Date of Award:

1990

Document Type:

Dissertation

Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department:

Special Education and Rehabilitation

Department name when degree awarded

Special Education

Advisor/Chair:

Dr. Alan Hofmeister

Abstract

The primary purpose of the present study was to evaluate the impact of Utah's prereferral intervention policy on the numbers of mildly handicapped students receiving special education services. Associated with this purpose, the study was also designed to identify the (a) types of prereferral intervention procedures available in school districts, (b) extent to which the procedures were implemented by schools, (c) effectiveness of the prereferral intervention procedures for maintaining students with handicaps in regular education, and (d) degree of prereferral intervention inservice training. In addition, LEA officials' perceptions regarding the prereferral intervention process were also examined.

It was expected, in light of previous research, that the prereferral intervention mandate would decrease the numbers of students classified (a) mildly handicapped, (b) learning disabled, (c) behavior disordered, and (d) intellectually handicapped. Because there was no information to suggest otherwise, it was also expected that the mandate would fail to have a differential effect on rural and urban school districts and on the numbers of students classified as severely intellectually handicapped (control variable), whereas the degree of prereferral intervention inservice training provided teachers was expected to exert a systematic influence on the outcomes.

Results of the evaluation showed that the prereferral intervention mandate failed to impact the numbers of students classified (a) mildly handicapped, (b) learning disabled, (c) behavior disordered, and (d) intellectually handicapped, and (e) severely intellectually handicapped (control variable). The mandate also failed to have a differential effect on rural and urban school districts. In addition, the results of the survey indicated that LEAs have implemented a variety of prereferral intervention procedures. However, within school districts, the number of schools implementing the procedures varied. LEA officials were uncertain whether the prereferral intervention procedures were effective or whether they should be maintained. LEA officials also indicated that teachers fail to benefit from their participation in the prereferral intervention process. Furthermore, they were uncertain whether the process is a bureaucratic hurdle and whether it should be maintained. (116 pages)

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