A r c h i v e d I n f o r m a t i o n
To Assure the Free Appropriate Public Education of All Children with Disabilities - 1996
Feasibility of Evaluation of the Oregon Comprehensive Plan for Supported Education
Oregon Department of Education, FY 1991
The Oregon Comprehensive Program Plan for Supported Education requires that local educational agencies (LEAs) support the full integration of students with disabilities in general education. Currently, 30 LEAs participate in the Oregon Department of Education's (ODE) Supported Education Project. As part of the plan, the ODE is required to systematically evaluate the success of school integration efforts. This study addressed the feasibility of conducting a statewide evaluation that would enable the ODE to assess the effectiveness of State and local education reform policies and practices and their impact on the outcomes of special education restructuring. The feasibility study was conducted with the following goals.
Along with conducting a literature review and developing the conceptual framework, feasibility project activities included a series of meetings of the project's Advisory Group (which includes the ODE Project Director, ODE Supported Education Specialists, Portland State University (PSU)Project Coordinator, and PSU Evaluation Specialists), to develop a set of specific evaluation questions for use in the pilot study. The following evaluation questions for the pilot study were agreed to by the Advisory Group:
- Verify the conceptual framework, evaluation design, and measurement instruments.
- Conduct a pilot test of the evaluation study to:
- describe and analyze the effects of the Comprehensive Plan on LEA policy, service delivery systems, participant attitudes, and student outcomes;
- identify barriers to supported education in each LEA and develop strategies to overcome these barriers; and
- produce a report providing a complete description of the results of the pilot test.
- Determine the feasibility of a statewide study of the Plan for Supported Education in three areas:
- technical feasibility;
- usefulness of information; and
- financial and political feasibility.
Two sites were selected for the pilot study--a high school in a large, suburban district, and an elementary school in a small, rural district. Six respondent groups were surveyed: all parents of students with IEPs; a random sample of 25 parents of students without IEPs; a random sample of 25 regular education teachers; all special education teachers; all related services/support staff; and all building administrators, as well as administrators of an intermediate education agency (Education Service District [ESD]) who were members of the LEA supported education team.
- What are the differences between LEA and ODE written policies and procedures for special education, as they relate to supported education?
- Did ODE activities result in LEA supported education action?
- What level of supported education is occurring in each LEA?
- What perceived benefits/negative outcomes for students with and without disabilities result from supported education?
- What are the perceived effects of integration/supported education on teachers' instructional style when working with students with and without IEPs?
- What are the barriers to supported education and what strategies can be used to overcome the barriers?
In addition, ten randomly selected regular education teachers, two special education teachers, two related services staff, and one administrator were interviewed at each school site. Seventeen students with various disabilities were randomly selected and observed for one hour in a variety of classrooms at the high school site; 13 similarly selected students with disabilities were observed at the elementary site.
The data were synthesized into descriptive reports on each site and a summary analysis was developed for both sites that provided the ODE an opportunity to see the overall progress of the LEAs. Barriers to change as well as strategies to overcome these barriers were summarized for both sites. Due to the size of the sample and the fact that this was a feasibility study, no statistical tests were conducted on this data. Overall, the ODE Advisory Group decided that the pilot study was successfully accomplished and a larger, statewide evaluation was politically and financially feasible.
Major recommendations from the pilot study for the statewide evaluation included the following.
- Maintain the current conceptual framework and evaluation questions.
- Evaluate changes in the impact of the ODE Plan for Supported Education over time.
- Add a survey of students with and without IEPs.
- Use statistical analysis to test for differences between respondent groups.
[Barriers and Resources Underlying Part H Implementation: A Utilization-Focused Evaluation Study]
[Special Education Program Standards Study of Class Size and Combining Students with Various Disabilities]