The effects of cognitive organizers and precision teaching strategies to facilitate vocabulary instruction among high school students with mild disabilities
Ulmer, Lisa Hawthorne
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This study examined the relative effects of cognitive organizers on rates of responding with new vocabulary words in a high school inclusion classroom. The study was an extension of the current literature base that both cognitive organizers and precision teaching methods enhance and improve content-area learning for students with mild disabilities (Boon, Fore, Ayres, & Spencer, 2005; Bos & Anders, 1990; Lovitt, Fister, Freston, Kemp, Moore, Schroder, & Bauernschmidt, 1990; White & Haring, 1980). Four students who were being served in special education at a large rural high school under the mild disability category participated in the study. A multiple probe design (Carr, 2005) was used to evaluate the efficacy of the intervention. Cognitive organizers were used as an intervention to help teach new vocabulary words in a history class. Within the intervention condition, students completed a cognitive organizer along with the instructor for approximately 15 minutes. Students were then assessed using a one-minute precision teaching probe over the 10 new vocabulary words, covered on the graphic organizer, to measure their rate of response (frequency). If a student exhibited two or more days of flat data, a second cognitive organizer was introduced to help move the student closer to the predetermined level of mastery (8 words per minute). Results of this study indicate cognitive organizers are an effective strategy for increasing rate of response of vocabulary words to a predetermined level of mastery that makes future learning more likely.