Date of Conferral
Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
Paraprofessionals often constitute the primary support system for special education students and are core members of special education instructional teams. Therefore, the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act requires that paraprofessionals receive adequate training, including training in evidence-based practices (EBP). However, paraprofessionals often do not obtain the training and professional development they need to become qualified. The unpreparedness of paraprofessionals may lead to discouraging student outcomes. Informed by social constructivism, the purpose of this exploratory case study was to understand the perspectives of 6 special education administrators, 5 special education teachers, and 1 special education paraprofessional on paraprofessionals' implementation of EBP and the status of EBP training for paraprofessionals. Purposely, and within the context of organizational sociocultural conditions, this study queried the perspectives of the participants in the purposeful sample on paraprofessional experience and training in EBP. During exploratory data analysis, open coding was used to analyze data thematically and identify central sociocultural themes. There was 1 overarching theme (organizational contexts of EBP implementation), 4 major subthemes (resources for EBP implementation, intrinsic attributes of professionals implementing EBP, extrinsic attributes of professionals implementing EBP, and acknowledging and valuing the role and importance of paraprofessionals tasked with implementing EBP), and several minor subthemes. This study may result in implementation of a yearlong paraprofessional professional development project, increased understanding and implementation of EBP, expansion of professional learning communities (PLC), and improvement of student outcomes.