University of Oregon

EMPL Professor and BRT Researcher Provide Collaborative Mentoring Experience for Graduate Students

University of Oregon (UO) Associate Professor Kathleen Scalise from the Department of Educational Methodology, Policy, and Leadership department (EMPL), BRT Research Assistant Professor P. Shawn Irvin, and Special Education doctoral student Fahad Alresheed helped coordinate a group of graduate students who worked together to synthesize the literature on accommodations in computer-based interactive assessment tasks for students with disabilities. The collaborative project, which ultimately involved three faculty and eight doctoral students from the UO College of Education (COE), resulted in a publication in the highly-respected peer-reviewed Journal of Special Education Technology.

The goal of the project was diverse. Drs. Scalise and Irvin wanted to find a meaningful way to mentor graduate students through the synthesis and publication process. In addition, they wanted to inform educators, school administrators, policy makers, and assessment developers on the availability and use of accommodations in interactive assessment contexts, particularly in the area of science assessments. Finally, the synthesis provides an empirical foundation for future external funding related to research on accommodation development and application in the area of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), with an emphasis on digital interactive assessment tasks.

The project was a success. Doctoral students from three different UO COE departments (School Psychology, Special Education, and Educational Methodology, Policy, and Leadership) had the opportunity to work together to locate and analyze empirical articles from a variety of sources, mentored closely by faculty from BRT and EMPL—a cross-departmental collaborative model that the researchers hope to replicate in future products. The resulting peer-reviewed publication provides important information for people responsible for ensuring that students with disabilities have access to the supports needed to accurately measure their knowledge and skill in the area of STEM. And, by identifying areas in need of future research and development, the project will serve as a starting point for future grant proposals.

To read the synthesis, please visit:
Scalise, K., Irvin, P. S., Alresheed, F., Zvoch, K., Yim, H., Park, S., Landis, B., Meng, P., Kleinfelder, B., Halladay, L., &
     Partsafas, A. (2018). Accommodations in digital interactive STEM assessment tasks: Current accommodations and
     promising practices for enhancing accessibility for students with disabilities. Journal of Special Education Technology.
     Advance online publication. doi.org/10.1177/0162643418759340