|Preparing students with disabilities for positive postschool outcomes is one of the most difficult responsibilities a secondary special education teacher can have. It is necessary that secondary level special education teachers have the training and confidence level needed to effectively transition students from high school to postschool settings. When special education teachers have higher levels of efficacy students with disabilities have more positive postschool outcomes (Buell, Hallam, Game-McCormick, & Scheer, 1999).
Unfortunately, many pre-service teachers are not being adequately prepared in the area of transition (Benitez, Morningstar, & Frey, 2009). Preparation programs are not providing the content that is needed to help students with disabilities exit high school (Anderson, et al., 2003). Many programs focus on special education terminology, laws, and the IEP (Council for Exceptional Children, 2001). However, pre-service educators are missing the knowledge and skills that will allow them to better serve students during their transition planning process. Case study methodology is one method that teacher preparation programs can use to evaluate their students’ problem-solving and application skills (Block, 1996).
This study examined pre-service special education teachers’ efficacy, knowledge, and skills towards educating secondary-age students with disabilities. Thirty pre-service secondary special education teachers were surveyed. Data were collected using the Teacher Efficacy for Secondary Student with Disabilities Survey and Evidence-Based Practice Case Study Questionnaire. The methods used to analyze the data included quantitative and descriptive statistics. The results revealed that pre-service teachers have high levels of efficacy. However, their overall scores from the rubric which evaluated pre-service secondary special education teachers’ performance on case study related to evidence-based practices and transition-related issues did not fall in at the “meet” or “exceed” expectation” range.