Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Open Access Dissertation


Mainstreaming in education; Teacher-principal relationships;


As the movement to integrate students with handicaps into regular education classrooms continues, regular education teachers are a critical component of the successful implementation of the integration process. Because building principals must assume responsibility for selecting the teachers who will be assigned integrated classrooms, this investigation determined the degree to which principals were able to predict the attitudes of regular education teachers toward the integration of students with handicaps.

From public school districts in a Midwestern state, 85 pairs of teachers and principals were randomly selected from three educational levels: (a) elementary, (b) middle, and (c) secondary. The data were collected from questionnaires completed by the teachers, and from questionnaires completed by their principals predicting the attitudes of those regular education teachers regarding the following six factors: Factor 1, willingness; Factor 2, location of information; Factor 3, confidence about skills; Factor 4, effects on placement; Factor 5, adequate time; and Factor 6, teacher input.

The results showed difference scores between teachers and principals were significant on Factors 2, 3, 5, and 6; whereas, principals' predictions were not significantly different on Factors 1 and 4. With regards to educational level of the school, there were no differences between elementary, middle, or secondary level principals' ability to predict teacher responses.

Although principals were able to identify the teachers willing to teach students with handicaps, they overestimated teachers' knowledge of where to obtain help or information about handicapped students, confidence in their personal skills about instruction and management in an integrated classroom, and sufficiency of time for carrying out the integration process. Principals also underestimated teacher attitudes regarding their input into the integration process.

Principals can accurately predict teacher attitudes about integration and, therefore, place handicapped students appropriately with willing teachers. False assumptions, based on the overestimation on the three factors, can lead principals to believe that once initiated, the integration process will be maintained and sustained. Therefore, principals need to provide additional information, staff development, and support to the regular education teachers to ensure that the integration of students with handicaps reaches its optimum potential.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Department of Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Mary Nan Aldridge

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (v, 104 pages)



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