Date Approved

11-21-2014

Date Posted

7-22-2015

Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Leadership and Counseling

Committee Member

David Anderson, Ph.D., Chair

Committee Member

Janet Fisher, Ed.D.

Committee Member

Richard Geisel, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jackie Tracy, Ph.D.

Abstract

The reauthorization of the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) in 2004 made Response to Intervention (RtI) an acceptable alternative for identifying students with specific learning disabilities (SLD). The purpose of this study was to examine one particular problem-solving approach, Instructional Consultation (IC) teams within an RtI framework, to determine the knowledge, skills, and beliefs of teachers and administrators about this model and its effect in identifying and supporting students with learning disabilities between two elementary schools in one Michigan school district.

Interviews were done with a typical case sampling of interviewees from within both buildings. Interviewees were both participants and nonparticipants within the IC model. Each interview was completed at a time convenient for participants. A second, more specific interview was completed with key participants for deeper understanding of initial data analysis.

Subfindings included: 1) although interviewees have a good understanding of the IC process, the understanding doesn't preclude them from being resistant to its use; 2) a lack of significant understanding of the process and leadership styles have a major effect on the implementation and engagement of the IC team and staff; 3) factors including teacher professional development, building culture, and instructional practices intertwine in their effect on IC implementation; 4) the role of the IC facilitator and administrator have a large effect on the implementation and engagement of the IC team and staff; and 5) understanding of the IC process and how it is presented to building teams affects staff knowledge of understanding the process for identification of students with SLD. Underlying all subfindings is the key finding of communication, which I will refer to as the "telephone game." In other words, IC communication--and how it travels throughout the school system--affects every subfinding. Identifying key people in the process, such as the facilitator and the administrator, are crucial to the implementation and engagement of a building's IC team. One could use resulting information to create tools, such as rubrics, to monitor IC model understanding and implementation and engagement status of IC teams within a building and district. Further, the rubrics could guide problem solving and decision making for strong implementation of the IC team model.

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