Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School of Education


Educational Leadership PhD

First Advisor

James A. Tucker

Second Advisor

Elsie P. Jackson

Third Advisor

Lester J. Horvath


Problem. Prereferral intervention has been implemented in many schools across the country as one systemic solution to concerns about special education prevalence rates. This study analyzed change in special education prevalence rates in Connecticut schools participating in the Early Intervention Project (EIP) as compared to Connecticut schools not participating in the project. The project incorporates a building-based team using a problem-solving approach to provide prompt and sustained support to classroom teachers who request assistance in working with students who are at risk of referral for special education.

Method. The research design consisted of a comparison of special education prevalence change rates. Prevalence change rate was the dependent variable. The principle independent variable was participation in the Connecticut Early Intervention Project (EIP) by a school, using the designations “EIP’" school and “non-EIP” school. A one-way analysis of variance was performed to determine if there were significantly different special education prevalence change rates. Additional analyses were conducted on EIP schools using two attribute independent variables, race/ethnicity and Connecticut’s education reference groups (ERGs), on which one-way analyses of variance were also performed. After finding the main effect, a third attribute independent variable, initial year of EIP participation, was used. The data were more closely examined through two additional comparisons, calculation of the Spearman’s rho correlation coefficient and a one-way analysis of variance. Analyses were conducted at the school level. There were 864 public schools across 169 districts in Connecticut.

Results. The mean special education prevalence change rates between schools participating in EIP and non-EIP schools were found to differ significantly, F (1,862) = 4.876, p < .05. There was also a significant difference in the special education prevalence change rates between ERGs in EIP schools, F (8,149) = 3.385, p < .05.

Conclusions. The results support the use of the EIP model in Connecticut. This prereferral intervention model and the subsequent instructional and behavioral strategies associated with it can be expected to reduce the rate of referral for possible special education placement, thus lowering the special education prevalence rate.

Subject Area

Special education--Connecticut.

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