Attitude of Ninth Grade Teachers Toward Inclusion of Special Education Students and Its Relationship to Classroom Discipline Referrals
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This study determined the attitude of ninth grade teachers toward inclusion of special education students was positive overall at 2.78 on a 7-point scale with one being the most positive and seven the least. Further, there is no statistically significant difference in the attitude mean of special education teachers when compared to general and elective teachers. This study proposed to address four questions in two parts. The first part was an ANOVA performed on results of a Likert attitude survey given to 160 ninth grade teachers intended to identify aggregate attitude (question one) and the attitude of core, elective, and special education teachers (question two), at an urban district in Texas. In part two, the attitudinal findings from part one were compared to a district generated report of discipline referrals for ninth grade special education students to determine if any correlation exists between teacher attitude and discipline (question three) and core, elective, and special education teacher attitude and discipline (question four). Questions three and four could not be statistically answered; because of the way discipline data is currently collected by campus rather than by teacher. There was no way to disaggregate the discipline data by teacher or instructional designation. Nevertheless, the campus with the highest number of discipline referrals also had the most negative attitude while the campus with the fewest referrals had the most positive attitude. Three campuses were involved in the study with a potential sample of 160 educators invited to participate. A total of 22 percent, or 35 individuals, returned a completed survey. A follow-up study should be pursued to both confirm this study’s findings regarding teacher attitude toward inclusion and to statistically establish a correlation between attitude and discipline referrals. The low response rate especially among special educators prompts validity questions; while the availability of discipline data only at the campus level limited statistical correlation analysis. Future discipline data should be collected at the teacher level, to parallel student academic performance data. Teacher attitude data toward inclusion could be used to provide professional development.