Waters, C. (2022). Science teacher beliefs, knowledge, and skill in accommodating and modifying curriculum for students with disabilities (Publication No. 28868166) [Doctoral dissertation, Washington State University]. ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Global. https://www.proquest.com/docview/2709978947
Washington State University (Pullman, WA); ProQuest document ID: 2709978947
Accommodations were not specified in advance of this inquiry; the focus was on the beliefs, knowledge, and practices of science teachers in accommodating instruction and assessment, and modifying curriculum for students with disabilities. Their experiences with providing accommodations were emphasized in this summary, and specific assessment accommodations were described in the Findings section.
Four science teachers from a large suburban high school in a western state (U. S.) completed teacher surveys and participated in interviews. The participants were identified or recommended by colleagues and administrators for participation because they were perceived to show success in working with students with students with disabilities, for various reasons. Participants' academic credentials and work experience, and the classes they taught at the time of the data collection were also reported.
Data were collected in various ways. Educator surveys sought information about their job titles, descriptions of their jobs, and their preparation for their jobs—including training, work experience, and life experience. A series of three interviews with teacher participants asked for information on: (a) their feelings or thoughts on teaching science to students with disabilities, including their views on students' needs, their perceptions on their own teaching skills, their views on accommodations and modifications, and the indicators that they use to determine student success; (b) the information source/s on accommodations and modifications that they have applied in their teaching practices and their views on their selected student work samples—including tests, labs, written work, and verbal work; and (c) their beliefs on students' needs and how the accommodations and modifications address their needs. The classroom observation protocol documented the class lessons' learning objectives, a narrative of teacher and student actions, teaching strategies, and teachers' reflections after the class sessions. Emphasis was placed in this summary on information pertaining to accommodations used during student assessments.
Teacher participants reported their knowledge of universal design practices, and their approaches of broadening access to instructional accommodations—such as graphic organizer notetaking supports, student read-aloud of textbook passages and lab and other assignment instructions, scaffolded tasks, and providing paraeducator-read text recordings—for all students at their request, believing that their high school students with disabilities would not feel self-conscious for seeking accommodations in these circumstances. They also reported providing differentiated accommodations for students with disabilities, including behavioral, math-related, and particularly for testing: separate test site, individual setting with paraeducators, oral delivery of test items, and reference guides such as equations. Teachers indicated their observations that some IEP accommodations were not helpful; some participants identified seating preference and relaxed assignment deadlines as examples. Teaching efficacy through individualizing curriculum, personal traits like empathy and creativity, and communication and relational support for students with disabilities were also detailed. The implications of the findings for preparing science teachers for supporting students with disabilities, including with assessment accommodations, were reviewed.