Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)

Program

Educational Leadership

Date of Award

8-2003

Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Russell F. West

Committee Members

Terrence A. Tollefson, Louise L. MacKay, Lori Marks

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to describe the relationship between the reading level of parents of students in special education and the readability level of special education documents/forms. A related purpose was to determine whether a difference between reading level and the readability of documents/forms was related to parental involvement. The sample consisted of 30 parents of students in special education who were enrolled at Mosheim Elementary School in 2002. Parents were tested using the Woodcock-Johnson Psycho-Educational Battery: Part Two-Tests of Achievement, developed by Richard W. Woodcock and M. Bonner Johnson. Subtest 13, 14, and 15 were administered to parents. Subtest 13 is a Letter-Word Identification subtest, Subtest 14 is a Word Attack subtest, and Subtest 15 is a comprehension subtest. Parents were asked to complete a short survey that elicited information on education level, actual years of school completed, annual household income, work schedule, and household members. Parents were also asked five questions concerning their knowledge of their childÆs IEP. At the conclusion of the session, parents were interviewed concerning their feelings about attending IEP Team Meetings at the school.

The findings from this study showed the average reading level of parents was at the 9.0 grade level. Special education documents/forms had readability levels that ranged from 9.9 to 12.0 grade levels. These scores showed parents were generally reading three grade levels lower than the reading level required to read the special education documents/forms. Parents also demonstrated a limited understanding of their childrenÆs IEP. Only 13.3% answered all five questions correctly and 26.7% answered four questions correctly. Sixty percent of the parents could only answer one, two, or three questions correctly. The study also showed that 93.3% of the parents surveyed attended their childÆs IEP Team Meeting at the school during the year. Only two of the 30 parents in the sample did not attend their childÆs IEP Team Meeting. The results highlight the difficulty that many parents have in reading the various forms used in special education, including the Individual Education Program for their child/children.

Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access

Copyright

Copyright by the authors.

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