Since the reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) of 2002 and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA) of 2004, there is a strong emphasis on the supervision of paraprofessionals who provide instructional assistance to classroom teachers. Scholars have stressed and litigation has highlighted the importance of paraprofessional supervision. However, there is limited information regarding the definition of supervision, who should and how that supervision should happen. The NCLB and IDEIA legislation leaves room for states to establish state regulation and litigation to interpret supervision. This study explored the current litigation and scholarly works concerning how states interpret supervision for paraprofessionals who work as instructional aides. This study identified what states list on their websites in response to federal mandates. It attempted to answer six key study questions: 1) do states have policies or regulations concerning paraprofessional supervision?, 2) how does each state define "direct supervision"?, 3) who holds the responsibility for paraprofessional supervision?, 4) what are the procedures for paraprofessional supervision?, 5) what competencies supervisors should acquire before being appointed?, and 6) how is appropriate supervision demonstrated? By searching State Departments of Education websites and analyzing policies and regulations found within these websites only 18 out of the 50 states and the District of Columbia listed information. The interpretations of direct supervision varied from state to state. States also did not agree on who should take the responsibility, the procedures of how to supervise, necessary competencies of supervisors, and demonstrate appropriate supervision. Overall, there was limited information concerning this topic from State Department of Education websites.



College and Department

David O. McKay School of Education; Counseling Psychology and Special Education



Date Submitted


Document Type





paraprofessional, supervision