Research Summaries

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Re-designed November 2010
Updated January 2013

A bright desk lamp shines down on a pile of research books.These days parents, educators, and policy makers are asking what the research evidence has to say about working with children who have disabilities. What classroom strategies, behavioral supports, and other educational interventions have strong foundations in scientific research to inform and guide practice?  This section of NICHCY’s website is devoted to summarizing research in special education and with students who have disabilities.

Connecting with the Research of Interest to You

We hope you’ll find the summaries below useful in shaping the types of interventions you used with students who have disabilities. For the most part, we’ve categorized them below by their area of emphasis. Pick your pleasure of disability focus, from among studies of:

by Disability

by Subject

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How This Information Was Compiled

We’ve concentrated on identifying meta-analytical studies conducted in special education over the past 20 years. A meta-analysis is a widely used and accepted research method that combines data across multiple studies within a given area of interest. Combining the results of individual studies in this manner increases our confidence in the findings and helps us to better understand the factors that support effective interventions. You’ll find plenty of interesting and informative meta-analyses below.

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Use of Structured Abstracts

Most research descriptions simply provide basic bibliographic information such as author, title, date, and journal name. Some also include an abstract, but even then important information may be missing, difficult to understand, or be too brief to be of much practical use.  NICHCY Research Summaries extend the traditional abstract by providing a consistent format that allows users to easily obtain information about key elements of a study including:

  • Background information on why the study is important for special needs children
  • The specific research questions that guided the study
  • The research design (what methods were used)
  • Useful information about the research subjects (number of participants, age, how selected, nature of disability)
  • Description of the type of intervention studied, including its duration
  • Research findings
  • Conclusions and implications for practice
  • Additional resources that connect readers with information, tools, and examples of effective practice based on the research

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Interventions for Students with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD)

Cognitive and Behavioral Treatment of Impulsivity in Children: A Meta-Analytic Review of the Outcome Literature
Baer, R.A. & Nietzel, M.T.
http://nichcy.org/research/summaries/abstract10

Cognitive Behavior Modification of Hyperactivity-Impulsivity and Aggression: A Meta-Analysis of School-Based Studies
Robinson, R.T., Smith, S.W., & Brownell, M.T.
http://nichcy.org/research/summaries/abstract59

Effects of School-Based Interventions for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: A Meta-Analysis
http://nichcy.org/research/summaries/abstract2

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Interventions for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Comprehensive Synthesis of Early Intensive Behavioral Interventions for Young Children with Autism
Based on the UCLA Young Autism Project Model
Reichow, B., & Wolery, M.
http://nichcy.org/research/summaries/abstract83

Meta-Analysis of School-Based Social Skills Interventions for Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders
Bellini, S., Peters, J., Benner, L., & Hopf, A.
http://nichcy.org/research/summaries/abstract75

Meta-Analysis of Video Modeling and Video Self-Modeling Interventions for Children and Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorders
Bellini, S., & Akullian, J.
http://nichcy.org/research/summaries/abstract72

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Interventions for Students with Emotional/Behavioral Disorders

Cognitive Behavior Modification of Hyperactivity-Impulsivity and Aggression: A Meta-Analysis of School-Based Studies
Robinson, R.T., Smith, S.W., & Brownell, M.T.
http://nichcy.org/research/summaries/abstract59

Educational Environments for the Pupil with Behavioral Disorders: A Best Evidence Synthesis
Schneider, B.H., & Leroux, J.
http://nichcy.org/research/summaries/abstract63

Effectiveness of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy in Reducing Classroom Disruptive Behaviors: A Meta-Analysis
Ghafoori, B., & Tracz, S.M.
http://nichcy.org/research/summaries/abstract45

Effects of Child Skills Training in Preventing Antisocial Behavior: A Systematic Review of Randomized Evaluations
Lösel, F., & Beelmann, A.
http://nichcy.org/research/summaries/abstract66

Effects of School-based Social Information Processing Interventions on Aggressive Behavior: Part I: Universal Programs
A Campbell Collaboration Systematic Review
http://nichcy.org/research/summaries/abstract71

Effects of School-based Social Information Processing Interventions on Aggressive Behavior: Part II: Selected or Indicated Pull-out Programs
A Campbell Collaboration Systematic Review
http://nichcy.org/research/summaries/abstract77

Effects of School-Based Intervention Programs on Aggressive Behavior: A Meta-Analysis
Wilson, S.J., Lipsey, M., & Derzon, J.H.
http://nichcy.org/research/summaries/abstract7

Efficacy of Child Cognitive-Behavioral Interventions for Antisocial Behavior: A Meta-Analysis
Bennett, D.S., & Gibbons, T.A.
http://nichcy.org/research/summaries/abstract65

Efficacy of Psychological, Educational, and Behavioral Treatment: Confirmation from Meta-Analysis
Lipsey, M. E., & Wilson, D.B.
http://nichcy.org/research/summaries/abstract39

Meta-Analysis of Intervention Research with Problem Behavior: Treatment Validity and Standards of Practice
Scotti, J.R., Evans, I.M., Meyer, L.H., & Walker, P.
http://nichcy.org/research/summaries/abstract60

Meta-Analysis of Interventions to Decrease Disruptive Classroom Behavior in Public Education Settings
Stage, S.A., & Quiroz, D.R.
http://nichcy.org/research/summaries/abstract61

Meta-Analysis of Social Skill Interventions for Students with Emotional or Behavioral Disorders
Quinn, M.M., Kavale, K.A., Mathur, S.R., Rutherford , R.B., & Forness, S.R.
http://nichcy.org/research/summaries/abstract33

Peer-Mediated Intervention Studies on Academic Achievement for Students with EBD: A Review
Ryan, J.B., Reid, R., & Epstein, M.H.
http://nichcy.org/research/summaries/abstract34

Rational Emotive Therapy with Children and Adolescents
Gonzalez, J.E., Nelson, R.J.,Gutkin, T.B., Saunders, A., Galloway, A., & Shwery, C.S.
http://nichcy.org/research/summaries/abstract8

Social Skills Interventions with Students with Emotional and Behavioral Problems: A Quantitative Synthesis of Single-Subject Research
Mathur, S.R., Kavale, K.A., Quinn, M.M., Forness, S.R., & Rutherford, R.B.
http://nichcy.org/research/summaries/abstract5

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Interventions for Students with Learning Disabilities

Computer Assisted Instruction in Reading for Students with Learning Disabilities: A Research Synthesis
Hall, T.E., Hughes , C.A. , & Filbert, M.
http://nichcy.org/research/summaries/abstract46

Direct Instruction | Adams, G., & Carnine, D.
http://nichcy.org/research/summaries/abstract1

Do Special Education Interventions Improve Learning of Secondary Content? A Meta-Analysis
Scruggs, T. E., Mastropieri, M. A., Berkeley, S., & Graetz, J. E.
http://nichcy.org/research/summaries/abstract80

Effects of Instruction in Solving Mathematical Word Problems for Students with Learning Problems: A Meta-Analysis
Xin, Y.P., & Jitendra, A.K.
http://nichcy.org/research/summaries/abstract9

For Which Students with Learning Disabilities Are Self-Concept Interventions Effective?
Elbaum, B., & Vaughn S.
http://nichcy.org/research/summaries/abstract56

Graphic Organizers and Their Effects on the Reading Comprehension of Students with LD: A Synthesis of Research
Kim, A-H., Vaughn, S., Wanzek, J., & Wei, S.
http://nichcy.org/research/summaries/abstract21

Mathematics Instruction for Students with Learning Disabilities: A Meta-AnalysisAn accenting red star, to show a new resource on NICHCY's website
Gersten, R., Chard, D.J., Jayanthi, M., Baker, S.K., Morphy, P., & Flojo, J.
http://nichcy.org/research/summaries/abstract84

Reading Comprehension Instruction for Students with Learning Disabilities, 1995–2006: A Meta-Analysis
Berkeley, S., Scruggs, T.E., & Mastropieri, M.A
http://nichcy.org/research/summaries/abstract82

Reading Differences Between Low-Achieving Students With and Without Learning Disabilities: A Meta-Analysis
Fuchs, D., Fuchs, L.S., Mathes, PG., & Lipsey, M.W.
http://nichcy.org/research/summaries/abstract14

Reading Research for Students with LD: A Meta-Analysis of Intervention Outcomes
Swanson, H.L.
http://nichcy.org/research/summaries/abstract32

Research on Interventions for Adolescents with Learning Disabilities: A Meta-Analysis of Outcomes Related to Higher-Order Processing
Swanson, H.L.
http://nichcy.org/research/summaries/abstract62

School-Based Interventions to Enhance the Self-Concept of Students with Learning Disabilities: A Meta-Analysis
Elbaum, B., & Vaughn, S.
http://nichcy.org/research/summaries/abstract18

Selective Synthesis of Intervention Research for Students with Learning Disabilities
Swanson, H.L., & Carson, C.
http://nichcy.org/research/summaries/abstract64

Social Skill Deficits and Learning Disabilities: A Meta-Analysis
Kavale, K.A., & Forness, S.R.
http://nichcy.org/research/summaries/abstract57

Social Skills Interventions for Individuals with Learning Disabilities
Kavale, K. A., & Mostert, M.P.
http://nichcy.org/research/summaries/abstract67

Students with Learning Disabilities and the Process of Writing: A Meta-Analysis of SRSD Studies
Graham, S., & Harris, K. R.
http://nichcy.org/research/summaries/abstract19

Synthesis of Research on Effective Interventions for Building Reading Fluency with Elementary Students with Learning Disabilities
Chard, D.J., Vaughn, S., & Tyler, B-J.
http://nichcy.org/research/summaries/abstract30

Treating Social Skill Deficits in Children with Learning Disabilities: A Meta-Analysis of the Research
Forness, S.R., & Kavale, K.A.
http://www.nichcy.org/research/summaries/abstract26

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Math Interventions

Effects of Instruction in Solving Mathematical Word Problems for Students with Learning Problems: A Meta-Analysis
Xin, Y.P., & Jitendra, A.K.
http://nichcy.org/research/summaries/abstract9

 Mathematics Instruction for Students with Learning Disabilities: A Meta-AnalysisAn accenting red star, to show a new resource on NICHCY's website
Gersten, R., Chard, D.J., Jayanthi, M., Baker, S.K., Morphy, P., & Flojo, J.
http://nichcy.org/research/summaries/abstract84

Mathematics Interventions for Children with Special Needs
Kroesbergen, E.H., & Van Luit, J.E.H.
http://nichcy.org/research/summaries/abstract25

Synthesis of Empirical Research on Teaching Mathematics to Low Achieving Students
Baker, S., Gersten, R., & Lee, D.
http://nichcy.org/research/summaries/abstract16

Meta-Analysis on Teaching Mathematics to Students With Significant Cognitive Disabilities
Browder, D. M., Spooner, F., Ahlgrim-Delzell, L., Harris, A., & Wakeman, S. Y.
http://nichcy.org/research/summaries/abstract79

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Reading Interventions

Computer Assisted Instruction in Reading for Students with Learning Disabilities: A Research Synthesis
Hall, T.E., Hughes , C.A. , & Filbert, M.
http://nichcy.org/research/summaries/abstract46

Effect of Computer-Assisted Instruction on Reading Achievement: A Meta-Analysis
Soe, K., Koki, S., & Chang, J.
http://nichcy.org/research/summaries/abstract12

Effective Reading Programs for English Language Learners. A Best- Evidence Synthesis
Slavin, R.E., & Cheung, A.
http://nichcy.org/research/summaries/abstract47

Experimental Intervention Research on Students with Learning Disabilities: A Meta-Analysis of Treatment Outcomes
Swanson, H.L., & Hoskyn, M.
http://nichcy.org/research/summaries/abstract36

Fluency and Comprehension Gains as a Result of Repeated Reading
Therrien, W.J.
http://nichcy.org/research/summaries/abstract55

Graphic Organizers and Their Effects on the Reading Comprehension of Students with LD: A Synthesis of Research
Kim, A-H., Vaughn, S., Wanzek, J., & Wei, S.
http://nichcy.org/research/summaries/abstract21

How Effective Are One-to-One Tutoring Programs in Reading for Elementary Students at Risk for Reading Failure? A Meta-Analysis of the Intervention Research
Elbaum, B., Vaughn, S., Hughes, M.T., & Moody, S.W.
http://nichcy.org/research/summaries/abstract3

How Reading Outcomes of Students with Disabilities Are Related to Instructional Grouping Formats: A Meta-Analytic Review
Elbaum, B., Vaughn , S., Hughes, M.T. , Moody, S.W., & Schumm , J.S.
http://nichcy.org/research/summaries/abstract15

Instructing Adolescents with Learning Disabilities: A Component and Composite Analysis
Swanson, H.L., & Hoskyn, M.
http://nichcy.org/research/summaries/abstract37

Joint Book Reading Makes Success in Learning to Read: A Meta-Analysis on Intergenerational Transmission of Literacy
Bus, A.G., Ijzendoorn van, M.H., & Pellegrini, A.D.
http://nichcy.org/research/summaries/abstract44

Meta-Analysis and Review of Sight Word Research and Its Implications for Teaching Functional Reading to Individuals with Moderate and Severe Disabilities
Browder, D.M., & Xin, Y.P.
http://nichcy.org/research/summaries/abstract43

Phonological Awareness and Early Reading: A Meta-Analysis of Experimental Training Studies
Bus, A.G., & Van Ijzendoorn, M.H.
http://nichcy.org/research/summaries/abstract53

Reading Comprehension Instruction for Students with Learning Disabilities, 1995–2006: A Meta-Analysis
Berkeley, S., Scruggs, T.E., & Mastropieri, M.A
http://nichcy.org/research/summaries/abstract82

Reading Differences Between Low-Achieving Students With and Without Learning Disabilities: A Meta-Analysis
Fuchs, D., Fuchs, L.S., Mathes, PG., & Lipsey, M.W.
http://nichcy.org/research/summaries/abstract14

Reading Research for Students with LD: A Meta-Analysis of Intervention Outcomes
Swanson, H.L.
http://nichcy.org/research/summaries/abstract32

Searching for the Best Model for Instructing Students with Learning Disabilities
Swanson, H.L.
http://nichcy.org/research/summaries/abstract35

Synthesis of Research on Effective Interventions for Building Reading Fluency with Elementary Students with Learning Disabilities
Chard, D.J., Vaughn, S., & Tyler, B-J.
http://nichcy.org/research/summaries/abstract30

Systematic Phonics Instruction Helps Students Learn to Read: Evidence from the National Reading Panel’s Meta-Analysis
Ehri, L.C., Nunes, S.R., Stahl, S.A., & Willows, D.M.
http://nichcy.org/research/summaries/abstract58

Teaching Children to Read: An Evidence-Based Assessment of the Scientific Research Literature on Reading and Its Implications for Reading Instruction. Chapter 2: Alphabetics
National Reading Panel
http://nichcy.org/research/summaries/abstract31

Teaching Children to Read: An Evidence-Based Assessment of the Scientific Research Literature on Reading and Its Implications for Reading Instruction. Chapter 3: Fluency
National Reading Panel
http://nichcy.org/research/summaries/abstract22

What We Know About Correlates of Reading
Hammil, D.
http://nichcy.org/research/summaries/abstract11

Whole Language and Language Experience Approaches for Beginning Reading: A Quantitative Research Synthesis
Stahl, S.A., & Miller, P.D.
http://nichcy.org/research/summaries/abstract54

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Writing Interventions

Students with Learning Disabilities and the Process of Writing: A Meta-Analysis of SRSD Studies
Graham, S., & Harris, K. R.
http://nichcy.org/research/summaries/abstract19

Teaching Expressive Writing to Students with Learning Disabilities: A Meta-Analysis
Gersten, R., & Baker, S.
http://nichcy.org/research/summaries/abstract13

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Social Skills Interventions

Children’s Social Problem-Solving Skills, Behavioral Adjustment, and Interventions: A Meta-Analysis Evaluating Theory and Practice
Denham, S.A. & Almeida, M.C.
http://nichcy.org/research/summaries/abstract29

Effects of Training Social Competence in Children: A Meta-Analysis of Recent Evaluation Studies
Beelman, A., Pfingsten, U., & Losel, F.
http://nichcy.org/research/summaries/abstract42

Meta-Analysis of School-Based Social Skills Interventions for Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders
Bellini, S., Peters, J., Benner, L., & Hopf, A.
http://nichcy.org/research/summaries/abstract75

Meta-Analysis of Social Skill Interventions for Students with Emotional or Behavioral Disorders
Quinn, M.M., Kavale, K.A., Mathur, S.R., Rutherford , R.B., & Forness, S.R.
http://nichcy.org/research/summaries/abstract33

Social Skills Interventions with Students with Emotional and Behavioral Problems: A Quantitative Synthesis of Single-Subject Research
Mathur, S.R., Kavale, K.A., Quinn, M.M., Forness, S.R., & Rutherford, R.B.
http://nichcy.org/research/summaries/abstract5

Social Skill Deficits and Learning Disabilities: A Meta-Analysis
Kavale, K.A., & Forness, S.R.
http://nichcy.org/research/summaries/abstract57

Social Skills Interventions for Individuals with Learning Disabilities
Kavale, K. A., & Mostert, M.P.
http://nichcy.org/research/summaries/abstract67

Treating Social Skill Deficits in Children with Learning Disabilities: A Meta-Analysis of the Research
Forness, S.R., & Kavale, K.A.
http://nichcy.org/research/summaries/abstract26

 
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Other Studies

Ability Grouping and Student Achievement in Elementary Schools: A Best-Evidence Synthesis
Slavin, R. E.
http://nichcy.org/research/summaries/abstract40

Achievement Effects of Ability Grouping in Secondary Schools: A Best-Evidence Synthesis
Slavin, R.E.
http://nichcy.org/research/summaries/abstract73

Approaches to Parental Involvement for Improving the Academic Performance of Elementary School Age Children
Nye, C., Turner, H. M., & Schwartz, J. B.
http://nichcy.org/research/summaries/abstract68

Are More Intensive Early Intervention Programs More Effective? A Literature Review
Innocenti, M.S., & White, K.R.
http://nichcy.org/research/summaries/abstract41

Co-Teaching in Inclusive Classrooms: A Metasynthesis of Qualitative Research
Scruggs, T.A., Mastropieri, M.A., & McDuffie, K.A.
http://nichcy.org/research/summaries/abstract81

Do Special Education Interventions Improve Learning of Secondary Content? A Meta-Analysis
Scruggs, T. E., Mastropieri, M. A., Berkeley, S., & Graetz, J. E.
http://nichcy.org/research/summaries/abstract80

Effective Interventions in Dropout Prevention: A Research Synthesis—The Effects of Cognitive-Behavioral Interventions on Dropout for Youth with Disabilities
Cobb, B., Sample, P., Alwell, M., & Johns, N.
http://nichcy.org/research/summaries/abstract17

Effects of Interventions to Promote Self-Determination for Individuals with Disabilities
Algozzine, B., Browder, D., Karvonen, M., Test, D.W., & Wood, W.M.
http://nichcy.org/research/summaries/abstract38

Effects of Technology-Based Interventions on Academic Outcomes for Youth with Disabilities
Dugan, J.J., Cobb, R.B., & Alwell, M.
http://nichcy.org/research/summaries/abstract69

Effects of Test Accommodation on Test Performance: A Review of the Literature
Sireci, S.G., Li, S., & Scarpati, S.
http://nichcy.org/research/summaries/abstract74

Efficacy of Early Intervention Programs: A Meta-Analysis
Casto, G., & Mastropieri, M.A.
http://nichcy.org/research/summaries/abstract52

Empirical Analysis of Drill Ratio Research: Refining the Instructional Level for Drill Tasks
Burns, M.A.
http://nichcy.org/research/summaries/abstract28

Helping At-Risk Students Meet Standards: A Synthesis of Evidence-Based Classroom Practices
Barley, Z., Lauer, P.A., Arens, S.A., Apthorp, H.S., Englert, K.S., Snow, D., & Akiba, M.
http://nichcy.org/research/summaries/abstract6

Impact of Modality on Skills Training for Youth with Externalizing Problems: A Meta-Analysis
Ang, R.P., Woldbeck, T.F., & Hughes, J.N.
http://nichcy.org/research/summaries/abstract50

Making the Most of Summer School: A Meta-Analytic and Narrative Review
Cooper, H., Charlton, K., Valentine, J.C., & Muhlenbruck, L.
http://nichcy.org/research/summaries/abstract78

Meta-Analysis of Co-Teaching Research: Where Are the Data?
Murawski, W.W., & Swanson, H.L.
http://nichcy.org/research/summaries/abstract24

Meta-Analysis of Outdoor Adventure Programming with Adolescents
Cason, D., & Gillis, H.L.
http://nichcy.org/research/summaries/abstract48

Meta-Analytic Review of Responsiveness-to-Intervention Research: Examining Field-Based and Research Implemented Models
Burns, M.K., Appleton, J.J., &  Stehouwer, J.D.
http://nichcy.org/research/summaries/abstract70

Substance Over Style: Assessing the Efficacy of Modality Testing and Teaching
Kavale, K.A., & Forness, S.R.
http://nichcy.org/research/summaries/abstract4

Synthesizing the Effects of Test Accommodations for Special Education and Limited English Proficient Students
Chiu, C.W.T., & Pearson, P.D.
http://nichcy.org/research/summaries/abstract20

Title I and Student Achievement: A Meta-Analysis of Federal Evaluation Results
Borman, G.D., & Agostino, J.V.
http://nichcy.org/research/summaries/abstract51

When Should We Begin? A Comprehensive Review of Age of Start in Early Intervention
Kim, Y-W., Innocenti, M., & Kim, J-K.
http://nichcy.org/research/summaries/abstract23

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NOTICE: NICHCY is going away, but its resources are not. Find hundreds of legacy NICHCY publications, as well as our training curriculum on IDEA 2004, in the Center for Parent Information and Resources' Library at http://www.parentcenterhub.org/resources. This website will remain available until September 30, 2014. After that date, web visitors will be automatically redirected to http://www.parentcenterhub.org.