Narrowing the Achievement Gap in a Southwest United States High School
Weaver II, Kenneth
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Special education students spend most of their academic school days removed from the general education classroom, thus losing instruction from content specialists. This study was designed to help the researcher understand how general education teachers' self-efficacy influences their preparedness, whether general education teachers feel adequately prepared to educate special education students, and if feelings affect their classroom outcomes. The data acquired from this study helped create professional development, ongoing supports, and embedded training for teachers to increase their self-efficacy regarding their abilities to teach special education students and help build the teachers' collective efficacy. A qualitative case study was designed to investigate these phenomena at a high school in the southwestern region of the United States. General education teachers at a southwest United States high school completed an anonymous demographic survey. This voluntary anonymous demographic survey was sent to all general education teachers to complete, with a request that teachers volunteer to participate in an interview (two teachers from each department). A criterion sampling method was used to collect data from participants using thematic analysis; the demographic survey allowed the researcher to group responses based upon content, experience, education, perspective, training in special education, and their comfort level teaching special education students. The responses to the interviews allowed the researcher to gain more information about how to increase their self-efficacy when educating special education students. The responses led the researcher to understand that time and professional development were needed to enhance the collective efficacy of the general education teachers working in inclusive classrooms. Time is necessary for the collaboration of lessons and the students’ needs associated with those lessons. Time is also necessary so that teachers can modify and accommodate lessons for the various learners in the room. Professional development on the various inclusion models, as well as how to modify and accommodate appropriately are skills that can be learned during this time. This research has also led the researcher to understand that more research can be completed on grading for students. While various grading models are used in classrooms and schools, the rationales for those grading models to determine the learning that has occurred can be enhanced.