Centering Teaching and Learning in Plans to Educate Students With Disabilities This Fall

American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education
EdResearch for Recovery

By Nathan Jones

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What would schools need to do to stem learning losses experienced by students with disabilities? In a recent policy brief I co-authored with Sharon Vaughn and Lynn Fuchs, written as part of the EdResearch for Recovery series, we tried to answer this question. We reviewed the most rigorous evidence we could find from special education research, drawing on a series of meta-analyses and systematic reviews, as well as reviews conducted by the What Works Clearinghouse.

My co-authors and I concluded that the single most important thing that schools can do to stem the tide against additional learning gaps this fall is to provide additional intervention time. For many students, they will need at least small-group or one-on-one intervention as frequently as three to five times per week. These interventions, which frequently emphasize explicit, systematic instruction in foundational skills, should be tailored to students’ individual academic or behavioral needs and delivered by well-qualified personnel. There is no shortage of information on the kinds of interventions that work well for these students (see, for example, the academic intervention and behavioral intervention charts from the National Center on Intensive Intervention (NCII). Further, researchers have provided resources documenting how these interventions could be implemented through distance learning.

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