This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

An Evaluation of the Steps Secondary Special Education Teachers Practice Prior to Implementing Community-Based Vocational Instruction




Schiffer, Betty

Type of Degree

PhD Dissertation


Special Education, Rehabilitation, Counseling


Employment is an important factor in meeting fundamental needs of life (e.g., food, shelter, and clothing) and can increase opportunities for socialization with peers (Pickens & Dymond, 2015). Despite the benefits of employment, individuals with disabilities are less likely to engage in employment after graduating from high school, as compared to those without disabilities (Pickens & Dymond, 2015). Community-based vocational instruction (CBVI) is a common method used in educational settings to systematically teach vocational skills in community environments to high school students with disabilities (Cimera, 2010; Kim & Dymond, 2010). This study attempted to examine the planning practices of CBVI implemented by secondary special education teachers in Alabama. To provide baseline data and expand on research regarding CBVI, a nonexperimental mixed methods research design was implemented in this study. An original survey (e.g., An Evaluation of the Steps Practiced Before Implementing Community-Based Vocational Instruction) was developed and utilized to examine the preparation steps practiced by secondary special education teachers of students with disabilities in Alabama. Survey items were developed through reoccurring statements located in literature reviewed. Internal consistency of the survey was determined through a preliminary exploratory factor analysis to identify how items loaded. Cronbach’s Alpha Coefficients were reported for each of the planning themes of CBVI. One factor (e.g., Preparation) was determined, accounting for 57% of the variance. This study examined the planning practices of 91 special education teachers in Alabama and reported the extent to which the participants were trained, suggested facilitators, and observed barriers when implementing CBVI. A total of four research questions facilitated the evolving process of this study. This study found that of those surveyed, special education teachers in Alabama were planning prior to implementing CBVI and participated in an average of two and a half trainings prior to implementing CBVI to students with disabilities. Additionally, this study found that there was a significant difference in the planning practices of those who received two or more training methods as compared to those who had received less than two training methods. Furthermore, results from analyses revealed that professional development training on CBVI impacted the planning practices of special education teachers more significantly than any other type of training method on CBVI.