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Neurodivergent Students Excel in Researching Classroom Distractions

By Adam R. Lalor

In fall 2022, four Landmark College students embarked on a comprehensive research project on Neurodiverse College Students and Classroom Distractions as part of the Landmark College Institute for Research and Training Research Mentorship Program. The four students – Julia Gray, Alex Larson, Alex Marin, and Claudia Sherman – were all passionate about psychology, but had not yet had authentic research experiences. What transpired over the course of the 2022-2023 academic year produced actionable research results for faculty about distractions and proved that neurodivergent students could not only do research in the educational sciences but excel at it if provided the opportunity!

The four student-researchers decided to investigate the perceived impact of peer distraction on neurodivergent students in the college classroom. Having encountered this experience personally, they believed that better understanding the issue could prove beneficial to instructors and students alike. Through the fall 2022 semester, they conducted literature reviews, developed instruments, and prepared documents for the College’s Institutional Review Board (IRB), which provides oversight on research ethics. Although Julia and Alex M. graduated at the end of fall 2022, Alex L. and Claudia pushed forward in spring 2023, collecting data, analyzing data using statistical analyses, and, ultimately, disseminating their findings to the Landmark College community through a series of presentations. Their findings proved interesting to the community and have prompted discussion about implications at the College. Now, the team moves on to writing a manuscript based on their study.

What did college students find most distracting in the classroom?  Click on the image below to read the researchers’ summary slides showing key results.

Research Mentorship on Distractions cover slide

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