Special Education ETDs


Debbie Keiley

Publication Date



The purpose of this case study, using a qualitative research design, was to examine the process of using literacy assessment portfolios (LAPs) within a cross-categorical special education classroom to investigate whether or not using LAPs would provide distinct information about the literacy development of two students identified with specific learning disabilities and one student identified with autism. It also investigated whether or not the information obtained from the LAPs would impact the teacher-investigators instructional decision-making and whether or not using LAPs would influence parents' understanding of their child's progress and skills in the area of literacy development. The outcomes of this case study showed that student reading skills improved, their attitudes toward academic reading improved, there was an increased awareness of their reading/writing needs and behavior, and students self-evaluated their own progress while demonstrating increased confidence. The outcomes for parents showed that parents not only wanted to be involved in their children's progress, but that their expectations of what their children could achieve changed after the LAP process began. Parents also recognized changes in their children's motivation, self-awareness, and self-efficacy. Finally, this case study demonstrated that the outcomes after implementing LAPs in the classroom helped the teacher gain a deeper understanding of the students as learners, provided a better understanding of the importance of ongoing dialogue, and gave the teacher the opportunity to observe the power of reflection.


Portfolios in education--Case studies, Literacy--Study and teaching (Elementary), Children with mental disabilities--Education--Case studies, Autistic children--Education--Case studies, Educational evaluation--Case studies

Document Type




Degree Name

Special Education

Level of Degree


Department Name

Special Education

First Committee Member (Chair)

Copeland, Susan R.

Second Committee Member

Calhoon, Anne

Third Committee Member

Scherba de Valenzuela, Julia

Fourth Committee Member

Keefe, Elizabeth