Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)

Program

Educational Leadership

Date of Award

5-2015

Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Pamela Scott

Committee Members

Virginia Foley, Katherine Glascock, Cecil Blankenship

Abstract

Since the late 1990s there has been a considerable increase in the number of students with disabilities who receive instruction in inclusive settings. The participation of students with disabilities in inclusion classrooms continued to grow with the passing of The No Child Left Behind Act (2001), formerly known as the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. While previous legislation called for students with disabilities to participate in all standardized testing, The No Child Left Behind Act called for the closing of the achievement gap between students with disabilities and their nondisabled peers. An accountability system with sanctions for individual schools and school division not showing gains towards closing the achievement gap was also established with the passing of the No Child Left behind Act, making the progress of students with disabilities a priority for all educators.

This qualitative study examined the perceptions of general education teachers, special education teachers, and building level administrators regarding inclusion in the elementary setting. Indepth, structured interviews were conducted with the 12 participants at a time and location of their choosing. Ten interview questions guided the process and the participants’ responses were recorded and transcribed verbatim.

Previous qualitative studies have been conducted with varying results. The review of the literature indicates that the perceptions of educators toward inclusion may impact the design and subsequent success of inclusion programs as well as the academic progress of students with disabilities. Many factors seem to contribute to the development of teacher perceptions of inclusion, including professional development training and special education classes taken by general education teachers.

The data were analyzed by first coding themes found in the interview responses. The themes were then categorized by using ordering and sorting techniques that permitted emerging patterns to be documented. The findings indicate that the participants of this study do not perceive that inclusion is appropriate for all students with disabilities. The participants cited the following features as being necessary elements of inclusion: coplanning, collaboration, and coteaching between the general education teacher and the special education teacher. Recommendations for practice and for future research were based on the data analysis.

Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access

Copyright

Copyright by the authors.

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