Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Open Access Dissertation


Dropouts; Children with social disabilities--Education; Teachers of children with social disabilities--Attitudes;


This descriptive study identified elementary, middle level, and high school teachers' beliefs and attitudes toward at risk students. The sample was drawn from three public schools that reflect the cultural and geographic diversity of school districts in a Midwestern state. All 84 regular classroom teachers from the selected schools participated in the investigation. Subjects completed a 100-question survey, developed by Phi Delta Kappa International, which assessed their beliefs and attitudes toward specific learning factors and behaviors of students, specific problems students confront outside of school, student abilities, and teaching strategies. Treatment included descriptive statistics, correlational analysis, and oneway analysis of variance.

Findings indicated teachers perceived their degree of responsibility as higher than their degree of influence on ten learning factors and behaviors. Middle level teachers rated students lower on learning factors and behaviors and tended to be less positive in their beliefs and attitudes toward at risk students than teachers at other levels.

Teachers rated 'notify parents' and 'confer with parents' as the most frequently used of 30 intervention strategies. The strategies rated most effective overall were 'confer with parents' and 'smaller classes.' Family discord and family instability were identified as two major areas with which students must cope outside of school.

Teachers who perceived a higher level of responsibility for high risk students differed in their perceived productivity at the three levels: (a) elementary teachers perceived they were less productive, (b) middle level teachers perceived they were more productive, and (c) high school teachers who perceived a high responsibility for listening skills and attention in class felt less productive with students.

Elementary teachers who perceived greater responsibility for reading and writing and high school teachers who perceived a greater responsibility for higher order thinking skills spend a greater proportion of time with at risk students on these skills. Middle level teachers who spend a greater proportion of time with at risk students perceived a lower level of responsibility for daily attendance and attention in class.

Teachers indicated that instruction should be organized around a common program. They believe, however, that each teacher should be encouraged to make variations for individual students.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Department of Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Gregory P. Stefanich, Chair

Second Advisor

Mary K. Aldridge, Co-Chair

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (vi, 99 pages)



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