School of Education


Doctor of Education in Curriculum & Instruction (EdD)


Jeffrey Savage


Special Education Teacher, Inclusion, Perceptions, Alternative Certification


Education | Special Education and Teaching


A primary goal of education is to increase student achievement. Many school districts are addressing increased student achievement by hiring and retaining effective teachers. Teacher effectiveness and student achievement are both influenced by teacher perception. Teachers with positive perceptions have been shown to contribute to increased student achievement and are perceived to be effective educators. Special education teachers hold both positive and negative perceptions about inclusion. In addition to varied perceptions of inclusion, teachers have taken different routes to obtain special education teacher certification. The purpose of this causal-comparative, quantitative study was to determine whether a statistically significant difference exists in inclusion perceptions between special education teachers who have earned their special education certification through a traditional certification program and those who have done so through an alternative certification program. A random sample of 112 special education teachers, obtained from a market research sample aggregator, participated in the study through an online anonymous survey. The Opinions Relative to the Integration of Students with Disabilities (Antonak & Larrivee, 1995) instrument measured participants' inclusion perceptions. Responses to the survey instrument were compiled and analyzed using an independent samples t-test to identify differences in inclusion perceptions between the two groups. The results of the study indicated that there is no significant difference in perceptions toward inclusion, as measured by the ORI scale, between special education teachers with traditional teacher certification and those with alternative teacher certification.