Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Educational Studies


College of Education

First Advisor

Kathleen Marshall


The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is the law that governs special education policies, procedures and practices for school districts. Special education teachers are viewed as the experts in leading the Individual Education Program (IEP) team in IEP development and implementation. Researchers have shown that special education teachers perceive themselves as having a high level of knowledge and understanding of the IDEA. However, special education teachers’ actual working and practical knowledge of the IDEA has not previously been assessed. This study, using hypothetical scenarios, examined whether special education teachers were able to determine if an action taken by the district was legally appropriate and if the teachers were then able to explain why the action was or was not appropriate. The findings of this study revealed that special education teachers actually possess a less than proficient level of knowledge and understanding of the IDEA, as well as some disturbing misconceptions of some legal requirements.


© 2016, Laura B. Holland