Hawpe, J. C. (2013). Secondary teachers’ attitudes toward and willingness to provide accommodations and modifications for students with disabilities (Publication No. 3538967) [Doctoral dissertation, Baker University]. ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Global. https://www.proquest.com/docview/1328120165
Baker University (Baldwin City, KS); ProQuest document ID: 1328120165; also available on a Baker University (KS) webpage: http://www.bakeru.edu/images/pdf/SOE/EdD_Theses/Hawpe_Justin.pdf
This study investigated the perceptions of educators about disabilities and about use of accommodations and modifications to assist students with disabilities. Educators' attitudes were elicited about types of accommodations—timing, presentation, and response—as well as modifications. These accommodations and modifications were provided for classroom-based work and homework assignments, as well as during assessments; assessment accommodations findings are emphasized in this summary. Examples of test accommodations included: extended testing time, rephrasing of test questions, alternate exams (multiple-choice instead of short-answer), calculators, and student dictating answers. Examples of testing modifications included: adjusting grading criteria and awarding partial credit (such as for problem-solving process if solution were incorrect).
Secondary educators (n=529), either at the middle school (39%) and at the high school levels (61%), including general education (74%) and special education (26%) teachers in Wichita, Kansas, were respondents to a set of surveys. Respondents' gender and disability status, as well as whether they had family members with disabilities, were also reported.
Respondents were surveyed employing a couple sources, along with a demographic survey developed by the researcher. A survey about accommodations developed by Lambert and his colleagues (1996) was adapted to include questions about specific accommodations used in the Kansas school district involved in the study, and to be suitable for the secondary school level (instead of the postsecondary level in the original survey design); it was also adjusted to ask respondents if they would provide accommodations and modifications, rather than if respondents had done so in the past. The items were designed to measure educators' willingness to provide accommodations and modifications for students with disabilities. Yuker, Block, and Campbell's Attitudes Towards Persons with Disabilities Scales (1986) survey was incorporated in its entirety, with terminology adjustments. The items were intended to measure respondents' attitudes as they pertain to their students with disabilities.
The respondents' group means about their willingness to provide various accommodations and modifications for their students were calculated, and compared with the neutral ("3") response, the mid-point in the numerical range of possible responses. All of the responses were significantly above average, indicating that the tendency was for respondents to endorse using accommodations, including: alternative forms of exams, rephrasings of test items, extra test time, student dictation of answers to a person recording the responses, oral responses to essay questions, calculators, and no score differences for structural errors (punctuation, spelling, and grammar). As for modifications, the average response was significantly different than the neutral response for awards of partial credit for process (separate from final solution), but not significantly different from the neutral response for adjustments to grading criteria to assist students with disabilities to pass. When diverse aspects of the respondent group were compared for differences in willingness to provide accommodations and modifications, some response differences were detected for assessment accommodations. Women were more willing than men to provide extra test time, rephrasing of test items, different test forms, and student dictation of test responses. Middle school teachers were more willing than high school teachers to allow student dictation of test responses, and student oral response for essay items; high school teachers were more willing than middle school teachers to allow calculator use during testing. Special education teachers were more willing than general education teachers to provide alternative forms of tests, to allow student oral responses to essay items, and to allow calculators during testing. Teachers with disabilities were more willing than teachers with no disabilities to provide different test forms, and to allow calculators during testing. Regarding test modifications, special education teachers were more willing than general education teachers to adjust grading criteria to help students pass. These were the only significant differences in willingness by demographic group to provide testing accommodations. On average, the respondent group as a whole had positive attitudes toward people with disabilities. When examining attitudes of different demographic groups of respondents, there were no significant differences based on gender, school level taught, teaching assignment, teachers' personal disability, or family members with or without disabilities. Correlational analyses between willingness to provide accommodations or modifications and attitude toward people with disabilities demonstrated relationships between the factors in specific instances. There were weak, but significant, positive relationships indicating that a more positive attitude toward people with disabilities was associated with an increased willingness to allow student oral responses to essay questions, to allow calculator use during testing, and to no score differences when students made structural errors in compositions. Regarding test modifications, there was a weak, but significant, positive relationship indicating that a more positive attitude toward people with disabilities was associated with an increased willingness to award partial credit for correct problem-solving processes even if the solutions were incorrect. There was a weak, but significant, negative relationship indicating that a more positive attitude toward people with disabilities was associated with a decreased willingness to change grading criteria to help students pass. Limitations of the study were reported, and future research directions were suggested.