Date of Completion

January 1982


Education, Curriculum and Instruction




In recent years there has been a great deal of research focusing on individualized education in the public and private schools. This research has dealt primarily with curriculum design and with teachers' roles, and review of these theoretical backgrounds lends concentrated support to the research presented. There has been a lack of research which pertains to the students' conceptualizations of individualized programs and this research looks directly at the pupils' concepts.^ This investigation determines what comprehensive view of individualized programs emerges from the analysis of the conceptualizations of the students who are involved in these programs. This ethnography examines the information obtained from participant observation, students' essays, and from the follow-up interviews of the students and teachers. Analysis of the data is made in terms of identifying any students' variables that link with their conceptualizations.^ The goals of this research are: (1) to attempt to gain an in-depth understanding about students' conceptualizations of their individualized learning environment; (2) to develop a model which describes students' conceptualizations about individualization; (3) to generate grounded theory and to tie into existing theory about conceptualization; (4) to make recommendations to educators about individualized instruction and curriculum materials.^ This research concludes that physical environment is not a constant in this individualized program. It is one of six interdependent factors of students' conceptualizations which are: organization, interaction, justification, classification, reinforcement and PICGO (Physical environment, Initiating structures, Communication mechanisms, Goals and Objectives). The research also concludes that there is greater student input and less environmental determinism in the students' total conceptualizations than has previously been revealed in the literature. The individualized instructional component of PICGO may provide a difference in the content of the input. ^