An Exploratory Study of the Use of Base Curriculum to Supplement the IEP Process in Programs for the Learning Disabled in Iowa
Tschantz, Patricia Ireland
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The problem. PL 94-142 mandated a process of developing an Individual Educational Program (IEP) for each LD student and thus replaced the curriculum of the regular educational program. The developmental process of the IEP has several problematic areas. One possible method for elimination of some of these problems is to supplement the IEP with an articulated base curriculum. To date, little information is available regarding the use of a base curriculum in programs for LD students. Purpose. This study was concerned with curriculum development as a supplement to the IEP process in LD programs in Iowa. In addition to data regarding the existence of curricula, it sampled the philosophical stance of professionals regarding such curricula. Procedure. A two-part questionnaire was sent to 316 randomly selected teachers of LD students and fifteen AEA supervisors of consultants to LD programs in Iowa. A response rate of 62 percent was achieved. Responses were reported as frequencies and percentages. Findings. Responses from LD teachers indicated that thirty five percent were using or developing a base curriculum to supplement the IEP process. These curricula were most frequently based on regular program objectives with modification in teaching strategies and materials suited to the LD students needs. Curricula were most frequently developed by adapting and combining existing materials. Those most frequently involved were learning disability teachers with support of AEA support personnel and regular program teachers. Conclusions. 1. There is a need to supplement the IEP process to assure the longitudinal continuity of program objectives. 2. A separate, exclusive set of objectives is not appropriate or necessary for LD students. 3. Regular program objectives are appropriate for LD students if teaching strategies and materials are modified. 4. Professionals utilize materials already in existence as a basis for curriculum development for LD programs. 5. The range of curriculum for LD programs is quite narrow, with most available for the resource program model. Recommendations. A central collecting procedure for curricular information for the LD programs should be developed at the state level with some provision for reciprocity at the national level. Additionally, there is a need for teacher education programs to address the areas that are problematic in IEP development with concomitant skill development for future teaching personnel.
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