Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Degree Name

Educational Leadership

Department or School/College

School of Education

Committee Chair

John Matt

Commitee Members

Roberta Evans, Frances O'Reilly, Ann Garfinkle, Tammy Elser


educational assistance., interventions, non-qualifying student, RtI, special education


University of Montana


Each year students are referred for special education evaluations based on teacher concerns of the student's academic progress or the student's success. Once the evaluation is completed and the Child Study Team meeting are held some students qualify for special education services under one of the thirteen disability categories. Other students will not be eligible for services based on one or more of the four categories used for not qualifying for services.

This study investigated what interventions were provided to the students who did not qualify, termed non-qualifying students, in this dissertation. A checklist of interventions for the individuals to use in preparing data was furnished by the researcher. Other information requested was the grade level of the student referral, reason for not qualifying, the student's scores on the state MontCAS reading assessment, and how many years the school has been using the Response to Intervention process.

Five hundred and fifty Montana school superintendents, principals and special education directors were invited to participate through mailed invitations with the data collection tool enclosed. After the initial mailing, follow-up telephone calls were conducted and numerous emails sent. The total number of responses was 349 (64%) superintendents, principals and special education directors and responses fit into various categories such as not interested, too time consuming, no students fit the criteria, all students qualified, all new staff, data access problems, and no referrals. However, twelve (2%) districts or schools submitted the student data requested. While the data provided comes from schools ranging in size from 123 students to 2,995 students, generalizability is not supported due to the small sample size.

There were relationships between the reading score the year prior to the referral and the referral year, between the referral year and the year after, between the year prior to the referral and the year after the referral, and between the reason for the referral and the academic interventions used. No significant relationship exists between referral and grade level, academic interventions and MontCAS scores, interventions and RTI process, MontCAS scores and RTI process, or the size of school and participating in the study.



© Copyright 2010 Nancy Ann Terwilliger-Grube