Visit this page to find articles by, about, or referencing the IRIS Center and our evidence-based instructional resources.
- Are Online Sources for Identifying Evidence-Based Practices Trustworthy? An Evaluation
David W. Test, Amy Kemp-Inman, Karen Diegelmann, Sara Beth Hitt, and Lauren Bethune conducted an analysis of the trustworthiness of Websites that claimed to provide information on evidence-based practices in special education. The IRIS Center was among only a small handful of sites that received top ratings for both levels of trust and quality of evidence.
- Citation: Test, D. W., Kemp-Inman, A., Diegelmann, K., Hitt, S. B., & Bethune, L. (2015). Are online sources for identifying evidence-based practices trustworthy? An evaluation. Exceptional Children, 82(1), 1–23.
- A Review of IRIS: An Online Resource Center for Educators
Jude Matyo-Cepero and Stathene Varvisotis review the IRIS Center’s Website and online resources and find it and them to be reliable sources of information on evidence-based practices. A history of the Center and a brief overview of the IRIS Website are also included.
- Citation: Matyo-Cepero, J., & Varvisotis, S. (2015). A review of IRIS: An online resource center for educators. The Delta Kappa Gamma Bulletin: International Journal for Professional Educators, 81(4), 86–88.
- A Special Educator’s Guide to Successfully Implementing Evidence-Base Practices
In this article, the authors offer information on a 10-step process for implementing evidence-based practices in the classroom. The IRIS Center is listed among other reliable source for information about evidence-based practices.
- Citation: Torres, C., Farley, C. A., & Cook, B. G. (2014). A special guide to successfully implementing evidence-based practices. TEACHING Exceptional Children, 47(2), 85–93.
- Combatting the Attrition of Teachers of Students with EBD: What Can Administrators Do?
Teacher attrition is a continual concern for school leaders, and perhaps even more so when the teachers are those of students with emotional and behavioral disorders. This article suggests some practical strategies to address this challenge, including improved mentoring programs, expanded professional development opportunities, and more. IRIS is cited as a source of information for administrators working to retain special educators.
- Citation: Cancio, E. J., Albrecht, S. F., & Holden Johns, B. (2013). Combatting the attrition of teachers of students with EBD: What can administrators do? Intervention in School and Clinic, 1–7.
- Considering a Doctoral Degree? Everything You Need To Know
How does one prepare to undertake the path leading to a doctoral degree? In this article, the authors offer some steps to consider, and a helpful mnemonic, DOCTORAL (Decide, Outcome, Consider, Time, Opportunities, Research, Ask, Look). The IRIS Website is cited as a reliable source of information about evidence-based practices.
- Citation: Mason-Williams, L., & Wasburn-Moses, L. (2016). Considering a doctoral degree? Everything you need to know. TEACHING Exceptional Children, 49(1), 74–81.
- Co-Teaching with Strategy Instruction
This article is for anyone looking for strategies to improve the instruction in classrooms where teachers work together. Six primary co-teaching models are discussed, as are specialized strategies including SRSD. The IRIS Module on that topic, SRSD: Using Learning Strategies To Enhance Student Learning, is cited throughout the article as a reliable source of information.
- Citation: Conderman, G., & Hedin, L. R. (2013). Co-teaching with strategy instruction. Intervention in School and Clinic, 1–8.
- Data-Based Individualization in Reading: Intensifying Interventions for Students with Significant Reading Disabilities
In this article, Christopher J. Lemons, Devin M. Kearns, and Kimberly A. Davidson overview the potential effectiveness of data-based individualization among students with severe and persistent reading challenges. The IRIS Center Modules SOS: Helping Students Become Independent Learners and RTI (Part 3): Reading Instruction are both featured in the article.
- Citation: Lemons, C. J., Kearns, D. M., & Davidson, K. A. (2014). Data-based individualization in reading: Intensifying interventions for students with significant reading disabilities. TEACHING Exceptional Children, 46(4), 20–29.
- Differentiating Delivery of Instruction with Online Learning Modules for Teacher Candidates
In her doctoral dissertation, Colleen Ann Wilkinson overviews the growing role of online learning as a component of teacher-education programs. Specifically, she examines the effectiveness of IRIS resources and materials and finds positive evidence that IRIS online Modules do indeed increase the knowledge base of general education teacher candidates.
- Citation: Wilkinson, C. A. (2013). Differentiating delivery of instruction with online learning modules for teacher candidates (Doctoral dissertation). Graduate School of the University of Buffalo, State University of New York.
- Effective Inclusive Education: Equipping Education Professionals with Necessary Skills and Knowledge (PDF)
This article—prepared by Naomi Tyler and Deborah Deutsch Smith and published in a 2011 issue of Prospects—examines the increasing need for technology based solutions to the challenge of preparing teachers to work with students with disabilities in inclusive settings. The paper presents an overview of the IRIS resources, including a close look at the STAR Legacy Cycle upon which the Center’s series of Modules is based as well as an overview of recent field testing into the effectiveness of those Modules as learning tools.
- Citation: Smith, D. D., & Tyler, N. C. (2011). Effective inclusive education: Equipping education professionals with necessary skills and knowledge. Prospects, 41, 323–339.
- The Efficacy of IRIS STAR Legacy Modules Under Different Instructional Conditions
Among their findings on the effectiveness of IRIS Modules, Kristin L. Sayeski, Bethany Hamilton-Jones, and Susan Oh reported that “Strong effect sizes from pretest to posttest were found across all three [of the included] modules across all conditions.” Other significant findings support the use of IRIS Modules in flipped classroom conditions, particularly for content on procedural knowledge of implementation of evidence-based practices, and maintenance of that knowledge over time.The article received the TED Publication Award at the 2016 Teacher Education Division Conference.
- Citation: Sayeski, K. L., Hamilton-Jones, B., & Oh, S. (2015). The efficacy of IRIS STAR Legacy Modules under different instructional conditions. Teacher Education and Special Education, 38(4), 291–305.
- Enhancing Collaboration Between Occupational Therapists and Early Childhood Educators Working with Children on the Autism Spectrum
The authors here offer collaborative strategies to help improve classroom outcomes for students with ASD, including information on Universal Design for Learning, co-planning, and more. The IRIS Center is noted as a source of information on collaborative teaming.
- Citation: Hart Barnett, J. E., & O’shaughnessy, K. (2015). Enhancing collaboration between occupational therapists and early childhood educators working with children on the autism spectrum. Early Childhood Education Journal, 43, 467–472.
- Evidence-Based Practices for Teachers: A Synthesis of Trustworthy Online Sources
This article overviews 13 online sources of information on evidence-based practices, organized into six categories, including literacy instruction, mathematics, transition, and behavior. The IRIS Center and IRIS resources are cited throughout the article.
- Citation: Ecker, A. J. (2016). Evidence-based practices for teachers: A synthesis of trustworthy online sources. Insights into Learning Disabilities, 13(1), 19–37.
- Evidence-Based Practices To Reduce Challenging Behaviors of Young Children with Autism
Here the authors overview a number of effective evidence-based practices and programs designed to reduce challenging classrooms behavior among young children with autism spectrum disorder. The article cites the IRIS Center as one source of such resources.
- Citation: Rahn, N. L., Coogle, C. G., Hanna, A., & Lewellen, T. (2015). Evidence-based practices to reduce challenging behaviors of young children with autism. Young Exceptional Children.
- FBAs and BIPs: Avoiding and Addressing Four Common Challenges Related to Fidelity
The authors detail the FBA-BIP process, while also overviewing a number of possible pitfalls for teachers to avoid during implementation. The IRIS Module Functional Behavioral Assessment: Identifying the Reasons for Problem Behavior and Developing a Behavior Plan is cited as a reliable source of information on functional behavioral assessments.
- Citation: Hirsch, S. E., Bruhn, A. L., Lloyd, J. W., & Katsiyannis, A. (2017). FBAs and BIPs: Avoiding and addressing four common challenges related to fidelity. TEACHING Exceptional Children, 49(6), 369–379.
- Implementing an Evidence-Based Instructional Routine To Enhance Comprehension of Expository Text
The authors provide information about an evidence-based practice to help secondary students better comprehend increasingly challenging content-area expository text. The IRIS Module Secondary Reading Instruction: Teaching Vocabulary and Comprehension in the Content Areas is cited throughout the article.
- Citation: Wexler, J., Reed, D. K., Mitchell, M., Doyle, B., & Clancy, E. (2015). Implementing an evidence-based instructional routine to enhance comprehension of expository text. Intervention in School and Clinic, 50(3), 142–149.
- Improve Adolescent Persuasive Writing Skills with SRSD
In this brief online resource, the author examines the use of SRSD to improve persuasive writing among secondary students. A day-by-day schedule for implementing the strategy is included. The IRIS Module Improving Writing Performance: A Strategy for Writing Persuasive Essays is cited as a source of information on SRSD.
- Citation: Croasdaile, S. (2013). Improve adolescent persuasive writing skills with SRSD. Innovations and Perspectives, Virginia Department of Education’s Training & Technical Assistance Center.
- Improved Lesson Planning with Universal Design for Learning (UDL)
This article—prepared by Susan Joan Courey, Phyllis Tappe, Jody Siker, and Pam LePage—offers an overview of the effect of UDL on classroom lesson plans. Findings indicate that UDL instruction during teacher preparation did indeed lead to more varied lesson plans and classroom strategies. Our own STAR Legacy Module on Universal Design for Learning, and a graphic from that resource, are used as references in the piece.
- Citation: Courey, S. J., Tappe, P., Siker, J., & LePage, P. (2012). Improved lesson planning with Universal Design for Learning (UDL). Teacher Education and Special Education, 36(1), 7–27.
- Improving Social and Academic Outcomes for All Learners Through the Use of Teacher Praise
This article stresses the importance of teacher praise and efforts at creating a positive classroom environment as one possible way to address challenging behaviors. The IRIS Case Study Unit “Encouraging Appropriate Behavior” is cited as one useful resource.
- Citation: Marchant, M., & Anderson, D. H. (2012). Improving social and academic outcomes for all learners through the use of teacher praise. Beyond Behavior, Spring, 1–7.
- Intensive Interventions for Students Struggling in Reading and Mathematics: A Practice Guide
Created by the Center on Instruction, this guide offers information and resources on the use of evidence-based practices to improve the education outcomes of all students, especially those with disabilities. IRIS resources are cited throughout the guide.
- Citation: Vaughn, S., Wanzek, J., Murray, C. S., Roberts, G. (2012). Intensive interventions for students struggling in reading and mathematics: A practice guide. Portsmouth, NH: RMC Research Corporation, Center on Instruction.
- IRIS On-line Course Enhancements (PDF)
This paper was published in New Horizons for Learning Online Journal, Vol. XI No. 3, Fall 2005.
- Citation: Smith, D. D., Pion, G., Skow, K., Tyler, N., Yzquierdo, Z., & Brown, J. (2005). On-line course enhancement modules and materials for use in the preparation of education professionals. New Horizons for Learning, 11(3).
- Living Social: How To Use Social Narratives as a Behavior Intervention
For students who require intensive intervention to acquire social competencies, the authors of this article suggest the use of social narratives as one possible effective options. The IRIS Module Functional Behavioral Assessment: Identifying the Reasons for Problem Behavior and Developing a Behavior Plan is cited as a useful resource throughout the article.
- Citation: Jones, J. P., & Love, S. (2013). Living social: How to use social narratives as a behavior intervention. Journal on School Educational Technology, 8(3), 9–14.
- Mentor Teacher Training: A Hybrid Model To Promote Partnering in Candidate Development
This article overviews a model program for training teacher mentors to both be more aware of teacher preparation program requirements as well as to be able to impart more and more accurate information about evidence-based practices. The authors cite IRIS resources as effective tools to use during the mentor training.
- Citation: Childre, A, L., & Van Rie, G. L. (2015). Mentor teacher training: A hybrid model to promote partnering in candidate development. Rural Special Education Quarterly, 34(1), 10–16.
- Monitoring Students with ADHD with the RTI Framework
The author of this article offers a number of assessment strategies to help improve the education outcomes for students with ADHD. Included is information on curriculum based measurement, self-monitoring, and more. The IRIS Center Module Classroom Assessment (Part 1): An Introduction to Monitoring Academic Achievement in the Classroom is discussed as a source of information about CBM.
- Citation: Haraway, D. L. (2012). Monitoring students with ADHD within the RTI framework. The Behavior Analyst Today, 13(2), 17–21.
- Peer-Reviewed Research and the IEP: Implications of Ridley School District v. M.R. and J.R. ex rel. E.R. (2012)
This article recounts a U.S. Court of Appeals case having to do with IDEA and intervention plans. The IRIS Center is cited as a reliable source of peer-reviewed research.
- Citation: Yell, M. L., Katsiyannis, A., Losinski, M., & Marshall, K. (2016). Peer-reviewed research and the IEP: Implications of Ridley School District v. M.R. and J.R. ex rel. E.R. (2012). Intervention in School and Clinic, 51(4), 253–257.
- Promising Practices in the Preparation of Special Educators to Provide Reading Instruction
Here are the authors describe a number of promising evidence-based practices to help improve reading outcomes for all students, including phonemic awareness, single-word decoding, and more. The IRIS Center is noted as a source of information on promising practices.
- Citation: Sayeski, K. L., Gormley Budin, S. E., & Bennett, K. (2015). Promising practices in the preparation of special educators to provide reading instruction. Intervention in School and Clinic, 1–8.
- Redesigning Special Education Teacher Preparation Programs with a Focus on Outcomes
Here the authors overview their efforts to overhaul their university’s teacher preparation program. The article describes not only how the IRIS Center was used as a source of information about evidence-based practices but also how IRIS Modules were integrated into teacher preparation coursework.
- Citation: Sayeski, K. L., & Higgins, K. (2013). Redesigning special education teacher preparation programs with a focus on outcomes. Teacher Education and Special Education, 1–15.
- Resources To Increase Practitioners’ Knowledge and Use of Evidence-Based Practices
This article about where to locate trustworthy resources about evidence-based practices includes information on a wide variety of IRIS materials.
- Citation: Purper, C. J., VanderPyl, T., & Werner Juarez, S. (2015). Resources to increase practitioners’ knowledge and use of evidence-based practices. Young Exceptional Children, 35–47.
- Right at Your Fingertips: Important Web-Based Resources for Understanding Evidence-Based Practices
This article features information on a number of centers featuring reliable information about evidence-based practices and programs, including the IRIS Center.
- Citation: Purper, C. J. (2015). Right at your fingertips: Important Web-based resources for understanding evidence-based practices. Early Childhood Education Journal, 1–6.
- The Role of Mentors in Developing and Implementing High-Quality Field-Based Placements
This article overviews the efforts of one university to improve its teacher preparation program through more intensive training of teacher mentors. The IRIS Center’s online resources are mentioned as valuable tools both for the mentors themselves during their training as well as the teachers-in-training they will be guiding toward their work as classroom instructors.
- Citation: Paulsen, K., DaFonte, A., & Barton-Arwood, S. (2015). The role of mentors in developing and implementing high-quality field-based placements. Intervention in School and Clinic, 1–9.
- Toward a Model of Learning and Transfer: A Review of Instructional Methods and Learning Outcomes in Special Education Teacher Preparation
This article examines current research efforts designed to revitalize and improve the preparation of special education teachers through the use of effective methods. The IRIS Module on Universal Design for Learning is cited as a resource used by personnel preparation courses seeking to transfer research to practice. One of the article’s authors, Dr. Purper, is an IRIS Ambassador.
- Toward a Model of Learning and Transfer: A Review of Instructional Methods and Learning Outcomes in Special Education Teacher Preparation
- Citation: Juarez, S. W., & Purper, C. (2018). Toward a model of learning and transfer: A review of instructional methods and learning outcomes in special education teacher preparation. Teacher Education and Special Education, 41(4), 292–307. https://doi.org/10.1177/0888406417727
- Why Is Response to Intervention (RTI) So Important That We Should Incorporate It Into Teacher Education Programs and How Can Online Learning Help?
The author sets out to answer the titular questions and includes here an overview of RTI and online learning, as well as information about fidelity of implementation, learner outcomes, and much more. Much of the article is built around the use of IRIS Modules as reliable, high-quality online learning tools.
- Citation: Nai-Cheng, K. (2014). Why is response to intervention (RTI) so important that we should incorporate it into teacher education programs and how can online learning help? Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 10(4), 610–624.
- Crossing the Borders of Disabilities: Providing Research-Based and Technology- Delivered Information and Materials for Educators of Students with Disabilities (PDF)
Submitted to the XIV World Congress of Comparative Education Societies, in Istanbul, Turkey, in May 2010, this paper overviews the IRIS Center’s STAR Legacy Modules in the context of global efforts to provide an increasingly effective education to students with disabilities. The paper includes notes on the Center’s Modules geared toward school leaders.
- Citation: Tyler, N., & Sims, P. (2010, May). Crossing the borders of disabilities: Providing research-based and technology-delivered information and materials for educators of students with disabilities. Paper submitted to the XIV World Congress of Comparative Education Societies, Istanbul, Turkey.
- The IRIS Center for Training Enhancements: Providing Online Instructional Resources about Students with Special Needs (PDF)
In this paper—which was drafted as part of the IRIS Center’s participation in the 2010 Inclusive and Supportive Education Conference (ISEC) at Queens University in Belfast, Ireland—the authors examine the series of STAR Legacy Modules created and made freely available by the IRIS Center for Training Enhancements. Included is a description of the learning theory upon which those Modules are based and a look at the field-testing and the research into learning outcomes associated with the use of the IRIS resources. The paper finds also that online materials and resources have become increasingly popular with learners in recent years and suggests that these resources can be used to help prepare teachers for careers in an environment in which the need to stay abreast of current research and trends has become increasingly challenging.
- Citation: Smith, D. D., & Robb, S. M. (2010). The IRIS Center for Training Enhancements: Providing online instructional resources about students with special needs. Paper presented at the Inclusive and Supportive Education Congress: Promoting Diversity and Inclusive Practice, Queen’s University, Belfast.
- Meet the IRIS Center: Online Resources for Today’s Teachers (PDF)
Prepared in advance of of the Building Bridges III conference held in Belize City, Belize, on May 30–June 1, 2018, this article overviews some of the basics of the IRIS Center for an audience largely presumed to be unfamiliar with our work and resources. The article includes a brief history of the center itself, a discussion of our resources and the adult learning theory upon which our modules are based, some examples of the use of IRIS resources in professional development activities, and some data related to the use of IRIS materials in the United States and around the world.
- Citation: Tyler, N. C., & Smith, D. D. (2018). Meet the IRIS Center: Online resources for today’s teacher. Proceedings of the Building Bridges Conference III. Belize City, Belize: Ministry of Education, Youth, Sports, & Culture.
- Online Learning and Teacher Education: Knowledge Acquisition, Application Skills, and Reported Confidence (PDF)
This paper, prepared in advance of the 38th Annual Conference of the International Academy for Research in Learning Disabilities, held in Vilnius, Lithuania, offer details about the superior performance of college students after the use of free, online instructional Modules produced by the IRIS Center. When compared to traditional teacher education methods, IRIS Modules yield better outcomes in terms of knowledge acquisition, application skills, and confidence in the use of evidence-based practices (EBPs).
- Citation: Smith, D. D., & Bryant, D. P. (2014, July). Online learning and teacher education: Knowledge acquisition, application skills, and reported confidence. Paper presented at the 38th Annual Conference of the International Academy for Research in Learning Disabilities, Vilnius, Lithuania.
- Preparing School Leaders to Effectively Support Special Education Programs: Using Modules in Educational Leadership (PDF)
This paper, presented at the 2006 Annual Meeting of the University Council for Educational Administration, was composed by Mariela A. Rodriguez, James Gentilucci, and Pearl G. Sims and appears here by their permission.
- Citation: Rodriguez, M. A., Gentilucci, J., & Sims, P. G. (2006, November). Preparing school leaders to effectively support special education programs: Using modules in educational leadership. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the University Council for Educational Administration, San Antonio, Texas.
- An IRIS for the Teacher (PDF)
This overview, written by Joanne Lamphere Beckham and published in the Summer 2011 Peabody Reflector, offers a brief history of the IRIS Center and a look at the theoretical framework undergirding the Center’s STAR Legacy Modules.
- Citation: Beckham, J. L. (2011). An IRIS for the teacher. Peabody Reflector, 20–21.
- The IRIS Center: Professional Development at Our Fingertips (PDF)
This professional development provider’s overview of the IRIS Center and its resources was written by Kit Giddings, a program specialist with the Utah Personnel Development Center, and published in the September 2011 edition of The Utah Special Educator.
- Citation: Giddings, K. (2011). The IRIS Center: Professional development at our fingertips. The Utah Special Educator, 34(1), 34–35.
- Managing Classroom Behavior: Learning How (PDF)
This article offers an overview of classroom behavior management, the Acting-Out Cycle, and evidence-based behavior interventions, and includes information and links to IRIS Center resources about behavior for those who wish to learn more.
- Citation: Werner, S., Purper, C., & Vanderpyle, T. (2014). Managing classroom behavior: Learning how. The Special EDge: Student Behavior, 27(3), 1–4.
- RTI: What It Is and How the TN-State Improvement Grant Responded (PDF)
This paper looks at the ways in which high-quality reading instruction intersects with the response to intervention (RTI) approach to meet the needs of beginning readers, to provide additional support to struggling learners, and to help identify students with specific learning disabilities as described in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act 2004. As the state of Tennessee has moved to implement RTI, many school districts have turned to the state’s Department of Education (TN DOE) for support. The paper also outlines the TN DOE’s current policies related to the implementation of the RTI approach.
- Citation: Yzquierdo, Z. A., & Tyler, N. C. (2009). RTI: What it is and how the TN-State Improvement Grand responded. Tennessee Reading Teacher, 37(1), 13–24.
The IRIS Center @ Peabody, Vanderbilt
Calling Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College home means that the IRIS Center is periodically featured in college and university publications. The articles and blogs below are presented here as part of the historic record of our center’s role as part of this community of learning.
- IRIS Center’s Annual Report Indicates Strong Growth and Demand (News from Peabody blog, 2017)
- The IRIS Center (Department of Education Research newsletter, 2017)
- Top-Rated IRIS Center Provides Trusted Resources for Educators (Ideas in Action blog, 2014)
- U.S. Department of Education Grant Aids Work in Special Education (Research News @ Vanderbilt blog, 2012)
- IRIS Center Receives $7.5M Grant (Peabody Reflector item, 2012)
- IRIS Center Offers Online RTI Tutorials (Ideas in Action newsletter, 2007)
- Use of the IRIS Center’s Resources at Institutions of Higher Education with Approved Special Education Licensure Programs: 2013–2014 Academic Year (PDF)
This report specifically addresses one aspect of the IRIS Center’s work: the use of the Center’s Website by faculty working to prepare new teachers. Data collection efforts sought to determine the Center’s current use—how many colleges and universities offering state-approved special education personnel preparation programs use IRIS resources in their coursework. Assessment of use is important for evaluation purposes and strategic planning.
- Citation: The IRIS Center. (2014). Use of the IRIS Center’s resources at institutions of higher education with approved special education licensure programs: 2013–2014 academic year. Claremont, CA: The IRIS Center.