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Title Theories-in-use and espoused theories: An examination of team decision-making in the initial special education eligibility meeting
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Publication Date
Degree Level doctoral
University/Publisher University of Tennessee – Knoxville
Abstract The purpose of this study was to investigate whether education professionals’ theories-in-use were congruent with their espoused theories (Argyris & Schön, 1974) regarding the inclusion of parents as team decision-making partners in the initial special education eligibility meeting of individualized education programming (IEP) teams. Particular attention was given to procedural practices education professionals used to include parents as decision-making partners and their descriptions of this practice. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) mandates the inclusion of parents as members of IEP teams, including their right to participate in the special education eligibility decision. Research supports the inclusion of parents as essential members of IEP teams, and their active participation is reported as pivotal for their children’s positive educational and social outcomes. Local education agency (LEA) representatives, special education teachers, and school psychologists are responsible for including parents in eligibility decision-making; thus they were the focus of this study. A total of 24 education professionals in eight schools from three Southeastern school districts constituted the research participants. Participants were observed in initial eligibility meetings and responded to a questionnaire and interview questions with descriptions of their procedural practices. Findings showed that education professionals’ described practices were more aligned to federal requirements than were their actual practices. Findings also showed that a subgroup of participants, LEA representatives, had limited knowledge of special education procedures. Implications of the study include the need for additional training designed to strengthen education professionals’ alignment of actual and espoused theories, particularly in the area of including parents as team decision-making partners.
Subjects/Keywords decision-making; eligibility meetings; theories-of-action; Educational Psychology; School Psychology; Special Education and Teaching
Country of Publication us
Format application/pdf
Record ID oai:trace.tennessee.edu:utk_graddiss-4761
Repository utk-diss
Date Retrieved
Date Indexed 2019-01-07

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