Criterion scale for the evaluation of individual educational programs (IEPS) of mildly handicapped children in grades one through six
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The Education for All Handicapped Children Act (Public Law 94-142) was enacted in November, 1975. It requires that an Individual Educational Program (IEP) be developed and written for every student who is handicapped. Public Law 94-142 guarantees a free appropriate public education to all handicapped children as of September 1, 1978. The term "appropriate" is not defined as such, but rather receives its definition through the mechanism of the IEP. The IEP should reflect the total programming required to meet the child's unique needs. The degree to which the written plan will meet the unique educational needs of a handicapped student is the quality of the plan. It is assumed that with careful planning a program can be developed which will insure a handicapped student equal opportunity with a non-handicapped student to fulfill their potential of becoming educated citizens. The two purposes of this study were to determine whether there were significant criteria which insure quality programming for Individual Education Programs (IEPs) to mildly handicapped children in grades one through six and to develop a scale for evaluating the quality of their IEPs. A questionnaire presenting forty-eight criteria was used to poll the opinions of experts with regard to quality standards for writing IEPs. Public Law 94-142 Education For All Handicapped Children Act of 1975 Section 602 of the Act and Federal Regulations 121 Revised as of October 1, 1978 provided the primary source of the criteria. The expert population of respondents to the questionnaire included 105 Educational Diagnosticians employed in Texas public schools. At the conclusion of the collection of the data from the questionnaires the responses were analyzed by computer programs. Frequency distribution tables containing absolute frequencies of the responses for each criterion were compiled. Nonparametric correlations and a Chi-square Test was computed by the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) Nonpar. Corr. subprogram. This program is designed to determine whether two rankings of the same cases are similar. Spearman's rho was computed to determine the significance of similar responses for each criteria on the questionnaire. Criteria rated 6 (Agree) or 7 (Strongly Agree) by 80 or more of the respondents were considered accepted criteria. Criteria rated 5 (Mildly Agree), 6 (Agree) or 7 (Strongly Agree) by 90 or more of the respondents were also considered accepted criteria. For interpretive purposes, Spearman correlation coefficient above .4500 were considered significant. These correlations had a commn variance of twenty percent or more. The criteria on the questionnaire addressed seven categories suggested by HEW for inclusion on an IEP. Correlation tables were prepared for each of the categories. The criteria statements, corresponding to the correlations were blended in order to develop concise statements of the concept implied by the correlation. It was found that experts agreed upon thirteen criteria which ensure quality in IEPs for mildly handicapped children in grades one through six. It was proposed that these thirteen criteria form the basis of a scale to evaluate the quality of those IEPs.