Date of Submission


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)



Department Chair

Robert A. DiTomasso, Ph.D., ABPP

First Advisor

Rosemary Mennuti, Ed.D., Chairperson

Second Advisor

George McCloskey, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Kenneth Koczur, Ed.D.


The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act requires that each special education student has an Individualized Education Program (IEP) developed at least once every year. In addition to school staff, regulations require that parents be invited to the IEP meetings. This study retrospectively reviewed the records of 270 students with educational disabilities in grades six through twelve. Demographic and descriptive data were gathered for each student and were separated according to whether the parent did or did not attend the IEP meeting. End-of-year information was examined regarding final report card grades, absenteeism, and cumulative days of detentions and suspensions. Of these variables, significant differences were found between the students whose parents participated in their IEP meetings and those students whose parents did not participate. The children of attending parents had higher grades in English/language arts, in mathematics, and in their overall grade point averages. These students also had significantly fewer absences. No differences were found regarding the frequency of detentions and suspensions between the two groups. Among demographic characteristics, ethnicity and socioeconomic status were associated with rates of parental participation. Some relationships may exist between parental participation and the category of their children's special education eligibility, but these results were inconclusive. Student gender and grade level were not predictive of parental attendance at IEP meetings.