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College of Education and Human Development - George Mason University

Special Education: 325T Program Improvement Personnel Grant

In 2008, the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) in the Department of Education (DOE) awarded George Mason University's special education program for students who access the general education curriculum a five-year 325T program improvement personnel grant (PI, Kelley Regan). As a primary effort of this grant, course syllabi were to be improved by embedding evidence-based practices throughout the curriculum. The process of completing the syllabi revision included five phases: (a) developing a process, (b) developing a language for evidence-based practices across faculty, (c) explicitly identifying EBPs, (d) evaluating the degree to which these EBPs are/are not emphasized throughout the curriculum, and (e) aligning the EBPs across courses, internships, and carryover on the job. Special education is particularly challenged with what constitutes an EBP, therefore, we used the Technical Assistance and Dissemination Centers (funded projects through DOE) as a primary resource eventually composing a matrix of 45 evidence-based practices across the areas of Literacy, Instructional Strategies, Inclusionary Practices, Assessment, and Behavior. Professional Development to encourage the facilitation of these EBPs in courses is in progress with a completed training of the on-line IRIS Center which houses special education resources of research validated practices.