Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

MacFeely, Richard W.

Degree Name

Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Leadership in Educational and Sport Organizations


Special education--Illinois; Teachers--Illinois--Attitudes; Students with disabilities--Education (Secondary)--Illinois


The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) least restrictive environment (LRE) section identifies the preferred placement for students with disabilities as the regular-education classroom. The question of what is appropriate and who makes the decisions is at the heart of this historical educational debate, which has unfortunately entered the legal arena for resolutions. Defining those qualities necessary for optimal inclusive service delivery was the purpose of the initial phase of this study. The particular emphasis on students with “learning disabilities” at the “secondary level” was necessary as there is a significant gap in the research base for these areas. Learning disabilities is the largest category of exceptionality in Illinois, and the secondary level contains many barriers inherent in the very structure of this level. The quality indicators for optimal inclusive service delivery were identified through a Nominal Group Technique utilized to construct a questionnaire. The questionnaires explored teacher attitudes and sought to elicit information in three areas: (1) Optimal inclusion characteristics (quality indicators); (2) Impediments to inclusion (potential barriers); (3) Teacher attitudes toward elements of inclusion (Amended Yuker Scale). These three areas were compared and analyzed through a variety of statistical approaches including frequencies, Pearson Chi-Square tests, Mann-Whitney U Tests, and principal component analysis. The research findings revealed clearly that teachers themselves felt the following items played important roles in achieving/implementing successful inclusion: (1) Teacher attitudes; (2) Teacher willingness to modify and diversify instruction; (3) Training and staff development; and (4) Support (administrative and financial). For educators to follow both the spirit and the letter of the law, inclusion must be a philosophy supported by all stakeholders. Although IDEA is federally mandated, the interpretations vary from district to district, building to building, and classroom to classroom. Teacher attitudes have been identified as playing a definite role in the success or failure of inclusion.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [130]-134)


x, 166 pages




Northern Illinois University

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