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Date of Award
Bachelor of Arts (BA)
Department of Educational Foundations and Exceptionalities
Rates of suspensions and expulsions are increasing in public schools in the United States, despite research stating that such exclusions have negative effects on students and are generally ineffective in addressing misbehavior. There is an overrepresentation of students with disabilities in the population of excluded students, which poses a threat to their right to a free and appropriate education (FAPE). When a student with a disability faces an exclusion, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires a manifestation determination review (MDR) to be held by a committee of school personnel and the student’s parent(s)/guardian(s) to determine the cause of the student’s behavior. Challenges inherent to group decision-making as well as issues do to conflicting views, vague language, and the MDR process itself often arise during MDR meetings. The literature recommends best practices for interdisciplinary committees such as establishing a shared goal and utilizing a common language, as well as MDR-specific best practices such as better involving the parent(s)/guardian(s), improving MDR training for committee members, and employing evidence-based interventions in the aftermath of an MDR. The literature also maintains the importance of a school psychologist participating in an MDR meeting as a professional who is trained in the scientific study of behavior, can provide objective information on common manifestations of disabilities, and can explain the implications of evaluation results. The goal, format, content, and possible applications of the best-practice eBook created to assist the MDR committee members in their preparation are discussed.
Knudsen, Molly E., "Manifestation determinations: An interdisciplinary and user-friendly guide to best practices" (2015). Senior Honors Projects, 2010-current. 85.