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Date of Award

1998

Document Type

Dissertation - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

Department

Benerd School of Education

First Advisor

David Baral

First Committee Member

Hugh McBride

Second Committee Member

Harriett Arnold

Third Committee Member

Sandee Kludt

Fourth Committee Member

Mari G. Irvin

Abstract

Since the mid-1980s several forces have brought about changes in the delivery of special education services to students with disabilities: the Regular Education Initiative and inclusive education movements; increase in parent advocacy for including students with disabilities in general education classes; increases in student diversity in terms ofrace, language, income, exceptionality, and culture; and a trend toward heterogeneous grouping in special education classes. As a consequence, the new California Standards for teacher credentials in special education require competencies and skills to implement inclusive service delivery models. Current holders of Learning Handicapped (LH) and Severely Handicapped (SH) credentials, trained under previous standards, may not have all of these skills. The purpose of this study was to determine training needs of veteran special education teachers in California, as perceived by those teachers and their school site administrators. Specifically, this study sought to determine the extent to which these teachers and administrators perceive that (a) the teachers possess 31 skills in eight new Level I standards and (b) the teachers need additional training in these skills. Responses to 167 questionnaires completed by LH teachers, SH teachers, and school site administrators, and two follow-up interview sessions with a selected subsarnple of each group were analyzed. Overall, the teachers perceived themselves to be competent in the examined skills and indicated little need for further training. Responses to follow-up interview questions showed that they have a balanced awareness of their competencies and need for training. Administrators rated the teachers lower in skills and in greater need of training than the teachers rated themselves, but the administrators expressed (a) a high level of regard for the abilities of the teachers and (b) a high level of expectation for the teachers as they take on new roles in the inclusive system. Based on the findings, it was recommended that (a) districts implement pragmatic inservice training, rather than university coursework; (b) administrators formally state their expectations for these teachers in the general education setting and provide system-level support and training to facilitate the teachers' assumption of their new role; and (c) administrators form a closer alliance with these teachers to better understand their performance and their needs.

Pages

197

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