The Factors Promoting the Systematization of the PDCA Cycle in Student Support Systems: Special Needs Education in Japan


Since 2007, Japanese public schools have established student support systems. As the key persons promoting this system in each school, special needs education coordinators must work on six major tasks in addition to their regular daily teaching work: a) running a school committee supporting special education; b) formulating an “Individual Education Support Plan”; c) developing an “Individualized Education Plan”; d) planning in-school teachers’ training; e) enlightening parents about special needs education; and f) cooperating with external experts. However, previous studies show that coordinators lack the knowledge, skills, and time needed to serve effectively, and furthermore, they face challenges in gaining cooperation among teachers (Matsumoto, 2012; Miyaki & Kifune, 2011). Consequently, student support systems are not functioning as well as intended. Matsumoto (2016) stated that holding a school committee regularly will enable the Plan, Do, Check, Action (PDCA) cycle of student support systems to become more systematic. In the present study, we analyzed the same data used by Matsumoto (2016) to clarify additional factors that enable student support systems to become more systematic. We asked 50 coordinators to fill the “PDCA cycle promoting sheet”; the completed sheets highlighted both the weak and strong points of student support systems from two perspectives: the cycle itself and the process of sharing information. The results of the study indicate that cycles within student support systems are more systematic if the coordinator has more than 5 years of experience and if there are two coordinators in one school.

Author Information
Kumiko Matsumoto, Ochanomizu University, Japan
Tomoko Takamura, Ochanomizu University, Japan

Paper Information
Conference: ACP2018
Stream: Psychology and Education

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Posted by James Alexander Gordon