Date of Final Oral Examination (Defense)

5-2010

Type of Culminating Activity

Thesis

Degree Title

Master of Arts in Special Education

Department

Special and Early Childhood Education

Major Advisor

Keith W. Allred, Ph.D.

Abstract

Legislation such as No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA) of 2004 include accountability and enforcement provisions for the education of all children, including children with disabilities. The United States Department of Education, through the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), requires all local educational agencies (LEAs) to submit, on an annual basis, data regarding the developmental outcomes and academic achievement of preschool children and youth with disabilities ages 3 through 21 in accordance with NCLB and IDEA 2004. OSEP has established indicators that are meant to inform and support Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) performance, assessment, and reporting. Functional performance of preschool children with disabilities in the three early childhood outcome areas is measured and reported to OSEP through the completion of the Child Outcome Summary Form (COSF). The information needed to properly complete the COSF should come from multiple sources and settings. The 2007-08 school year marks the first time that Idaho has submitted ECSE/COSF data to the federal government through OSEP. An exploratory study of the Idaho sample yielded expected as well as unexpected findings. Analyses of the Idaho sample found gender, ethnicity, region, and length of intervention predictive of higher scores on one or more early childhood outcome areas. Preschool girls in the Idaho sample scored, with statistical significance, higher than preschool boys only in outcome one and outcome three. Generally, preschool girls score higher than preschool boys across all domains. White preschool children in Idaho scored higher than their non-white peers in outcome two, which is supportive of ethnicity studies on the national level. (The vast majority of non-white preschool children in the 2007-08 ECSE Idaho sample are Hispanic.) Preschool children in the rural regions of Idaho (north central Idaho and southeast Idaho) scored higher than did their suburban peers in southwest Idaho. While the 2007-08 Idaho ECSE/COSF sample represented a low incidence of reporting and a high degree of reporting error, findings suggest that increased length of intervention predictive of higher COSF scores across all outcome areas. Beyond the OSEP accountability requirements, strong ECSE outcome data may prove helpful for educators in Idaho in the facilitation of pre-kindergarten student growth and to make meaningful early childhood program improvements.

Share

COinS