Perceptions of Ninth through Twelfth Grade Administrators Toward the Inclusion of Students With Disabilities in Alabama Public Schools
Type of DegreePhD Dissertation
Education Foundation, Leadership, and Technology
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The purpose of this quantitative study was to determine the perceptions of 9th through 12th grade administrators toward inclusion of students with disabilities in Alabama public schools. Further, the study attempted to determine the effect of personal demographic information, work experience and training of secondary principals as they relate to principals’ perceptions of inclusion. The study also examined the effect of the principals’ school size, average class size and the number of IEPs (not including gifted). The data collected was analyzed using descriptive statistics, which describe the characteristics of the population being surveyed. The participants were selected from an email list obtained from the Alabama State Department of Education website. The Perceptions of Inclusion Survey (POIS; adapted from Thomas, Curtis, & Shippen, 2010; Shippen, Crites, Houchins, Ramsey, & Simon, 2005; Soodak, Podell, & Lehman, 1998) was broken down into 3 sections: Section I – Inclusion Scenario, Section II –Experience and Training, and Section III – Demographic Information and was emailed to 464 9th through 12th secondary administrators. Two hundred and twenty-eight principals responded to the survey with 220 of those responses being utilized for the study. The responses to the study were somewhat similar in that a majority of principals’ responses favored the inclusion students with disabilities. The results of the study indicate that when considering all of the principals’ personal demographic information, work experience and training, the best predictors of the principals’ perceptions were age, general and special education teaching experience and the number of special education inservice hours. The results are beneficial in gaining a deeper understanding of how principals’ perceptions affect the inclusion of students with disabilities. Principals play a vital role in establishing a climate of learning for all students. Their roles are changing from the mundane management of facilities, discipline and transportation to also include curriculum, instruction, data assessment, and human resource development. Principals are also tasked with the building of a safe, caring culture that welcomes and respects diversity where all students despite their race, gender, religion, physical and mental abilities will achieve.