Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name



School of Education

First Advisor

Darryl Groves, Ed.D.

Second Advisor

Trevor Turner, Ph.D.


Purpose The purpose of the study was to determine the level of agreement between OCR regional directors, SEA directors and LEA directors on the effectiveness of mediation in resolving special education complaints. The specific problem was to determine the major factors contributing to the effectiveness of mediation as an approach to conflict resolution in special education. Methods and procedures Two instruments were developed to collect data. Prior to administration to five OCR directors, 20 SEA directors and 65 LEA directors, the instruments were piloted on a group which included state consultants, LEA coordinators, LEA directors and a legal assistant. Four research questions were answered using descriptive and inferential statistics. A frequency distribution, along with percentages of data, was used to indicate the status of mediation as related to the mediator, reductions of hearings and hearing issues resolved. The chi-square test of significance was used to test the significance of data reported for large and small school systems. Results Mediation is used at the federal level and by a large percentage of local school systems. A small percentage of the SEA directors reported that mediation is a requirement of local school systems. There was disparity in responses of SEA and LEA directors on the length of time mediation has been required. Although both SEA and LEA directors reported a reduction in hearing, the LEA directors were more inclined to attribute the reduction to mediations. The issues of identification, evaluation, placement and related services can be resolved through mediation. The primary handicaps of learning disabilities, behavior disorders, and mentally handicapped appeared most frequently in mediations. A significant difference, in favor of large school systems, was indicated relative to the use of mediation. No significant difference was apparent between large and small school systems relative to the development of guidelines and the requirement of mediation. Conclusions The federal agency of OCR, state education agencies and school systems have made some efforts to include some form of mediation as part of their appeals process. The variables of issues and types of handicaps, while important for influencing the request for mediation, do not appear to be contributing factors for mediation effectiveness. Limited documentation was found at federal, state and local levels. Therefore, generalizations drawn from the study should be applied cautiously.