Administrative attitudes and factors found in special education directors implementing universal design for learning/e-text within a state special education system
Michael M. Abell, University of Louisville, United States
University of Louisville . Awarded
This study examines the attitudes and factors valued by Kentucky directors of special education (DOSE) currently implementing universal design for learning (UDL) principles within their school districts. UDL principles call for curriculum flexibility in relation to content presentation, student expression, and student engagement (Rose & Meyer, 2002c). UDL is a new approach for teaching, learning, and assessment, that draws on brain research and new media technologies to respond to individual learner differences (Center for Applied Special Technology, 2002).
The purpose of the study was to provide new information to DOSEs by researching leadership issues and aspects involving district level UDL implementation. Department level professional development and technology implementation issues were also explored. Attention was given to early adopters and variables relating to full implementation within a systems change initiative.
The survey instrument was adapted from the Managerial Practices Survey (Yukl and Lepsinger, 1990) to measure managerial behaviors. The survey was sent to the 176 directors of special education in the state of Kentucky. Eighty nine surveys were returned with usable data for a 50 percent return rate. The district selection criteria was based on participation in the 2004 CATS Online assessment which 36 districts of the 176 in Kentucky participated in. The state criteria (Kentucky Department of Education, 2005) for participation in the CATS Online assessment required each district's administrative leadership to receive training on UDL principles, installation of UDL relevant software, and professional development on how to use the CATS Online assessment inaccessible format.
The data are broken into two separate sets for the purpose of this study. The first data set (data set I) consists of all respondents (n=89) and is used for descriptive purposes and to report general opinions of DOSEs. Data set II is comprised of respondents (n&barbelow;-19) from 36 DOSES identified as knowledgeable and implementing UDL principles for a response rate of fifty three percent. Data set II is used for all statistical analyses encompassing t-tests, analysis of variance, and multiple regression methods.
The results are important to the field of special education now that IDEIA (2004) includes policy language that encompasses UDL. This study found no significant differences in DOSE'S gender, education level, or years of administrative experience as relates to the DOSES own level of educational innovation. The Cost Factors of UDL Implementation is significant regarding district acquisition of curriculum in digital formats and the technology infrastructure to run it, but was not a significant predictor. Finally, there is no significant relationship between DOSE core knowledge of UDL/E-text in relation to the size of their district special education population.
Abell, M.M. Administrative attitudes and factors found in special education directors implementing universal design for learning/e-text within a state special education system. Ph.D. thesis, University of Louisville.
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