Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.

Department (Legacy)

Department of Leadership, Foundations, and Human Resource Education

Committee Chair

Keaster, Ric

Author's Keywords

Change process; Inclusion; Teacher attitudes


Educational change; Organizational change; Teachers--Attitudes; Mainstreaming in education


The purpose of this research study was to examine the relationship between the change process for inclusive teaching practices and the attitudes of educators toward inclusion of students with disabilities in the general educational setting. This research study was based upon the theoretical construct of Rogers' (2003) Diffusion of Innovations, which identifies the specific process in which any innovation is introduced within a social organization. A descriptive correlational design was used to examine the quantitative data collected from teachers and administrators from school districts. Teachers and administrators completed the Opinions Relative to the Integration of Students with Disabilities (ORl; Antonak & Larrivee, 1995) and the Change Process Survey (CPS; Keaster, 2007). The ORl assessed the educators' attitudes toward the inclusion of students with disabilities in the general classroom across four constructs. In addition, the CPS measured participants' responses to the change process in regards to the implementation of inclusion within the schools. The sample consisted of 96 educators (83 teachers and 13 administrators) from 7 schools within a geographical region of south central Kentucky. The data were analyzed by descriptive statistics, and inferential analysis consisting of both parametric and nonparametric methodologies: t-test for independent samples, Mann-Whitney U test, and ANOVA. The results indicated a statistically significant positive correlation between the change process constructs and the educators' attitudes toward the inclusive innovation. However, teachers' attitudes varied significantly as compared to administrators' perceptions of teachers' attitudes, as teachers indicated the need for further training on inclusion in order for the program to be successful. This research contributes to the education field by highlighting the necessity for both teacher preparation programs and school districts to infuse their programs with training on topics of special education, particularly on the inclusive teaching practices for students with disabilities. The results also point out the importance of attention to all parts of the change process when any innovation is introduced in educational settings.