An Evaluation of Special Education Programs in the Metropolitan Milwaukee Area Elementary Schools of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod
Date of Award
Dissertation - Restricted
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Topetzes, Nich J.
This study sought to determine the type of exceptional education and remedial education programs offered in the forty-eight elementary schools of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod in the Greater Milwaukee Area. The study also looked at the type and the degree of involvement of the regular classroom teacher in conducting these special education programs. An attempt was also made to evaluate objectively the effectiveness of the program offered in each school. Each principal of the schools studied was asked to complete a questionnaire that described the exceptional education or remedial programs conducted at that school. If these programs were not available at the school, the principal was asked to give the reasons for that and the possibility of beginning such programs. Half of the teachers at these schools were asked to complete a questionnaire dealing with their involvement in the special programming procedures. Each school having an exceptional education or remedial program was visited for an on-site evaluation of that program. In order to obtain an objective evaluation, the Division for Handicapped Children Monitoring Document for Public Agencies Responsible for the Education of Handicapped Children, published by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, was completed. The study found that 70% of the schools participating in the study did offer remedial programs. The subject areas most likely to be remediated were reading and arithmetic. Of the schools not having remedial programs, 83% felt that there was a need to begin such a program at the school. It was also learned that there was a variety of program delivery models used in the special education programs. The on-site evaluation found that the special education programs tended to be quite "informal." Few had any written procedural guidelines. The use of educational diagnostic evaluation, formalized statements of long- and short-term goals, and program evaluation were very limited. The majority of the classroom teachers were responsible for all or at least part of the remediation needed by the students in that teacher's classroom. Volunteers, paid teacher-aides, and special education coordinators were also used in some of the schools as providers of special education services. The results of this study indicated that there are many available alternatives for the schools studied to improve and broaden their special education offerings.