computer-based instruction reading for EBD

In References on June 30, 2009 at 8:13 am

Blankenship, T. L., Ayres, K. M., & Langone, J.  (2005). Effects of computer-based cognitive mapping on reading comprehension for students with emotional behavior disorders. Journal of Special Education Technology, 20, 15-23.



  • Why reading comprehension is important?
  • Why educational software?  à Inspiration
  • Definition of cognitive mapping


  • This study was designed to evaluate the pairing of cognitive mapping and computer software on the reading comprehension of students with behavior disorders who struggle with reading comprehension.



  • Where the breadth of published research on reading comprehension intervention strategies for students with learning disabilities is expansive, a literature search revealed a dearth of published studies about students with emotional behavior disorders and reading comprehension.


  • Several reading comprehension strategies similar to cognitive mapping have been employed with students with disabilities. Story mapping, text structure strategies, summarization, and graphic organizers.


  • Listed such studies in detail.


  • Several studies have identified concept mapping, also described as semantic mapping, or as it is referred to in this study, cognitive mapping, as a way of improving the reading comprehension of poor readers.


  • Listed several studies in detail.

à    Group design studies.


  • Each of these studies indicated that cognitive mapping, was an effective tool for increasing reading comprehension of students with mild disabilities. Cognitive mapping is a strategy that has proven effective, regardless of the differences in content or use of supplemental mnemonics. Computer based instruction coupled with cognitive mapping may provide another powerful strategy for improving the reading comprehension of students with mild disabilities and allow these students to engage in a mainstream curriculum that relies heavily on independent reading. Therefore, evaluation of the effects of cognitive mapping software of reading comprehension of students with mild disabilities would expand the corpus of literature in reading comprehension, cognitive mapping, computer based instruction, and on the education of students with behavior disorders.




Three 15-year old freshmen students, EBD, self-contained classroom. These students have a history of significant learning difficulties due to reading problems and behavioral issues when assigned independent content area work.


According to teacher reports and disciplinary records, these students exhibited difficulty working independently and sometimes had problems reading required content area material. Historically, when assigned independent work, these students were often off-task and such work often lead to more serious behavioral outbursts in an avoidance effort. Due these behavioral issues, the students primarily relied on teacher-led direct instruction within the self-contained environment for learning because independent work, such as silent reading was ineffective for them to learn new information. The students rarely read content material independently in an effort to glean content knowledge as problem behavioral was generally associated with such tasks. The ineffectiveness of independent reading was further evidenced through continual failure when placed in general education settings where teachers relied on students to gain content information through silent reading.




All materials used within the study were already accessible to teachers within the school district. Materials were not brought into the classroom to be part of the study.


Dependent variable

Twenty key concepts were identified for each chapter based on the format of the textbook and the publisher’s prescribed curriculum. From these two dependent variables were used to monitor student acquisition of the key concepts, make instructional decisions, and evaluate the efficacy of the intervention. The first dependent variable was the percentage of correct responses on the chapter tests. The students would receive a pretest of the chapter test before beginning intervention and posttest after they completed reading the chapter. The second dependent variable was the percentage of correct responses on chapter quizzes that students took each day after reading.  


Independent variable

The independent variable was the student’s use and design of cognitive maps on the computer while reading the text.

Students learned to use the INspiration software to map text by watching a demonstration of the software and then through guided practice. The teacher modeled how to create maps and then tutored the students through the process. Once they had practiced using the software and learned how to create a one-page map including all of the pertinent information, they were judged to be proficient ay creating cognitive maps.




A  modified multiple-probe design across behaviors was used to establish experimental control. The behaviors were the response of three students to three different chapters in a text. By selecting a multiple-probe across behaviors rather than across participants, each student was allowed to work at his/her own pace without regard to the progress of other participants.



Baseline procedures. The chapter test was administered before the student began reading the chapter and again the student had completed the entire chapter. After reading each day, students took chapter quizzes that measured the same material as the chapter tests. These were administered orally toe ach student until the student established a stable or declining trend in correct responding over at least three sessions indicating that the student was not gaining knowledge without intervention.


Intervention procedures. The students had only 20 minutes to complete their reading and mapping. If they did not finish in the allotted time, the teacher stopped the students and moved the class to the next part of the day’s lesson, the teacher was available to answer student questions or concerns during the entire period, but did not interfere or answer content questions in order to ensure the students were learning from the reading and mapping process.


When the student completed his or her reading or at conclusion of a 20-minute reading segment, the student took chapter quizzes, all 20 key concepts were probed daily in the chapter quizzes and the student was able to move to the next reading section if he or she correctly answer 80% of the questions concerning material they had already read. If the student did not respond correctly to at least 80% of the questions covering material they had already read, the student had to reread that section of material the following day and again try to answer at least 80% of the questions correctly for the material they read.


Once the participants had read the entire chapter and could answer 80% of the chapter quiz questions correctly, they took the corresponding chapter test. Upon demonstration of mastery o n the Chapter Test, students began the next chapter of reading.




The student all benefited from the computer-based cognitive-mapping strategy. They learned the assigned material and they were able to do this while working the material independently. The results of this study support two primary conclusions. First, students with behavior disorders who previously had difficulty successfully engaging in independent learning activities can use cognitive mapping to improve the retention of the information they read. Second, the power of computer-based, cognitive-mapping software offers a viable aid for student to create cognitive maps.


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