Date Published: Jun 1, 2012
University of Montana, doctoral dissertation
Davison, D.L.

The purpose of this study was to explore variables which might influence the frequency of Texas special education mediations used for dispute resolution. Variables such as district size, location, economic level, and the State Accountability Rating were investigated and evaluated. In order to determine if there were any relationships between the frequency of mediation and the variables, data were collected from the Texas Education Agency and district websites. It was then analyzed for insight into trends. The research drew conclusions about mediations and the variables in order to ensure that school administrators were better prepared to assess and implement appropriate strategies. Perceptions of special education directors regarding the IDEA required mediation process and theories concerning ineffective mediations were also used to determine the efficacy of the mediation process. The principle variables that emerged from the data are the effectiveness of mediation, the size and location of the district, accountability ratings, disability types of students involved in mediations, and the specific issue involved in the mediation. The majority of mediations occurred in major suburban areas in districts rated as average. Autism is the highest mediated issue. The failure to mediate was perceived to be caused by the lack of parental investment in the process. Staff training was a large variable in two factors relating to mediation. Directors rated staff training a change they made after a mediation, yet prior to the mediation they reported their staff was not fully trained. IEP's were specified as the main reason for a request for due process. The results of the analysis of data concerning relationships of district characteristics and constant variables can be used to determine the likelihood of a district becoming involved in mediation, while allowing the district to make informed programming decisions and staff development training concerning special education. [dissertation abstract]