Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Special Education and Literacy Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Sarah Summy

Second Advisor

Dr. Kristal Ehrhardt

Third Advisor

Dr. Alan Poling


Teacher education, information literacy, behavioral skills training, special education, research to practice


The research-to-practice gap in education has been well documented over the decades (e.g., Abbott et al., 1999; Burns & Ysseldyke, 2009; Cook & Odom, 2013; van Ingen & Ariew, 2015). To best benefit PreK-12 student outcomes, educators must understand and implement scientifically based practices in their teaching (Elementary and Secondary Education Act, 20 U.S.C. § 6301 et seq., 2015; Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act, 20 U.S.C. § 1400 et seq., 2004). However, this task can be daunting. When presented with educational research, teachers often struggle with identifying the key information, as well as applying it to their practice (Williams & Coles, 2007).

Behavioral skills training (BST) is a strategy that uses an explicit protocol for teaching new skills, practice, and providing feedback (e.g., Kirkpatrick et al., 2019; Sawyer et al., 2017). This project assessed the benefit of using BST to teach preservice teachers how to identify key information about a teaching strategy by coding academic articles. Through their coursework, special education preservice teachers were asked to read a variety of academic articles highlighting various teaching practices, and to code these articles for key aspects of the practices.

Using a multiple probe research design (Horner & Baer, 1978), consenting preservice teachers were provided with BST on how to code relevant research articles. Performance was measured using a task analysis form. Fourteen of the 16 teachers reached mastery of the coding skill, with 13 maintaining in follow up probes.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access