Date of Award

Spring 2019

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

Catherine Fallona, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Joseph Capelluti, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Garry Wickerd, Ph.D.

Abstract

This quantitative study analyzed the significance of the impact of Maine state compliant standards-based individualized education programs (IEPs) on the math and reading achievement of third grade students eligible for special education under the high incidence disability categories of Specific Learning Disability and Other Health Impairment. A total of 72 cases (n = 72) were collected. Descriptive data analysis was conducted to investigate characteristics of IEP compliance with Maine state standardsbased IEP expectations in the academic and standards-based IEP goal realms. Analyses of Covariance were conducted to determine if the compliance level of a student's standards-based IEP had a significant impact on the student's achievement in math and reading, respectively, as measured by his or her growth target attainment on the Northwest Evaluation Association Measures of Academic Progress (NWEA MAP) assessment, while controlling for the covariates of student disability and least restrictive environment percentage.

Results indicated a significant difference in student reading achievement between the different overall IEP compliance ratings. No significant differences were found in student math achievement between the different overall IEP compliance ratings. Generalizability of the results is limited due to the small sample size obtained for this study. Despite its small size, however, the sample did represent larger tendencies as it mirrored statewide trends in school administrative units (SAUs) and geographical distribution SA Us. Implications for pol icy and practice, both in terms of revisions to current policies as well as supports for special educators, are discussed, particularly in regards to the evident lack of empirical research pertaining to standards-based IEPs and the achievement of students with high incidence disabilities. Given these limited results, and the effects policy decisions pertaining to standards-based IEP mandates have had on the field of special education in Maine, areas of future research are proposed, particularly in regards to study design, instrumentation, and factors affecting the achievement of students with disabilities.

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