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$3M in Grants to Support Teacher-coaching Model on Middle Schoolers’ Reading Comprehension

By Chris Samoray

UMD researchers have received $3 million in U.S. Department of Education grants to refine a coaching model that targets teachers’ literacy instruction to improve reading comprehension among middle school students.

Work on the Adaptive Intervention Model (AIM) Coaching is supported by two complimentary grants: $1.4 million from the department’s Institute of Education Sciences and $1.6 million from Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP). The projects build on a previous OSEP-funded model demonstration project co-led by UMD researchers and researchers at the University of Texas at Austin that supported middle school teachers’ use of evidence-based vocabulary and comprehension literacy practices in subjects including language, arts, science and social studies.

Most secondary students with disabilities spend a majority of the school day receiving instruction in general education content-area classes, rather than the special education setting. Therefore, it is critical to help content-area teachers gain the knowledge and skills to effectively implement evidence-based literacy practices.

The research is led by Associate Professor Jade Wexler of the Department of Counseling, Higher Education, and Special Education, working with postdoctoral researcher Alexandra Shelton in Wexler’s Adolescent Literacy and Professional Development Lab.

Along with collaborators at UT Austin, the researchers plan to further the knowledge base on AIM Coaching. Ultimately, the researchers plan to refine the model so that instructional leaders—a broad term covering school staff responsible for supporting teachers’ instruction—will ultimately be able to use the model to make data-based decisions about the coaching support teachers need to implement practices developed in the previous model.

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