Dissertation Defense Announcement

The College of Education announces the Final Dissertation of

Kendale White

for the Degree of Doctor of Education

October 31, 2018 at 1:00 PM in Ball Hall, Room 123

 Advisor: Reginald Green

Principals Attitudes Toward the Inclusion of Students with Disabilities in the General Education Classroom

ABSTRACT: Previous research has indicated that in comparison to their same age peers, students with disabilities do not have the same access to an educational curriculum within a classroom environment on a consistent basis. However, public laws specifically the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act ensure that students receive a free appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment. Ultimately, the readiness level and the principals' characteristics and attitudes impact whether inclusive practices align with the intent of the law. The purpose of this study was to examine the attitudes and perceptions of principals as it relates to the inclusion of students with disabilities in the general education setting. This study replicates and extends research in relation to school leaders and their attitudes toward inclusion. In addition, the researcher determined whether a relationship, if any, exists between demographic variables and their perceptions regarding the most appropriate placement for students with disabilities. A self-reporting survey entitled the Principals and Inclusion Survey was utilized to collect the data from 105 principals. The following variables were used for the study: demographic factors, training and experience, attitudes toward inclusion, and perceptions of the most appropriate placement for students with disabilities. Further, descriptive statistics, Pearson correlations, and multiple regressions were utilized to analyze the data and answer the six proposed research questions connected to the study. Results revealed principals training and experience were limited, principals supported inclusive placements for students with mild to moderate disabilities, and there was a positive correlation between attitudes and training and attitudes and placement decisions. Further, the results indicate the need for quality training and experience for both pre-service and practicing principals. The results may also assist school districts as well as college/university principal preparation programs make informed decisions in regards to coursework, professional development, and even practicum experiences for principals as they continue to meet the needs of students with disabilities on a daily basis. Lastly, the discussion will include the study's limitations and future research implications.