Action Research Plan- Vocational transition in Special Education

Studies and research have supported the need for instruction in vocational classes in order to increase success in employment and transition goals (Okolo & Sitlington, 1986). In addition, students with learning disabilities characteristically encounter a number

obstacles in mastering goals which lead to post- secondary achievement (Fairweather & Shaver,1990). To address these annual and multi-year goals, smaller, more specific benchmark goals must be established. Successful mastery of these vocational and transitional academic goals greatly increases the student’s success in the long-term goals. In recent years transition goals have become a major priority of the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, OSERS (Will, 1984).

One alternative to hands-on vocational classes is the introduction of vocational academic classes that provide instruction in the functional skills needed to be successful in a post- secondary environment. In order to provide instruction in these specific areas, time must be taken in the resource setting to address the specific learning needs of students with learning disabilities. Transition and vocational goals, which may range from remediation of academics for a student looking to transition to an educational setting to vocational goals for students transitioning to a work place setting, can be specifically addressed in the resource setting.

The increase in time spent on direct instruction of these skills should increase the level of functioning in the areas of focus. Appropriately developed IEP goals should now, as mandated by law, address transition that also relate directly to the successful transition of the student to their post- secondary placement (United States Department of Education, 1987). This action research plan is designed to evaluate the direct effects of introduction of vocational academics classes in the resource setting to the mastery of benchmark and annual IEP goals.

Related Literature
Dr. Wagner and Dr. Blackorby refer to the National Longitudinal Transition Study of Special Education Students in order to track and argue that special education students in high schools without appropriate transition planning and programming are much less likely to successfully compete in the work force. They identified a number of ideas that may offer a better planning strategy for disabled students in transition planning. Included in these discussions were course offerings, the need for more vocational training, and the dual nature of taking more general education course. In addressing the last point it was found that one indicator of success was a greater number of general education course, but that in contrast, the higher number of regular education course a disabled student took, the higher the chances of receiving poor grades. This was identified as the primary reason students were dropping out. (Wagner& Blackorby 1996)
Dr. Cynthia Okolo and Dr. Patricia Sitlington identify the needs of students with learning disabilities as they are related to vocational training and the current trends in special and general education, which are not meeting those needs. They review pertinent studies about students with learning disabilities and their characteristics. They identify the skills needed in order to be successful in the vocational setting. They specifically address those needs that are characteristically lacking in this population. These areas of weakness addressed are academic as well as social skills (Okolo & Sitlington, 1986).

The current tends and practices in Special education as well as vocational education are reviewed and their strengths and weaknesses are addressed. Okolo and Sitlington recommend that special education practices and vocational practices that should be utilized and include six major areas of concentration and implementation: occupational awareness, exploration, and basic work experience; in-depth career/ vocational assessment; instruction in job-related academic skills; instruction in job-related interpersonal skills; support services to other disciplines in the vocational programming; and post-school placement and follow up (Okolo & Sitlington, 1986). They also contend that with these guiding principles and ideas, special educators and vocational educators need to shift focus to the aforementioned areas to best address the weakness in this population’s vocational success.

Esther Minskoff and Sherry DeMoss review and examine the characteristics of learning disabled students as they are related to the academic needs of vocational education programs and how the Trade-Related Academic Competencies (TRAC) program can be used to task analyze skills needed in vocational classes. They first contrast the characteristics often exhibited by students with Mild, Moderate, and Severe Learning Disabilities. The authors then identify the attributes of Special Education and Vocational program integrations that best benefit the students success. Finally they identify the TRAC model and its methodology. This includes identifying how the TRAC is used for standard vocational classes as well as giving guidelines for using the model to developing TRAC list for other classes (Minskoff & DeMoss, 1993).

A number of studies regarding transition identify the obstacles that students with a learning disability face as well as offer support for the need of vocational and academics working in conjunction to increase the student’s success. A 1989 study identified different factors related to the ability of students with and without identified handicaps to gain and remain employed after graduating from high school. (Hasazi, Johnson, Hasazi, Gordon, & Hull, 1989).
A sample of 133 students was chosen from nine Vermont school districts. The sample was comprised of 67 students with handicaps and 66 students without. These students graduated, dropped out, or left school due to age requirements without graduating. The year of exit from high school for these students was the 1984-1985 school year. The school districts were chosen based on demographic characteristics and included four rural and four urban schools.

After identifying the students with handicaps, there were attempts made to contact and recruit these students. This resulted in the participation of 43 students in 1986 and 54 in 1987. Identified based on Vermont state definitions, this group included students labeled as learning disabled, emotionally disturbed, and mildly mentally retarded. The services provided to these students were mainly provided in the resource room.

The students without handicaps were identified from students on a vocational track who had graduated, dropped out before graduation, or left prior to graduation due to age requirements. Every one of the 66 students in 1986 were located and participated and 61 of the students in 1987 were contacted and agreed to continue participation. The characteristics of demographics included community size (Rural, Urban, and Metro), Gender, Manner of Exit (Graduated, Left, Dropped), and Age at Exit (15-22).

The collection of data included two procedures. There was an initial review of school records and telephone interviews of each student. In the event that a student could not be contacted, an informant was interviewed. Information gathered from the records review included program placement, year of exit, manner of exit, gender, and age at exit. Information gathered form the interview included vocational training since exit, current employment, employment history, use of social services, and living status. Employment history was made up of job descriptions and length of employment. Living status indicated where and with whom the student was currently residing.

These areas of data were recorded and labeled for data analysis in the following means. Hourly wage was broken into full time ( > 37.5 hrs/ wk), part time (21-37 hrr/wk) , and unemployed. The study exempted those students who were unemployed from a number of the analyses. Those employed were divided up by amount of wages into three categories: less than $3.45 per hour (min wage), $3.46- $5.00 per hour, and greater than $5.00 per hour. The jobs were also then classified into skilled and unskilled labor. The fringe benefits were categorized into two groups, those who received none and those who received one or more fringe benefit. The date recorded which related to the means of obtaining the jobs were broken into tow groups: “self/family/friend network” and those that were assisted by a service or institution. Living status included the groups living independently and those living dependently (family and staff).

The data collected was analyzed in two ways, parametrically or non-parametrically. This was determined by the nature of the data. There was consideration given to those statistics involving the students from both studies. These analyses were not shown to have any significant variance. It was noted that there were only 3 female students identified with learning disabilities disallowed for a “meaningful analysis of both gender and handicapping condition.” (Hasazi, S., Johnson, Hasazi, Gordon, & Hull, 1989)
The final data and analysis from this study indicated that students with handicaps had a higher rate of unemployment, fewer fringe benefits, earned lower wages, worked fewer hours, and held less skilled jobs than the similar students without handicaps (Hasazi, Johnson, Hasazi, Gordon, & Hull, 1989). There was a smaller percentage gap between students who were and were not employed than those employed full time versus those employed part time. There was some positive correlation as well between those students who held jobs during high school obtaining a higher level of employment after high school regardless of whether they were identified as handicapped or not. There were also findings indicating that the students in both groups who had taken a vocational course in high school were significantly more likely to be employed following exit from high school.

A 1990 study examined potential barriers to postsecondary education for students with disabilities. Preliminary results from the National Longitudinal Transition Study of Special Education Students were explained as they relate to students with disabilities participating in postsecondary education programs. Implications regarding policy and practices that may emerge were then discussed (Fairweather & Shaver, 1990).

The National Longitudinal Transition Study of Special Education Students (National Transition Study) is a study over a five-year span examining the progress of a sampling of students from special education programs following their exits from secondary education to early adulthood. The study was guided by the following research questions:
– What are the characteristics of special education students leaving high school?
– What level of participation in postsecondary programs is achieved by youth with disabilities?
– For students with disabilities, what relationships exist between student demographic characteristics and participation in post-secondary programs?

A sampling of students in each of the eleven federally recognized handicapping conditions was selected. These conditions are learning disabled, emotionally disturbed/ behavioral disorder, mentally retarded, speech impaired, orthopedic ally impaired, deaf, hard of hearing, blind, deaf- blind, other health impaired, and multiple handicapped. A sample of 626 districts was selected from 13,180 school districts nation-wide, which served grades 7 and higher. These districts were “stratified by geographic region, enrollment, and community wealth” (Fairweather & Shaver, 1990). The breakdown of this sample includes 450 districts originally selected, 25 schools specializing in blind and deaf education, and 176 districts supplemented due to difficulty in obtaining proper agreements. There were 303 schools that agreed to participate in the study. From these districts rosters were obtained of students aged 13 and older who were in grades 7 through 12 as well as 13 years and older in the 1985-1986 school year. By dividing this group by handicapping a condition, a sample of 12, 648 special education students were selected. Of these, a list of 10,458 students was developed based on the ability to establish contact with the students. A smaller sample of 6,877 youth participated in the survey, which is a 65.8 percent response rate.

The final criteria established were that the students were to have exited high school at the time of the interview and at least 17 years of age in their year of exit. The means by which they exited were established as graduating, dropping out, reaching an age limit, being expelled, or permanently withdrawing. This narrowed the sample to 1,639 youth. Out of this group, information was available for 1,242 respondents. These are the students making up the studies sample.

Telephone interviews were conducted with the parents or guardians of the respondents in the fall of 1987. In order to establish a comparative group of non-disabled youth, results, the interview questions were similar to the High School and beyond survey of non-disabled youth from 1980. These items included demographic characteristics as well as participation and achievement in postsecondary programs.

The weighted percentages for study variables were calculated, and two-tailed tests of differences between proportions were determined. There was also comparative data from the HS&B examined regarding postsecondary participation of non-handicapped youth. For this comparison there was also a two-tailed test performed to look for differences between the groups The primary finding was that the National Transition Study was reported by informants as the HS&B study was self reported.

The final data and analysis from this study indicated that students with handicaps, socio-economically, are considerably more disadvantaged than their non-disabled peers. It was also found that “involvements in postsecondary education for youth with disabilities who exit high school is dramatically lower that for handicapped youths.” (Fairweather & Shaver, 1990) In addition, non-disabled youths are three times more likely to go to a community college and ten times more likely to take classes at a 4-year university than their peers with disabilities. It is also noted that youth with disabilities are more likely to participate in a 2-year rather than 4- Year College. The study also indicates that youth with disabilities who graduate from high school are much less likely to become involved in postsecondary education but equally as likely to participate in a postsecondary vocational school.

A 1981 study evaluated the vocational, social, and school adjustment of a group of learning disabled children over an extended time period. The subjects studied were 12 males and 9 females who had all received special education services for specific learning disabilities from the Laboratory School for Specific Learning Disabilities (LSSLD) at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee between the years of 1961-1969. These subjects had received services for at least a year, and a maximum of seven years with the average being 2.6 years of service. The follow up interview occurred from 10-19 years after they had first attended the program. Al subjects were white and from middle class families. They also all resided in a suburb of the greater Milwaukee area (Fafard & Haubrich, 1981).

From the Fall of 1978 through Fall 1979, the former students and their parents were interviewed by either of the authors in their homes. IN a majority the subjects and parents were interviewed together, but at times phone interviews were conducted.

The survey was a 20-question interview that focused on four types of information; demographics, school adjustment, vocational adjustment, and social adjustment. Direct question format was used to elicit the maximum amount of information from the individuals and parents. Rewording and prompting were noted if a subject did not seem to fully understand the questioning. The questions about demographics were asked simultaneously to both subject and parents and then the questions about adjustment were given to them separately.

The demographics were analyzed and divided into categories of: a. graduation, b. drivers license, c. residence, and, d. type of special services received in school. The three other areas studied, school adjustment, social adjustment, and vocational areas are all described in terms of the subject and parents perceptions.

Demographically, applied to graduation, 12 students had completed a secondary program, 6 were in programs at the time, and three had dropped out. There were four also enrolled in college programs. Applicable to driver’s license, all twenty-three subjects were eligible for their license. 11 had attained them, 6 had not, and 4 were not eligible. Residential status in the demographics survey indicated that seventeen subjects lived at their parent’s home, while four were living independently from their parents. The final demographic, the amount of special services provided, were broken into the following categories. Four reported no further services. Ten reported they received regular education services with speech and language services. Six reported enrollment in a Learning Disabilities Resource program. Two more were enrolled in a program for the mentally retarded. One subject received services in a residential setting for students with learning disabilities.

The subjects all reported academic and social activities as either successful or difficult. The major subject areas most frequently identified as successful were math science, and art. The areas most often identified as successful were English, math reading, and PE. It should be noted that there was a crossover in the area of math as successful and difficult. This was in part due to a large number of males reporting it as difficult and females reporting it as successful.

For the area of vocational adjustment, subjects and parents reported on the areas of part time and full time employment, types of jobs, job training, and post-high school and career information.
Social adjustment examined information from the surveys regarding: a. types of social activities, b. most and least preferred social activities, c. making friends, and d. setting of social activities. These areas were found to be tough to quantify as the answers were extremely varied.

The authors first qualify the discussion of results due to the small sample size, limited demographics, and the aptitude the sample showed for continuing on in education with little continued educational support. Also the interview limitations due to the time elapsed may skew the results. After qualifying the statements it was noted that there was a large group, excluding the college bound that indicated a further need for service and support.

The examination of school adjustment indicated that the areas of Language arts and reading were a continued area of need. More surprisingly was the support for a need to look that exclusion of learning disabled students from physical education programs.
Vocationally, the lack of counseling and training in the specific areas stood out. This provides earlier studies that indicated these students were in need of further vocational education and training to be successful. There was a strong desire indicated to want to work, but there was a lower rate of employment if there were no specific vocational opportunities offered. This caused a great deal of identified stress for subjects and parents.

There were a number of findings reported in the social adjustment area. There was a great deal of avoidance of these issues and discussion of social situations. Secondly, it was in this area that there was a differing opinion between parents and subjects. Parents expressed a concern for lack of interaction outside the family that was not identified by the subjects themselves.

Rojewski examined the results from the 1988 National Education Longitudinal Study (NELS:88) to determine the differences in occupational aspirations and career choices between disabled and non disabled adolescents. Also a comparison was made of the differences in the same choice patterns and aspirations between males and females. Rojewski utilized the NELS:88 to identify trends and differences based on the student questionnaires and indications about the student’s choices and aspirations over 4 years of the study (Rojewski 1996).

The National Longitudinal Transition Study of Special Education Students (National Transition Study) is a study over a five-year span examining the progress of a sampling of students from special education programs through their exits from secondary education. Rojewski compiled a sample from this database.

A sampling of students were selected from the database of students from the NELS:88. A sample of 1,051 schools were chosen who had 8th grade students in 1988. Twenty-four students were chosen at random from each school. This provided a group of greater than 24,000 students. The students were then disregarded if they had not participated in the first follow up survey (10th grade). After this process, the students were divided into groups of student with learning disabilities and without learning disabilities. This resulted in the selection of 12,542 total students, 405 adolescents with learning disabilities and 12,137 non-disabled peers.

The study identifies an inherent threat to the validity of the results. School-identified samples rather than research- identified samples may produce a bias. This may be due to the behaviors that most often are identified in learning disabled students and the lack of a consistent definition between schools for a student with a learning disability. After reviewing demographic, achievement scores, and adolescent personality markers, it was determined that the selection process was successful in identifying the learning disabled population.

The areas reviewed in the survey were problems with academic skills and performance, analysis of self-concept and locus of control, and the measurement of occupational aspirations. The academic achievement was broken into math and reading scores. In reading and Math, there was a considerable difference in the cores with non-disabled students scoring higher on the assessment tool. In reading, disabled females scored higher than their disabled male counterparts while the opposite is true for the Math scores. In Math, the disabled males scored higher.

In examining the survey regarding self-concept and locus of control, females with a learning disability held a lower self- concept than all other adolescents. In contrast to that non- disabled males held the highest self- concept scores. For locus of control, grade 8 and 10 males and females with disabilities were more external in their locus of control. The group who reported a higher internal locus of control were tenth grade females without a disability.

Background information was collected from a student questionnaire. Te areas addressed were gender, race, and locale of the student, socioeconomic status, self-concept, and locus of control. The results regarding socioeconomic status were delineated into four quartiles and examined five different variables. These are family income, parents’ education level, and parent occupations.

To assess achievement levels in reading and math, scores from standardized testing were reviewed. The areas of reading and math were the only areas addressed and were used for descriptive purposes only.

Career aspirations and career-choices were examined using occupational questions on the surveys. The students were asked to choice jobs they expected to be doing at the age of 30. The categories presented at the base survey numbered 14. This was expanded to 17 in the follow up surveys in order to better specify areas of interest. The results collected were placed into groups according to high, moderate, and low levels of education, prestige, and status.

The data included a general description of the aspirations, a determination that the gender and disability of the student plays on the aspiration, and the change between follow ups on the aspirations.

It was determined that these results supported the idea that there are differences in the impact of disabilities, as well as gender, on career aspirations. More to point, female in the eighth grade are more likely you be indecisive about future occupations that any other adolescents. They also are least likely to aspire to moderate- prestige occupations. This is the opposite to the non-disabled females of that grade who aspire to high- prestige occupations. Eighth grade males, similarly aspire to high- prestige occupations with more than 50% of the disabled males in this grade aspiring to moderate- prestige jobs. This trend held true to the tenth grade follow up results.

Indications in this study also showed a great deal of indecision for disabled students with a more decisive path for their non-disabled peers. This, and the level of their aspirations have a positive correlation. The study indicates the significant impact disabilities have on the level of career aspirations. The primary concerns about this trend are that the students are being required to make this choice as early as eighth grade and that this is the crucial period in their vocational development.

Dr. Henrey Reiff and Dr. Sharon deFur, reviewed literature which examines historical information regarding transition policy and legislation, post-secondary outcomes currently in use, and transition planning services available to lend proof to their statement that these students can benefit greatly from better developed transition services. The author’s contention is that requirement for transition planning and services and the legislation now in place the support it allows for a greater probability of success for students with disabilities. Through study of legislative mandates the article outlines the requirements of special education in providing a concise transition plan to disabled students. In identifying desirable outcomes, the article provides a framework for developing transition services for a number of routes. Finally, this article outlines the need for comprehensive and in depth assessment of the students needs in developing the most appropriate transition plan available.

In a related study, Dr. Jay Rojewski, reviewed and examined the major themes from Bandura’s 1982 explanation of how chance influences individual life paths. He contrasts these with the characteristics, personal and social, often attributed to persons with learning disabilities. Rojewski first provides an overview of theoretical perspectives of career behavior including psychological theories and sociological theories. The author contends that psychological theories under represent minority groups including individuals with disabilities. In addressing the role of chance in career development, Dr. Rojewski defines chance and provides evidence of its influences on career behavior. The author proposes that the following determinants, personal and social, raise the intensity of chance on the career development of youth with disabilities; social skills difficulties, planfulness, problem solving, locus of control, self-esteem/ self concept, severity of disability, peer group influences, parental influences, cultural influences and school/ teacher influences.

Dr. Wagner and Dr. Blackorby refer to the National Longitudinal Transition Study of Special Education Students in order to track and argue that special education students in high schools without appropriate transition planning and programming are much less likely to successfully compete in the work force. They identified a number of ideas that may offer a better planning strategy for disabled students in transition planning. Included in these discussions were course offerings, the need for more vocational training, and the dual nature of taking more general education course. In addressing the last point it was found that one indicator of success was a greater number of general education course, but that in contrast, the higher number of regular education course a disabled student took, the higher the chances of receiving poor grades. This was identified as the primary reason students were dropping out.

Research Question
Can direct instruction in the academics of vocational training in a resource setting increase the level of mastery for transition and vocational goals for students with learning disabilities? Previous research supports the fact that students with learning disabilities are finding greater success in this area with increased time in vocational education classes. There is also ample proof that, due to the learning obstacles they face, these same students benefit a great deal from direct instruction in a resource setting. Based around these concepts, providing direct instruction in the academics of vocation in the resource setting should increase the level of mastery related to the IEP goals related to transition and vocation. To answer this question, quarterly progress monitoring in these areas must be assessed in relative terms. There is not just the question of full mastery, but improvement in relationship to where the student’s level of proficiency was to begin with. If the students improve in their ability to complete tasks and exhibit an increase in the skill set needed to successfully transition, their level of mastery has increased.

Methods and Procedures Sample
The sample should consist of students qualifying for a learning disability under Department of Defense guidelines in grades 9-12. These students are identified from the population receiving services at Fort Campbell High School. The criteria for qualifying for learning disabled include any students who are at or below the 10th percentile on a standard achievement test. These students can be identified from records review in their special education files. A review of records will identify prior mastery levels applicable to transition and vocation. There are 84 students receiving special education services in Fort Campbell High School. Forty six of these students currently are identified as having a learning disability. Due to the transient nature of this population, these numbers can fluctuate over time. To increase the scope of the study, Fort Knox also is included in the Department of Defense Schools System district.

Prior to establishing IEP goals, an appropriate curriculum must be developed and implemented. This curriculum should encompass all aspect of vocational academics and include transferable skills training in the subject areas of Mathematics, Language Arts, Science, and Social Studies. There needs to be flexibility in the delivery of this direct instruction based on the level of proficiency in these areas exhibited by the students. Providing instruction in the resource setting will allow this curriculum to be delivered in a flexible setting with accommodations and modifications needed. This curriculum should be in place and accessible prior to the year and developed in conjunction with the school’s vocational department. These individuals should also be a part of the Site- Based Case Study Committee’s (SBCSC) development of the IEP goals.
The study of the effects of introduction of vocational academic curriculum classes in the resource setting on transition and vocational goals should include the establishment and monitoring of appropriate IEP goals. These goals, derived by the SBCSC, should be appropriate to the post-secondary goals and career track of the individual students. These goals can be geared toward transition to an academic or vocational setting.

Department of Defense Education Activity manual has established goals to address the areas of career and work skills in the secondary setting. These include but are not limited to:
– These student will demonstrate skills for getting along with others in the work place
– The student will demonstrate skills for getting along with supervisors.
– The student will develop awareness for the world of work.
– The student will demonstrate career and/ or employment skills.
– The student will understand the knowledge requirements of his/ her preferred occupation.
– The student will demonstrate knowledge of the job process.
Post- Secondary
– The student will identify educational skills in the workplace.
– The student will demonstrate entrance requirements for appropriate post-secondary community programs.
– The student will organize a work site.
– The student will demonstrate knowledge of how to succeed in a post-secondary program.
Academic goals related to a transition curriculum, related to core subject areas include but are not limited to the following:
Language arts
– The student will apply written language skills in functional writing activities.
– Identify the five main parts of a business letter.
– Write a resume.
– Write functional notes, messages, shopping lists, task lists, directions, and assignments.
– The student will make reasonable estimations.
– The student will demonstrate an understanding of money concepts.
– The student will understand the basics of graphs, statistics, and graphs.
– The student will understand time concepts.
– The student will demonstrate an understanding of functional documents.
– The student will demonstrate an understanding of consumer information.
– The student will apply reading skills needed for independent employment.

With these goals and any individualized IEP goals developed by the SBCSC, a curriculum encompassing the required academic skills should be developed from all available resources in the content areas.
Academic setting may include but are not limited to college, trade schools, or other schooling options. Vocational settings may be a work place or vocational courses and work training programs. This should occur within the first 10 days of the school year.

The vocational academics are to be delivered dependant upon the development of the student’s class schedule. Because Department of Defense Dependant Schools (DODDS) operate on a block schedule, implementation should be 90 minutes every other day or one class period. This will provide the student with an average of two and a half class periods a week of direct instruction in the area of vocational academics. This instruction ill be provided by the special education staff and any support staff assigned to that department. This class should be identified as direct special education provided in the resource setting by special education staff reflective on the service page of the IEP.

Progress on transition and vocational goals should be checked and documented at each grade reporting period. DODDS special education policy provides for quarterly progress reports to be provided in each report card period as well as during the annual review of the IEP. Each nine week period, with the completion of the grading period, each case managing special education is charged with documenting progress on all IEP goals. For the purpose of consistency in this study, the special education teacher for the vocational academics class should closely evaluate the progress made by each student in the class. The progress is ranked on a five tier ranking system and assigned the following numerical values; 1. No Progress, 2. Little Progress, 3. Some (moderate) Progress, 4. Partially Mastered, and 5. Mastered.

The completion of the study should occur with a review of the IEP transition/ vocational goals in a SBCSC meeting in the last two weeks of the school year. Upon completion and collection of the progress reports, each goal should be reviewed and the progress evaluated. In this process, the SBCSC should look at how much the student progressed, if the goals were mastered, if the goals remain appropriate, if the time allowed for mastery was appropriate, and whether r not the goals remain aligned with the student’s goals and aspirations.

Time Schedule
Implementation of the study should begin and end with a SBCSC of the IEP goals. The development of these goals will occur within the first ten schooldays, Aug6- 17. The vocational academics class will be provided by the special education department in 90 minute intervals every other day on the block schedule. The time of day will be dependant on the scheduling of all classes in the school day. Each 9-week instructional period will mark the data collection point with the evaluation and recording of the student’s progress. For the 2007-08 school year in the DODDS system these dates are 12/ 05/ 07, 12/ 21/ 07, 03/ 14/08, 05/ 09/08. A fifth progress report will occur dependant on the date of the student’s annual review of their IEP. The last data collection point will occur in conjunction with the final grading period on 12 /05/ 07. This will mark the completion of the data collection and at this time the data will be reviewed and analyzed to identify relative gains, losses in the level of goal mastery.

Data Collection
Data Collection will occur at five times throughout the school year. Four of these collection points will be at a 9 week interval and take place in conjunction with the monitoring and documentation of school- mandated quarterly progress reports. The dates for these collection points are October 5, December 21, March 14, and May 9. A fifth collection point will occur at the student’s annual IEP review. Because each student’s annual review occurs a different times of the year, this fifth collection point will be dependant on the individual IEP. The data collected will be in the form of the aforementioned numerical ranking from the special education teacher providing instruction in the vocational academic class. This ranking 1-5 is recorded on the IEP goals sheet in the student’s special education file. Because of the small size of this sample, these results may not be replicable in other environments. The rating scale, filled out by the special education provider will be compiled by the teacher conducting and monitoring the study.

Data Analysis
The data will be evaluated for value added and it’s relativity to the student’s previous levels of performance. Through a records review of progress on prior transition goals, each benchmark and annual goal will be reviewed and evaluated. On each goal, with implementation of the direct instruction in the resource setting, mastery of transition goals should see a marked increase. Mastery of these goals, using the established ranking system, should all receive a ranking of 3 or above. This will indicate that the student’s are making moderate progress on all transition/vocational goals. By applying a value added system, we are able to also see the amount of increase seen in each student in relationship to their individual starting points.

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