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The National Center on Dispute Resolution in Special Education

"Encouraging the use of mediation and other collaborative strategies to resolve disagreements about special
education and early intervention programs."

Research & Evaluation


A Roadmap to Legal Dispute Resolution for Students with Disabilities This article maps out the similarities and differences among the various routes to Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Section 504 dispute resolution.

Dispute Resolution (DR) Procedures, Data Collection, and Caseloads This study reviews state databases and examines the ratio of dispute resolution cases per 10,000. A CADRE Publication

Dispute Resolution Activities: State Data Collection The Phase I study conducted as a part of NASDSE's subcontract with CADRE was a national screening of the current status of ADR data collection procedures carried out within the states. Following the completion of the Phase I study, a more in-depth study of state ADR data collection procedures was conducted within ten states.

Dispute Resolution Database Structure and Elements To help facilitate the development of dispute resolution case management database systems, CADRE and NASDSE formed a design team for the purpose of determining the necessary data elements and database structure(s). Participants from Illinois, Texas, Indiana, Maine, Idaho, Washington State, and the Western RRC assisted with this task. This paper describes the features of a system that can assist states to collect comprehensive management information across complaints, mediation, and due process hearings.

Due Process Hearing Systems Under the IDEA: A State-by-State Survey This article presents the results of a state-by-state survey of the hearing officer system and serves as a current "snapshot" of due process systems. Published in the Journal of Disability Policy Studies.

Encouraging Meaningful Parent/Educator Collaboration: A Recent Review of Literature This document synthesizes findings from a number of recent academic studies and policy publications. Among the highlights is the idea that involvement may be too narrow a term to encapsulate the range and depth of partnerships that support students' success.

Evaluating the Fiscal Effectiveness of ADR Processes: Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA) - Return on Investment (ROI) Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) processes have resulted in positive outcomes for parents, students who receive special education and related services, advocates, school district staff, and others. Persons in dispute are provided opportunities to have their disagreements dealt with promptly. The anxiety of long waits in the due process/litigation system is relieved, often times with low, or no cost, professional services provided to all parties. And perhaps most importantly, ADR has provided a process for effectively mending broken relationships and set a course for positive future interactions.

FFY 2010-11 SPP/APR Dispute Resolution Indicator Analyses - Part B and Part C FFY 2010-11 SPP/APR analyses for the dispute resolution indicators.

In the Best Interests of the Child: Individualized Education Program (IEP) Meetings When Parent Are In Conflict This publication was developed to better understand the problem of parents or caregivers having difficulty working together, especially during IEP team meetings.

Initial Review of Research Literature on ADR in Special Education This article describes a literature search process employed to identify research in ADR and special education, organizes some initial search results, briefly summarizes them, and raises important questions for the purpose of generating a future research agenda.

Mediating at the Maryland Office of Administrative Hearings The Maryland Office of Administrative Hearings provides special education mediation services to the State Department of Education, Division of Special Education/Early Intervention Services. This brief article spotlights the service and its recent success. For FY 2003, the office received 425 special education mediation requests. 298 cases went to mediation and 193 of those settled for an agreement rate of 65%.

Michigan Special Education Mediation Program Receives Positive Evaluations Recent mediation participants completed an evaluation form that the Michigan Special Education Mediation Program (MSEMP) provides to all mediation participants. The results of these evaluations are compiled quarterly and used to assist program staff with maintaining high-quality mediation services for special education disputes. The evaluation asks several questions with short, prompted answers, as well as gives participants the opportunity to provide longer, written feedback. The article summarizes answers to key questions on evaluations received during the July 1, 2000 - March 31, 2001 time period from 66 mediation participants.

National Dispute Resolution Use and Effectiveness Study CADRE partner, NASDSE has been systematically gathering dispute resolution information from SEAs to analyze formative (process) and summative (outcome) information on the use and effectiveness of conflict resolution procedures. The National Dispute Resolution Use and Effectiveness Study reviews previously published research, examines recently collected data, and makes important recommendations. A CADRE Publication. This document was published in September 2004. More information on IDEA 2004.

Optional IDEA Alternative Dispute Resolution This In-Depth Policy Analysis is the result of findings based on a survey sent to all special education units of state education agencies. The survey requested information about the use of 10 alternative dispute resolution processes not specifically required under IDEA. This publication is a joint product from Project Forum and CADRE.

Oregon Mediation Program Successful Thanks to Valerie Miller and Suzy Harris from the Oregon Department of Education for this data on outcomes related to special education mediation in Oregon.

Perspectives of Participants in Special Education Mediation: A Qualitative Inquiry CADRE undertook a qualitative inquiry of special education mediations in two states. In this exploratory research, CADRE's goal was to gain access to, examine, and compare the perspectives of parents, school personnel and mediators on several dimensions of the mediation experience. A CADRE publication.

State Mediation Systems - A NASDSE Report This report is a brief analysis of the results of a survey of State Directors of Special Education on their state mediation systems. It was conducted as a follow-up to previous Project FORUM documents on this topic (Ahearn, 1997, Ahearn, 1994, Schrag, 1996). Responses to selected items of the survey are summarized in the attached table.

Texas Education Agency Special Education Mediation Program Scores High The overwhelming majority of parents and school district staff participating in the Texas Education Agency's (TEA) Special Education Mediation Program found it to be highly effective, expressed strong satisfaction with the process, and were willing to use the mediation services again or recommend it to others according to a survey of results which looked at 603 surveys over a two year period of time (1998-2000).

The Impact of Parent/Family Involvement on Student Outcomes: An Annotated Bibliography of Research from the Past Decade In this bibliography of research published during the past decade, we have grouped studies into three related areas: studies that evaluate the effectiveness of school-based programs and interventions intended to promote parent/family involvement on student outcomes; studies that evaluate family behaviors and characteristics and their effect on student outcomes; and studies that analyze parent/family involvement research. A CADRE Publication. This document was published in December 2002. More information on IDEA 2004.

Using Participant Feedback to Evaluate and Improve Quality in Mediation This resource guide presents an overview of mediation evaluation with a specific focus on how to make use of participant questionnaires in evaluating mediation programs. A CADRE Publication. This document was published in December 2002 and updated in August 2007. More information on IDEA 2004.

What Participants are Saying About Oregon’s Mediation Process A snapshot of the Oregon Department of Education, Office of Special Education survey of potential and actual mediation participants during 2002.

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