Date of Award

Fall 10-17-2017

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Executive Ed.D. in Education Leadership Management and Policy

Department

Education Leadership, Management and Policy

Advisor

Joseph Stetar, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Martin J. Finkelstein, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Dennis R. Frohnapfel, Ed.D.

Keywords

Learning Disability, Accommodations, Modifications, Individualized Education Program team Members, IDEA, § 504, Americans with Disabilities Act.

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to explore the decision-making processes of Individual Education Program team members, who are responsible for making accommodation decisions for students with disabilities in the classroom and for state standardized tests. Students with disabilities consistently underperform in achievement compared to their peers throughout Bergen County and nationally. High-stakes testing, accountability incentives, and access to higher education have all led to pressures on administrators, students, and parents, calling into question how accommodations are determined for students with disabilities. School administrators are being held accountable for all their students meeting state standards; therefore, students with disabilities’ underperformance has become a particular concern. National research indicates that accommodation decision-makers are inconsistent in their processes and do not always follow the procedures established by their school districts or training. This study examined the decision-making processes of Individual Education Program team members by using a semi-structured interview approach to explore how eighteen team members made decisions about accommodations. Fifteen school district personnel and three parents volunteered through a recruitment letter/email distributed throughout the seventy-nine schools in Bergen County, New Jersey. The findings of this study align with national research in that the Individualized Education Program team members would benefit from additional education on accommodation decision-making and recognize this need themselves.

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