Increasing effective involvement of the general education teacher in the IEP process

The purpose of this study was to identify factors influencing general education teacher participation in the Individualized Education Plan (IEP) meeting and process. The study focused on one large high school in an urban school district in Southern California. General education teachers at the site were asked to participate in the study, which consisted of a survey. Teachers responded to questions regarding: 1) how often they attend IEP meetings; 2) their knowledge and comfort regarding participation in the IEP meeting and implementation of the IEP; 3) supports that could be provided to them to help them participate more effectively; and 4) benefits and drawbacks of the IEP process. Based on the data collected, teachers with more experience and/or those who were older tended to have greater and more effective involvement in the IEP meeting and in implementing the IEP in class. Teachers who reported having no training related to special education still demonstrated knowledge regarding the IEP process if they also reported attending many IEP meetings. However, most teachers reported that they were not entirely clear on their role in the IEP process and were concerned regarding resources (e.g. time for collaboration, class sizes) available to help them carry out their role. While the majority of teachers reported attending IEP meetings regularly, the study suggests that teachers require professional development to help them more clearly identify their role in the IEP process as well as resources to make their participation more effective.