Newfoundland's special education policy: pilot schools' perception of professional competencies necessary for successful implementation

Larner-Pardy, Mary (1991) Newfoundland's special education policy: pilot schools' perception of professional competencies necessary for successful implementation. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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The purpose of this study was to (1) determine competencies judged to be important by various educational professionals for the successful implementation of the Special Education Policy in the province of Newfoundland and, in turn, (2) to determine how competent those professionals perceived themselves to be on those important competencies. -- A questionnaire consisting of 118 items, pertaining to 8 different categories of competencies deemed to be important through expert judgement, was developed by the researcher and administered to the fifteen pilot schools selected by the Department of Education in Newfoundland. These pilot schools were those designated as schools which would receive in-service support over a three year period as they implemented the new Special Education Policy. They were to also serve as exemplary sites for their respective school districts as well. -- Respondents were asked to rate each item on two Likert-type scales. The first scale asked the respondent to indicate the level of item importance for professionals in the same role as that of the respondent. The second scale required the respondent to rate how competent they perceived themselves to be on that item. -- Mean scores were computed for each questionnaire item and, in turn, each category, according to a respondent's professional title and year in policy implementation. Comparisons were then made between respondents on the basis of: type of professional responding; pilot school's year in policy implementation; and grade level taught by respondents. -- Results of the study revealed the following: -- (a) Those competencies which the various respondents felt important for policy implementation and competent in delivering. -- (b) Competencies respondents felt important for implementation but perceived themselves as being less competent in carrying out were also identified. -- (c) All of the eight professional competency categories were deemed to be important for successful implementation, and all respondents perceived themselves to be competent on the two categories which they felt to be most important for successful implementation, namely, the ability to develop a positive, accepting classroom and school atmosphere which, in turn, fosters constructive interaction between all students and possessing the individual personal characteristics thought to be important traits for any teacher to possess, but specifically for those with special need children in their class. -- (d) Compared to regular classroom teachers and school administrators, special education teachers perceived themselves to be the most competent on items they felt important for successful implementation. -- (e) As compared to special educators and school administrators, regular classroom teachers perceived themselves to be the least competent on items they felt to be important. -- (f) Respondents perceived themselves to be competent on the majority of items they felt to be important for successful implementation of Newfoundland's Special Education Policy. -- (g) As professionals progressed through the three years of policy implementation, their perceived level of competency increased. -- (h) Regular classroom teachers, special education teachers, and school administrators at all levels of policy implementation perceived themselves as less than competent on competencies dealing with professional knowledge of the characteristics of special needs children and adaptations necessary to effectively teach them. -- (i) Special education teachers and professionals in their third year of policy implementation perceived themselves as more competent on assessment competencies than did professionals at earlier stages of policy implementation. -- (j) Regular classroom teachers and school administrators perceived themselves to be less than competent in the areas of communication with parents, colleagues and administrators, and goal setting competencies. -- (k) The importance placed on instructional strategy competencies and personal characteristics of those responsible for meeting the needs of exceptional students, significantly increased as Professionals reached their third year of policy implementation.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Item ID: 10852
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 137-149.
Department(s): Education, Faculty of
Date: 1991
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Special education--Government policy--Newfoundland and Labrador; Teachers of children with disabilities--Newfoundland and Labrador; Teachers--Self-rating of.

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