Date of Award:

1990

Document Type:

Dissertation

Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department:

Psychology

Advisor/Chair:

Marvin G. Fifield

Abstract

Research indicates that school officials fail to identify a relatively high proportion of school-aged children with behavioral or emotional handicaps. As a result, these children may not be receiving the special education services to which they are entitled. Multidisciplinary team members may be failing to identify these children because they lack understanding of special education rules and regulations. The purpose of this project was to combine the technologies of expert systems and mastery-based instruction to develop an inservice and preservice training program capable of producing mastery-level performance of the skills required to identify children with behavioral or emotional handicaps. Borg and Gall's ( 983) research and development cycle provided the model for developing, testing, and revising the program.

Prototype evaluations and large-scale field tests revealed that the program met its performance and user satisfaction objectives when administered under conditions of independent administration. However, a failure on the use and part of remote remote administrators to comply with prescribed program administration procedures allowed an unacceptable number of subjects to end training without completing all computer exercises. Attention to administration procedures contributed to the success of the project in meeting its performance and user satisfaction objectives in the final operational field test.

The positive findings of the project have implications on two levels. First, the findings are important for the positive effect they may have on the lives of children. Decision-making errors on the part of multidisciplinary team members can be costly to children with behavioral or emotional handicaps, as well as to other children. The evidence obtained in this project suggests that multidisciplinary team members can be trained to accurately identify children with behavioral or emotional handicaps.

On another, and perhaps more important, level, the findings have implications for the design of effective inservice and preservice training programs. The application of innovative technologies to inservice and preservice training problems does not necessarily result in the development of products capable of producing mastery-level decision-making performance. The positive results achieved in the present project suggest that those seeking to apply innovative technologies to inservice and preservice training problems take into account basic instructional design principles.

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