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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The Cat in the Hat Can’t Understand That! Evaluating Colorado’s Procedural Safeguard Notice through Readability and Design
by Aversano, Brenna Catherine, Ed.D., University of Colorado at Denver, 2020, 195; 28152963
Abstract (Summary)

This mixed methods study evaluated the strengths and weaknesses of Colorado's special education procedural safeguard notice (CPSN) through readability and design factors. Per IDEA, procedural safeguard notices must inform families of children with disabilities of their rights within special education. Local education agencies (LEAs) distribute the CPSN annually to over 100,000 families. The CPSN’s high readability, however, means it is inequitable and inaccessible to many families. This inequity meant that a process was needed to identify how the CPSN might be improved. In order to evaluate the CPSN the investigator created a survey that included six key readability and design indicators, a write-in question, and an accompanying procedural safeguards rubric. Participants (N = 50) comprised of parents and professionals connected to the field of public special education. Scoring averages identified only three exceptional strengths in the CPSN. Rubric scores and write-in feedback identified multiple weaknesses including poor organization, lack of visuals, high readability, limited adherence to IDEA's regulation, “Written in an easily understandable manner,” and a lack of document effectiveness. Write-in responses highlighted excessive sentence length, an ineffective CPSN, and that CDE appeared to have written the CPSN solely to protect LEAs. Analyses of demographic responses revealed that the more education and experience in special education individuals had, the more poorly they rated the CPSN. Policy implications centered around creating an updated, family-friendly CPSN with specific readability and design factors that could enhance understanding. Recommendations for practitioners included creating information nights to explain safeguards, incorporating meaningful discussions of rights into IEP and related meetings, and identifying content experts to serve as resources for families. The investigator concluded that a redesign of the CPSN is necessary in order for Colorado to have an equitable and accessible document that truly serves families.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Steed, Elizabeth
Commitee: Barla, Michael, Smith, Barbara J.
School: University of Colorado at Denver
Department: Leadership for Educational Equity
School Location: United States -- Colorado
Source: DAI-A 82/7(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Special education, Education Policy, Individual & family studies
Keywords: Colorado, Document design, Parental involvement in special education, Procedural safeguard notice, Readability, Special education
Publication Number: 28152963
ISBN: 9798557085434
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