Date of Award

Winter 12-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Meghan Cosier

Second Advisor

Amy Giffiths

Third Advisor

Kelley Kennedy

Fourth Advisor

John Brady


The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA) requires parents to be involved in all parts of the education decision-making process, including the IEP meeting. Although there is a vast body of research about parents of students receiving special education services and their perspectives of the IEP meeting, little is known about parents’ perspectives of the IEP meeting while students are at a nonpublic school. Understanding the perspectives of parents whose students attend nonpublic schools will allow for more collaboration and more effective IEP for their students attending nonpublic schools. The current study explored parent perspectives of involvement and parent–educator relationships during IEP meetings held at nonpublic schools. A convergent mixed method design combined survey and interview results to build a reliable understanding of parent perspectives at IEP meetings in this environment. A self-administered survey was created and pilot-tested for the study. Forty-one guardians of students who attended a nonpublic school in Orange, San Diego, and Los Angeles Counties volunteered to complete the survey after being contacted through their nonpublic student school, a school district representative, or a parent Facebook group post. A semistructured interview protocol was developed based on the survey and conducted with eight guardians who completed the survey and volunteered to participate in an interview. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze survey data to understand participant perspectives of involvement and parent–educator relationships. Structural, descriptive, and value coding was used to analyze interview data. Between-group vii analysis of variance was used to compare perspectives across demographic groups (e.g., parent race and ethnicity, parent education level, student number of years receiving special education services). Survey and interview results identified high positive ratings for involvement and parent–educator relationships. The participants’ race had a significant impact on parent perspectives of communication during IEP meetings at nonpublic schools; however, due to small group sizes, further research should be conducted to verify the results. No other demographic characteristics analyzed had a significant impact on involvement, communication, or parent– educator relationships.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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