School of Education
Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)
Autism, Perception, Secondary School Principals, Inclusion, Causal-comparative
Education | Educational Leadership
Conaway, Jason Brent, "Secondary School Principals' Perceptions of Inclusion for Students with Autism: A Causal-Comparative Study" (2018). Doctoral Dissertations and Projects. 1929.
A person’s perceptions define their reality, and behavior is based on what one believes to be real; therefore, perception is the path to belief, and one usually acts upon belief (Colaianni, 2015). According to Hallinger and Murphy (2012), “Today, we view instructional leadership as an influence process through which leaders identify direction for the school, motivate staff and coordinate school and classroom-based strategies aimed at improvements in teaching and learning” (p. 7). The purpose of this quantitative, causal-comparative study was to contribute to a body of research surrounding the perceptions of secondary school principals toward the inclusion of students with Autism Spectrum Disorder in the general education environment. To fulfill this purpose, the researcher examined the following research questions: What is the relationship between secondary school administrators’ perceptions toward the inclusion of students with autism and the number of special education credits they took in their administrative training programs, what is the relationship between secondary school administrators’ perceptions toward the inclusion of students with autism and the number of years as an administrator, and what is the relationship between secondary school administrators’ perceptions toward the inclusion of students with autism and the number of students with IEPs in their building that are in regular education classes for at least 50 % of their day? One hundred and thirty-five secondary school principals across the state of West Virginia completed the Principal’s Perception of Autism Inclusion Survey (PPAIS). Data was collected and analyzed using comparative data by means of a Wilcoxon Two-Sample Z-test. This study is significant in determining what variables affect the perception of secondary school administrators regarding the inclusion of students with autism in a general education environment.