Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Psychology



First Advisor

Margaret Rogers


The purpose of this study was to develop and assess the psychometric properties of a scale measuring the perceptions parents had of the special education process. Before being distributed to the study sample, the Parent's Perceptions of Special Education Scale (PPSES) was reviewed by parent leaders from the Rhode Island Parent Information Network and students enrolled in a school psychology graduate program to judge the scale items for clarity and relevance. Surveys containing a personal background sheet, the PPSES, the Family-Partnership Scale, and the Marlowe-Crowne Social Desirability Scale were distributed to parents of children in special education at five sites in Rhode Island; two sites were advocacy agencies and three were nontraditional or alternative school settings. The data underwent a principal components analysis which resulted in a 45-item scale with a four factor structure. The four factors were labeled "Interactions at Meetings," "Time Issues," "Emotional Perspective," and "Acceptance of Differences." The first three subscales listed had satisfactory coefficient alpha reliability estimates of .98, .75, and.79 respectively, with the last subscale having an unacceptable estimate of .50. In order to assess convergent validity, the subscales of the PPSES were correlated with the Family-Partnership Scale, developed by Summers et al. (2005), which assessed the satisfaction levels parents had with their interactions with an individual who provided special education services to their child. The subscale labeled "Interactions at Meetings" had the highest positive correlation with the Family-Partnership Scale (r = .851, df = 71, p = 0.01), while the last three subscales of the PPSES had positive, yet more modest correlations with the Family-Partnership Scale (r = .560, .470, and .453, df = 71, p = 0.01). Based on the correlations, it appears the Family-Partnership Scale and the PPSES are measuring similar constructs. Social desirability did not appear to influence the participants ' responses on the PPSES as measured by correlations between the four subscales of the PPS ES and the Marlow-Crowne Social Desirability Scale; correlations were found to be r = .300, .225, .141, and -.041, df = 65, p = 0.05. Research obstacles and limitations for the present study as well as future directions for research are discussed.



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