Training needs of specific learning disabilities decision-makers as perceived by North Carolina eligibility committee members

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Virginia Tech

The purposes of this study were to (a) identify training provided by North Carolina school systems for its Administrative Placement Committee/Specific Learning Disabilities (APC/SLD) eligibility committee members, and (b) assess the perceived training needs of APC/SLD eligibility committee members. The sample consisted of 77 special education program administrators, 58 teachers (special education and regular education), 56 pupil support personnel and 63 school administrators.

Descriptive data were gathered using two questionnaires. The special education program administrator survey contained items regarding the composition and selection criteria of the APC/SLD eligibility committee and system-wide training provided. In addition, the survey made inquiry regarding problems and concerns that committee members have expressed regarding their understanding and implementation of SLD requirements and the efficiency or effectiveness of committee meetings. The eligibility committee survey included items regarding job title, SLD criteria/requirements, information crucial to eligibility decisions, structure of eligibility meetings, group dynamics, and training needed for effective decisions regarding eligibility and placement of students in programs for the learning disabled.

The major conclusions drawn from this study were that (1) training is being conducted in the school systems regarding the regulations and procedures for determining a specific learning disability; (2) that there is a definite need for training to be conducted with the eligibility teams on all aspects of making effective eligibility decisions; and (3) there is little difference among the training needs of teachers, support personnel and administrators.

eligibility, learning disabilities, North Carolina