Published on May 22, 2009
Preparing Paraeducators to Assist Students with Autism Nancy K. French, Ph.D. Retired Professor, School of Education University of Colorado Denver President, Paraeducator Training Resources, Inc. 180 Cook St. #111 Denver, CO 80206 firstname.lastname@example.org www.paraeducatortraining.com
Process for creating training materials for paraeducators Knowledge and skills relevant to autism and appropriate for paraeducators Training materials developed for this program Evaluation data from field test Consider your own need for training paraeducators Outcomes for Today’s Session
The CO-TOP program ◦ Locally delivered paraeducator training program ◦ District selects own trainers ◦ Trainers are trained to supervise paraeducators and to use CO-TOP Curriculum ◦ Coherent program – each course stands alone, but all contribute to an overall knowledge and skills base needed by paraeducators ◦ Developed over 12 years ◦ 22 College level courses ◦ Instructor manuals include everything for course ◦ Research-based content ◦ Field tested Background
Stage 1: Determine course curriculum and develop materials ◦ Advisory panel ◦ Identify tasks, skills paraeducators require ◦ Recommend activities to develop those skills ◦ Review current CO-TOP curriculum content to avoid duplication ◦ Identify the content of the autism course. Stage 2: Write the course materials ◦ The panelists then reviewed the draft materials, made suggestions and validated the content. ◦ Revisions based on suggestions were made How the materials were developed
Review of Selected CO-TOP Manuals Knowledge and skills paraeducators require – no duplication of content
Stage 3: Train trainers ◦ Two districts agreed to assist with the pilot testing of the materials ◦ Districts selected the trainers they wanted to deliver the curriculum. ◦ We trained the identified trainers Stage 4: Train paraeducators – field test materials. ◦ Trainers delivered the academy to paraeducators ◦ Observed each training How the materials were developed
Stage 5: Evaluate quality of course and instruction ◦ Evaluations - quality of course and instructor ◦ Instructors completed a critique of materials and activities ◦ Pre-post tests of knowledge and skills ◦ Follow up survey about on the job skills application Stage 6: Finalize Instructors’ Manual ◦ Minor revisions were made ◦ Editing and formatting ◦ Copyright How the materials were developed
Evaluate the course ◦ Format (83.5%) ◦ Length (74.5%) ◦ Accuracy of info presented (89.4%) ◦ Relevance-practicality of info (89.4%) ◦ Overall rating (83.5%) Evaluate the instructors ◦ Knowledge & coverage of subject (94.2%) ◦ Organization & presentation skills (88.4%) ◦ Stimulate interest & participation (89.0%) ◦ Responsiveness to questions (95.2%) ◦ Overall rating (93.2%) Course & Instructor Evaluation
The most frequent type of comment ◦ My personal preference for the length would have been different somehow. Maybe 4 half days or something more like Tuesday evenings for 2 month. I can only absorb so much information at a time. ◦ Not enough time to process information. Too much information in a short amount of time. ◦ I think it would be more informative and less frustrating if it was a 4 session class. The second most common response ◦ This course needs to be targeted at people that work with any behavior challenges not just those students with autism. The course offers great information for beginning staff. ◦ Very informative-even for those who have some experience with autism. ◦ This class rocked! It should be standard for everyone in a school! Course & Instructor Evaluation
Paired Sam ples Statistics Std. Error Mean N Std. Deviation Mean Pair postmean 4.2282 69 .42607 .05129 1 premean 3.0620 69 .86947 .10467 Paired Samples Test Paired Differences 99% Confidence Interval of the Std. Error Difference Mean Std. Deviation Mean Low er Upper t df Sig. (2-tailed) Pair 1 postmean - premean 1.16619 .66162 .07965 .95512 1.37727 14.642 68 .000 Pre-Post Tests
Pre and post assessment data were analyzed for the 69 participants in the pilot test of the Autism Spectrum Disorders Academy, using a paired-samples t-test. There was a significant increase in ratings on the post-test (M= 4.22, SD=.43) over the pre-test scores (M=3.06, SD=.87, t(68)= 14.64, p<.0005). The probability that this difference would occur by chance is less than .0005. While the significant increase in scores on the post-test tells us that the differences in the two sets of scores was unlikely to occur by chance, it does not tell us much about the magnitude of the training’s effect. While there are a number of effect size statistics, the eta squared statistic is among the most commonly used statistics. It represents the proportion of variance of the dependent variable that is explained by the independent variable. Values for eta squared range from 0 to 1. Cohen (1988) offered these guidelines to interpret the eta squared values. .01=small effect, .06=moderate effect, .14=large effect. Given the eta squared value of .69, we can conclude that there was a large effect, with a substantial difference in pre-training and post-training scores. Interpretation of Pre-Post Data
Unusually high number – a good thing! Comments were typed Organized by district, instructor, and module Read repeatedly until general ideas emerged Created a “coding key” to cluster comments Used colored highlights to code phrases, sentences, or paragraphs according to the apparent meaning. Nine “codes” or “themes” into which every comment fit. Comments from Pre-Post Tests
Comments about what they learned, something that was of particular interest, what new knowledge they gained, and comments on the quality of the information were the most frequent type of comment across all sections of the pilot test and, therefore, across instructors and districts. Comments devoted to positive statements about new learning, information, and interest ranged from 78% to 96% by section Something learned/interesting /new knowledge/good info
31 teachers ◦ 2.06 - Lowest mean score - for application of research based intervention ◦ 2.58 – highest mean score - types of social skills to be taught 50 paraeducators ◦ 2.08 – lowest mean score - history of the disorder and identification of students with autism ◦ 2.50 – highest mean score - two items: types of social skills to be taught, and ways to support communication. Mean ratings over 2.00 or higher indicate that there is moderate –to–great applicability of the content Follow-Up Application Data
Autism Spectrum Disorders Academy Take a look – while you’re looking let’s discuss your training needs
What are your training needs for paraeducators who assist students with autism? How might these materials work for you? Discussion
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