Dr. Lindy Crawford, Ann Jones Endowed Chair in Special Education in the College of Education at Texas Christian University, is the Principal Investigator of the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) Research grant. She was also chief researcher on the U.S. Department of Education Ready to Teach (RTT) grant. In this role, she led a team of researchers who investigated the effects of the HELP Math program on the achievement of English language learners (www.helpprogram.net). They found that HELP Math also held potential for students with disabilities, as teachers were reporting its effectiveness with this population. Therefore, in year two of the experimental study, Dr. Crawford’s team randomly assigned students with disabiities into control and treatment groups. The final database included 69 students with disabilities but only eight of these students remained in the control curriculum – teachers wanted their students using HELP Math. In fact, this sub-group used the program for more than the amount of time required by the researchers. Therefore, due to the lack of a control group, tests of significance could not be conducted; however, pre-post scores of those students in HELP Math showed mean gains of 2.03 points on a 40 point test and gains of 1.18 on an 8-point basic skills subtest (15%). These findings are in spite of the fact that the program was not designed for students with math disabilities.
MLC will incorporate HELP Math content into the math intervention, while extending the curriculum to meet the special needs of students with learning disabilities. MLC will provide a seamless link between the adaptive curriculum and diagnostic analyses and assessments and a comprehensive progress monitoring system. MLC is currently being field-tested in a rigorous development-formative evaluation cycle, with the research team triangulating data from multiple sources. The key steps include (a) field testing each component of the intervention and collecting data from students and teachers related to functionality and feasibility, (b) compiling and synthesizing information from these field trials and reviewing syntheses as a team, (c) bringing in the necessary experts as needed (e.g., math diagnostic experts), (d) modifying specific content and/or component functionality, (e) field testing the modifications, and (f) final production fixes.