2014 Research Work

Attainment Company, Inc.

2014 Winner for Research @ Work Award
About Research @ Work Award

Thoughtfully incorporates research on learning to shape development of a product or initiative.

Provide an overview of the project, practice or product that your video represents, and how your work encompasses the principles and ideals of the award that you're applying for.

The Attainment Company proudly applies for the Research @ Work award with an eight year history of incorporating research into our line of educational products for students with significant disabilities. While the company has long held evidence based practice as important, formal partnership with research began in 2006 when Dr. Diane Browder of the University of North Carolina Charlotte (UNCC) approached the Attainment Company to publish Early Literacy Skills Builder (ELSB), a beginning literacy curriculum for students with intellectual disability developed under the five year Institute of Educational Sciences (IES) funded grant, Project RAISE.

In the years following, the Attainment Company has partnered with more than a dozen researchers at Universities across the United States on research driven product development. These research and development endeavors include curriculum that teach math, science, self-determination, phonics, and middle school English Language Arts. Several partnerships have been established both with UNCC staff and Ph.D. graduates from Dr. Browder’s program. In 2011, Attainment took a stronger hand in research by working directly with Dr. Diane Browder under a Small Business Innovation Research Grant (SBIR) also from IES, “GoTalk Phonics”. Under the SBIR, Attainment shifted its responsibility from after-the-fact publisher to funded developer and offered a subcontract to Dr. Browder’s research team in order to conduct independent research of the iPad based phonics program while under development. The result is a follow up curriculum to ELSB, Early Reading Skills builder.

While the Attainment Company has thoughtfully used academic research to shape products across our three decade history, we are now integrating research actively. Attainment has received a second Phase I and Phase II SBIR to develop a Language Arts app and is actively applying for other SBIRs from multiple agencies plus seeking private sources of funding for collaborative research and development initiatives.

Explain the long-lasting impact of what you've presented in this video, and provide any qualitative or quantitative data that supports this impact.

Two peer reviewed publications highlight the significance of the qualitative and quantitative impact of the collaborative effort behind Early Reading Skills Builder product development with UNCC.

The first is slated for publication in the December 2014 issue of Education and Training in Autism and Developmental Disabilities. This journal publication, “Effects of Systematic Instruction and an Augmentative Communication Device on Phonics Skills Acquisition for Students with Moderate Intellectual Disability Who Are Nonverbal” highlights a single subject research protocol conducted at the beginning of the Phase II research effort.

Second, the journal article entitled "Effects of systematic instruction and an iPad for students with intellectual disability responding to phonics skills in a randomized control trial" is in preparation. This article summarizes the results of the randomized control study of 32 students using a repeated measures analysis of the year-long pre and posttest intervention using a prototype version of Early Reading Skills Builder. The gains seen across the studies reflect the best practices built into the instructional protocol as measured across the research effort.

Both studies quantify the gains made in reading by the students with intellectual disabilities who participated in the studies. Qualitatively, students with a significant intellectual disability who typically have an I.Q. of 55 or below and are often thought of as individuals who may not learn to read, became readers using the prototype version of Early Reading Skills Builder. The result is that the 800,000 students who participate in alternative assessment across the United States have a much higher chance of becoming readers and have an increase in their active participation in all of life as a result of Attainment’s collaborative effort in Research @ Work.