Visual Impairments Education in Writing

Project VIEW (Visual Impairments Education in Writing) is a research project supported by the Institute of Education Sciences. The project explores writing instructional practices among K-12 teachers serving students with visual impairments in Nebraska and aims to identify important factors that may influence those writing practices and students’ academic success.

View IES Project Page

Study Details

Who will participate in the research?

  • Teachers of students with visual impairments,
  • General education teachers, and
  • Their K-12 students with visual impairments

Why is this research needed?

Little is known about the writing instruction provided to students with VI. There are different beliefs about which teachers are responsible for writing instruction, and whether instruction should differ for students with VI, including those with multiple disabilities.

There is also a need to explore how malleable factors associated with the instruction might impact student outcomes. The knowledge gained from this project will lend clarity to these issues—with the potential to benefit teachers, students and their families.

When will the research be conducted?

This project was initially implemented during the 2020-21 academic year. Due to COVID-19, the project was temporarily suspended until the academic year of 2023-24, when a full cohort of teachers of students with visual impairments will be recruited. The project is expected to run through the 2024-25 academic school year.

Where will the research take place?

The research will take place in schools across Nebraska serving students with visual impairments, including rural, urban, and suburban school settings.

What writing practices will be studied?

The term “writing practices” refers collectively to teachers’ writing instruction (including writing topics and instructional methods used to teach them) and writing assessment practices. Project VIEW will examine the writing practices used to teach writing to students with VI, including the quantity and quality of writing instruction, and adaptations and accommodations made to their writing instruction.

What is a malleable factor?

A malleable factor is something about the educational context or instruction that we might be able to impact through intervention. For example, we may be able to increase the amount of collaboration between teachers of students with visual impairments and their general education counterparts by implementing professional development.

What malleable factors will be examined?

  • Teachers’ preparation to teach writing
  • Teachers’ preparation to teach students with VI
  • Teachers’ beliefs and expectations regarding the writing of students with VI
  • Collaboration among teachers to meet the needs of students with VI

What else may influence writing instruction?

  • Student characteristics (e.g., writing mode, grade level)
  • Teacher characteristics (e.g., teaching experience)
  • Educational setting (e.g., rural, urban)

How will data be collected?

Researchers will collect information from surveys, interviews, observations, and student assessments.

How will the results be used?

The evidence will help inform effective writing instructional practices to help students with VI improve as writers, with the long-term goal to create professional development interventions to support schools and districts in their efforts to meet the needs of students with VI.

What does writing look like for students with VI?

Students with VI may write in different ways, based on whether they are blind, have low vision, or have multiple disabilities.

These students may also use a variety of tools in addition to pencil and paper, including braillewriters, computers, video magnifiers, screen readers, dictation software, AAC devices, and other assistive technology.

There is exciting potential with this project to expand conventional notions of how students may participate in writing.