Honors Program

Midway Honors

Date of Award


Thesis Professor(s)

Pam Mims

Thesis Professor Department

Curriculum and Instruction


The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) has played a critical role in providing educational opportunity to students with disabilities. As the principles of the IDEA are foundational to teaching students with disabilities, it is necessary that both general education and special education teachers have an understanding of special education policy. This study examines teacher candidates’ knowledge of special education policy and their attitudes and perceptions of special education. The survey was distributed to teacher candidates in their final year of their teacher preparation program at a public university in the Southeast. Results indicated that teacher candidates in all teaching areas lacked knowledge of special education law. A difference was seen in the knowledge of special education and general education teacher candidates, as special education candidates had significantly higher knowledge. Teacher candidates who had higher perceived levels of knowledge also had higher actual knowledge, and candidates with lower perception also had lower knowledge. Implications of these results for educator preparation programs and current teachers are discussed.


East Tennessee State University

Document Type

Honors Thesis - Open Access

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.


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