How are preservice Special Education students in Al-Imam University in Riyadh taught about IEPs and what they know about their reviews?

How are preservice Special Education students in Al-Imam University in Riyadh taught about IEPs and what they know about their reviews? How do SEN teachers in Riyadh use and understand IEPs for students with moderate to severe disability?

  1. Aim(s) and purpose of the research

The Saudi governments have been trying to give students in general and special education a lot of attention over years. For example, they spent 51 billion dollars on education this year, which is around 25% of the government budget (The Ministry of Finance of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, 2016).

Researches show that the reality of education in general and the special education in particular, in Saudi Arabia, does not amount to the level required comparing to the huge government support. And given that the IEP is the cornerstone of the special education, I will rely on it in order to bridge this gap.

So, my research project will be based on the study of IEP within existing legal frameworks and in terms of its application from the point of view of teachers in the field and in Riyadh schools as well as the students of Imam University, Department of Special Education; and that before their graduation and through completing questionnaires, and if required, conducting interviews.

It is hoped that this research will enable and help teachers in Saudi Arabia to use the IEP program with all disabilities, but not exclusively, as it is the case with students with mental disability, autism, and multiple disabilities. In addition, to make more efficient use of the IEP to include other aspects outside the school walls, such as physiotherapy and treatment of a speech disorders.



Research questions (or problem to be solved)

I will devide the questions in this section into two parts: The first part concerns the students before being graduated, and the second one deals with teachers in schools in regard to students.

-Does the Course reflect the actual reality in the field as far as the special education in Saudi Arabia is concerned?

-Has the traditional approach which is used at the University of Imam (being rather theoritical and lacking school practice during the study of the course) resulted in a clear understanding of the IEP?

-Has the time frame between the study of the course and the field training before graduation (one year and a half) influenced their perception of the IEP?

-Do they believe that the IEP is useful? What are the limits of their knowledge of it?

As far as teachers are concerned, being the main part of the research,

-Does the IEP stand for a formal document to them? Why?

-Do they apply the IEP? If yes, which type of disability is it applied on?
-What are the obstacles that prevent them from applying the IEP correctly.

-Do they believe that the IEP is useful? What are the limits of their knowledge of it?


Reasons for choosing the topic

The effective attention in special education in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia has never started since a long time, comparing to other countries such as America, when they created the law of Education for All Handicapped Children, in 1975.

As a result of this, there are not many researches on the theme of the IEP in Saudi Arabia and its relation with teachers, except for (Rais and Hanafi 2008), (Hanafi, 2005, (Alherz 2008), and (Alhachrami 2003). Despite the existance of these few researches, most of them did not focus directly on the role of the teacher in the IEP. As for the other reason there hasn’t been any research in Saudi Arabia that has spoken about special education students at university and their views and perception of the IEP.

In terms of my relationship with the IEP, I have started since more than 2009 when I studied the IEPs module. Since the first moment, I felt that there was something strange with the topic: Both of university and books talk about an integrated work environment in schools and that all things are accessible and available, but through my voluntary work , my conviction was saying just the opposite. My conviction has been increasingly confirmed, when I put my feet as a teacher of special education for three years.

I couldn’t find a multidisciplinary team with me, as I failed to determine the IEP for most of the students. Not only was this just my problem, but also my colleagues’ in other schools ; which confirms ,once more, that there has been a large defect in the IEP. Additionally, I currently work as a lecturer in the Department of Special Education at Imam University in Riyadh since 2014, with a degree of university lecturer. My experience in the field has led me to teach a module to university students. In my experience as a lecturer of the module, I tried dramatically to dodge the gap between what the Arabic books say, the IEP, and the reality of the Kingdom, in order to prevent students from the bad

experience I and my colleagues have had. And this can be achieved by assuming, every week, unreal situations to which the IEP is applied. This, as a matter of fact, has not existed in the methodology of the module of which objectives are purely theoritical and do not permit to establish workshops.

As a conclusion, I hope that my research will be contributing to the renaissance of the special education in the Kingdom, by emphasizing the importance of the IEP as it is the right for every student with a disability. It is also worth mentioning that taking account of teachers’ viewpoints about the IEP is a way to its success. And, my last hope is that the Saudi universities in general, and the Imam University in particular, will teach this module as required and use it as a teaching material, because they will be required to retain control of things in the future.


  1. A brief review of background literature

Which bodies of literature will you draw on for this study? This refers to the subject area of the dissertation rather than the research methodology. Use the literature to demonstrate your current understanding of your topic, showing how you intend to develop this understanding within the dissertation. The purpose of this section is to show that you are aware of the main ideas related to your intended work. It should be no more than 500 words as you will undertake an extended review of literature in the dissertation.


  1. Methodology and Research design

What overall approach or framework will your research take, for example, will it be a case study, a survey, action research, ethnography?  What values and beliefs drive your choice of approach?  What kind of data do you intend to collect, for example, will they be quantitative and/or qualitative?  Why will you collect data in this form?  This section and the next (sections 5 and 6) will be substantial and important parts of the assignment and will probably use up to 2,000 words.



As mentioned before, this project will focus on IEPs in Saudi Arabia in terms of SEN teachers in Riyadh. That will not just include if are IEPs use or not in Saudi schools, I will try to be more in-depth by taking their views about it. Furthermore, the understanding of IEPs as format do they consider it as legal sheet, finally the challenges might affect SEN teachers.


  • Research methods

What do you intend to do in your research project?  What methods or instruments will you use? You will need to explore the method(s), justifying their use in some detail and explaining some of the advantages and disadvantages of the method(s). You will need to provide an indication of the numbers and types of data sources that you will use in your research. There should be references to literature about your selected methods.


Data analysis plan

How do you envisage analysing the data you have collected and how will this relate to the methods of data collection?


Anticipated ethical and practical issues

What ethical and practical issues do you anticipate in carrying out your investigation?  In order to comply with School of Education regulations you are required to complete an Ethics Form. In the assignment you should discuss the main ethical issues and refer the reader to your ethics form for detail.




  1. training
  2. – legal use
  3.  Efficacy and Fidelity