Increasing Use of Research-Based Practices: Action Research Report on a College-School Partnership to Support Instruction Aligned to Middle School Common Core Math Standards for Students with Significant Disabilities

Katherine Trela, Ph.D.

Wendy Gladstone-Brown, Ed.D.

Marist College


Norah Merritt, Ph.D. 

Dutchess County Board of Cooperative Education Services


Leah Raftis, Ed.D.

Wappingers Central School District


Teachers of students with significant cognitive disabilities have expressed the need for additional training and resources to realign instruction to general education standards. At the same time, pre-service teachers preparing to enter the field of special education need to be placed in classrooms where teachers have updated knowledge and skills to deliver grade-aligned instruction to students in this population. In this project, the needs of both groups were addressed through a partnership between an Institute of Higher Education (IHE) and local board of cooperative education services. Specifically, in-service teachers received training in research-based practices to implement grade-aligned math instruction to middle school students with significant cognitive disabilities. Pre-service teachers who received the same training in their college coursework created adapted materials to implement the instruction.  Results of the project’s effect on in-service teachers, their students, and pre-service teachers are reported. Implications for future directions in professional development are discussed.

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