Nnoli, K. C. (2021). A generic qualitative inquiry of special educators’ experiences preparing students for high-stakes tests (Publication No. 28722335) [Doctoral dissertation, Capella University]. ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Global. https://www.proquest.com/docview/2584364360
Capella University (Minneapolis, MN); ProQuest document ID: 2584364360
The focus of the study was special education teachers' perceptions and practices of preparing students with disabilities for standardized assessments, with analysis showing responses related to accommodations. Specific accommodations were identified in interview data, and were reported as Findings.
Interviewees were special education teachers with experience teaching student with mild, moderate, and severe disabilities. All had six years or more of experience preparing students to take high stakes tests in self-contained and inclusive public school contexts. Teachers represented elementary, middle, and high school contexts and a variety of content areas, such as English, math, reading, science, and social studies. Demographic information was reported; teacher-interviewees ranged in age from early 30s to mid-60s, and most were women.
A set of 12 guiding questions were asked in each interview, eliciting special education teachers' experiences when preparing students to participate in tests, including their feelings, helpful actions, challenges and how they manage them, and their reflections on themselves currently as well as early in their careers. Interview responses were recorded then transcribed, and the transcriptions were analyzed for emerging themes. The interview questions yielded several themes and the data detailed various practices; the current summary emphasizes data relevant to assessment accommodations.
Teachers reported several accommodations-related factors in preparing students for high stakes assessments. Teachers reported that knowledge of students' IEP accommodations was very important. Teachers felt that incorporating accommodation instruction was important, specifically to teach students what their accommodations were and how to use them. Teachers reported that it was important to ensure students received classroom and testing accommodations, and that accommodations were important for students to demonstrate their knowledge. Teachers reported preparing students to use accommodations including extended time, speech-to-text, human reader (oral delivery, live/in-person), calculator tools, voice or immersion reader, and scribe (dictated response). Implications for practice were offered, limitations of the study were reported, and future research possibilities were suggested.