Date of Award

12-2007

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Education

Major Professor

Schuyler Huck

Committee Members

Vincent Anfara, P. Gary Klukken, Ralph Brockett

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine teacher usage of assessment data from learning disability evaluations received in multidisciplinary team/individualized educational plan (MDT/IEP) meetings. Teacher perception of the helpfulness and usefulness of different types of assessment data, and the helpfulness of different types of data compared to each other were focuses of the study. Effects of teacher characteristics such as type of training received, amount of training received, and the amount of experience possessed on the level of teacher usage of assessment data were analyzed. Effects of teacher participation in referral procedures for students with suspected learning disabilities and participation in MDT/IEP meetings on the level of usage of assessment data were also analyzed. Study participants included 133 teachers and school psychologists currently employed in a middle school setting in the state of Tennessee. This study was primarily descriptive in design; statistical methods used were t-tests, ANOVAs, and the Spearman’s Rho correlation.

Results indicated that teachers found the assessment data they received in MDT/IEP meetings to be significantly helpful (t = 10.797, p < .001) and useful (t = 7.2, p < .001) in identifying students’ needs and designing instruction. There was a significant difference in teacher perception of the helpfulness of different types of assessment data in linking to instruction. While special education teachers found the types of data to be almost equally helpful (F (4, 19) =. 141, p = .965), results for regular education teachers indicated a significant difference for classroom observations (F(4, 76) = 4.443, p = .003). Results also indicated a weak positive correlation between years of teaching experience and the level of usage of assessment data (rs = .209, p = .029). Finally, attendance at MDT/IEP meetings was shown to have a significant effect on the level of teacher usage of assessment data (F (1, 82) = 7.704, p = .006).

It was concluded that teachers and school psychologists should consider whether current assessment practices provide linkage to instruction when choosing assessment instruments and interpreting the data they produce. Implications for university training programs and directions for future research are discussed.

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