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School of Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

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What's The Research On...?

Assessment and Intervention in Special Education

Grounding research at WCER is the premise that students should be educated to the full extent of their capabilities. Students with and without disabilities can be better served as we learn more about how they learn. Curricula and assessments can be designed to help students with disabilities overcome initial hurdles and to get into the subject matter content and benefit from it. Better communication with child welfare agencies and special education agencies will help school staff better meet student special needs. Knowing more about what happens to students in the years after graduation will help shape instructional practice and schoolwide policy development.

Studies at WCER have shown that most students with and without disabilities who solved contextualized math problems using videos as part of the instruction became better at noticing crucial features of those problems than were students who learned with standard word problems. Four other studies shed light on questions about the effects of accommodations on test scores of students with and without disabilities. Testing accommodations have been shown to play an important role in increasing the validity of test scores if the purpose of the test is understood. And school psychologists should adopt evidence-based interventions in school practice--interventions whose efficacy is demonstrated by a credible body of scientific work.