University of Pittsburgh School of Education

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Cara Bliss - Making Sure Teachers are Ready to Teach

Published on 2/28/2014 6:00:00 AM

Cara Bliss, a doctoral student in the applied developmental psychology program, recently presented at the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) 2014 Annual Convention in Washington, DC. NASP, which "empowers school psychologists by advancing effective practices to improve students’ learning, behavior, and mental health," chose Bliss' presentation out of more than 1,600 proposals.

Bliss is a Nationally Certified School Psychologist, and has practiced school psychology in the public school system for the past 10 years. “My research interests grew directly out of experiences working in schools,” said Bliss. “They focus on the effective implementation of evidence-based programs and practices in school settings.”

Her current study investigated the use of a survey measure, developed by Bliss and her advisor, Assistant Professor Shannon Wanless, and designed to assess teachers’ readiness to implement evidence-based programs. Her analysis of survey results suggested that teachers’ readiness could be described by three factors: feasibility, “fit,” and staff characteristics. “Our findings indicated that a teacher’s readiness to implement significantly predicted implementation experiences,” she said.

Overall, Bliss feels that an increased understanding of teachers’ readiness may help school psychologists, researchers, and other stakeholders to select evidence-based programs and interventions that are “most likely to be implemented in schools, and therefore most likely to achieve the desired outcomes for students.” Bliss is currently in the process of conducting qualitative interviews with several teachers in order to further her understanding of teachers’ readiness. This work will ultimately serve as her predissertation, which she hopes to defend during the upcoming semester.


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