Date of Award
EdD Doctor of Education
children & youth, Guam, Individual Education Programs--IEP, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act--IDEA, Leadership studies, Learning disabilities, least restrictive environment, qualitative, school administration, secondary students
This study examined the implementation of the least restrictive environment (LRE) provision of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) for secondary students with learning disabilities on Guam. The research questions for the study addressed the following areas: (a) perceptions of the definition of LRE, (b) factors influencing the implementation of LRE, and (c) determination of LRE in relation to the national trends and literature. This research utilized the qualitative method of collecting and analyzing data that included interviews and review of written documents. Parents and school personnel from the secondary schools, involved in the implementation of the least restrictive environment, were interviewed to obtain their perception of the definition of LRE and the factors influencing its implementation. The responses of the interviews were triangulated with information from randomly selected Individual Education Programs (IEPs) and placement rates for secondary students with learning disabilities from the 1995–96 to the 1999–2000 school years. A summary of the responses by school personnel to the question related to the definition of LRE resulted in the following: (a) least restrictive environment refers to the needs of the child, (b) least restrictive environment refers to ensuring access to education for the child, (c) least restrictive environment addresses both access to the general education classroom as well as the individual needs of the child, and (d) least restrictive environment refers to the rights of the child to an education. School personnel also identified seven factors as having an influence in its implementation: (a) IDEA requirement of 1997 related to access and progress in the general curriculum, (b) federal policy, (c) DOE structure and educational delivery system, (d) advocacy, (e) due process and litigations, (f) preparation of individuals involved with the implementation of LRE, and (g) values and beliefs. With the parents, the majority of them indicated they were not familiar with the term least restrictive environment. For the parents, the following were identified as having an influence on the implementation of LRE: (a) the distribution of funds, (b) advocacy, (c) due process and litigations, (d) preparation of individuals responsible for the implementation of LRE, and (e) values and beliefs. School personnel and parents identified the administrator and the consulting resource teacher (CRT) as the individuals most influential in ensuring the implementation of LRE. A review of the IEPs for the past five years revealed that students with learning disabilities have been placed in more restrictive settings as compared with the national average. IEP committees often did not consider the continuum of placement or, when they are considered, the continuum begins with the resource room. IEPs lacked evidence to support the placement into more restrictive settings due to unsatisfactory results in the general education classroom even with the provision of supplementary aids and services to meet the individual needs of the child. In conclusion, it is evident that school personnel and parents responsible for the implementation of the least restrictive environment (LRE) requirement of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) do not have a clear understanding of the LRE requirement. In addition, the review of the IEPs and placement rates revealed that Guam secondary schools indicated a preference towards the placement of secondary students with learning disabilities in more restrictive settings. This implies the need for training for school personnel.
Dissertation: Open Access
Digital USD Citation
Flores, Nieves P. EdD, "The Implementation of the Least Restrictive Environment Provision of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) for Secondary Students with Learning Disabilities on Guam" (2001). Dissertations. 691.