Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Virginia McLaughlin


Substantial research supports the efficacy of early intervention services for children with developmental delays from birth to age 5. Federal legislation, IDEA, P.L. 101-476, now mandates that states provide services to infants and toddlers (Part C) and preschoolers ages 3--5 (Part B) using either categorical or noncategorical classifications.;Research relative to eligibility classifications and stability of classifications of preschool students transitioning to school age service is limited. The purpose of this study was to determine: (a) the initial eligibility classification at time of exit from preschool special education services, (b) the stability of classifications for students initially declassified and initially classified, and (c) the performance of students who were classified with mild disabilities in terms of attendance, disciplinary referrals, retention, math and reading achievement, and grade point average. Results of the study indicated that 86% of students who exited preschool special education continued to be eligible for special education services. Overall, 29% of the students maintained the original exit classification status over six years. Seventy-five percent of students originally declassified at time of exit were subsequently reclassified within the first three years following exit. No significant differences were found on variables of achievement between students originally declassified and originally classified. Examination of stability of school assignments indicated that students who were initially declassified and remained declassified experienced significantly fewer school assignment changes than all other groups.



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