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IES Grant

Title: Building Effective and Meaningful Individualized Education Programs for Secondary Aged Students
Center: NCSER Year: 2007
Principal Investigator: Flannery, K. Brigid Awardee: University of Oregon
Program: Systems, Policy, and Finance      [Program Details]
Award Period: 7/1/2007 to 6/30/2011 Award Amount: $1,529,867
Type: Development and Innovation Award Number: R324B070039

Co-Principal Investigator: Bonnie Doren

Funded under the Individualized Education Programs topic prior to the establishment of the Systemic Interventions and Policies for Special Education topic.

Purpose: The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004 includes specific transition requirements for secondary students with disabilities as part of the Individualized Education Programs (IEP) process to promote movement from school to post-school activities, including post-secondary education, vocational education, integrated employment, continuing and adult education, adult services, independent living, or community participation. Although there is a growing awareness of the transition-related needs of secondary students with disabilities, IEP case managers have largely not been trained on how to appropriately address these needs. The purpose of this project is to develop a professional development training program for IEP case managers to improve the meaningfulness, implementation, and monitoring of IEPs at the secondary level.

Project Activities: The project consists of two phases. In Phase I, the researchers will develop the professional development training program; in Phase II, they will conduct an initial pilot test of the professional development training. In Phase I, the research team will: establish the technical adequacy of the instruments, collect and analyze data to inform content and activities within the professional development model, and develop and field test the components of the professional development model through a series of design studies. In Phase II, the researchers will conduct a pilot study of the professional development training with 20 IEP case managers. Scores from document reviews and cognitive interviews and measures of knowledge attainment will be used to assess the ability of case managers to improve the meaningfulness, implementation, and monitoring of IEPs.

Products: The products of this project include a new professional development training model designed to help IEP case managers improve the meaningfulness, implementation, and monitoring of IEPs at the secondary level; publications; and presentations.

Structured Abstract

Setting: Research will be conducted in high schools in Oregon.

Population: The sample will include 20 case managers from 3 to 5 local high schools. From each of the 20 case managers' workloads, 10 IEPs will be randomly selected (total 200 IEPs) to examine compliance and alignment of IEP documents with student outcomes.

Intervention: The professional development model will focus on a strategic planning process that IEP case managers can use to develop IEPs that are future-oriented and result in coordination across key IEP components (i.e., post-school goal, statement of needed transition services, present level of performance, annual goals, objectives, activities, and progress monitoring). The successful application of this process will result in IEPs that are compliant with regulations and components that are in alignment with each other, which means that the IEP will be based on post-school goals that are developed with student strengths, interests, and present level of performance in mind.

Research Design and Methods: A pre/post experimental design will be used to gather preliminary data assessing the utility of a professional development intervention for enhancing IEPs. Ten case managers randomly assigned to treatment will participate in a professional development intervention, including initial training and extended research to practice.

Control Condition: The control group will receive standard professional development practices in place by schools.

Key Measures: The main outcome measures that will be used to assess treatment effects are document review scores and cognitive interviews. The case manager profile questionnaire and additional interview questions will be used to collect case manager background and characteristics. Additionally, a curriculum-based measure of knowledge attainment will be developed for case managers participating in the professional development training and activities.

Data Analytic Strategy: Scores on document reviews will be used to measure compliance and alignment of student IEPs. Results of the cognitive interviews will be used to understand fidelity of implementation of the intervention and changes in cognitive processes. Regression analysis will be used to understand how student and case manager characteristics influence the professional development program. Information from the case manager profile questionnaire will be used to enter potential covariates into the analysis and to understand differential activities or events that may have occurred between case managers in the intervention group and those in the control group.


Journal article, monograph, or newsletter

Doren, B., Flannery, K.B., and Lombardi, A. (2013). The Impact of Professional Development and Student and Teacher Characteristics on the Quality of Postsecondary Goals. Remedial and Special Education, 34(4): 215–224. doi:10.1177/0741932512468037

Flannery, K.B., Lombardi, A., and Kato, M.M. (2015). The Impact of Professional Development on the Quality of the Transition Components of IEPs. Career Development and Transition for Exceptional Individuals, 38(1): 14–24. doi:10.1177/2165143413489727