Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




In response to the decline in student achievement test scores during the past decade and the perceived erosion of confidence in the quality of public education, a number of states have initiated legislative or administrative action to develop and implement a variety of statewide minimum competency testing (MCT) programs. as of January 1, 1980, thirty-six states, including the Commonwealth of Virginia, had mandated some form of MCT programs for elementary and secondary school students.;In Virginia and in at least five other states a major purpose of MCT programs is to ensure, through a uniform statewide test, that students who are awarded a standard high school diploma have achieved a minimum level of proficiency in specified educational skills.;Handicapped and non-handicapped students of the graduating class of 1981 were the first to be required to meet the Virginia Graduation Competency Test (GCT) requirement as a criterion of eligibility for the award of a standard high school diploma.;Establishment of a direct and clearly defined working relationship between MCT programs and the IEP has been advocated as an ethical and reasonable means of ensuring that handicapped students will be provided fair and meaningful opportunities to benefit from instruction in the skills assessed by state and local MCT programs. This study was designed to examine the relationship between the Virginia Graduation Competency Test (GCT) assessment of student proficiency in specific educational skills and the educational skills content of the annual goals and short-term instructional objectives of the individualized education programs (IEPs) of handicapped high school students.;A total of 286 IEPs (N - 1981 = 124; N - 1982 = 162) representing 162 LD students and 30 ED students who took the March 1981 GCT were obtained for examination from 82 of 93 (88%) local Virginia school divisions which administered the March 1981 GCT to LD and ED high school students. IEP statements of students present level(s) of performance, annual goals and short-term objectives were examined for specific GCT skills content and performance related data.;The findings of this investigation suggest that the extent to which local school personnel are incorporating specific GCT skills into the educational programs provided for handicapped students through the IEP may be less than adequate to document systematic planning for meeting the GCT skills instructional needs of Virginia's handicapped students.



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