An Evaluation of Education Provision for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder in the Republic of Ireland – Preliminary Findings Dr. Patricia Daly, Dr. Emer Ring, Principal Investigators, Dr. Margaret Egan, Johanna Fitzgerald, Claire Griffin, Stella Long, Eucharia McCarthy, Dr. Mary Moloney, Trevor O’Brien, Anne O’Byrne, Siobhan O’Sullivan, Marie Ryan and Professor Eugene Wall with Ruth Madden, Research Associate. Overview of Presentation • • • • • • Background and Purpose Evaluation Framework Data-Collection Instruments Data Sources Findings – Issues for Reflection Conclusion Background and Purpose – Request for Tenders September 2013 – Overview and Empirical Evaluation. – Policy Advice. – Methodology to ensure a coherent, consistent and objective approach to data gathering and analysis. – Against a framework of indicators and principles based on identified good practice. Teaching and Learning MCA / NCSE Evaluation Framework Inclusive School Culture School Management Staff Development Assessment School Culture Leadership Understanding and Knowledge of ASD for all staff Individual planning Communication Responsibility CPD Learning Environment Appointment of Staff Information sharing and access to specialist Info Curriculum Extra curricular activities Review of Provision for children with ASD Teaching Methodologies Student Wellbeing Transition Team Approach Data collection Progress Monitoring Sampling • NCSE data-bases for school-based provision. • DES data-bases for July Education Provision and HomeTuition. • A range of subgroups identified and stratified with reference to geographical location; gender; socioeconomic groupings; language and needs-based. • Purposeful random sampling was conducted with reference to these strata. Overview of Research Sites Site A: ASD-Specific Early Intervention Classes (2) [Band E and B] Site B: Mainstream Primary Schools (3) [Band H, C and F] Site C: Mainstream Post-Primary Schools (3) [Band H, E and H] Site D: Special Classes Primary Schools (2) [Band A and H] Site E: Special Classes Post-Primary Schools (2) [Band I and G] Site F: Special School for Students with Mild General Learning Disability (1) [Band D] Site G: Special School for Students with Moderate General Learning Disability (1) [Band C] Site H: Special School for Students with Severe or Profound General Learning Disability (1) [Band A] Site I: ASD-Specific Special School (3) [Band B, A and B] Site J: Home-Tuition (3) [Band A] Site K: July Educational Provision (3) [Band B, Band C] Data-Collection Instruments • Observation Schedules [paired observation of learning and teaching] – Conducted with PI + Team member – Ranked using rating system – Inter-observer agreement measures • Semi-structured Interviews – – – – – – – Principals Co-ordinating Teachers Special Class Teachers Mainstream Teachers Special Needs Assistants Tutors Parents • Child-Conversations - Semi-structured interview and draw-a-picture Total Data Sources Data Source: Principal Teacher Int. Int. Special Needs Assistant In. Child Child Parent Document Conver Drawing Int. Review sation Obs. of Practice Total Data Sources 20 33 25 25 271 50 36 60 22 Specific Measurement and Weighting Criteria for Triangulation of Data Collected never/almost never rarely sometimes often always/almost always 0-10% 11-20% 21-50% 51-90% 91-100% Confirmed by Findings from 10% of Data Sources including Classroom Observation Confirmed by Findings from 1120% of Data Sources including Classroom Observation Confirmed by Findings from 2150% of Data Sources including Classroom Observation Confirmed by Findings from 5190% of Data Sources including Classroom Observation Confirmed by Findings from 91100% of Data Sources Unacceptable Fair Good Very Good Excellent Statement 1:Teaching and Learning • Assessment – Understanding and a recognition of the importance of assessment of, and for learning in all sites. – Assessment curriculum-focused. – Positive approach to the management of behaviours that challenge evident in all sites. – FBA almost always used in early intervention, primary and special school sites. Statement 1:Teaching and Learning • Assessment – Issues for Reflection – Challenges in developing pragmatic processes for recording the positive assessment practice observed. – ASD specific assessments. – Co-occurring special educational needs in the context of assessment. – Role of student in assessment. – Parents and assessment. Statement 1:Teaching and Learning • Individualised Planning – Well-developed in early intervention; primary and special schools – at an initial stage in post-primary. – Linked to school’s existing individualised planning where July Education Programme in school. Variable in Home-Tuition sites. – Parents almost always involved. Statement 1:Teaching and Learning • Individualised Planning– Issues for Reflection – Adequate access to external professionals. – Student-involvement. – Identifying clear and attainable targets. – Linking July Education Programme to students’ school setting. – Developing parents’ understanding of the individualised planning process. Statement 1:Teaching and Learning • Transition – Very good transition protocols to and from the early intervention classes. – Excellent understanding of signalling transitions within the school day. – Good understanding of the importance of supporting transition from primary to post-primary. Statement 1:Teaching and Learning • Transition – Issues for Reflection – Documenting transition protocols in school documentation. – Scope to include transition planning in students’ individualised planning at post-primary level. – Allocating students a more central role in the transition process. – Transitioning children from school to the July Education Programme. Statement 1:Teaching and Learning • Curriculum – Child-centred – individualised – differentiated and focused on the holistic development of the child. – Primary School Curriculum; Aistear; certification options at post-primary and Guidelines for Students with General Learning Disabilities. – Focus on students’ social and life-skills in the July Education Programme. Statement 1:Teaching and Learning • Curriculum– Issues for Reflection – Curriculum Guidelines for early intervention classes. – Potential of Aistear. – Guidelines in relation to children’s access to Irish in Irishmedium schools. – Guidelines in relation to the curriculum foci of the July Education Programme. Statement 1:Teaching and Learning • Teaching Methodologies – Excellent use of generic and ASD-specific teaching approaches used in all early intervention, almost all primary and special schools. – An individualised approach, which considered students’ strengths, interests and preferences evident. – Almost all school and classroom environments were well-structured and visual structures used Statement 1:Teaching and Learning • Teaching Methodologies– Issues for Reflection – Referencing teaching methodologies and rationale for selection in school documentation. – Addressing the importance of the continuity of students’ experiences in the context of the July Education Programme. Statement 2:Inclusive School Culture • Communication – Communication between staff in all sites almost always ranged from good to excellent and a strong sense of collegiality and collaboration was evident. – Awareness and understanding of the importance of communicating with parents was evidenced in all sites. – The value of the advice and support of external professionals was affirmed by all sites. Statement 2:Teaching and Learning • Communication– Issues for Reflection – Providing accessible information for parents with regard to the communication structures in place in the school. – Developing CPD for principals and school staff to develop structures that can optimise communication with parents. Statement 2:Inclusive School Culture • Student Wellbeing – Students’ well-being fostered in an affirmative and proactive manner in almost all sites. – A safe, secure and positive environment was almost always evident and interactions were respectful and affirming. – Positive relationships and positive mental health promoted. Statement 2:Teaching and Learning • Student Wellbeing– Issues for Reflection – Clearly documenting the range of strategies evidenced in school documentation. – Identifying a staff member as a resource for students who may be concerned with mental health issues. – Parent wellbeing – CPD for all staff in relation to students’ wellbeing, parent wellbeing and their own wellbeing. Statement 3: School Management • Leadership – Committed leadership - Principal – Importance of shared vision – Communication structures – Staff deployment Leadership Issues • Small schools, rural, remote • Time-table management and deployment • Additional tasks for Principal • SNA roles Statement 4: Staff Development • Understanding & Knowledge of ASD – Excellent levels by direct care staff and some by whole school staff – Expertise within the school • Rotation across the school • SNAs around sensory awareness – Special schools – all staff Understanding & Knowledge of ASD : Issues • Levels for mainstream teachers in Primary and PP environments • Levels for Principals in large schools • Home tutors - variable 4. Continuing Professional Development • Principals – Special schools • Teachers – Specialist vs Mainstream • SESS – MCA - Patron Bodies Others Contining Professional Development Issues • SNAs – Entry qualifications – CPD pathways • Parents • Home Tutors • Individual AND school-wide approaches ...it gives us a better perspective on the whole child development...it gives a depth to the soul of us all [Site B1_PM_P].