Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Hare, Rufus D.

Committee Member

Jayroe, Terry

Committee Member

McGrath, Vince

Committee Member

Stumpf, Arthur

Committee Member

Moore, Barbara

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Curriculum and Instruction

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Education


Department of Curriculum and Instruction


IDEIA requires a student who receives special education services to have an IEP that is specific to each student and NCLB requires that all students be taught the same knowledge and skills. The purpose of this study was to determine with which federal school law, No Child Left Behind (NCLB) or Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA), school districts in Mississippi are choosing to comply and what drives that decision. The research questions were: (a) Are Mississippi school districts choosing to comply with NCLB or IDEIA when writing IEPs for their students receiving special education services? and (b) What are the reasons for that decision? A multiple-case design was used in this study resulting in a more convincing explanation because when more cases are involved variation increases across the studies. Real-life applications and issues were noted in case studies. The researcher was the main instrument for data collection and analysis. Three school districts participated in the study that included 11 teachers. Five themes emerged from the case studies. Those were: (a) teacher opposition, (b) out-of-level testing, (c) achievement test preparation, (d) lack of written guidelines, and (e) different approaches in meeting educational needs of students receiving special education services. Recommendations included: (a) development of guidelines for special education students who do not take the grade level MCT , (b) mandatory training on standardized IEP guidelines, (c) further study on report of numbers of special education students within schools, (d) further study on self-concept of special education students who participate in out-of-level instruction and testing, (e) comparative study of inclusion and resource students using MCT as pre- and post-test.