Date of Award

Summer 7-30-2020

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Education

First Advisor

Dr. Graham Weir

Second Advisor

Dr. Kevin M. Martin

Third Advisor

Dr. Cheryl Hermann

Abstract

In order to provide recommendations for special education service organization practices, the researcher investigated student achievement and teacher perceptions of differently structured special education school districts that collaborated with a special school district to provide special education services and schools that provided their own special education services. Through evaluating the varying school districts, this study aimed to address possible best practices within the structuring of the organizations to increase student achievement for students with special needs. In order to evaluate the organization of the school districts, the researcher analyzed the student achievement of special education students at the elementary and secondary level, as measured by the English Language Arts and mathematics Missouri state assessment, as well as teacher perceptions of administrator support, resources, and professional development opportunities. The researcher determined the number of special education students scoring in the below basic category of the state assessment for each grade level during the spring of 2018 and 2019 in order to determine if there was a difference in student achievement levels or a difference in growth between schools that collaborated with a specialized district and schools that provided their own special education services. By completing quantitative analyses, the researcher determined that there was no difference in student achievement between the special education organizations on English Language Arts or math assessments at the elementary level, but there was a difference at the secondary level, with the schools that collaborated with a specialized district performing higher. Additionally, there was no difference in student growth during the spring of 2018 and 2019 for either special education organization. Through analyses of qualitative data the researcher determined that there was no difference between the organizations in terms of administrator support, resources, or professional development. The findings of this study could be used as a catalyst for special education organization reform.

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