An evaluation of the effects of teaching students in a resource classroom a self-regulated assignment attack strategy
Ness, Bryan, 1976-
Students who struggle academically frequently lack or are unable to apply cognitive-motivational processes imperative for self-regulated learning. It is increasingly evident that deficits in self-regulation are a shared characteristic across students who qualify for special education. For example, impaired executive functions, or the cognitive processes responsible for managing and directing goal-directed activity, is a prevalent symptom domain across students with diverse special education identifications. Higher-order cognitive deficits become increasingly relevant as students progress to the secondary level as this transition necessitates the use of more complex organizational schemes to manage increased academic workload. Assignment management is a particularly challenging task for these students as poor organizational skills and lack of strategic approach translate to excessive time spent on assignments, lost materials, and negative attitude toward academic work. There is a growing body of research suggesting interventions targeting self-regulation have potential to improve performance on complex academic tasks such as assignment completion. Broadly speaking, these interventions are referred to as "self-management" strategies and are intended to help students actively reflect on their own cognitive and learning processes while engaged in academic tasks. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the impact of self-management strategy instruction on student "Assignment Attack" and related academic, behavioral, and cognitive variables. This study extended a line of inquiry examining implementation and efficacy of interventions targeting organized, independent student completion of assignments in resource contexts for adolescents who qualify for special education. Utilizing a multiple baseline, across participants research design, this study revealed positive effects of a Self-Regulated Assignment Attack Strategy (SAAS) on assignment attack and teacher-reported student behavior during assignment completion. The results indicated the effect was domain specific with minimal generalized improvement to the other academic, behavioral, or cognitive outcome measures. A discussion of the results is provided focused on the implications of improved assignment attack, generalization, and measurement challenges. Suggestions for further research in this area are provided.