Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.

Department (Legacy)

Department of Teaching and Learning

Committee Chair

Lingo, Amy Shearer

Author's Keywords

Teacher attitudes; Inclusion; General education; Teacher perceptions


Teachers of children with disabilities--Attitudes; Mainstreaming in education; Students with disabilities


This dissertation is an examination of general education teacher's attitudes toward the inclusion of students with special needs in their classroom and the variables that influence these attitudes. A theoretical framework for the examination of teacher attitudes includes the impact of efficacy, experience, training, grade level and subject area taught, and school variables. The relationship among these factors, teacher's instructional practices and student achievement are examined. For this study, participants were recruited from three public school districts in a midwestern state. An electronic survey developed by the researcher, along with a demographic questionnaire and study preamble were sent to middle and high school general education teachers in three participating districts. A total of 233 teachers responded. Descriptive statistics were calculated. A correlational analysis between teacher attitudes and teacher and school variables along with an analysis of variance (ANOVA) was conducted. The mean score for teacher attitudes toward inclusion was 3.79 with scores ranging from a low score of 2.96 and a high of 4.94 out of a possible score of 6.00. An analysis of the data revealed a negative correlation between teacher attitude and grade level taught meaning that the higher the grade level, the more negative the teacher attitude toward inclusion. A significant difference in teacher attitude toward inclusion by subject area taught was found. Participants who teach mathematics reported significantly lower attitudes toward inclusion than those who taught language arts and social studies. A further analysis revealed that almost 25% of the participants had no training what-so-ever in special education strategies, 48.5% of the teachers surveyed strongly agreed or moderately agreed that inclusion is a desirable practice and 44.7% of the teachers strongly or moderately agreed that everyone benefits from inclusive practices. When examining the findings of this study in light of the literature, teacher training has been identified as a primary contributor to teacher attitudes. Suggestions for providing general education teachers with the needed training are made as well as directions for future research.