Braun, S. L. M. (2017). The impact of disability services knowledge, perspectives, and experience of testing center staff on provided accommodations at community colleges (Publication No. 10634524) [Doctoral dissertation, University of St. Francis]. ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Global. https://www.proquest.com/docview/1964383181
University of St. Francis (IL); ProQuest document ID:1964383181
Accommodations were not specified; community college testing center staff's knowledge of, perspectives about, and professional development participation on information relating to disability services and law were investigated. An additional factor examined was the postsecondary institutions' histories of complaints to the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) on testing accommodations.
A total of 115 staff members at community college testing centers in 33 states representing all five identified regions (U.S.) during the 2016–2017 academic year participated in a knowledge test. All study participants were community college members of the National College Testing Association (NCTA). Testing centers at community colleges provide admissions testing, proctor course examinations, and offer credential testing. Several independent variables were collected through a self-reported rating scale survey alongside the knowledge test, including demographic and professional characteristics of respondents such as the lengths of time in their job positions, their individual responsibilities for providing testing accommodations (6 items), their participation in professional development related to postsecondary disability and law (9 items), their interest in professional development on accommodations (6 items), and their testing center's relationship with the disability services office (6 items). In addition to the knowledge test and survey, the researcher also gathered information as available from the Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD) Database of Disability-Related Cases and Rulings (2016), listing Office of Civil Rights (OCR) testing accommodation infractions for each participant's community college.
The Faculty Knowledge of Disability Laws in Higher Education (Thompson & Bethea, 1997), measuring respondents' knowledge of postsecondary disability services and law pertaining to addressing the needs of students with disabilities, was implemented along with a set of additional survey questions collecting information on the independent variables. The knowledge test consisted of 25 fact-based items each asking for a true or false response, and included several items on accessibility requirements, with at least six items on providing accommodations for academic testing and other academic graded products.
Participants' knowledge of disability services and law (as measured by the knowledge test) was positively associated with some but not all independent variables in this study. A small but significant relationship was found for knowledge test scores of 70% or higher and high involvement with providing test accommodations; the two statements with significant links, with small to medium effect sizes, pertained to (a) having frequent interactions with students and others who had test accommodation questions, and (b) feeling comfortable with using assistive technology while providing test accommodations. Higher knowledge test scores were not associated with length of testing center employment, with the exception of one test item, on disability documentation. Testing staff hired prior to 2000 consistently answered the disability identification as being demonstrated with documentation. No other significant positive relationships were shown for having high knowledge test scores (70% or higher) and the survey responses of high degrees of agreement on the other survey constructs as a whole. However, knowledge test scores were significantly associated with individual survey items: those who participate in trainings with the disability services office, those who were familiar with NCTA's Special Interest Group focused on universal access in testing, and those who endorsed regularly participating in professional development opportunities on postsecondary disability and law. Other participant characteristics not mentioned here were not found to have significant connections to higher scores (70% or higher) on the knowledge test.