Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Education

Date of Defense

7-11-2014

Graduate Advisor

Patricia B. Kopetz, Ed.D.

Committee

Bashkin, James

Palmer, Susan

Regester, April

Abstract

Many parents/caregivers and teachers believe that students with disabilities acquire self-advocacy skills and benefit from leading their IEP meetings, yet it is unknown which teacher preparation factors have the greatest influence on implementation that will most likely increase the number of students leading their meetings. Some hypothesized teacher preparation factors affecting consistent implementation of student-led IEP meetings include; professional development, curricula and materials, administrative support, and scheduling instruction during the day. The purpose of this mixed method study was to analyze survey data from 88 special education professionals in a large Midwestern school district, and to compare differences between groups of secondary students with disabilities participating in, and/or leading, their IEP meetings and teacher preparation factors for implementing student-led IEP meetings. This study also proposed to ascertain the participants’ perceptions of the benefits and challenges associated with leading and participating in IEP meetings. The quantitative portion answered four research questions exploring significant differences between groups of students with disabilities participating in their IEP meetings and groups of students leading their IEP meetings, and teacher preparation scales for professional development, curricula and materials, administrative support, and scheduling instruction during the day. Correlations were computed among the four teacher preparation factors and the percentage of students participating in, and leading, IEP meetings. The qualitative portion of this study examined participant perceptions from open-ended and multiple-response survey questions. Findings indicated that fewer students were leading their IEP meetings than participating in their IEP meetings, and special education professionals receiving administrative support attended more IEP meetings where students were observed both leading and participating in their IEP meetings. Findings also suggest special education professionals receiving curricula and materials to accompany instruction attended more IEP meetings where students were only participating in their meetings. Open-ended survey responses offered insights into the effectiveness of professional development and curricula and materials, usefulness of administrative support, length and location of instruction, and parent perceptions of student-led IEP meetings. The findings from this study lend strong support to developing a process and procedure to increase the awareness and benefits of student-led IEP meetings with administrators, special education professionals, students, and families.

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