Hannah Schultz Presents at National Conference on Undergraduate Research
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Hannah Schultz Presents at National Conference on Undergraduate Research

February 2, 2014

Hannah Schultz Hannah Schultz, an Integrated Elementary and Special Education major, presented at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR) held at the University of Kentucky, April 3-5, 2014. The mission of the NCUR is to promote undergraduate research, scholarship, and creative activity done in partnership with faculty or other mentors as a vital component of higher education. This year's conference title was Readiness for the Future: Maximizing Undergraduate Research. Assistant Professor Sheetal Sood, in ENHP's Department of Education, is mentoring Hannah in the research process.

Title: Solving behaviors for “kiddos”: Early intervention and its influence on behavior plans.

Research Abstract: Behavior Intervention Plans (BIPs) are vital to the success of students with emotional and behavioral disturbances in school. They provide the skills and motivation to complete work and interact socially (Killu, 2008). With new federal regulations, BIPs are vital in both regular and special educational worlds. This raises the question of what age is optimal to implement a BIP. Some researchers promote the use of early behavior intervention to promote student success and prevent future life obstacles (Browne, Cashin & Graham, 2012). This study investigates the effectiveness of BIPs and examines the direct relationship between the age of BIP implementation and the rate of student success. In addition, the study also looks at the particular elements in BIPs to identify which specific pieces of the plan make it successful. Data analysis included reviewing nine behavior intervention plans and data for two years from each plan from a school-based behavior service in Vermont.

The BIPs were collected from three different age groups: 5-7, 8-9, and 10+. An independent evaluator and Schultz analyzed each BIP using a researcher-designed assessment chart to see if the BIP contained certain elements important for success. The data from the behaviors are formatted in percentages, representing the time the student exhibited the desired behavior. Results of the study indicated that all plans required the student work towards a high-preferential activity or object, such as a break or an edible. The plans were all written in a similar fashion, and no evidence suggested that certain BIP elements make the plan more or less successful than others. Results further indicated the youngest student group struggled more to achieve success than the two older groups. However, there are several trends in the data that give insight into how a student achieves success with a BIP and how BIP modifications affect success.

The results of this study are very encouraging; however, they should be considered with caution. There are several limitations to the study, such as the sample size, limiting generalization to other students and plans from other organizations, and some incomplete data; all of which made it difficult to understand the complete situation. The results of this study should be considered as a preliminary step for further research. It is clear that BIPs could have a long-term impact on the length of time that a student requires a behavior interventions/modifications. By determining what key factors are needed, it will be easier to create better BIPs in the future and result in greater student success.