Saturday, January 14, 2012

Scientifically Based Instructional Practices and Research Based Interventions

In enacting the 2004 amendments to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA 2004), Congress found that the provision of effective special education and related services “has been impeded by the failure of schools to apply replicable research on proven methods of teaching and learning.” On that basis, in the amendments Congress required that schools use scientific research-based instructional practices and interventions based on accepted, peer-reviewed research, when such research exists, and made references to “scientifically based instructional practices” and “research based interventions.” For example:

• a child’s IEP must include “a statement of the special education and related services and supplementary aids and services, based on peer-reviewed research to the extent practicable to be provided to the child.” (Section 1414(d)(1)(A)(i)(IV)

• in determining whether a child has a specific learning disability, IDEA 2004 describes a process by which the IEP team “may use a process that determines if the child responds to scientific, research based intervention as a part of the evaluation process.” (Section §1414(b)(6)(B))

Although nearly eight years have passed since the 2004 amendments were enacted, it's still not unusual to find IEPs that set out plans which are not peer-reviewed or supported by scientific research. This is surprising given the wealth of resources available on Internet that may be accessed using browsers such as Google and Google Scholar. In addition to online journals, Among the many websites that provide information for teachers working with children with disabilities are online journals, and federally sponsored sites that include:,,

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