Date of Award
Master of Arts in Psychology
Janet M. Kulberg
Research has shown that teacher attitudes influence their expectations of students and the way in which they interact with them (Brophy & Good, 1972; Brownwell & Pajares, 1999; Bryan 1974; Cook 2001; Harris, Snodgrass, & Rosenthal, 1986; Jordan & Stanovich, 2001; Kuklinski & Weinstein, 2001; Rosenthal, 2002). Ajzen and Fishbein (1969) developed the Theory of Reasoned Action, which proposes that people's behavior is determined by intention and that these intentions are represented in people's attitudes toward the behavior and the perceived norm of that behavior. Beginning with the passage of Public Law 94-142 and the IDEA reauthorization, regular education teachers are required to include students with many different kinds of disabilities in their classrooms (Lipsky & Gartner, 1997). It is likely that teachers' attitudes and expectations with regard to inclusion can influence their actions and behaviors within a classroom making it important to gain an understanding of teachers' attitudes towards inclusion.
Van Reusen, Shoho, and Barker, (2001) examined teacher attitudes toward inclusion of students with disabilities at the high school level. To assess teacher attitudes, Van Reusen et al. developed a two part survey: The first part of the survey solicited demographic and background information about the participants, while the second part of the survey contained statements used to elicit teacher attitudes toward inclusion. The content validity of the scale was addressed but other psychometric properties such as construct validity and reliability were not examined.
The purpose of the present study is to begin to explore the construct validity of the Van Reusen et al. scale as well as estimate its reliability. Principal factor analysis was conducted on the data collected in Van Reusen et al.'s (2001) study to assess the dimension(s) of teacher attitudes toward the inclusion of students with disabilities into regular education classrooms. An item analysis was also conducted on the 20-item scale in order to determine the strength of the individual items. Coefficient alpha was used to assess the reliability of the scale. The item analysis indicated that a number of items were not directly related to the construct being measured. Therefore, these items were dropped before further analysis was completed. Using principal factor analysis it was suggested that there are two factors in this scale underlying high school teachers' attitudes toward inclusion, labeled Academic Climate and Teacher Preparation for Students with Special Needs. The scale was found to have a satisfactory reliability estimate with a coefficient alpha of .77. Limitations of the present study and future directions of research are also discussed.
Ernst, Catherine, "Scale Validation of High School Teachers’ Attitudes Toward Inclusion of Students with Disabilities" (2003). Open Access Master's Theses. Paper 1594.