Term of Award

Winter 2023

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Curriculum Studies (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Curriculum, Foundations, and Reading

Committee Chair

Peggy Shannon-Baker

Committee Member 1

Robert Lake

Committee Member 2

Stephanie Devine

Committee Member 3

Maria Peterson-Ahmad

Committee Member 3 Email



This embedded qualitative case study examined the experiences of pre-service special education teachers following two simulated Individualized Education Program (IEP) meetings. I utilized Experiential Learning Theory (ELT) and Dialogic Education (DE) as a framework to better understand how these experiences changed pre-service teachers’ understanding of the IEP process. ELT provided a framework for creating the experience to support student learning, focusing on rich and relevant experiences (Kolb & Kolb, 2017; Thomas & Hilton, 2015) and subsequent reflection (Kolb & Kolb, 2009). DE provided the foundation with the rules of dialogue (Kazepides, 2012) that underpin the interactions between individuals in an IEP meeting and supported the analysis of those interactions and meeting perceptions. The literature reviewed included an examination of field experience activities (Nagro & deBettencourt, 2017), the complexities of IEP meetings (Winterman & Rosas, 2014; Yell et al., 2020), teacher self-efficacy (Bandura, 1994; Rotter, 1966), and simulation-based learning (Dieker et al., 2014). Participant observations, semi-structured interviews, video-recorded meetings, and student work samples composed the data set. These data were coded for themes within and then between the four IEP teams using descriptive, in vivo, and pattern coding methods (Saldaña, 2015). According to the data, participants left with a greater understanding of the roles and responsibilities of IEP team members, the uniqueness of IEP meetings, the importance of collaboration, and an enhanced level of confidence when participating in future IEP meetings. Participants also noted that the simulations allowed them to collaborate with their peers and gave them unplanned surprises during the meeting that allowed them to think critically. Based on these findings, curriculum studies scholars should explore the intersectionality of disability and other identities to see how these identities impact parent and student participation in IEP meetings. Educator preparation programs (EPPs) should implement repetitive practices of IEP meetings between general education and special education pre-service teachers to support their understanding of and appreciation for one another. Additionally, EPPs should consider soliciting student and parent involvement in teaching and learning, including IEP meeting practices. Finally, methodological recommendations are provided, including considerations for scheduling and opportunities for mixed methods approaches.

Research Data and Supplementary Material


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