Institute on Disability


Presumed competence reflected in students’ educational programs before and after the Beyond Access professional development intervention


Background Judgements about students' competence influence the goals of their individualised educationprograms (IEPs), the location of service delivery, and their placement in general education (GE) as opposed to special education (SE) classes. The purpose of this study was to describe how presumedcompetence to learn the GE curriculum was reflected in the IEPs of students with intellectual anddevelopmental disabilities (IDD), and in the reported percentage of time that these students spent in GE classes prior to and following the Beyond Access professional development intervention.

Method Five educational teams of students with IDD participated in a professional developmentintervention that emphasised students' presumed competence to learn grade‐level GE curriculum.Students' pre‐ and post‐intervention IEPs were qualitatively analysed and team member reports of percentage time spent in GE classes were averaged.

Results Five categories of presumed competence were identified. Following intervention, emphasis on learning the GE curriculum, a shift in location of service delivery from outside to within the GE classroom, and increased time spent in GE classes were reported.

Conclusions The Beyond Access intervention shows promise for enhancing views of thecompetence of students with IDD to learn the GE curriculum and for increasing their inclusion in GE classrooms.

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Journal Title

Journal of Intellectual and Developmental Disability


Taylor & Francis

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