Final Project: Issue Brief Final Assignment

Final Project:

Issue Brief Final Assignment Due Dec. 11th

SPED 117


An issue brief is a short, neutral summary of what is known about a particular issue or problem. A brief distills a large amount of information into a few pages that is clear, succinct and richly informative. The brief synthesizes information from multiple sources so that the reader can quickly come to understand the heart of the issue and its context. Your issue brief must be focused, easy to read, and evidence-based. You may divide your page into columns, so it resembles an informational pamphlet if you are using graphics to present more information.

Please note: Specific information regarding this assignment will be given in the weeks preceding the due date. Please read this information carefully. In addition, review the Q&A forum before you submit your work.

The following outlines the sections of the brief you will include:

  1. Statement of the issue: Present the issue/ question/ problem clearly
  2. Define the issue: i) Present the history of the issue succinctly. Ensure you include relevant information to allow the reader to understand the context for the current issue, ii) Present what you learned about the issue succinctly. This section is dense in information and will take several attempts to write. Include citations from your research, you may use bullet points, tables, graphs or other visual aids.
  3. Identify the key stakeholders and present their concerns or positions (there may be several)
  4. Present legal or other considerations (rules, legislation etc.) Discuss the link between the legal considerations and the issue.
  5. Implications for next steps. In addition to presenting facts about your topic you will present implications to change/ alter or improve the issue. Implications for next steps must be based on the content you read rather than what your personal opinion. How should decision makers move forward? Support your conclusions with evidence (i.e., reference published works). This is not personal opinion. This section requires you to analyze and interpret the issue rather than simply describe the issue. Provide citations as you present next steps. Read enough information to find a consensus in the literature, don’t simply present solutions or next steps presented by the first 5 authors you read.
  6. References and professional writing: At least five high quality and appropriately recent references are included. Professional writing style is used (spelling, grammar, use of people first language).

This issue brief should be up to 2 typed, double-spaced pages using TNR font 12, using 1 inch margins. As noted, you may also structure the brief to resemble an instructional pamphlet. There is no recommendation for how long each section should be other than section 2 is the meat of the paper. The 5+ references are not included in the 2 typed pages (add an extra page for your reference section). References should not be the ones we used in class.


Sample topic areas:

You may select from one of these areas or another area that is related to content we have reviewed in class. If you select the latter, you must get approval for your topic prior to week 6 (before Nov 23) in the Issues Brief Q&A page on Moodle. Simply type the topic area you want to explore, and I will respond yes, no, or needs to be clarified.

Please note many of these topics are broad areas and that should be broken down into narrower issues to identify the issues of concern (for example, athletes and disabilities: you could look into sponsorship for people with disabilities who are athletes vs athletes without disabilities; lack of opportunities to train for people with disabilities vs those without disabilities).

  • Disability Rights
  • Civil rights and people with disabilities
  • What are some important laws to assure that individuals with disabilities have rights? Are these laws effective?
  • People with disabilities are represented in the media, but are these representations accurate?
  • Should people with disabilities be inspirational to others in society? Why or why not?
  • Person first language vs identity first language
  • The R word
  • Changing the language on how we talk about disability: going from mental retardation to intellectual disabilities
  • Laws protecting students with disabilities in schools
  • Including all students in schools
  • The pros and cons of inclusion of students
  • Employment and people with disabilities
  • Laws protecting adults with disabilities in the work force
  • Lack of employment options for people who have disabilities
  • ADD/ Sec 504 and employers responsibility to people who have disabilities
  • Institutions for persons with disabilities
  • Lack of community living options for people with disabilities
  • Where should people with severe disabilities live?
  • Voting access and disabilities
  • Voting access and ADA
  • Voting rights and people with disabilities
  • Athletics and disabilities
  • Paralympics
  • Universal design of learning- can we make the world more accessible?
  • Families and children with disabilities
  • Siblings of children with disabilities
  • Families and adult family members with disabilities
  • What are some future issues for people with disabilities that are important?
  • Should disabilities be cured if possible? Why or why not


Evaluation Criteria for Issue Brief Assignment:


  Description Points/Comments
1.Clear statement of the issue/question Issue/question/ concern is stated clearly _____ / 5
2.Present the Issue i) History of the issue is presented succinctly. History is accurate and includes relevant information allowing the reading to fully understand the context. (10)

ii) Discussion of issue is thorough and grounded in accurate information. Issue is presented clearly (may use be bullet points, tables, graphs or other visual aids) (10)

_____ /20
3.Stakeholders Major stakeholders are identified (2)

Stakeholders concerns or positions are presented (8)

_____ / 10
4.Legal or other Considerations Important and relevant legislation, rules, and/ or case law are mentioned (5)

Link between legal considerations and the issue is identified, interpreted and discussed appropriately (5)

_____ / 10
5.Implications for next steps Suggestions to change/ alter/ improve the issue (8) based on what you have read (this is not personal opinion) (7) _____ / 15

and Professional Writing

At least five high quality and appropriately recent references are included (10)

Professional writing style is used (spelling, grammar, use of people first language) (5)


_____ / 15
Total Points                                                                                            


  _____ / 75