Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Lieberman, Joyce M.

Degree Name

Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Leadership, Educational Psychology and Foundations


United States. Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Amendments of 1997; Students with disabilities--Education--United States--Illinois--Case studies


The purpose of the case study was to describe and analyze the policy implementation of IDEA '97 related to access to general education curriculum, participation in large-scale assessment and accommodations for students with disabilities. The case study examined the issues of implementation, attitudes of the policy actors, activities in the district, and performances of students with disabilities on the state exam. Factors that influence successful policy implementation were used as a conceptual framework to examine the effectiveness of implementation of IDEA '97 in one large, comprehensive public high-school district. Three primary research questions guided the study. Question 1: How has the district addressed the IDEA '97 mandate for increased access to general education curriculum for students with disabilities? Question 2: How has the district addressed the IDEA '97 mandate for participation of students with disabilities in state testing? Question 3: How has the district addressed the IDEA '97 mandate to provide accommodations to students with disabilities on the PSAE? Findings indicated that there is evidence that the district has implemented the identified tenets of IDEA '97. Students with disabilities are participating in state and local assessment programs with the use of accommodation and have access to the general education curriculum. Collaboration and professional development appear to be dedicated to improvement of test scores in light of concern over the potential for consequences and sanctions related to the No Child Left Behind Act. Concerns were also raised about the use of a college aptitude test to measure progress toward state learning standards and the unrealistic expectation that mastery of standards is within the reach of all students, including those with disabilities. Other issues that emerged through data collection included a high degree of negativity regarding special-education programs and services for students with disabilities. There is controversy and disagreement within the district regarding the effectiveness of the current service delivery model as well as a lack of consensus and support for students with disabilities who are placed in the general-education classroom.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [189]-198).


ix, 278 pages




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