The personal program plan in secondary programs : an analysis of selected Saskatchewan school division practises and policies
The first of the three purposes of this study was to describe and analyze current Saskatchewan and local secondary school Personal Program Plan (PPP) policies. The second purpose was to compare the perceptions of current school and classroom practises to current provincial policy. The third purpose was to explore the perceptions of selected stakeholders in relation to effective and ineffective PPP practises for students with learning disabilities (LD) among Saskatchewan secondary programs. This was an inductive study conducted in a multiple phase case study design. Research was conducted through individual and group interviews in six voluntary secondary programs. The study also included the analysis of 100 survey responses from 19 secondary programs. In addition, this study analysed 25 Saskatchewan school division PPP policies then compared these policies to the provincial PPP policy. The conceptual framework was based on a policy model which included influential factors, stakeholders interpretations, implementation variables, with perceived effective or ineffective practises. The provincial policy was designed for all students with special needs, including those with LD. However, some school division policies delimited PPPs to particular populations (i.e. to only students with designated funding). Additionally, school division polices varied in specificity and detail creating inconsistencies in and across programs. In some cases the PPP content and implementation followed the provincial policy; however, in other cases the PPPs were not aligned to the provincial policy guidelines. Funding was found to be the most influential factor to the design and implementation of PPPs. Other factors included the timing and range of distribution of the PPP, teacher response to added responsibilities, adequacy of communication between stakeholders, and level of implementation training. Where stakeholders evidenced an understanding of the policy, the PPPs were used effectively used and appreciated by those involved in the process. Participants who used PPPs indicated that they felt this increased their ability to teach students with LD and contributed to students’ success. Perceptions of ineffective practises associated with the policy included inconsistency, insufficient time for planning, development and implementation of PPPs, poorly written PPPs, and the lack of professional development. Implications for theory included the influences at the various stages of policy design and PPP policy implementation. This resulted in the reconceptualization of the framework wherein the implementation of the PPP policy and the influencing factors are highlighted. Among the implications for policy was the attention that needs to be given to policy intention, implementation and experience in order to close the gaps. Implications for practise included considerations related to pre- and in-service training, preparation time for teachers, communication between programs, and a common understanding of funding purposes. Implications for future research included the continuity of services from elementary to middle to secondary programs for students with LD. In addition, the researcher suggests that future research of exemplary inclusive classrooms and the effective use of the PPPs in these settings.
learning disabilities, individualized plans, special education policy, special education
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)