Dissertation

An exploration of the dynamics and collaboration within individualized educational program teams

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA) (2004) mandates the establishment of an educational team that convenes once a year if not more to review and adjust each exceptional student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP). There are a variety of social and political characteristics of the team that impact the decisions that are made on behalf of individual students. IEP teams are charged with operating as equal decision-making members. This study explored the nature of collaboration among IEP team members and took a closer look at how IEP team members perceived both their own contribution and the contribution of other members. It also examined how IEP team members' beliefs, experiences, and characteristics contributed to their role on the IEP team. The findings in this study indicated that there is a need to develop clearer definitions of IEP team member roles, and opportunities for professional development are needed to develop educated and prepared team members who work collaboratively to develop IEPs that meet the needs of students with special needs.

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