Teacher Attitudes: The Effects of Teacher Beliefs on Teaching Practices and Achievement of Students with Disabilities
Many students with disabilities are not meeting proficiency in the general education setting and achievement scores disaggregated by disability status show that students with disabilities are often not meeting adequate yearly progress targets established by states. A survey was developed to collect data from 218 general and special educators at the middle school level to describe and analyze trends in teacher attitudes and practices that may be affecting the educational experience and achievement of many students with disabilities. The results of these analyses provide information regarding the attitudes of teachers toward the ability of SWD and the fairness and validity of high-stakes testing. Significant differences were found between general and special education teachers’ expectations for students with disabilities to benefit from inclusive instruction. Teacher attitude toward the ability of students with disabilities to benefit from inclusive instruction, teacher classification, and the amount of teacher training were all found to be predictors of the use of evidence-based practice. The attitude of teachers toward the ability of students with disabilities to learn and achieve higher level thinking was found to predict proficient achievement scores for students with disabilities on the New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP) achievement test. Finally, differences were found in teacher attitudes toward the ability of students with disabilities to learn and achieve higher level thinking and teacher use of evidence-based practice by content domain.