Date of Award

1998

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Janet Kulberg

Abstract

A literature has formed which has historically utilized an analogue approach to the study of prereferral intervention use and perceptions of acceptability and effectiveness. This methodology, however, may lack ecological validity if variables that mediate intervention selection and perceived efficacy are not linked to research design. If analogue research is to remain viable, supporting evidence of the concordance of naturalistic findings is expected. The current study utilizes an analogue and concomitant authentic approach to study the equivalence of these methods. A sample of 345 special education referral forms served as authentic data. Ninety-seven elementary general and special education teachers responded to an analogue survey for both academic and behavioral problems designed to mirror referral forms. Matched by grade and referral type, results suggest that while the selection of prereferral intervention strategies are not significantly different for analogue versus authentic data methods, the ratings of effectiveness do show differences according to methodology. Specifically, interventions are rated as more effective when presented via an analogue scenario compared with an equivalent authentic prereferral situation. Interventions are rated as more effective for academic referrals than for behavioral referrals. Special educators rate interventions as substantially more effective than do regular educators. In general, Process Instructional Adaptations (PIA) in the classroom are utilized with academic problems whereas Behavioral Conditioning Intervention s (BCI) are applied most frequently with students with behavioral problems. A low percentage of students, however, were referred for behavioral problems in the case of authentic data. In the case of both authentic and analogue data, teachers do use interventions which they do not find to be effective and they also do not use interventions with frequency that they find to be quite effective. Self-efficacy perceptions are also related to some aspects of intervention effectiveness ratings. Teachers who demonstrate external efficacy perceptions reported lower levels of effectiveness for interventions they chose for behavioral problems while internal teachers rated interventions for students with behavioral problems to be effective. Implications with respect to the ecological validity of the analogue approach are discussed. The context of educational reform and the changing educational environment is also discussed.

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