Term of Award

Spring 2008

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Education Administration (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Department

Department of Leadership, Technology, and Human Development

Committee Chair

Polka, Walter S.

Committee Member 1

Linda M. Arthur

Committee Member 2

Margaret LaMontagne

Abstract

The primary purpose of this quantitative study was to compare the perceptions of middle school administrators from four Georgia school districts regarding three policy areas: effective strategies; support for educational change; and inclusive education. Two school districts comprised Group 1: one urban and one rural school district that met Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). Two school districts comprised Group 2: one urban and one rural school district that did not meet AYP. Middle school administrators' perceptions of inclusion were collected through the use of an Inclusive Education Survey and analyzed using descriptive statistics and a one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) to answer the research questions and to determine whether significant differences existed between the means of urban and rural districts that met AYP and that did not meet AYP. ANOVA analysis also determined the extent of demographic factors that influenced the strategies of administrators to promote effective inclusion of students with special needs for the three policy areas. A Scheffes test was applied for post hoc analysis (p < .05). Descriptive statistics were used to describe demographic data of age, gender, level of education, and years of experience as a middle school principal. Means of demographic data for administrators were run for the three policy areas: effective strategies, support for educational change, and inclusive education. Hypothesis One revealed that younger administrators were more receptive and open to the three policy areas than older administrators. Significant differences were found for administrators with advanced degrees in effective strategies statement of making modifications for students who need adaptations to benefit from a particular instructional environment. Hypothesis Two revealed significant differences for the variable effective strategies for students with disabilities. No other differences were found for the remaining questions for effective strategies for students with disabilities. Hypothesis Three revealed a significant difference in the variable support for educational change for inclusion of students with disabilities. Hypothesis Four revealed no significant differences in inclusive education for students with disabilities on any of the statements. Overall, middle school administrators were supportive of students with disabilities in all three policy areas regardless of their AYP status.

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