Factor analysis of special-education hearing officers' decisions in Illinois
Studinski, Dennis Alexander
MetadataShow full item record
The purpose of this study was to research the subject of special-education due process hearing rulings and their impact upon the educational decisions of school staff and administrators. This study identified factors considered by Illinois hearing officers in special-education due process hearings that are positively correlated with favorable hearing decisions to the school district. Those factors were assembled and compared to issues addressed by the school districts prior to the hearing. The impact of critical factors had not previously been looked at carefully in its role between the schools and the hearing process. This research has provided this important information to educators and can help school districts to make decisions based upon factors that are considered to be important to success in a hearing. It can also help school districts know when to compromise and when to concede. This qualitative study used the historical case study methodology as the particular research approach. Actual hearing decision orders issued by the hearing officers in Illinois from July 1, 1997, through October 31, 2000, were used in this research paper. A matrix of critical factors was developed to analyze the hearing decisions. Based upon the research and the data resulting from this study, seven recommendations were made and should be instituted in each Illinois school district as the school district addresses the needs of individual students through special education. Abiding by these recommendations is expected to result in a higher probability of success at the hearing level and may even deter some parents' attorneys from pursuing specific hearings entirely.