High school teachers' *attitudes toward inclusion of students with special needs

Catherine Ernst, University of Rhode Island


The movement to include students with disabilities in general education classrooms has experienced a shift toward thinking about restructuring of schools (Lipsky & Gartner, 1996; Stainback & Stainback, 1996). This shift is reflected in the growing body of literature about general educators' perspectives regarding inclusion (Avramidis & Norwich, 2002; Balboni & Pedrabissi, 2000; Van Reusen, Shoho & Barker, 2001; Wilczenski, 1992). Teacher attitudes are of particular importance because they will be implementing inclusion on a daily basis in the classroom (Hasazi, Johnston, Liggett & Schattman, 1994). ^ The purpose of the present study was twofold. The first involved the development of a scale to measure high school teacher attitudes toward the inclusion of students with disabilities. The second phase of the study was an application of the newly developed scale to assess teacher attitudes with respect to a number of teacher variables. Principal factor analysis was conducted on the newly developed "Inclusion Attitude Scale for Teachers" (IAST). The principal factor analysis indicated three factors including "Cognitive Beliefs about Inclusion," "Affective Responses to Inclusion," and "Behavioral Responses to Inclusion" which account for 44.5 percent of the variance. Use of the scale to measure teacher attitudes indicated a number of significant differences on the affective component of attitude. First, male teachers hold more positive views toward inclusion, F (1,132) =5.90, p = .016. Second, the higher the level of special education, F (3,130) =7.52, p = .000, and inservice training, F (3,130) = 3.81, p =.012, a teacher has impacts their affective attitude about inclusion in a positive way. Teachers with more special education training and inservice training have more positive affective attitudes toward inclusion. The present study also found that teachers who held the perception of more staff availability, F (3,130) =9.13, p =.000 and greater service supports in their schools, F (4,129) =5.75, p =.000 held more positive attitudes on the affective and behavioral components of attitude. Finally, teachers with more experience with inclusion held more positive views about inclusion, F (4,129) = 3.62, p = .008. Limitations of the present study and future directions of research are discussed. ^

Subject Area

Education, Special|Education, Secondary|Psychology, Clinical

Recommended Citation

Catherine Ernst, "High school teachers' *attitudes toward inclusion of students with special needs" (2006). Dissertations and Master's Theses (Campus Access). Paper AAI3239906.