Date of Award

12-20-2007

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ded)

Department

Educational and School Psychology

First Advisor

Edward M. Levinson, Ed.D.

Second Advisor

William F. Barker, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Victoria B. Damiani, Ed.D.

Fourth Advisor

Joseph F. Kovaleski, D.Ed.

Abstract

The recent focus on Response to Intervention (RTI) has heightened the need for information regarding characteristics of prereferral intervention teams (PITs) that lead to successful outcomes. Though many researchers have theorized about important features of PITs, few studies have examined the factors that lead to high-functioning teams. Elementary principals in Pennsylvania (N = 440) were surveyed regarding prereferral intervention practices. Schools that continued to employ instructional support teachers demonstrated higher Level of Implementation (LOI) and lower rates of students identified with specific learning disabilities (SLD). However, neither participation in the initial IST training, nor ratio of student to instructional support teacher was related to LOI or rates of SLD. Only one variable related to administrative support—implementation of a policy encouraging parents to refer for prereferral intervention before referral for a multidisciplinary evaluation—was related to higher LOI, but not to rate of SLD. Implementing a policy requiring teachers to refer students for prereferral intervention, scheduling meetings during contracted hours, and percent of meetings attended by principals were not related to LOI or reduced numbers of students identified with SLD. Training in curriculum-based assessment/measurement (CBA/CBM) and differentiated instruction were related to higher LOI. A multiple regression analysis found that a model including training in CBA/CBM, training in differentiated instruction, participation in guided practice or supervision, and number of trainings attended was significantly related to higher LOI. This same model was not related to reduced rates of SLD identification. Systematic data collection was significantly correlated with LOI. However, use of prereferral intervention data to decide on referrals for multidisciplinary evaluations and use of group achievement data to design interventions were not correlated with LOI. Almost every respondent indicated that they used CBA/CBM to design interventions; therefore, results were inconclusive. Systematic data collection was not significantly correlated with SLD rates. LOI was significantly correlated with lower rates of students identified with SLD. A regression analysis indicated that LOI accounted for approximately 3.5% of the variance in numbers of students identified with SLD, which was statistically significant.

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