Professor Awarded Grant to Study Educational Interventions

April 21, 2010

UC Merced psychological sciencesProfessor William Shadishhas received a grant to develop new statistics for measuring the effects of educational interventions on individual students.

Beginning May 1, the research will be funded at $974,523 over three years. The grant is from the Institute of Education Sciences in the U.S. Department of Education. The researchwill be headquartered at UC Merced and will include faculty collaborators at Northwestern University and at the City University of New York's Graduate Center.

"Usually we study the effects of educational interventions in large experiments with hundreds or even thousands of students," Shadish said. "But those large experiments are not always possible for some kinds of rare or highly variable problems."

Shadish's research will focus on an alternative method called a single-case design. For example, many studies on the effects of educational or behavioral treatments with children diagnosed with autism use single-case designs in which one child is studied over time while treatment is repeatedly introduced and removed.

Statisticians have yet to agree on the best analysis for such data. Shadish, a quantitative psychologist, proposed a new analytic method two years ago. He will use the new grant to study its statistical properties and to create practical tools to allow other researchers to use the analysis more easily.

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