Examining the effects of Appreciative Inquiry on IEP meetings and transition planning

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Teaching and Leadership


Dennis D. Gilbride


Appreciative inquiry, Transition, Organizational development, Students with disabilities, IEP team meetings, Individualized Education Plans

Subject Categories



This study analyzes the effects of Appreciative Inquiry as an intervention on participant interactions during IEP meetings and on students' written transition plans. Developed as an organizational development tool, Appreciative Inquiry elicits narratives of success that then create the lens through which the future can be planned. This study implements Appreciative Inquiry as a written protocol in one school district and as a training for staff and a written protocol in a second school district while using a third district as a control. Participants' interactions during IEP meetings were measured in ten second increments while transition plans were analyzed using IDEA plan requirements and best practice indicators. Appreciative Inquiry affected meeting interactions positively. It increased the percentages of student turn taking, positive remarks and the percentages of student self-advocacy and informational and observational remarks while decreasing negative remarks. Although the protocol only district complied with the protocol to 25%, increased percentages were observed in this district and in the district that underwent the training and used the protocol. However, the increases in the protocol only district were less. Appreciative Inquiry had no effect on the quality of transition plans.


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