Friday, October 14, 2011

MUSEC Symposium: Applying the Response to Intervention Model with Low-Progress Readers

Macquarie University Special Education Centre (MUSEC), the centre for research and teaching in special education, enjoys a national and international reputation for the quality of its research, its excellence in postgraduate teaching and its contribution to program development in the area of Special Education.

The staff of MUSEC include special educators, psychologists, teachers, therapists and researchers, backed by technical and administrative support staff. Centre staff are involved in a variety of research projects, both on and off campus, focusing on the learning and behaviour difficulties of young children and school students with special needs and disabilities. Complementary program development ensures that research findings are translated into practical applications for implementation by teachers working with children with special needs in both regular and special schools.

MUSEC currently offers four postgraduate certificates in Special Education, a Postgraduate Diploma and a Master of Special Education by coursework study, in addition to higher research degrees at masters and doctoral level.

This year, the MUSEC Symposium, Applying the Response to Intervention Model with Low-Progress Readers (The work of the MultiLit Research Unit at MUSEC) will be held on November 5, 2011 (Saturday) from 9:30am to 12:00pm.

There is no charge to attend the MUSEC Symposium.

The program for the symposium is as follows:

9:30am - Kevin Wheldall: Introduction: What is Response to Intervention? (10 mins)

Professor Kevin Wheldall has been Professor of Education at MUSEC since 1990 and is the Director of the MULTILIT Research Unit. Kevin has been elected a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia, the International Academy for Research in Learning Disabilities, the British Psychological Society and the College of Preceptors. He has received the Mona Tobias award of Learning Difficulties Australia and has been inducted into the Macquarie Innovators Hall of Fame. He was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in 2011 for “service to education as an academic and researcher, particularly in the areas of learning and behavioural difficulties, and through the design and implementation of innovative literacy programs”.

9:40am - Meree Reynolds, Kevin Wheldall and Alison Madelaine: Establishing provisional benchmarks for identifying young low-progress readers in Years 1 and 2. (25 mins)

After many years as a teacher, consultant and administrator in education, Meree completed her PhD at Macquarie University on Effective Literacy Intervention for Young Struggling Readers, seeking evidence about cost effective ways to get all students off to a good start in reading. Aspects of her research included investigating the effectiveness of MINILIT and establishing benchmarks of progress for students in years one and two in NSW schools. Meree also has a MA in Special Education and a BA, majoring in education and history, both from Macquarie University. She also has a Teachers Certificate from Wagga Wagga Teachers' College.

Dr. Alison Madelaine is a Lecturer at Macquarie University Special Education Centre and teaches postgraduate units in Effective Literacy Instruction and Special Education Research Methods. She completed her doctorate on "Curriculum-based measurement of reading and teacher judgment of reading performance". Her current academic interests include reading instruction, reading fluency, book levelling and curriculum-based measurement of reading and writing. Alison has also had classroom experience teaching disadvantaged students with learning disabilities in South Carolina, USA.

10:05am - Alison Madelaine, Kevin Wheldall and Meree Reynolds: The role of curriculum-based measurement of reading within the Response to Intervention model. (25 mins)

10:30am - Morning tea

10:50am - Jennifer Buckingham, Kevin Wheldall and Robyn Beaman: Randomised controlled trials of Tier 2 small group reading interventions for young and older low-progress readers. (25 mins)

Jennifer Buckingham is currently undertaking doctoral research on literacy and social disadvantage. She is trialing the new small group MINILIT and MULTILIT programs with socially disadvantaged low progress readers in the primary school setting. For the last decade, Jennifer has been working as a policy researcher at the Centre for Independent Studies specialising in school education, and also spent a year as the schools editor at The Australian newspaper.

Dr. Robyn Beaman-Wheldall is a Research Fellow at MUSEC and is also Deputy Director of the MULTILIT Research Unit. Robyn has been extensively involved in the development of MULTILIT since its inception in 1995. A current focus of Robyn's research work is improving the educational outcomes of Indigenous students. Her other research interests include positive classroom behaviour management and effective literacy interventions for low-progress readers.

11:15am - Robyn Beaman, Kevin Wheldall, Alison Madelaine, Saskia Kohnen, Meree Reynolds and Sarah McMurtry: Meeting the needs of Aboriginal low-progress readers in remote communities. (25 mins)

11:40am - Q & A

Registration is essential. Please e-mail Natalie Watson by October 31, 2011 (Monday). Her e-mail is

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