

B
Baseline 0.86 8
Individual Criterion 32.11 71
Group Criterion 46.16 79
Maintenance 1 44.97 79

Target Rate and % Correct 72 100

# of Students Meeting Criterion 0 1

C
Baseline 9.61 19
Individual Criterion 37.33 85
Group Criterion 39.91 86
Maintenance 1 50.16 89

Target Rate and % Correct 48 71

# of Students Meeting Criterion 1 3

D
Baseline 0.46 3
Individual Criterion 28.04 73
Group Criterion 40.52 80
Maintenance 1 45.67 91

Target Rate and % Correct 78 90

# of Students Meeting Criterion 0 3



School Condition Individual attentional
 response
 (Only Target Student
 Writes)

 Correct Percent
 rate correct

A
Baseline 2.40 6
Individual Criterion 14.75 37
Group Criterion 21.88 49
Maintenance 1 27.74 59
Maintenance 2 35.54 68
Maintenance 3 36.53 78

Target Rate and % Correct 52 92

# of Students Meeting Criterion 0 2

B
Baseline 1.59 7
Individual Criterion 13.99 42
Group Criterion 19.74 56
Maintenance 1 22.44 51

Target Rate and % Correct 72 100

# of Students Meeting Criterion 0 0

C
Baseline 5.44 12
Individual Criterion 32.61 69
Group Criterion 20.23 63
Maintenance 1 31.93 76

Target Rate and % Correct 48 71

# of Students Meeting Criterion 1 2

D
Baseline 0.26 1
Individual Criterion 21.71 56
Group Criterion 25.39 64
Maintenance 1 22.94 65

Target Rate and % Correct 78 90

# of Students Meeting Criterion 0 3
Table 6

Mean Correct Rates and
Percent Correct for
Spelling Observational
Words


School Condition Group attentional
 response
 (Everybody Writes)


 Correct Rate Percent correct

A
Baseline 21.98 26
Individual Criterion 46.77 57
Group Criterion 35.23 57
Maintenance 1 47.82 54
Maintenance 2 47.46 56
Maintenance 3 46.72 52

Target Rate and % Correct 58 77

# of Students Meeting Criterion 2 0

B
Baseline 14.64 37
Individual Criterion 23.47 63
Group Criterion 34.40 71
Maintenance 1 34.45 61

Target Rate and % Correct 35 69

# of Students Meeting Criterion 2 1

C
Baseline 12.97 33
Individual Criterion 31.08 69
Group Criterion 33.94 65
Maintenance 1 29.27 62

Target Rate and % Correct 27 77

# of Students Meeting Criterion 2 0

D
Baseline 13.59 27
Individual Criterion 31.69 52
Group Criterion 33.82 54
Maintenance 1 38.93 52
Target Rate and % Correct 83 77

# of Students Meeting Criterion 0 0



School Condition Individual attentional
 response
 (Only Target Student
 Writes)

 Correct rate

A
Baseline 21.38
Individual Criterion 34.53
Group Criterion 38.46
Maintenance 1 43.40
Maintenance 2 41.53
Maintenance 3 40.15

Target Rate and % Correct 58

# of Students Meeting Criterion 1

B
Baseline 14.14
Individual Criterion 21.72
Group Criterion 19.53
Maintenance 1 21.33

Target Rate and % Correct 35

# of Students Meeting Criterion 0

C
Baseline 12.94
Individual Criterion 22.01
Group Criterion 23.97
Maintenance 1 24.78

Target Rate and % Correct 27

# of Students Meeting Criterion 2

D
Baseline 15.09
Individual Criterion 25.44
Group Criterion 29.18
Maintenance 1 36.61
Target Rate and % Correct 83

# of Students Meeting Criterion 0



School Condition




 Percent correct

A
Baseline 23
Individual Criterion 42
Group Criterion 42
Maintenance 1 46
Maintenance 2 43
Maintenance 3 44

Target Rate and % Correct 77

# of Students Meeting Criterion 0

B
Baseline 32
Individual Criterion 49
Group Criterion 44
Maintenance 1 40

Target Rate and % Correct 69

# of Students Meeting Criterion 0

C
Baseline 38
Individual Criterion 55
Group Criterion 54
Maintenance 1 58

Target Rate and % Correct 77

# of Students Meeting Criterion 0

D
Baseline 29
Individual Criterion 46
Group Criterion 42
Maintenance 1 51
Target Rate and % Correct 77

# of Students Meeting Criterion 0
COPYRIGHT 2001 West Virginia University Press, University of West Virginia
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2001 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Author:Keel, Marie C.; Slaton, Deborah Bott; Blackhurst, A. Edward
Publication:Education & Treatment of Children
Article Type:Statistical Data Included
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 1, 2001
Words:8666
Previous Article:Disproportionate Representation of Males in Special Education Services: Biology, Behavior, or Bias?
Next Article:Interim Alternative Educational Settings School District Implementation of IDEA 1997 Requirements.
Topics:


Related Articles
The effect of signing key words for demonstrating work instructions to students with learning disabilities.
PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT FOR TEACHERS.
Computer Assisted Instruction in Reading for Students with Learning Disabilities: A Research Synthesis.
High standards dilemma: undergraduates with learning disabilities.
The efficacy of function-based interventions for students with learning disabilities who exhibit escape-maintained problem behaviors: preliminary...
The Universal Learning Center: helping teachers and parents: find accessible electronic learning materials for students with disabilities.
Effects of audio texts on the acquisition of secondary-level content by students with mild disabilities.
Classification of students with reading comprehension difficulties: the roles of motivation, affect, and psychopathology.
Fostering the development of vocabulary knowledge and reading comprehension though contextually-based multiple meaning vocabulary instruction.
Adolescent literacy and older students with learning disabilities: a report from the National Joint Committee on Learning Disabilities.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2021 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters |