Date of Award:

2015

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Special Education and Rehabilitation

Advisor/Chair:

Robert Morgan

Abstract

Students receiving special education services occasionally experience problems with accessing adult services after graduation. Mandated by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act reauthorization of 2004, the summary of performance (SOP) is a document that should ideally provide necessary information to adult service providers on needed services and eligibility of a student after graduation. This project examined student-completed portfolios and teacher-completed SOP forms to determine which form was more useful for providing necessary documentation for eligibility. Participants were vocational rehabilitation (VR) counselors and special education teachers who evaluated a student-completed portfolio compared with a teacher-completed SOP form in an online survey. Variables assessed by VR counselors included (a) value of the information provided for determining eligibility, (b) value of the information provided for plan development, (c) value of the information provided for identifying functional limitations, (d) comprehensiveness of information, (e) usefulness for communicating with other professionals, (f) usefulness for communicating with family members, (g) usefulness in creating familiarity with student, (h) time required to conduct review, and (i) time required to read/comprehend the document compared to value. Special education teachers evaluated and compared a student-completed portfolio with a teacher-completed SOP form using a similar survey. Variables assessed by special education teachers included (a) value of the information provided for determining postsecondary goals, (b) value of the information provided for transition plan development, (c) value of the information provided for identifying functional limitations, (d) comprehensiveness of information, (e) usefulness for communicating with other professionals, (f) usefulness for communicating with family members, (g) usefulness in creating familiarity with student, (h) time required to conduct review, and (i) time required to read/comprehend the document compared to value. The results show that a student-completed portfolio was rated more favorably than a teacher-completed form on most variables. VR counselors reported receiving a more complete picture of a student in the student-completed form. Special education teachers rated the student-completed portfolio as higher in value than the teacher-completed SOP. Findings suggest the need for more research on a student-completed portfolio as an SOP.

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