The quality of single-case evaluation studies of curricular programs for students with disabilities

Ronald C. Martella, J. Ron Nelson, Nancy E. Marchand-Martella, Tracy E. Sinclair

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Educational researchers conduct studies to gather critical empirical evidence in the determination of what are “evidence-based” curricular programs, which in turn, directly inform adoption efforts. The predominate method of validating these programs is through the use of group experimental designs, although single-case designs have also been advocated. This article posits the current standards set forth when validating curricular programs using single-case designs are significantly lacking. We propose an expansion of the existing standards to ensure a rigorous, accurate examination of curricular programs when determining their use as an evidence-based practice. We apply these standards to a subset of studies reviewed by McKenna, Kim, Shin, and Pfannenstiel (2017) in a recent evaluation of single-case reading intervention investigations including students with and at risk for emotional and behavioral disorders. Using our expanded standards, we found none of the 14 studies met quality standards for curricular program validation. Recommendations are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Special Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2019


  • Curricular programs
  • Reading interventions
  • Single-case designs
  • Standard

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Rehabilitation


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