Special Education M.A.

Number of Pages


Year Approved


First Advisor

Strand, Charles

Second Reader

Karin Farrington;


Special Education practices continue to evolve and improve over time. Disability law and legislation work to support improved practices with amendments to Individuals Disability Education Improvement Act, IDEA and higher court rulings that set precedent for compliance to disability law to serve individuals impacted. Clarity on legal obligation and best practices continues to be a need in regard to the Child Find law. Child Find is an obligation under IDEA that requires school districts to identify and evaluate students with reasonable suspicion of a disability that is impacting their ability to make progress educationally. States must define practices regarding the evaluation and qualification expectation of practice. Although there is more than a dozen recognized categories of educational disabilities, a specific learning disability continues to challenge Child Find obligations with discrepancy on how an individual may qualify within this educational disability category. For the identification of a specific learning disability, states must define how they will utilize a multi-tiered system including Response to Intervention (RTI) with or without the severe discrepancy model. Prior to the 2004 IDEA amendment, multi-disciplinary teams primarily relied on the severe discrepancy model as a primary factor of consideration for identifying a specific learning disability. Therefore, this thesis has been written to discuss benefits of Response to Intervention (RTI) practices versus Discrepancy model in identification of students who may have a Specific Learning Disability.

Degree Name

Special Education M.A.

Document Type

Masterʼs thesis