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Principals' perspectives in determining the least restrictive environment for students with disabilities in rural Northwestern Pennsylvania schools
Principals' perspectives in determining the least restrictive environment for students with disabilities in rural Northwestern Pennsylvania schools
Brandon Maines
his research was conducted to determine the perspectives of principals in determining the least restrictive environment for students with disabilities. When principals are placed into the role of Local Education Agency (LEA) they are part of the decision-making proce...
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his research was conducted to determine the perspectives of principals in determining the least restrictive environment for students with disabilities. When principals are placed into the role of Local Education Agency (LEA) they are part of the decision-making process for determining the least restrictive environment (LRE) for individuals with disabilities in their schools. This research focused on the perceptions and attitudes that the principals have as it relates to special education. The research utilized a two-part investigation. For the first part, principals were asked to answer questions related to demographic data and educational experiences. Then, were asked a series of questions related to their attitudes toward inclusionary practices. Principals were then asked several hypothetical questions related to determining the LRE for students with disabilities. In the second part of the research, participants engaged in a face to face virtual interview that asked a series of questions related to their role as the LEA in their school and the perspectives that each principal had in relations to determining the LRE for students with disabilities. The results of the research indicated that principals lack the fundamental capacity to fully understand special education and its implications. The research showed and overwhelming need for in-depth professional development in the area of special education for principals as it relates to leading their schools and special education population. The need to build capacity to lead initiatives such as inclusion within their school is imperative in moving forward to ensure that individuals with special needs are educated in the LRE.
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2021
Preventing Abandonment of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) Devices for Students with Autism: Parent Perspectives for Successful Implementation
Preventing Abandonment of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) Devices for Students with Autism: Parent Perspectives for Successful Implementation
Sheri Lake
The purpose of the present study was to investigate the perspectives of parents of students with ASD who use high-tech AAC in educational settings. Although the use of AAC in school settings has been studied, research has not narrowed its scope to focus on children w...
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The purpose of the present study was to investigate the perspectives of parents of students with ASD who use high-tech AAC in educational settings. Although the use of AAC in school settings has been studied, research has not narrowed its scope to focus on children with ASD who use high-tech speech generating devices (SGDs) and receive special education services in school settings. By analyzing both qualitative and quantitative data, this study aims to create an initial framework for successful implementation of AAC for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. A mixed methods design was chosen for this study. Parametric and nonparametric statistics were utilized to test the theory that ease of use, device usefulness, and ease of learning the AAC technology positively influence parent satisfaction. Transcripts from semi-structured interviews were manually coded to identify qualitative themes related to parent satisfaction with their children’s AAC devices. Three qualitative themes emerged: parents feel like they are not equal members of the IEP team, parents act as self-advocates, and parents have difficulty trusting the recommendations made by the school team. Quantitative data analyses revealed a strong positive correlation between ease of use and satisfaction, ease of learning and satisfaction, and usability and satisfaction. Triangulation of data through qualitative analysis confirm that satisfaction is related to ease of use, ease of learning, and usability of the high-tech AAC device. Future studies should investigate parent perspectives that lead to abandonment of speech generating devices in different regions of the United States and across underrepresented groups. In addition, preservice programs in special education and speech-language pathology should be studied in order to determine the extent to which students entering the field have been taught to engage in family-centered practice. Finally, future research should investigate strategies that lead to successful implementation of speech generating devices with children with ASD.
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2021
Preventing Abandonment of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) Devices for Students with Autism: Parent Perspectives for Successful Implementation
Preventing Abandonment of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) Devices for Students with Autism: Parent Perspectives for Successful Implementation
Sheri Lake
The purpose of the present study was to investigate the perspectives of parents of students with ASD who use high-tech AAC in educational settings. Although the use of AAC in school settings has been studied, research has not narrowed its scope to focus on children w...
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The purpose of the present study was to investigate the perspectives of parents of students with ASD who use high-tech AAC in educational settings. Although the use of AAC in school settings has been studied, research has not narrowed its scope to focus on children with ASD who use high-tech speech generating devices (SGDs) and receive special education services in school settings. By analyzing both qualitative and quantitative data, this study aims to create an initial framework for successful implementation of AAC for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. A mixed methods design was chosen for this study. Parametric and nonparametric statistics were utilized to test the theory that ease of use, device usefulness, and ease of learning the AAC technology positively influence parent satisfaction. Transcripts from semi-structured interviews were manually coded to identify qualitative themes related to parent satisfaction with their children’s AAC devices. Three qualitative themes emerged: parents feel like they are not equal members of the IEP team, parents act as self-advocates, and parents have difficulty trusting the recommendations made by the school team. Quantitative data analyses revealed a strong positive correlation between ease of use and satisfaction, ease of learning and satisfaction, and usability and satisfaction. Triangulation of data through qualitative analysis confirm that satisfaction is related to ease of use, ease of learning, and usability of the high-tech AAC device. Future studies should investigate parent perspectives that lead to abandonment of speech generating devices in different regions of the United States and across underrepresented groups. In addition, preservice programs in special education and speech-language pathology should be studied in order to determine the extent to which students entering the field have been taught to engage in family-centered practice. Finally, future research should investigate strategies that lead to successful implementation of speech generating devices with children with ASD.
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2021
A Multi-level Quantitative Analysis on Factors Affecting Special Education Compliance
A Multi-level Quantitative Analysis on Factors Affecting Special Education Compliance
Justin Karam
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act is a federal law that requires that students with disabilities are provided with a Free and Appropriate Public Education. The cost of ensuring FAPE can be quite high for students that require more specialized supports; ...
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The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act is a federal law that requires that students with disabilities are provided with a Free and Appropriate Public Education. The cost of ensuring FAPE can be quite high for students that require more specialized supports; however, in not meeting that standard, districts may be liable for compensatory education. Much of the responsibility to fund special education, especially in Pennsylvania, falls on the schools to raise through local taxes. This has put schools in very challenging circumstances in regard to their budget. States across the country have conducted a Costing Out Analysis to review the necessary spending levels reviewed for education. Many studies discuss the need for higher funding allocations from state and federal governments so that the high-cost burden does not fall on LEAs and local tax dollars to meet the IDEA compliance requirements. While overall compliance with IDEA has improved over time, it is still an issue that needs to be addressed. This study used multiple regression to determine if there is a link between compliance with the Cyclical Monitoring for Continuous Improvement and factors such as special education spending and percentage of population receiving special education supports. The data are all public record and was collected through Pennsylvania Department of Education online Databases. The data revealed a regression model suggests that the relationship between the number of areas of non-compliance has a significantly moderate negative correlation with both the number of special education expenditures and the percentage of special education students. The model can explain or predict 11.4% of the number of areas of noncompliance in a school district.
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2022
An Examination of Elementary School Librarians' Self-efficacy Beliefs in Serving Students with Disabilities
An Examination of Elementary School Librarians' Self-efficacy Beliefs in Serving Students with Disabilities
Jessica Jordan
The purpose of this study was to investigate the self-efficacy beliefs of elementary school librarians in meeting the needs of students with disabilities in the library classroom. Quantitative methods were used through the administration of a survey instrument previo...
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The purpose of this study was to investigate the self-efficacy beliefs of elementary school librarians in meeting the needs of students with disabilities in the library classroom. Quantitative methods were used through the administration of a survey instrument previously developed and implemented in general classrooms (Dawson & Scott, 2013). The instrument evaluated five factors potentially impacting self-efficacy: (a) instruction, (b) professionalism, (c) teacher support, (d) classroom management, and (e) related duties. The theoretical framework outlined for the study was based upon Bandura (1977). As the work of Bandura focuses on perceptions, the survey instrument asked participants to rank their perceived abilities on 14 initial constructs and the five factors listed above. Participants (n=35) were recruited through a listserv designed for school librarians (K-12) within Pennsylvania. Due to the small sample size (n=35), Partial Least Squares-Structural Equation Modeling (PLS-SEM) was utilized for data analysis. (Hair et al., 2017). Findings showed each of the five manifest variables captured in the survey instrument impacted elementary librarians’ perceptions yet the analysis of these factors as one body, the Higher Order Construct (HOC) was statistically significant. In using the PATH Model function of PLS-SEM, analysis showed that instruction, professionalism, and classroom management were statistically significant independently but HOC demonstrated greater significance. The study found that 50% of participants had a mean score of 4 or higher on the Likert scale used within the survey, indicating an overall average of participants having "some ability" or higher demonstrated lower levels of self-efficacy in meeting the needs of students with disabilities.
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2021
A Qualitative Analysis of Administrative Oversight of Inclusionary Environments in Secondary Classrooms
A Qualitative Analysis of Administrative Oversight of Inclusionary Environments in Secondary Classrooms
William Jordan
The position of principal has evolved into one with many responsibilities ranging from managerial to visionary leader. Federal legislation has placed an added layer of responsibility through the implementation of Public Law 94-142 which supported social justice refor...
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The position of principal has evolved into one with many responsibilities ranging from managerial to visionary leader. Federal legislation has placed an added layer of responsibility through the implementation of Public Law 94-142 which supported social justice reforms that were meant to include students with disabilities and provide an education for them alongside their non-disabled peers. The changes brought about by this legislation and its iterations, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and No Child Left Behind Act, have supported inclusionary actions taken by schools and placed importance on effectiveness of the programs used to educate all students. Despite more students with disabilities being included in general education classrooms, schools still struggle with supporting effective inclusionary programs. This study conducted an exploration of a principal’s decision making processes by gathering descriptions of their background experiences, leadership, and structural management of inclusionary environments. It offers insight into what inclusionary environments look like through the eyes of the principal. Research was conducted through a case study with three principals using phenomenological techniques. This study revealed four themes that provide a vibrant description of the inclusionary environments in these principal’s buildings. The principals interviewed in this study discussed their background experiences as teachers, their professional certification coursework, leadership approaches and the structural management of inclusion. Their insight can help one to think about inclusion as they do on a daily basis.
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2020
An Examination of Elementary School Librarians' Self-efficacy Beliefs in Serving Students with Disabilities
An Examination of Elementary School Librarians' Self-efficacy Beliefs in Serving Students with Disabilities
Jessica Jordan
The purpose of this study was to investigate the self-efficacy beliefs of elementary school librarians in meeting the needs of students with disabilities in the library classroom. Quantitative methods were used through the administration of a survey instrument previo...
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The purpose of this study was to investigate the self-efficacy beliefs of elementary school librarians in meeting the needs of students with disabilities in the library classroom. Quantitative methods were used through the administration of a survey instrument previously developed and implemented in general classrooms (Dawson & Scott, 2013). The instrument evaluated five factors potentially impacting self-efficacy: (a) instruction, (b) professionalism, (c) teacher support, (d) classroom management, and (e) related duties. The theoretical framework outlined for the study was based upon Bandura (1977). As the work of Bandura focuses on perceptions, the survey instrument asked participants to rank their perceived abilities on 14 initial constructs and the five factors listed above. Participants (n=35) were recruited through a listserv designed for school librarians (K-12) within Pennsylvania. Due to the small sample size (n=35), Partial Least Squares-Structural Equation Modeling (PLS-SEM) was utilized for data analysis. (Hair et al., 2017). Findings showed each of the five manifest variables captured in the survey instrument impacted elementary librarians’ perceptions yet the analysis of these factors as one body, the Higher Order Construct (HOC) was statistically significant. In using the PATH Model function of PLS-SEM, analysis showed that instruction, professionalism, and classroom management were statistically significant independently but HOC demonstrated greater significance. The study found that 50% of participants had a mean score of 4 or higher on the Likert scale used within the survey, indicating an overall average of participants having "some ability" or higher demonstrated lower levels of self-efficacy in meeting the needs of students with disabilities.
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2021
A Qualitative Analysis of Administrative Oversight of Inclusionary Environments in Secondary Classrooms
A Qualitative Analysis of Administrative Oversight of Inclusionary Environments in Secondary Classrooms
William Jordan
The position of principal has evolved into one with many responsibilities ranging from managerial to visionary leader. Federal legislation has placed an added layer of responsibility through the implementation of Public Law 94-142 which supported social justice refor...
Show more
The position of principal has evolved into one with many responsibilities ranging from managerial to visionary leader. Federal legislation has placed an added layer of responsibility through the implementation of Public Law 94-142 which supported social justice reforms that were meant to include students with disabilities and provide an education for them alongside their non-disabled peers. The changes brought about by this legislation and its iterations, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and No Child Left Behind Act, have supported inclusionary actions taken by schools and placed importance on effectiveness of the programs used to educate all students. Despite more students with disabilities being included in general education classrooms, schools still struggle with supporting effective inclusionary programs. This study conducted an exploration of a principal’s decision making processes by gathering descriptions of their background experiences, leadership, and structural management of inclusionary environments. It offers insight into what inclusionary environments look like through the eyes of the principal. Research was conducted through a case study with three principals using phenomenological techniques. This study revealed four themes that provide a vibrant description of the inclusionary environments in these principal’s buildings. The principals interviewed in this study discussed their background experiences as teachers, their professional certification coursework, leadership approaches and the structural management of inclusion. Their insight can help one to think about inclusion as they do on a daily basis.
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2020
Examining the Efficacy of Universally Delivered Social and Emotional Learning Curriculum, Second Step: A Mixed-Method Study of the Effects on Regular and Special Education Student Behavior and Teacher Instructional Competence
Examining the Efficacy of Universally Delivered Social and Emotional Learning Curriculum, Second Step: A Mixed-Method Study of the Effects on Regular and Special Education Student Behavior and Teacher Instructional Competence
Joseph Jablonski
Since the establishment of social emotional learning (SEL) as a conceptual framework to increase students’ prosocial and emotional competencies, research has been conducted to provide an evidence base to its programmatic effects. This study examined the efficacy of S...
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Since the establishment of social emotional learning (SEL) as a conceptual framework to increase students’ prosocial and emotional competencies, research has been conducted to provide an evidence base to its programmatic effects. This study examined the efficacy of Second Step, a universally delivered SEL curriculum. Evidence of efficacy is supplied through a mixed-method research design providing three separate data metrics for quantitative and qualitative analysis. The sample set was derived from the behavior data of 505 students who attended a suburban K-5 elementary school in northwest Pennsylvania for two consecutive years. Also included in the sample are 22 teachers who participated in a voluntary survey. Quantitative analysis was conducted through a quasi-experimental design utilizing a McNemar test to determine the statistical significance of negative behavior prevalence in comparing two school years. Additional quantitative data was supplied through a Likert-scale questionnaire. Contextual qualitative information was supplied from an open-ended survey. Through this study, it was determined that the Second Step SEL program had a statistically significant impact on the behaviors of students as well as an impact on the climate of the building. While teachers felt the stress of teaching the newly implemented SEL curriculum during the COVID-19 pandemic, results from the study suggest that the benefits of implementing the program outweighed this negative effect. Results also showed an impact on students in the special education emotional support subgroup. The evidence this study provides will help schools work to strengthen their students’ social, emotional, and behavioral capacities.
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2021
The Impact of Discontinue Criteria on Potential Gifted Students' Scores on the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children - Fifth Edition
The Impact of Discontinue Criteria on Potential Gifted Students' Scores on the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children - Fifth Edition
Dana Iera
Gifted identification varies across the United States between states, districts, and school psychologists. Although multiple measures of cognitive ability exist, one of the most popular tools is the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children- Fifth Edition, published i...
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Gifted identification varies across the United States between states, districts, and school psychologists. Although multiple measures of cognitive ability exist, one of the most popular tools is the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children- Fifth Edition, published in 2014. This standardized assessment measures cognitive abilities and is now in its fifth edition. The most notable difference is the use of five primary index scales, rather than four, that combine to yield a Full Scale IQ score. Another change is that the discontinue criteria are shorter for a few subtests within the measure. Although this leads to a shorter test administration time, many gifted advocates believe that this shortened discontinue criteria may underestimate gifted students' abilities by not allowing them to demonstrate knowledge beyond those three missed items (National Association for Gifted Children, 2018; Silverman and Gilman, 2020). The purpose of this study is to begin to explore how those shortened discontinue criteria on the Verbal Comprehension Index may or may not impact potentially gifted students’ scores and moreover, gifted eligibility. Understanding how these shortened discontinue criteria may or may not impact scores will help to guide districts and school psychologists into proper identification methods and criteria and a further understanding of the Verbal Comprehension Index on the WISC-V. This study will focus on the following questions: How do shortened discontinue criteria impact potential gifted students' scores on the Similarities subtest? How do shortened discontinue criteria impact potential gifted students' scores on the Vocabulary subtest? With limited verbal subtests, how does the WISC-V's shortened discontinue criteria impact potential gifted scores on the Verbal Comprehension Index? How do these discontinue criteria impact how school psychologists and schools determine eligibility?
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2021
The Efficacy of Equine-assisted Activities on Social Outcomes of Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder
The Efficacy of Equine-assisted Activities on Social Outcomes of Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder
A Qualitative Case Study
Trisha Huston
Individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have shown improvement through the use of various therapeutic approaches. Identifying these approaches that engage individuals with ASD is essential in facilitating opportunities for lessening the impact of symptoms. A ...
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Individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have shown improvement through the use of various therapeutic approaches. Identifying these approaches that engage individuals with ASD is essential in facilitating opportunities for lessening the impact of symptoms. A recent CDC report indicates the prevalence to be 1 in 54 children are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (Roth, 2020). While the prevalence continues to escalate, the epidemiology has yet to be discovered. While there is no cure for autism spectrum disorder (ASD), there are forms of therapy that have been proven to be successful in lessening the associated symptomatic behaviors. The most distinct classifiers related to ASD include sensory impairments, communication and speech delays, and restrictive, yet repetitive patterns of behavior or interests. This study intends to examine the parental viewpoint on correlations existing between equineassisted therapies (EAT) and communication skill improvements of adolescents with autism. Equine-assisted therapies have been found to be successful in the improvement of modality, communication deficits, and behavioral needs of individuals with disabilities. The parental viewpoint and input of such therapies has not been as stringently studied.
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2021
Examining the Effects of Class Size on Student Achievement in the Mohawk Area School District
Examining the Effects of Class Size on Student Achievement in the Mohawk Area School District
An Individual Participant Meta-Analytic Investigation
Lorree Houk
The issue of class size is a contentious issue in American education. While there is substantial empirical support for the existence of a negative correlation between class size and student achievement, numerous practical difficulties prevent schools from being able ...
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The issue of class size is a contentious issue in American education. While there is substantial empirical support for the existence of a negative correlation between class size and student achievement, numerous practical difficulties prevent schools from being able to further shrink class sizes. Policy-makers and educators need to achieve a more precise understanding of the degree to which class sizes make contributions to student achievement, as only such an understanding can allow decision-makers to set an effective class size policy. Educators have indicated that with smaller class sizes they are able to produce better student achievement results in reading and mathematics. With the increase in teacher accountability, class size is a topic discussed at the school district level. This independent meta-analytic investigation occurred within the Mohawk Area School District. The study sample included 93 reading classrooms and 97 mathematics classrooms ranging from grade levels kindergarten through eighth grade. The purpose of this quantitative case study based on statistical meta-analysis as to calculate the effect size of class size on student achievement in the Mohawk Area School District, Grades K-8. This purpose was achieved through calculating the effect size using Cohen's d. The i-Ready assessment was used as the standardized measure to calculate the effect of class size on achievement in reading and math. The analysis of this investigation indicates that there is no meaningful effect of class size on reading and math performance. These results are important considerations for the Mohawk Area School District as it faces budget constraints that impact the ability of the district to make class size decisions in the best interest of the staff and students.
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2017
Special Education Teacher Job Satisfaction
Special Education Teacher Job Satisfaction
What Can We Learn from Positive Organizational Scholarship and Satisfied Special Educators
Kerra Holden
Special Education Teacher (SET) job satisfaction and workplace commitment have long remained an elusive goal for many school communities and administrators. Workplace stress and burnout have burdened the role since its inception in 1975, leading to significantly more...
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Special Education Teacher (SET) job satisfaction and workplace commitment have long remained an elusive goal for many school communities and administrators. Workplace stress and burnout have burdened the role since its inception in 1975, leading to significantly more turnover than in other teaching roles and, more generally, other fields. This turnover, and various efforts to fill SET roles with unqualified educators, negatively affect the learning and school success of over one million students with disabilities each year. This study sought to learn from the small percentage of individuals who choose to stay in the Special Education Teacher role for more than 10 years and report high job satisfaction as well as a sense of thriving at work. Utilizing a qualitative research approach, as well as positive deviance lens, this study sought to understand what school leaders may learn from highly satisfied SETs and which leadership practices and strategies may encourage SET job satisfaction. Furthermore, potential intersections between SET job satisfaction and positive organizational scholarship were examined, to best understand how the field of Positive Organizational Scholarship (POS) may, if at all, inform the role of special education administrator. The findings of this study extend beyond the intersection of POS and SET job satisfaction and suggest the addition Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiatives into current conceptualizations of SET job satisfaction and retention.
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2022
New Elementary School Teachers' Perceptions of Classroom Management
New Elementary School Teachers' Perceptions of Classroom Management
Emily Hoffmann
New teachers leave their profession at an alarmingly high rate. Though many factors can be contributing to these high attrition rates, new teachers identify classroom management as one of their biggest challenges (Thompson, 2010). Considering this commonly reported c...
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New teachers leave their profession at an alarmingly high rate. Though many factors can be contributing to these high attrition rates, new teachers identify classroom management as one of their biggest challenges (Thompson, 2010). Considering this commonly reported challenge, this research study sets forth to understand how disruptive behavior in classrooms can impact job satisfaction for new teachers. Furthermore, this research study identifies the perspectives of new elementary school teachers relative to their classroom management, and gain insight into how professional development or training opportunities may impact new elementary school teachers’ perceptions on classroom management. The methodologies used in this study include quantitative and qualitative methods. An online questionnaire with both open-ended and closed-ended questions were completed by participants. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze data from the closed-ended responses in the questionnaire, and qualitative data was gathered and grouped into codes, which were then supported by themes. The three major themes that were supported by the data in this study include (a) behavior disruptions that occur in the classroom have a direct impact on new elementary school teachers job satisfaction, (b) the 7 research-based classroom interventions and supports are not all found to be effective for most new elementary school teachers, and (c) training and professional development opportunities to support classroom management are lacking. Results of the data suggest that new elementary school teachers experience behavior disruptions in the classroom that impact overall job satisfaction, and minimal training opportunities are being reported to help support classroom management. Additionally, the 7 research-based classroom management interventions were not all effective for participants. Recommendations for future research include larger sample size. Implications for positive change include increased job satisfaction and higher retention rates among new elementary school teachers.
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2022
Effects of an iPad as a Prompting Device on Increasing Independence Skills in Elementary Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder
Effects of an iPad as a Prompting Device on Increasing Independence Skills in Elementary Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder
Stephanie M. Hindman
Students with autism spectrum disorder can experience challenges in acquiring the necessary adaptive skills to successfully transition out of high school. These challenges can prevent them from achieving independence, making them reliant on adults for everyday tasks ...
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Students with autism spectrum disorder can experience challenges in acquiring the necessary adaptive skills to successfully transition out of high school. These challenges can prevent them from achieving independence, making them reliant on adults for everyday tasks and having a restrictive impact on their level of involvement in their school and community. Current research is exploring the use of iPads as prompting tools on the acquisition of adaptive skills in individuals with autism spectrum disorder, specifically with individuals at the middle and high school level (Bouck, Savage, Meyer, Taber-Doughty, & Hunley, 2014; Gardner & Wolfe, 2015; Plavnick, Sam, Hume, & Odom, 2013). The purpose of this study was to determine the effectiveness of an iPad with the FileMaker app to promote independence skills by presenting daily living tasks through video and static picture prompting to third through sixth grade students with autism. A multiple probe design was utilized across three daily living skills and replicated across four participants to determine the effectiveness of an iPad with the FileMaker app as a prompting tool. Results indicate that participants could select a desired prompt type and that some participants could self-prompt through task steps for various skills without adult intervention. All participants were able to decrease the mean percentage of steps completed independently correct from the initial probe phase to the iPad intervention phase. In addition, participants were able to maintain high levels of performance in follow-up and maintenance probes.
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2017
Augmented and Virtual Realities in Special Education Contexts
Augmented and Virtual Realities in Special Education Contexts
A Meta-Analysis
Toriel Herman
The augmented and virtual reality applications literature base spans more than 30 years with one of the first studies conducted by Meredith Bricken in 1991. With the advances in technology, researchers are increasingly examining the use of augmented reality (AR) and ...
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The augmented and virtual reality applications literature base spans more than 30 years with one of the first studies conducted by Meredith Bricken in 1991. With the advances in technology, researchers are increasingly examining the use of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) within educational contexts, more specifically special education contexts. VR is one of the fastest growing technologies (Nuguri, Calyam, Oruche, Gulhane, Valluripally, Stichter, & He, 2021) and AR is growing rapidly showing advances in interaction, navigation, and tracking within education, entertainment, business, medicine, and other settings (Ablyaev, Abliakimova, & Seidametova, 2020). Despite AR and VR demonstrating documented success with enriching learning opportunities and task performances (Billingsley, Smith, Smith, & Meritt, 2019; Bricken, 1991; Nuguri et al., 2021), there is limited research on applying these programs directly within a school setting for students with disabilities. To understand the effectiveness of AR and VR, a meta-analysis of six studies was conducted using hierarchical linear modeling focusing on functional, transitional, and social skills. Participants included 18 students ages 6-15-years-old all with a special education diagnosis (i.e., Intellectual Disability or Autism). Results suggest that these interventions are effective in developing functional, transitional, and social skills with students with disabilities. Most notably, participants aged 14-15 years old showed the greatest effect estimates. There were no differences for sex. Limitations and potential future directions in supporting students with disabilities are discussed.
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2021
A Survey Approach to Effects of Work Relates Stress Among Special Education Teachers
A Survey Approach to Effects of Work Relates Stress Among Special Education Teachers
Jessica Hall-Wirth
Teacher stress studies suggest that teacher stress has become progressively heightened. Researchers have acknowledged that teachers are stressed, and in turn, there has been an increase in burnout and turnover within the field. Seemingly, even with the magnitude of a...
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Teacher stress studies suggest that teacher stress has become progressively heightened. Researchers have acknowledged that teachers are stressed, and in turn, there has been an increase in burnout and turnover within the field. Seemingly, even with the magnitude of attention dedicated to preventing occupational stress, the prevalence is growing. In response, this study aimed to understand special education teachers and the stressors within their occupation. This study used a questionnaire using a Likert scale and opened ended questions to gain a better understanding of the stressors and overall well-being of special education teachers. The mixed methods approach allowed for a comprehensive look at 45 K-12 special education teachers within four school districts in Western Pennsylvania. The data was collected from April to May of 2018 and used the themes: (a) working conditions, (b) professional responsibilities, (c) student needs, and (d) student behavior to categorize the data. Data suggested that the working conditions and professional responsibilities provided the most stressors for special education teachers. The questionnaire also provided insight on an individual’s inability to differentiate between types of stressors. The implications of these findings for future research, professional development, and wellness education are discussed within this study.
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2018
A Survey Approach to Effects of Work Relates Stress Among Special Education Teachers
A Survey Approach to Effects of Work Relates Stress Among Special Education Teachers
Jessica Hall-Wirth
Teacher stress studies suggest that teacher stress has become progressively heightened. Researchers have acknowledged that teachers are stressed, and in turn, there has been an increase in burnout and turnover within the field. Seemingly, even with the magnitude of a...
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Teacher stress studies suggest that teacher stress has become progressively heightened. Researchers have acknowledged that teachers are stressed, and in turn, there has been an increase in burnout and turnover within the field. Seemingly, even with the magnitude of attention dedicated to preventing occupational stress, the prevalence is growing. In response, this study aimed to understand special education teachers and the stressors within their occupation. This study used a questionnaire using a Likert scale and opened ended questions to gain a better understanding of the stressors and overall well-being of special education teachers. The mixed methods approach allowed for a comprehensive look at 45 K-12 special education teachers within four school districts in Western Pennsylvania. The data was collected from April to May of 2018 and used the themes: (a) working conditions, (b) professional responsibilities, (c) student needs, and (d) student behavior to categorize the data. Data suggested that the working conditions and professional responsibilities provided the most stressors for special education teachers. The questionnaire also provided insight on an individual’s inability to differentiate between types of stressors. The implications of these findings for future research, professional development, and wellness education are discussed within this study.
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2018
An Examination of the Special Education Cyclical Monitoring Process through a Socio-Technical System’s Lens
An Examination of the Special Education Cyclical Monitoring Process through a Socio-Technical System’s Lens
A Case Study of a Suburban Pittsburgh School District
Christina Garczewski
The current study used a socio-technical system’s (STS) lens to examine how a suburban Pittsburgh school district applies the cyclical monitoring process. The use of a qualitative research method to examined how school districts and how school administrators use the ...
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The current study used a socio-technical system’s (STS) lens to examine how a suburban Pittsburgh school district applies the cyclical monitoring process. The use of a qualitative research method to examined how school districts and how school administrators use the cyclical monitoring process in special education to provide a foundation for developing appropriate regulations that guide in ensuring students with special needs receive adequate formal education. The researcher collected and discussed information about the participation of school administrators in using a cyclical monitoring process for decision-making at the district and building level through interviewing. Thematic analysis was used to analyze the collected data. All of the participants in this study demonstrated basic knowledge of the CMCI process and the impacts this process has on special education policies, procedures, and practices within the district. While each participant demonstrated a different level of understanding of how compliance monitoring enhances the services and programs offered in the district, all five participants recognized the benefits and needs for the CMCI process. All administrators interviewed described the CMCI process as a positive process to evaluate the district’s programming and reflect upon areas that need improvement. Common themes identified in this study included: resources/programming, interventions, and parent engagement. Based on this study, it can be concluded that the increase of administrators’ knowledge and participation in the CMCI process will improve compliance with special education regulations as well as improve education for all students with disabilities.
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2022
Perceptions and Pragmatics of Therapy Dog Implementation in Schools
Perceptions and Pragmatics of Therapy Dog Implementation in Schools
Janet Garchinsky
The benefits of the application of therapy dogs have been well documented. Studies related to therapy dogs have shown success in reducing stress and anxiety, improving behavior and self-esteem, increasing reading scores, promoting socialization and motivation, increa...
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The benefits of the application of therapy dogs have been well documented. Studies related to therapy dogs have shown success in reducing stress and anxiety, improving behavior and self-esteem, increasing reading scores, promoting socialization and motivation, increasing rates of de-escalation, and helping younger children develop empathy. Common concerns related to the use of therapy dogs have previously been documented. These concerns include child and animal welfare, animal hygiene, zoonotic disease, and fear or cultural differences. Concerns such as these may cause schools to deny the use of therapy dogs in their facilities. The purpose of this qualitative study was to determine what problems have manifested in schools and how they compare to concerns documented by previous studies. Staff in Pennsylvania schools were surveyed to identify what, if any, problems arose during the implementation of therapy dog programs within their districts, and whether staff perceptions changed after implementation. Results from this study can assist school stakeholders in decision-making and policy development related to therapy dog implementation. Despite problems that have manifested, including those specific to K-12 schools, staff perspectives of therapy dogs became more favorable after implementation.
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2022
Creating a Trauma Informed School
Creating a Trauma Informed School
A Study of the Implementation of a Social-Emotional Learning Resource
Kristen Doyle
The purpose of this study was to determine the impact of a social-emotional learning (SEL) resource in kindergarten through grade 4 classrooms on creating a trauma-sensitive school. One tenet of supporting a trauma-sensitive and informed school is the utilization of ...
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The purpose of this study was to determine the impact of a social-emotional learning (SEL) resource in kindergarten through grade 4 classrooms on creating a trauma-sensitive school. One tenet of supporting a trauma-sensitive and informed school is the utilization of a social-emotional resource. The resource entitled In Focus authored by Thomas McSheehy MSW, LSW was implemented in general education classrooms for 45 school days. Prior to the implementation of the resource, a qualitative survey was provided to participating teachers to determine previous knowledge of trauma-informed schools and social-emotional learning. This information would be further used to support professional development needs of educators in the participating district to support students that have been impacted by traumatic events. During the 45 days, weekly professional development meetings were conducted with the study group that focused on equipping educators with the necessary skills and knowledge to provide a trauma-sensitive environment. At the conclusion of the 45 day study, an electronic qualitative survey was provided to the participants to confirm or refute the success of the selected social-emotional resource, In Focus. iv The research questions examined during the study included: 1. Prior to this study what training or professional development did Kindergarten-Grade 4 teachers participate in related to trauma-informed schools? 2. After nine weeks of incorporating a daily social-emotional learning resource, what impact was evidenced in the classroom community? 3. After implementing a social-emotional learning resource, and attending the weekly professional development meetings, what specific skills, knowledge, and/or strategies do Kindergarten-Grade 4 teachers feel the most confident to implement in their classrooms? 4. After attending the weekly professional development meetings and evening professional development event, at what level will K-4 teachers feel prepared to deliver a social-emotional learning resource to students? This study contributes to the research in the area of supporting students that have experienced traumatic events and the teachers that support them. Further, it outlines the needs of the participating teachers in the district relating to past and future professional development opportunities around the topic of social-emotional learning and trauma-informed and sensitive schools. An electronic survey was conducted to gather feedback on the areas of the resource that participating teachers determined to be both successful and not helpful to their classroom community. Additionally, teachers provided a comparison of social-emotional competencies that they observed in their students as compared to prior observations to the resource implementation.
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2022
Significance of Academic and Social/Emotional Accommodations and Supports
Significance of Academic and Social/Emotional Accommodations and Supports
Examining the Perceived Impact on College Students with Disabilities
Danielle Dietz
College students with disabilities are attending college at increasing rates. However, their success and retention still lag when compared to their non-disabled peers. This mixed methods research design aimed to look at perceived success and challenges that college s...
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College students with disabilities are attending college at increasing rates. However, their success and retention still lag when compared to their non-disabled peers. This mixed methods research design aimed to look at perceived success and challenges that college students with disabilities faced. Using both a survey and an open-ended interview, the researched examined what areas students felt were areas they used the most to support their success, areas of social/emotional need, executive functioning challenges and resources to address those needs, as well as additional stressors faced. The researcher aimed to address the following research questions: 1. What academic supports benefit students with disabilities the most at the college/university level? 2. What level of importance does social and/or emotional supports factor into the retention of students with disabilities in higher education? 3. What executive functioning capabilities present the biggest challenge(s) for students with disabilities in college/university? 4. What other stressors (such as finances, family support, virtual learning, etc.) factor into the retention and success of students with disabilities in college? Through qualitative and quantitative analysis and thematic coding, the following themes emerged: (1) professor office hours are most beneficial academic support, (2) campus resources are least beneficial academic support, (3) the social experience is an important aspect to college life, (4) emotional wellbeing greatly impacts the college experience, (5) starting tasks is the most challenging aspect of executive functioning, (6) planners and/or calendars are the most effective tool to address executive functioning challenges, and (7) academic performance is a significant stress factor.
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2022
Examining Teachers’ Attitudes Toward the Inclusion of Students Using Alternate Standards in Regular Standards Core Academic Classes
Examining Teachers’ Attitudes Toward the Inclusion of Students Using Alternate Standards in Regular Standards Core Academic Classes
Wendy Daniels Stewman
Creating a fully inclusive educational environment continues to be a topic for educational reform. Children with disabilities have the right to access their education in the Least Restrictive Environment. In the United States, this right is protected by the Individua...
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Creating a fully inclusive educational environment continues to be a topic for educational reform. Children with disabilities have the right to access their education in the Least Restrictive Environment. In the United States, this right is protected by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (2004). Approximately 13.3% of the total number of students with disabilities in the United States are educated in a separate setting. In comparison, 49.2% of all students with a disability in the United States identified as having a cognitive impairment continue to be educated in a separate class setting (U.S. Department of Education, 2019). This study will use mixed methods (quantitative and qualitative data) analysis to examine the attitude of middle school teachers toward the inclusion of students with a cognitive impairment who access their curriculum using alternate standards in the regular education class setting, available training, and needed resources. This study identified factors which influence teacher attitudes toward the inclusion of students using alternate standards, available training, and teacher perceptions for needed resources for an effective inclusion program at the middle school level. The information from the study will be used to provide recommendations to school leaders related to improving supports, training, and services for teachers with the goal of increasing the participation of students using alternate standards in the regular education setting.
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2021
Teachers' Attitudes Towards Inclusion and the Effect on Professional Development
Teachers' Attitudes Towards Inclusion and the Effect on Professional Development
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Joyce A. Carr
Inclusive education has increased for students with disabilities within our public schools since the reauthorization of IDEA ( 1997). This change has resulted in a paradigm shift for both general and special education teachers. Research has shown the success of inclu...
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Inclusive education has increased for students with disabilities within our public schools since the reauthorization of IDEA ( 1997). This change has resulted in a paradigm shift for both general and special education teachers. Research has shown the success of inclusive education is impacted by many factors, one being the attitude of the teachers. Attitude is comprised of three components, Behavioral, Cognitive and Affective (Gregory & Noto, 2012). Understanding what component is a strength or an area that could use improvement will enable educational leaders to develop professional development and training opportunities to address their educators' gaps in attitude in regards to inclusive education. This study identified whether there was a relationship between teacher attitude about inclusion and their teaching assignment, level at which they teach and/or years of teaching experience. A survey was conducted resulting in 219 participants completing the necessary information to be included in the research, which included three demographic questions, as well as a nine item Likert scale questionnaire. General education teachers made up 69.90% of the participants, special education teachers made up 30.10%. Elementary educators were 58% of the respondents, secondary were 42%. Regarding years of teaching experiences for the participants, 7.3% had 0-3 years, 11.9% had 4-9 years and the largest majority of respondents, 80.80%, had ten years or more. After receiving the survey for this quantitative study, responses were analyzed using SPSS, descriptive statistics, Cronbach a, t-Tests, ANOVA and multiple linear regression. Findings of this study indicated general education teachers have a lower level of agreement than their special education colleagues in both the cognitive and affective components of attitude towards inclusion for students with disabilities. Results also indicated that teachers with more than ten years of teaching experience have lower cognitive agreement than those who have taught for fewer years. Lastly, the study showed there was no significant difference in regards to the three components based on the grade level teachers taught. From this study, recommendations for professional development and trainings, as well as future research, were addressed.
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2018