Institute for Research on Adolescent Learning (IRAL)

Co-Directors: Mike Hock & Irma Brasseur-Hock

Mission: The IRAL’s mission is to develop and research instructional practices, strategies, and programs that significantly enhance the achievement of adolescents who struggle with learning. We focus our resources and energy on conducting rigorous research, developing effective interventions, and improving literacy outcomes. The IRAL’s goals are to enlist the support of a core team of researchers dedicated to conducting rigorous research on adolescent struggling learners, seek external funding to conduct such research, and establish the IRAL as a national voice in matters of adolescent learner intervention research and development. 

Part of KUCRL since 2008

We support the mission of the KUCRL by conducting rigorous research and development activities that strive to improve the quality of educational experiences struggling learners encounter in schools. In addition, we develop materials to support implementation at the classroom level and professional development that prepares teachers to teach our evidence- based practices. 

QUESTIONS THAT DRIVE IRAL'S WORK

  • What are the conditions necessary for students with disabilities to successfully navigate schools and learning?
  • How can we conduct rigorous research in complex school cultures?
  • What is the most effective and efficient way to package comprehensive reading interventions so that students who struggle with learning can be successful?
  • What is the optimal professional development and instructional coaching model that supports fidelity of implementation?
  • What motivates adolescents to achieve academic success? 

NOTABLE FINDINGS, OUTCOMES, AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS

  • The effectiveness of instructional coaching is greatly enhanced when coaches and teachers reflect on practice by using video of classroom instruction. The power of unbiased video feedback is a powerful contributor to improvement in instructional practice.
  • Comprehensive reading programs are not quick-fix solutions to hard-to-remediate problems. That is, reading intervention may often need to be multiple years in nature and with high-quality instruction. Two- to three-year programs may be necessary for some nonresponsive learners.
  • Teachers matter. Great teachers matter more. Teachers are the key variable in student outcomes; they must believe in an intervention if high-quality implementation is expected. We must work to get teachers to believe in the interventions we develop. The best way to do this is to tailor interventions in the context teachers’ work. 

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