Summer Ferreri’s primary research focus is educational outcomes of students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). She is currently working on a project that is investigating the status of education for students with ASD across the state of Michigan by surveying special educators, general educators, paraprofessionals and parents; in addition to conducting observations in classrooms throughout the state. She is also part of a project that is studying the effects of a program designed to teach teachers, to teach parents, to increase social-communication behaviors of their children with ASD. Additionally, she is working to evaluate public and private treatment programs for children with ASD by assessing skill acquisition using a standardized assessment tool.
Dr. Ferreri utilizes the concepts and principles of Applied Behavior Analysis and single-subject research methodology to investigate efficacious interventions for individuals with ASD. She has previously implemented and evaluated interventions designed to decrease behaviors such as disruptive, aggressive, self-stimulatory, self-injurious, and pica behavior. In addition to conduction and analyzing interventions to increase behaviors such as academic readiness behaviors, play skills, social skills and language development and communication through the use of Verbal Behavior, Picture Exchange Communication and functional analyses.
Dr. Mariage has recently participated in two research projects with Dr. Carol Sue Englert and Dr. Cynthia Okolo that have examined content area literacy instruction in inclusive middle grade classrooms. The focus of both projects has been to develop curricular interventions that support teachers and their students as they engage with rigorous content. On the ACCEL Project, teachers utilized evidenced-based interventions related to at least four areas of intervention research:
- learning-to-learn strategies for accessing curriculum,
- cognitive strategies for comprehending and composing expository text,
- text structures as thinking devices,
- pedagogical approaches to support socio-cognitive apprenticeships in classrooms.
Special attention is paid to developing intervention fidelity in instructional settings that emphasize the orchestration of multi-component frameworks across an entire inquiry process. The ACCELerate Project then extends the ACCEL project by moving the elements of the curricular approach to a web-based environment. Finally, Dr. Mariage is continuing his work on cultural elements related to schools as learning organizations for all their inhabitants. This study examines the notion of school re-culturing from sociocultural and critical perspectives.
Dr. Okolo’s current projects focus on the use of technology-based environments to improve teaching and learning in content-area classrooms. Her current work includes:
- The Virtual History Museum, in which a research team is evaluating the use of a web-based set of tools to improve history learning for middle school students with mild disabilities;
- A subcontract with the National Center for the Study of Supported Electronic Text, for which a research team is examining the use of text-to-speech tools to improve students’ comprehension of social studies texts; and
- Project PAL, a collaboration with Freedom Scientific, the goal of which is to produce the prototype of a literacy software tool that improves students’ content area literacy, including text comprehension and study skills.
Dr. Pagliaro’s research focuses on the mathematics instruction and learning of deaf/hard-of-hearing students, with particular emphasis on problem solving and the influence of a visual language. She is currently working on several research projects including:
- SSPPG2 (Solving Story Problems in the Primary Grades)—continued analysis of data specifically related to the use of American Sign Language (ASL) in the success and solution strategies of primary-level deaf children when solving story problems presented to them in ASL.
- Learning 2 Learn—an investigation to identify and compare parent mediation and early learning behaviors of young deaf/hard-of-hearing children with relatively high and low mathematics ability. These data have been the primary support for an upcoming development grant awarded through IES whereby an online program will be developed and tested to help parents increase their pre-school deaf or hard-of-hearing children’s readiness for school mathematics.
- Mathematics Achievement of Swedish Deaf Students—a comparison investigation into the mathematics achievement of deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing students in Sweden on the national compulsory exam. Further investigation will ensue related to the extent of these differences (if any) among various problem types and background variables.
Dr. Troia is currently working on two projects related to writing instruction and assessment. First, he is conducting a series of analyses of narrative writing samples from students in grades 4 through 12 to determine which levels of linguistic organization (e.g., phonological, morphological, syntactic, semantic) serve as the best predictors of overall writing quality and which particular measures at each level appear to reflect growth in writing ability the best. Second, he is examining the alignment of writing policies (states’ writing content standards and large-scale assessments) with each other, with writing research and postsecondary expectations for writing, and with writing performance measured with the National Assessment of Educational Progress. This work, funded by the Institute of Education Sciences, aims to yield a more detailed understanding of policy elements and other variables that predict writing performance and to help facilitate states’ efforts to develop more coherent instructional and assessment frameworks for writing.