Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Richard E. Munsterman

Second Advisor

Dr. Uldis Smidchens

Third Advisor

Dr. Fred Nowland


The purpose of this study was to provide a special education procedural manual which: (1) Has been validated and field tested. (2) Informs special education administrators through the use of sequential procedures of the statutory and regulatory requirements for implementing Public Law 94-142 and Public Law 198. (3) Provides a model for procedural implementation which ensures legal compliance to Public Law 94-142 and Public Law 198. (4) Assists special education administrators as a resource in examining the decision-making process as it relates to special education program implementation.

The procedural manual was developed by special education professionals responsible for program implementation and compliance activities. This group of professionals interacted with a specific procedural outline for a period of 2 months which resulted in the manual.

The procedural manual was formally reviewed by a professional panel consisting of 21 administrators of special education. Responses from the panel members were recorded on an evaluation form and all 21 panel members provided responses. Each content area of the manual was reviewed according to familiarity, legality, and ability to be implemented. Each content area was judged against the critical value of 76% for each of the identified characteristics. In other words, each content area needed to receive at least 16 supportive responses from the panel in order to be seen as acceptable.

Additionally, the manual was field-tested by four school districts serving nearly 50,000 students. The special education administrators provided insights on an evaluation form and in ongoing interviews as to their experiences regarding legality and implementation. The manual also withstood the legal audit procedure in the state of Michigan audit package as determined by the audit and compliance unit of the Macomb Intermediate School District.

The professional panel members expressed complete familiarity with the content areas of the manual. Exceptions to total familiarity were noted only in isolated instances, but each area exceeded the critical value of 76.2%.

In all instances the content areas were judged to exceed the critical value of 76.2% for legality. Panel members felt that each section of the manual met the requirements prescribed by federal and state law. Little variation was noted in the content areas for legality.

Greater variation of responses was noted for the content areas in relationship to the characteristic implementation. In all instances, the content areas were judged to exceed the critical value of 76.2%.

In all cases, the content of the manual was found to exceed the critical value. The field testing component also provided information in support of these findings.

The recommendations call for a review of the procedural manual in other parts of the state of Michigan in order to judge the manual's wider effectiveness and capability. Other locations should also be determined as field testing sites based on size and location. Significant attention needs to be given to the manual's narrative components. An expansion of narrative description in the manual, would provide for greater usage as an in-service document to varying populations.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access