Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ed. D.


Educational Leadership, Evaluation and Organizational Development

Degree Program

Educational Leadership and Organizational Development, EDD

Committee Chair

Powers, Deborah

Committee Member

Stevens, Douglas

Committee Member

Yarborough, Rachel

Committee Member

Bakers, Rachel

Author's Keywords

co-teaching; special education; IDEA; LRE


This dissertation presents a case study methodology investigating the influence of professional development, administrator support, and co-planning on teacher perceptions of co-teaching. My interest in co-teaching increased as a former special education teacher after implementing co-teaching strategies in my own practice. As defined by the Kentucky Administrative Regulations, Collaboration means, a teacher of exceptional children works with children with disabilities in the regular classroom to provide specially designed instruction and related services (707 KAR 1:350, Section 2). Oftentimes, Collaboration and Co-Teaching may be used interchangeably. For the purpose of this study, the term Co-Teaching will be used throughout. The goal of providing special education services for children with disabilities in the most appropriate setting is to provide free and appropriate education (FAPE) that meets their identified needs. There are no defining guidelines of what is best for each student, hence the creation of an Individual Education Plan (IEP). The IEP outlines special education services that will be provided to the child and how they will be implemented. For students with disabilities, a co-teaching environment may be a common recommendation from the ARC. Some committee members may have the predisposition to prefer co-teaching or be biased toward co-teaching. Teacher perceptions of co-teaching may subsequently impact this decision-making process. Given IDEA's policy, this leads to an increasing number of students with disabilities being educated in the least restrictive environment. The perceptions of teachers implementing co-teaching strategies in their classrooms and its effectiveness may vary depending on their personal experience and the limited amount of research available that they have been exposed to. This research study addresses the problem of the need to determine teacher perceptions of co-teaching, allowing the field to improve successful co-teaching implementation and outcomes for students with disabilities. The study utilized a qualitative approach, using semi-structured interviews to collect data from co-teachers in the Ohio Valley Education Cooperative region. The purpose of this study is to explore the ways in which these three factors influence co-teachers perceptions of co-teaching and to identify strategies for improving co-teaching practices. The study aims to provide insight into the importance of these factors in promoting successful co-teaching practices and offer recommendations for improving co-teaching initiatives in schools. With a clearer understanding of teacher perceptions of coteaching strategies investigated, co-teachers, building administrators, and district administrators will have the knowledge needed to determine where biases may be relevant, additional professional development is needed, and address gaps in educators' knowledge of co-teaching to better serve the needs of students with disabilities.