ERIC Identifier: ED289885 Publication Date: 1985-00-00
Author: Source: ERIC Clearinghouse on Tests Measurement
and Evaluation Princeton NJ.
Measuring Teacher Attitudes toward Mainstreaming.
To provide equal access to education, the Education for All Handicapped
Children Act requires the placement of handicapped students in the least
restrictive environment that will promote their academic and social development.
In response to this requirement, schools are mainstreaming handicapped students
from segregated special education settings into regular classrooms.
Because teachers play a crucial role in mainstreaming programs, knowledge of
their attitudes is important. To assist in planning evaluation studies, this
Digest will focus on the reasons for evaluating teacher attitudes, the types of
attitudes being measured, measurement techniques being used, and major findings
in recent research.
Identifying teacher attitudes is important on two levels: the individual
classroom level and the larger program level. On the classroom level, teacher
attitudes affect teaching and students. Research shows that teachers' attitudes
influence both their expectations for their students and their behavior toward
them. These attitudes, expectations, and behaviors influence both student
self-image and academic performance (Alexander and Strain 1978).
Negative teacher attitudes toward handicapped students are detrimental to the
handicapped students mainstreamed into their classrooms (Hannah and Pliner
1983). On the program level, teacher attitudes provide important feedback for
judging overall program effectiveness and for improving mainstreaming
In addition to attitude assessment, attitude measures can identify both
teacher characteristics and program procedures which appear to affect teacher
attitudes. Results can help improve program design and implementation, daily
procedures, preservice and inservice teacher training, and support services.
Assessing changes in teacher attitude over time helps to evaluate the
effectiveness of experience, changes in training or procedures, or the general
progress of program implementation.
WHAT KINDS OF TEACHER ATTITUDES ARE BEING MEASURED?
Two major types of teacher attitudes are being studied: attitudes toward
handicapped students and attitudes toward mainstreaming.
Attitudes Toward the Handicapped
While teacher attitudes toward the disabled in general have been studied,
educational research has focused more on identifying differences in attitudes
toward different types of disabilities. Casey, for example, measured differences
in attitudes toward physically handicapped, emotionally disturbed, mentally
retarded, and speech impaired children. Evaluations also can focus on attitudes
toward sensory disabilities, such as blindness and deafness.
Attitudes Toward Mainstreaming
Teacher attitudes can be the focus of mainstreaming evaluations or part of a
larger program assessment. Studies also can look at how types of teacher
attitudes reflect different stages in the implementation process and at the
process of implementing mainstreaming programs.
Many different questions can be asked about teacher attitudes toward
mainstreaming. Many studies have examined the cognitive and affective changes in
teachers to evaluate inservice treatment effects. Others have looked at specific
program effects, such as class size, class composition, or support services. The
relationship of teacher attitudes to such teacher characteristics as sex,
knowledge of handicaps or mainstreaming, and grade level taught has also been
HOW CAN TEACHER ATTITUDES BE MEASURED?
A variety of types of attitude measures can be used to construct instruments
to measure teacher attitudes. Descriptions and examples of the following types
are discussed in the literature (Horne l980; Jones l984):
Many measures of teacher attitudes toward mainstreaming have been developed
to evaluate specific school programs. The methodology and validity of many
studies have not been evaluated. The following measures are examples of
instruments which may have more general applicability.
Attitude Toward Mainstreaming Scale
Developed to establish a baseline of teacher attitudes toward mainstreaming
and to monitor future attitudinal changes, this instrument measures three
attitude factors (learning capability, general mainstreaming, and traditional
limiting disabilities), the effects of five variables (sex, teaching field,
certification category, age, and teaching experience), and past experience with
the handicapped (Berryman and Berryman l981). Validation studies support the
scale's applicability to studies assessing teacher attitudes toward
mainstreaming and attitude change that are not disability specific (Berryman and
Stages of Concerns Questionnaire (SoCQ)
This instrument has been used to assess teacher attitudes to evaluate the
progress of implementing mainstreaming programs. Based on a model of a
progression of defined stages of concerns, or types of attitudes people have
when involved in a process of adopting educational innovations, the SoCQ
identifies at which of the seven stages attitudes appear to be (Hall l977). It
has been used in a study of Illinois elementary school teachers (Bosman l979)
and a longitudinal study of Kansas teachers (Holloway l980).
WHAT ARE MAJOR FINDINGS ON TEACHERS ATTITUDES?
Most studies show that teachers, like the general public, have negative views
of both handicapped students and mainstreaming. Teachers are most negative to
mainstreaming emotionally disturbed and mentally retarded students (Alexander
and Strain l978; Hannah and Pliner l983). Lack of knowledge about disabilities,
experience with handicapped students, and training in teaching these types of
students appear as major contributors of these attitudes.
Preservice and inservice training has been effective in promoting positive
attitudes and facilitating skill acquisition (Salend l984). Additionally,
training should address the stages of concern of the teachers involved, their
degree of actual experience with mainstreaming, to be most effective (Holloway
and others l980).
Support services for teachers with mainstreamed classes appear vital to
teacher attitudes. Having psychologists or special education teachers who can
provide information and assistance on a specific handicapped child, behavior
management, or teaching techniques, makes teachers more positive toward
mainstreaming (Hannah and Pliner l983; Horne l980).
Placing handicapped students in regular classrooms makes more demands on the
time and talents of the classroom teacher. Assessing teacher attitudes is vital
to providing teachers with the training and support services to enable them to
meet the challenge successfully.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Alexander, Cara, and Philip S. Strain. "A Review of Educators' Attitudes
Toward Handicapped Children and the Concept of Mainstreaming." PSYCHOLOGY IN THE
SCHOOLS 15 (1978):390-396.
Bosman, Robert, and Charles A. Sloan. THE PERCEIVED CONCERNS OF ELEMENTARY
SCHOOL PRINCIPALS AND ELEMENTARY SCHOOL TEACHERS TOWARD MAINSTREAMING. 1979. ED
Berryman, Joan D., and Charles R. Berryman. USE OF THE "ATTITUDES TOWARD
MAINSTREAMING SCALE" WITH RURAL GEORGIA TEACHERS. Paper presented at the Annual
Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Los Angeles, April,
1981. ED 201 420.
Berryman, Joan D., and W. R. Neal, Jr. "The Cross Validation of the Attitudes
Toward Mainstreaming Scale." EDUCATIONAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL MEASUREMENT 40
Hall, Gene E., and others. MEASURING STAGES OF CONCERN ABOUT INNOVATION:
MANUAL FOR THE USE OF THE SoC QUESTIONNAIRE. Austin: University of Texas, 1977.
ED 147 342.
Hannah, Mary Elizabeth, and Susan Pliner. "Teacher Attitudes Toward
Handicapped Children: A Review and Synthesis." SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGY REVIEW 12
Holloway, William, and others. POLICY ANALYSIS: AN ASSESSMENT OF PUBLIC
SCHOOL EDUCATORS' CONCERNS IN RELATION TO PL 94-142. Washington, DC: Bureau of
Education for the Handicapped, 1980. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of
the American Educational Research Association, Boston, April, 1980. ED 191 168.
Horne, Marcia D. HOW ATTITUDES ARE MEASURED. ERIC/TM REPORT 78. Princeton,
NJ: ERIC Clearinghouse on Tests, Measurement, and Evaluation, Educational
Testing Service, 1980. ED 198 154.
Jones, Reginald L., editor. ATTITUDES AND ATTITUDE CHANGE IN SPECIAL
EDUCATION: THEORY AND PRACTICE. Reston, VA: ERIC Clearinghouse on Handicapped
and Gifted Children, The Council for Exceptional Children, 1984.
Salend, Spencer J., "Factors Contributing to the Development of Successful
Mainstreaming Programs." EXCEPTIONAL CHILDREN 50 (1984):409-416.
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