This quantitative study explored whether local educational agency (LEA) factors and parent/child factors were related to parent completion of the special education eligibility determination process for preschool children. LEA factors investigated were: distance to the evaluation center (from a child's home in miles), referral source, and referral time of year. Parent/child factors studied were: parent's primary language, Medicaid enrollment, child's race, child's gender, and child's age at time of referral. The average number of days for parents to discontinue participation in the process also was examined and compared to the federally recommended timeframe of 60 days from parent consent until initial evaluation completion (20 U.S.C. §1414(a)(1)(C); 34 C.F.R. §300.301). Descriptive statistics, chi-square tests, t-tests, and binary logistic regression analyses were utilized to examine a one-year universal sample (N = 1,408) of archival data from a high-risk, urban school district in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States.
Results from the statistical analyses indicated referral source, referral time of year, Medicaid enrollment, and child's race were statistically significantly related to parent completion. However, these findings had small effect sizes and were not practically significant. The LEA and parent/child logistic regression models did not produce predictability beyond the blind models. Health care referral sources and Medicaid enrollment were the greatest predictors for parent who completed the eligibility determination process. For LEA factors, spring referrals were a strong predictor for non-completion compared to fall referrals. For parent/child factors, child's race, other than White or Hispanic, shared the greatest association with predicting parents who did not complete the process compared to Black children. Timeframes were statistically significantly related to parents who did not complete the eligibility determination process, and most of the results yielded moderate to large effect sizes. These findings suggested that the LEA's administrators may be able to improve parent participation in the eligibility determination process if they reduce the length of time to complete initial evaluation appointments and eligibility determination meetings.
|Advisor:||Freund, Maxine B.|
|Commitee:||Cashman, Joanne, Kavulic, Christy L., Tindle, Kathleen, Weiss, Brandi A.|
|School:||The George Washington University|
|School Location:||United States -- District of Columbia|
|Source:||DAI-A 75/07(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Education Policy, Early childhood education, Special education, Individual & family studies|
|Keywords:||Early childhood special education, Initial evaluation, Parent participation, Referral, Special education process|
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