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Title:
"I've got the power! investigating pre-service special educators' perceptions and abilities to teach reading to students with disabilities"
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English
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Callins, Tandria Milango
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Empowerment
Teacher preparation
Efficacy
Competency
Pre-service teachers
Special education
Developmental-constructivism
Theory-to-practice gap
Dissertations, Academic -- Special Education -- Doctoral -- USF   ( lcsh )
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government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )

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ABSTRACT: Ive Got the Power!: Investigating Pre-service Special Educators Perceptions and Abilities to Teach Reading to Students with Disabilities Tandria Milagno Callins M.S., CCC-SLP ABSTRACT This study, through a multiple case study approach, was designed to investigate how pre-service special educators were empowered to teach reading to students with disabilities during their final internship. A developmental-constructivism theoretical framework guided this study in order to examine how a teacher preparation program prepared a six-member cohort of pre-service special educators in the areas of efficacy, competency, and preparedness. Based on the principles of developmental-constructivism, the researcher investigated whether or not these pre-service special educators became more empowered in the areas of efficacy, competency, and preparedness through active-learning and hands-on opportunities.The researcher employed a concurrent mixed-method design for data collection and analysis. To complement the quantitative data from the surveys, the qualitative data from the interviews were collected in order to provide support, to explain, and to account for discrepancies in the data. The levels of empowerment were measured by the differences between self-reported data on pretest and posttest measures on the Teacher Sense of Efficacy Scale (TSES), Special Education Competency Scale (SECS), and Preparedness to Teach Reading Survey (PTRS). Videotaped observations of each pre-service special educator teaching a reading lesson were collected and analyzed to determine the percentage of observable reading practices. Results included both increases and decreases in perceptions of empowerment on the TSES, SECS, and PTRS. The pre-service special educators were able to demonstrate approximately 50-65% of the reading competencies on the reading observation rubric.The results also revealed gaps between self-perceptions and actual practices among the participants. Institutional barriers such as student behaviors and the mentor/mentee relationship accounted for most of the gaps observed between beliefs and practices.
Thesis:
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of South Florida, 2005.
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Includes bibliographical references.
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Mode of access: World Wide Web.
Statement of Responsibility:
by Tandria Milango Callins.
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Title from PDF of title page.
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Document formatted into pages; contains 332 pages.

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University of South Florida Library
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aleph - 001709495
oclc - 68566120
usfldc doi - E14-SFE0001336
usfldc handle - e14.1336
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“I’ve Got the Power!”: Investigating Pre-service Special Educators’ Perceptions and Abilities to Teach Reading to Students with Disabilities” by Tandria Milagno Callins M.S., CCC-SLP A dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy Department of Special Education College of Education University of South Florida Major Professor: David Allsopp, Ph.D. Daphne Thomas, Ph.D. Anthony Onwuegbuzie, Ph.D. Brenda Townsend, Ph.D. Mary Lou Morton, Ph.D. Date of Approval: October 28, 2005 Keywords: empowerment, teacher preparatio n, efficacy, competency, pre-service teachers, special education, developmental-constructivism, theory-to-practice gap Copyright 2005, Tandria Milagno Callins

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Pre-service Special Educators Dedication I would like to, dedicate this dissertation to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who strengthened and blessed me to have the “drive” to complete this process. It was only through the matchless Word of God that I found peace and refuge that enabled me to withstand. To my husband, Pastor Calvin ‘Pee Wee’ Callins Sr., who is “the wind beneath my wings.” I thank you for always thinking and being concerned about me. I will always be indebted to you because you have always put my goals and my desires before yours. To my children, Calaydria and “C.J.”, who have been so patient and understanding since the moment they entered into this world. They’ve only known “mommy” to be a student and even at their young age, they’ve supported my endeavors. To my mother and sister, Celeste and Tisha, who have been there for emotional support. Thank you for being the best “Nanna” and “Titi” in the world. To my extended families, who provided respite care for Calaydria and C.J. when I needed to meet deadlines and required uninterrupted time to write. To Greater New Hope Anointed Ministries Prayer Retreat Center, for all your prayers and supplications. To my special friends, Erica, Dee, Julie, Layesha, Vixen, Simon, Karen H., and Dr. Rose, who loved and encouraged me. To my committee members, Drs. Allsopp, Thomas, Townsend, Onwuegbuzie, and Morton, for their guidance and support.

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Pre-service Special Educators i TABLE OF CONTENTS LIST OF TABLES................................................................................................vii LIST OF FIGURES..............................................................................................xii ABSTRACT .........................................................................................................xv CHAPTER 1 Introduction...........................................................................................................1 Statement of the Problem..........................................................................1 Research-to-Practice Gap in Special Education........................................2 Rationale of the Study................................................................................5 Purpose Statement....................................................................................8 Research Questions..................................................................................9 Definition of Terms.....................................................................................9 Delimitations ...........................................................................................11 Limitations................................................................................................11 Organization of Remaining Chapters.......................................................18 CHAPTER 2 Review of related literature.................................................................................19 Introduction..............................................................................................19 Theoretical Framework............................................................................20 Reading Instruction..................................................................................22

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Pre-service Special Educators ii Integrated Approac h to Reading...................................................23 Roles of the Special Educator to Teach Reading..........................25 Condition of Readi ng in Urban Schools........................................26 Teacher Efficacy......................................................................................28 Special Education.........................................................................30 Developing Competence..........................................................................32 Preparation of Pre-servic e Special Educators.........................................33 Pre-service teachers lear ning to teach reading.............................36 Empowerment..........................................................................................40 Summary.................................................................................................44 CHAPTER 3 Methodology ......................................................................................................47 Introduction..............................................................................................47 Participants..............................................................................................49 Selection of Participants..........................................................................50 Ethical Considerations.............................................................................51 Quantitative In struments..........................................................................51 Qualitative Instruments............................................................................54 Procedures..............................................................................................56 Quantitative Procedures................................................................56 Qualitative Procedures..................................................................56 Research Design.....................................................................................58 Data Analysis...........................................................................................59

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Pre-service Special Educators iii Quantitative Analysis.....................................................................59 Qualitative Analysis.......................................................................60 Mixed Method Analysis.................................................................60 CHAPTER 4 Results...............................................................................................................61 Description of Cases................................................................................62 Ashley...........................................................................................62 Bridgette........................................................................................64 Celeste..........................................................................................65 Denise...........................................................................................66 Emma............................................................................................67 Felicia............................................................................................68 Teacher Sense of Efficacy Scale.............................................................71 Within-case Analysis.....................................................................72 Ashley.................................................................................72 Bridgette.............................................................................75 Celeste...............................................................................79 Denise................................................................................83 Emma.................................................................................87 Felicia.................................................................................91 Cross-case Analysis......................................................................95 Overall Sense of Efficacy...................................................95 Efficacy for Student Engagement.......................................96

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Pre-service Special Educators iv Efficacy for Instructional Practices....................................101 Efficacy for Classroom Management................................105 Special Education Competency Scale...................................................109 Within-case Analysis...................................................................110 Ashley...............................................................................110 Bridgette...........................................................................115 Celeste.............................................................................120 Denise..............................................................................126 Emma...............................................................................130 Felicia...............................................................................136 Cross-case Analysis....................................................................141 Overall SECS Results......................................................141 New and Emerging Roles.................................................141 Recent Changes in Technology, Program Development, Leadership Roles..............................................................144 Assessment, Modifications, Communication and Advocacy, Inclusive Practices............................................................152 Traditional Roles and Responsibilities..............................161 Preparedness to Teac h Reading Survey...............................................166 Within-case Analysis...................................................................167 Ashley...............................................................................167 Bridgette...........................................................................171 Celeste.............................................................................175 Denise..............................................................................179

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Pre-service Special Educators v Emma...............................................................................182 Felicia...............................................................................186 Cross-case Analysis....................................................................190 Overall PTRS Results.......................................................190 Foundational Knowledge..................................................191 Instructional Strategies and Curriculum Materials............196 Assessment, Diagnosis, and Evaluation...........................202 Creating a Litera te Environment.......................................207 Overview of Findings.............................................................................212 Teacher Sense of Efficacy Scale...........................................................212 Special Education Competency Scale...................................................217 Preparedness to Teac h Reading Survey...............................................224 Observations .........................................................................................229 Ashley....................................................................................229 Bridgette................................................................................230 Celeste..................................................................................231 Denise...................................................................................231 Emma....................................................................................232 Felicia....................................................................................232 Self-perceptions and Abilities.................................................................233 Interview Data and Analysis...................................................................235 Member Checks.....................................................................................258

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Pre-service Special Educators vi CHAPTER 5 Discussion........................................................................................................260 Conclusions...........................................................................................261 Limitations of Study................................................................................269 Implications............................................................................................271 Recommendations............................................................................................274 REFERENCES.................................................................................................277 APPENDIX A: Sense of Efficacy Scale............................................................ 293 APPENDIX B: Special Educat ion Competen cy Scale...................................... 295 APPENDIX C: Pr eparedness to Teach Reading Survey..................................300 APPENDIX D: Pr eparedness to Teach Reading Survey Observation Rubric...305 APPENDIX E: Pr eparedness To Teach Reading Interview Protocol................308 APPENDIX F: Follow-up Interview Protocol..................................................... 311 ABOUT THE AUTHOR............................................................................End Page

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Pre-service Special Educators vii LIST OF TABLES Table 1 Summary of Intern Characteristics.........................................................70 Table 2 Summary of PPP Characteristics..........................................................71 Table 3 Ashley Teacher Sense of Effi cacy Scale (TSES) Ov erall Efficacy.........73 Table 4 Ashley Efficacy for Student Engagement...............................................74 Table 5 Ashley Efficacy for Instructional Practices.............................................75 Table 6 Ashley Efficacy for Classroom Management.........................................76 Table 7 Bridgette TSES Overall Efficacy............................................................77 Table 8 Bridgette Efficacy for Student Engagement...........................................78 Table 9 Bridgette Efficacy for Instructional Practices..........................................79 Table 10 Bridgette Efficacy for Classroom Management....................................80 Table 11 Celeste TSES Overall Efficacy............................................................81 Table 12 Celeste Efficacy for Student Engagement...........................................82 Table 13 Celeste Efficacy for Instructional Practices..........................................83 Table 14 Celeste Efficacy for Classroom Management......................................84 Table 15 Denise TSES Overall Efficacy.............................................................85 Table 16 Denise Efficacy for Student Engagement............................................86

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Pre-service Special Educators viii Table 17 Denise Efficacy for Instructional Practices...........................................87 Table 18 Denise Efficacy for Classroom Management.......................................88 Table 19 Emma TSES Overall Efficacy..............................................................89 Table 20 Emma Efficacy for Student Engagement.............................................90 Table 21 Emma Efficacy for Instructional Practices............................................91 Table 22 Emma Efficacy for Classroom Management........................................92 Table 23 Felicia TSES Overall E fficacy..............................................................93 Table 24 Felicia Efficacy for Student Engagement.............................................94 Table 25 Felicia Efficacy for Instructional Practices............................................95 Table 26 Felicia Efficacy for Classroom Management........................................96 Table 27 TSES Over all Efficacy.........................................................................97 Table 28 Efficacy for Student Engagement........................................................98 Table 29 Question Analysis for Efficacy in Student Engagement.....................101 Table 30 Efficacy for Instructional Practice.......................................................103 Table 31 Question Analysis for Efficacy in Instructional Practices....................105 Table 32 Efficacy for Classroom Management.................................................107 Table 33 Question Analysis for Efficacy in Classroom Management................109 Table 34 Ashley Special Education Competency Scale (SECS) Overall..........112 Table 35 Ashley New and Emerging Roles......................................................113 Table 36 Ashley Recent Changes in Technology, Program Development, Leadership Roles..............................................................................................114 Table 37 Ashley Assessment, Modifications, Communications and Advocacy, Inclusive Practices............................................................................................115 Table 38 Ashley Traditional Roles and Responsibilities...................................116

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Pre-service Special Educators ix Table 39 Bridgette SECS Overall.....................................................................117 Table 40 Bridgette New and Emerging Roles...................................................118 Table 41 Bridgette Recent Changes in Technology, Program Development, Leadership Roles..............................................................................................119 Table 42 Bridgette Assessment, Modifications, Communications and Advocacy, Inclusive Practices............................................................................................120 Table 43 Bridgette Traditional Roles and Responsibilities................................121 Table 44 Celeste SECS Overall.......................................................................122 Table 45 Celeste New and Emerging Roles.....................................................123 Table 46 Celeste Recent Changes in Technology, Program Development, Leadership Roles..............................................................................................124 Table 47 Celeste Assessment, Modifications, Communications and Advocacy, Inclusive Practices............................................................................................125 Table 48 Celeste Traditional Roles and Responsibilities..................................126 Table 49 Denise SECS Overall........................................................................127 Table 50 Denise New and Emerging Roles......................................................128 Table 51 Denise Recent Changes in Technology, Program Development, Leadership Roles..............................................................................................129 Table 52 Denise Assessment, Modifications, Communications and Advocacy, Inclusive Practices............................................................................................130 Table 53 Denise Traditional Roles and Responsibilities...................................131 Table 54 Emma SECS Overall.........................................................................132 Table 55 Emma New and Emerging Roles.......................................................133 Table 56 Emma Recent Changes in Technology, Program Development, Leadership Roles..............................................................................................134 Table 57 Emma Assessment, Modifications, Communications and Advocacy, Inclusive Practices............................................................................................135

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Pre-service Special Educators x Table 58 Emma Traditional Roles and Responsibilities....................................136 Table 59 Felicia SECS Overall.........................................................................137 Table 60 Felicia New and Emerging Roles.......................................................138 Table 61 Felicia Recent Changes in Technology, Program Development, Leadership Roles..............................................................................................139 Table 62 Felicia Assessment, Modifications, Communications and Advocacy, Inclusive Practices............................................................................................140 Table 63 Felicia Traditional Roles and Responsibilities....................................141 Table 64 SECS Overall Results........................................................................142 Table 65 SECS New and Emerging Roles.......................................................143 Table 66 Question Analysis New and Emerging Roles....................................145 Table 67 SECS Recent Changes in Technology, Program Development, Leadership Roles..............................................................................................146 Table 68 Question Analysis Recent Changes in Technology, Program Development, Leadership Roles.......................................................................151 Table 69 SECS Assessment, Modifications, Communications and Advocacy, Inclusive Practices............................................................................................154 Table 70 Question Analysis Assessment, Modifications, Communications and Advocacy, Inclusive Practices..........................................................................160 Table 71 SECS Traditional Roles and Responsibilities....................................163 Table 72 Question Analysis Traditional Roles and Responsibilities.................166 Table 73 Ashley Preparedness to Teach Reading Survey (PTRS) Overall......168 Table 74 Ashley Fou ndational Knowledge.......................................................169 Table 75 Ashley Instructional Strategies and Curriculum Materials..................170 Table 76 Ashley Assessment, Diagnosis, Evaluation.......................................170 Table 77 Ashley Creating a Literate En vironment............................................171

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Pre-service Special Educators xi Table 78 Bridgette PTRS Overall.....................................................................172 Table 79 Bridgette Fo undational K nowledge....................................................173 Table 80 Bridgette Instructional Strategies and Curriculum Materials..............174 Table 81 Bridgette Assessment, Diagnosis, Evaluation...................................174 Table 82 Bridgette Creating a Literate En vironment.........................................175 Table 83 Celeste PTRS Overall........................................................................176 Table 84 Celeste Found ational Knowledge......................................................177 Table 85 Celeste Instructional Strategies and Curriculum Materials................178 Table 86 Celeste Assessment, Diagnosis, Evaluation......................................178 Table 87 Celeste Creating a Literature Environment........................................179 Table 88 Denise PTRS Overall.........................................................................180 Table 89 Denise Found ational Knowledge.......................................................181 Table 90 Denise Instructional Strategies and Curriculum Materials.................181 Table 91 Denise Assessment, Diagnosis, Evaluation.......................................182 Table 92 Denise Creating a Literate Envi ronment............................................183 Table 93 Emma PTRS Overall.........................................................................184 Table 94 Emma Foundat ional Knowledge........................................................184 Table 95 Emma Instructional Strategies and Curriculum Materials..................185 Table 96 Emma Assessment, Diagnosis, Evaluation.......................................186 Table 97 Emma Creating a Literate Environment.............................................187 Table 98 Felicia PTRS Overall.........................................................................188 Table 99 Felicia Found ational Knowledge........................................................188 Table 100 Felicia Instructional Strategies and Curriculum Materials................189

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Pre-service Special Educators xii Table 101 Felicia Assessment, Diagnosis, Evaluation.....................................190 Table 102 Felicia Creating a Literate Environment...........................................190 Table 103 PTRS Overall Results......................................................................192 Table 104 PTRS Fou ndational Knowledge.......................................................193 Table 105 Question Analysis Foundational Knowledge....................................196 Table 106 PTRS Instructional Strategies and Curriculum Materials.................198 Table 107 Question Analysis Instructional Strategies and Curriculum Ma terials.........................................................................................202 Table 108 PTRS Assessment, Diagnosis, Evaluation......................................204 Table 109 Question Analysis Assessment, Diagnosis, Evaluation...................207 Table 110 PTRS Creating a Literate Environment............................................209 Table 111 Question Analysis Creating a Literate Environment.........................211 Table 112 Interrespondent Matrix of Themes for the PTRS Interview..............238 Table 113 Intrarespondent Matrix and Intensity Effect Sizes for the PTRS Interview.................................................................................................239 Table 114 Interrespondent Matrix of Themes for the PTRS Follow-up Intervie w...........................................................................................................241 Table 115 Intrarespondent Matrix and Intensity Effect Sizes for the Follow-up In terview...........................................................................................241

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Pre-service Special Educators xiii LIST OF FIGURES Figure 1 TSES Efficacy for Student E ngagement Pretest................................215 Figure 2 TSES Efficacy for Instructional Pr actices Pr etest............................... 215 Figure 3 TSES Efficacy for Classroom M anagement Pretest...........................216 Figure 4 TSES Efficacy for Student E ngagement Posttest...............................216 Figure 5 TSES Efficacy for Instructional Pr actices Po sttest.............................. 217 Figure 6 TSES Efficacy for Classroom M anagement Posttest..........................217 Figure 7 SECS New and Emer ging Roles Pretest............................................221 Figure 8 SECS, Technology, Program Development, Leadership Roles Pretest.................................................................................221 Figure 9 SECS, Assessment, Modifications, Communication and Advocacy, Inclusive Practices Pretest................................................................................222 Figure 10 SECS, Traditional Roles and Responsibilities Pretest......................222 Figure 11 SECS New and Emerging Roles Posttest........................................223 Figure 12 SECS Recent Changes in Technology, Program Development, Leadership Roles, Posttest...............................................................................223 Figure 13 SECS Assessment, Modifications, Communication and Advocacy, Inclusive Practices Posttest..............................................................................224 Figure 14 SECS Traditional Roles and Responsibilities Posttest.....................224 Figure 15 PTRS Foundationa l Knowledge Pretest...........................................226 Figure 16 PTRS Instructional Strategies and Curriculum Materials Pretest..............................................................................................................227 Figure 17 PTRS Assessment, Diagnosis, and Evaluation Pretest....................227

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Pre-service Special Educators xiv Figure 18 PTRS Creating a Litera te Environment Pretest................................228 Figure 19 PTRS Foundationa l Knowledge Posttest..........................................228 Figure 20 PTRS Instructional Strategies and Curriculum Materials Posttest............................................................................................................229 Figure 21 PTRS Assessment, Diagnosis, and Evaluation Posttest..................229 Figure 22 PTRS Creating a Literate Environment Posttest..............................230 Figure 23 Self-Reported versus Observed Practices ......................................236

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xv “I’ve Got the Power!”: Investigating Pre-service Special Educators’ Perceptions and Abilities to Teach Reading to Students with Disabilities” Tandria Milagno Callins M.S., CCC-SLP ABSTRACT This study, through a multiple case study approach, was designed to investigate how pre-service special educators were empowered to teach reading to students with disabilities during their final internship. A developmentalconstructivism theoretical framework guided this study in order to examine how a teacher preparation program prepared a six-member cohort of pre-service special educators in the areas of efficacy, competency, and preparedness. Based on the principles of development al-constructivism, the researcher investigated whether or not these pre-service special educators became more empowered in the areas of efficacy, competency, and preparedness through active-learning and hands-on opportunities. The researcher employed a concurrent mixed-method design for data collection and analysis. To complement the quantitative data from the surveys, the qualitative data from the interviews were collected in order to provide support, to explain, and to account for discrepancies in the data. The levels of empowerment were measured by the differences between self-reported data on pretest and posttest measures on the Teacher Sense of Efficacy Scale (TSES),

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Pre-service Special Educators xvi Special Education Competency Scale (SECS), and Preparedness to Teach Reading Survey (PTRS). Videotaped observations of each pre-service special educator teaching a reading lesson were collected and analyzed to determine the percentage of observable reading practices. Results included both increases and decreases in perceptions of empowerment on the TSES, SECS, and PTRS. The pre-service special educators were able to demonstrate approximately 50-65% of the reading competencies on the reading observation rubric. The results also revealed gaps between self-perceptions and actual practices among the participants. Institutional barriers such as student behaviors and the mentor/mentee relationship accounted for most of the gaps observed between beliefs and practices.

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1 CHAPTER 1 Introduction Statement of the Problem Despite national and state gains in reading, too many of our neediest students continue to perform at below basic levels in reading (National Assessment of Education Progress [NAEP], 2003). In Florida, the student minority population consists of 23% Black, 21% Hispanic, and 2% Asian/Pacific Islander. Of these minority populations, 60% of Blacks, 45% of Hispanics, and 21% of Asian/Pacific Islanders performed below basic level in reading. Additionally, 48% of the minority students in Florida are eligible for free or reduced lunch. Fifty-one percent of those students scored at below basic levels in reading (NAEP, 2003). One of the major predictors of referral and placement of students in special education is low reading ability (International Reading Association, [IRA], 2003). The International Reading Association reports that lack of appropriate reading instruction among low-performing students of color contributes to the overrepresentation of these students in high-disability categories. Once students are identified they may not have access to a comprehensive curriculum that includes reading instruction that is responsive to their individual needs (IRA, 2003). Studies conducted in general and special education settings reveal that

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Pre-service Special Educators 2 the nature of reading instruction presented to students who struggle with reading is, in many cases, deficient (Martinez, 2002). Chard and Kameenui’s (2000) study observed 65 first graders at risk for reading failure and found that many of these students were not engaged in reading tasks nor did they include reading practices like sound-symbol correspondenc e or use of predictable text and engaging big-book related activities (Chard & Kameenui, 2000). In another study involving 145 elementary students with learning disabilities, Zigmond et al. (1995) found that more than one-half of the special education students in their study made inadequate reading progress in general education settings (Zigmond et al., 1995). Haynes and Jenkins (1986) examined reading instruction in special education resource rooms and concluded that reading instruction was not strongly linked to students’ individual needs (Haynes & Jenkins, 1986). Consistent with these results, Vaughn, Moody, and Schumm (1998) found that most of the students with learning disabilities receiving reading instruction under a resource model for service delivery, were engaged in instruction that was primarily whole group and undifferentiated (Vaughn et al., 1998). Research-to-Practice Gap in Special Education The problem with continued reading failure is not due to a lack of research-based practices. In fact, th ere is extensive research documenting effective reading instruction for students with learning and reading disabilities, including class-wide peer tutoring, best practices for promoting reading comprehension with students with learning disabilities and reading disabilities, strategies to increase reading fluency for students with learning disabilities, and

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Pre-service Special Educators 3 strategies to improve word recognition and word identification for students with learning disabilities (Coyne, Kameenui, & Simmons, 2001; Fuchs & Fuchs, 1998; Greenwood & Maheady, 2001; Mastropieri, Leinart, & Scruggs, 1999; Mastropieri & Scruggs, 1997; McCormick & Becker, 1996; Swanson & De La Paz, 1998). However, there continues to be a gap between what is known to work and what is actually practiced in schools. Reasons for this gap in special education include (a) lack of communication between the research and practice communities; (b) limited relevance of some educational research-to-practice tasks, as perceived by teachers and administrators; (c) failure of research to produce many innovations that are usable in real classrooms; and (d) lack of ongoing opportunities for practitioners and researchers to receive regular input from each other and to engage in professional development (Greenwood, 2001; Greenwood & Abbott, 2001; Greenwood & Maheady, 2001). Recommended strategies have been offered to pre-service teacher preparation in helping the profession to close the research-to-practi ce gap. They include emphasizing: (a) the importance of pre-service teachers le arning in context, and the importance of field-based experiences with problem-based and case-method curricula; (b) the need to incorporate an inquiry (research) orientation to teaching and the documentation of student learning (outcomes); (c) the need for curricula to encourage relationships among disciplines instead of attempting to package knowledge into discrete subject areas; and (d) the need to assess what preservice teachers know and do through actual demonstration and exhibition (Greenwood & Abbott, 2001).

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Pre-service Special Educators 4 It is critical for pre-service special educators to understand the importance of using data to measure student learning and to make decisions about instructional practices (Greenwood & Maheady, 2001). The “core” of pre-service teacher preparation programs should consist of translating and disseminating research that is reflective of usable and trustworthy knowledge bases within the field of special education (Carnine, 1997). Greenwood and Maheady (2001) suggest that pre-service special educators must understand the following information if they are to be expected to use research-based practices: 1. determine which instructional inte rventions are supported by evidence in student learning; 2. understand that research is inquiry that is guided by formal designs and procedures whose goal is to lead the investigator to an understanding of effectiveness; 3. encourage researchers and practi tioners to communicate what they know to each other; 4. stay abreast of the current literature in the field and prepare them to ask questions about supporting evidence; and 5. encourage researchers and teachers to collaborate around evidence of student learning (Greenwood & Maheady, 2001). Another dimension related to pre-service special educators’ knowledge of the research-to-practice gap includes the consequences of the standards-driven, high-stakes testing climate that has the potential to control the direction of our schools and the curricula. According to Fang, Fu, and Lamme (2004), student

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Pre-service Special Educators 5 accountability has taken precedence over authentic school-based activities. Novice teachers are entering the profession of teaching with immense pressure to adhere to the federal and state guidelines for documenting student outcomes. As a result, beginning teachers are abandoning best practices for quick fixes such as teaching to the test and scripted reading instruction, thereby contributing to the research-to-practice gap (Fang et al., 2004). Rationale of the Study Marshall and Rossman (1989) assert that researchers must be concerned with who has an interest in the domain of inquiry, what we already know about the topic, what has not been answered in previous research and practice, and how new research will add to knowledge, practice, and policy. Additionally, these authors maintain that “research is worth doing only if it explores some part of the research cycle that is still unknown, that has not been explained well before” (p. 23). These assertions will be used to provide a rationale for the current study. Currently, little is known about beginning special educators and their preservice preparation programs. According to Billingsley (2002), 18% of special educators rated the quality of their teacher preparation programs as exceptional, 66% rated their programs as good or very good, 15% rated them as fair, and 1% rated them as poor. Special education teachers with five or fewer years of experience, who rated their pre-service preparation programs as very good or exceptional, felt more successful than, did others in providing services to students with disabilities. Beginning special educators gave themselves the highest ratings in skills of assessing both appropriate and inappropriate

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Pre-service Special Educators 6 behaviors, collaborating with parents, and monitoring students’ progress and adjusting instruction accordingly. In contrast, beginning special education teachers gave themselves lower ratings in skills of accommodating culturally and linguistically diverse students’ instructional needs, interpreting the results of standardized tests, and using the professional literature to address problems in teaching. Additionally, when determining whether their pre-service preparation program matched the realities of their first school-based assignment, 75% of the special educators indicated that it was a good match, whereas, 25% reported that it was not (Billingsley, 2002). Indeed, research on the perceptions of pre-service special educators provides teacher educators with important information to facilitate in the development/direction of curricula and program (Pajares, 1992). Specific to this study is the interest in the perceptions and abilities of pre-service special education teachers to problem-solve reading difficulties and to make researchedbased decisions that positively impact student reading achievement. Particularly to this study, the constructs of empower ment as defined by the integration of competency, efficacy, and preparedness to teach reading were investigated, as well as the extent to which they were evidenced in their applications of reading instruction. Previously, researchers have conducted studies to demonstrate and understand pre-service teachers’ knowledge and beliefs about their abilities and effectiveness as professionals to teach reading (Nierstheimer, 1996). There have been documented relationships among teachers’ sense of efficacy with

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Pre-service Special Educators 7 improved student achievement, teachers’ willingness to try new instructional techniques, and teachers’ persistence to solve learning problems (Allinder, 1994; Armor et al., 1976; Ashton & Webb, 1996; Gibson & Dembo, 1984). However, limited research exists that documents a relationship among teachers’ views of their preparedness with their teacher efficacy and teacher effectiveness in reading instruction (Darling-Hammond, Chung, & Frelow, 2002). With growing concern of special education teacher attrition rates, investigation into beliefs of pre-service teachers about their level of competency serve as the best indicator of their instructional decisions and their commitment to remain in the field (Darling-Hammond et al., 2002; Donovan & Cross, 2002; Pajares, 1992). How beginning special education teachers cope with job-related demands that challenge their sense of competency may determine the kind of teacher they become as well as whether they will be among the many who leave prematurely in their careers (Billingsley, 2002). However, there are only a few researchers who have examined the beliefs of teachers in the context of special education (Coladarci & Benton, 1997; Podell & Soodak, 1993; Soodak & Podell, 1993). There is even more scant resear ch on special educators’ perceptions of competence and its application to classroom practice (Wigle & Wilcox, 2003). Lastly, there is a lack of inquiry into how competence, efficacy, and preparation are integrated to impact teacher practice. Surprisingly, most of the research on teacher beliefs has led to conclusions or generalizations based solely on self-reported data. Typically, these researchers employed a single method of inquiry. There is a need to utilize

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Pre-service Special Educators 8 multiple research methods when studying teacher beliefs in order to corroborate, confirm, and cross validate research findings (Kane, Sandretto, & Heath, 2002; Mertz & McNeely, 1990; Murray & MacDonald, 1997; Pratt, 1992; Richardson, 1996; Wideen, Mayer-Smith, & Moon, 1998; Wineburg, 1987). Purpose Statement Ensuring that all students learn to read, regardless of socioeconomic status, home environment, race/ethnicity, school climate, and skill differentials, gives impetus for conducting this study. Central to this investigation is how preservice special educators are empowered to problem-solve reading difficulties and to make instructional decisions based on their professional judgments rather than on their reliance on prepackaged, commercialized reading programs or scripted reading manuals. Special educators are entering the work force during an era in which the pressures of high-stakes testing are compelling beginning teachers to utilize quick fixes in place of authentic instruction (Fang et al., 2004). The purposes of this study were tri-fold. The first purpose was to explore the perceptions of pre-service special educ ators as it related to their sense of teacher efficacy, feelings of competence, and views of preparedness to teach reading to students with disabilities. The second purpose was to examine the theory of developmental-constructivism and determine whether a cohort of six pre-service special educators felt more empowered to teach after completing their final internship. The third purpose was to cross-validate perceptions of empowerment with observed practices of reading instruction.

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Pre-service Special Educators 9 Research Questions Quantitative Research Question The following quantitative research question was addressed: How are the constructs of empowerment such as competency, efficacy, and preparedness distributed across a six-member cohort of pre-service special educators? Qualitative Research Question The following research question was addressed: How are perceptions of preparedness to teach reading of these pre-service special educators consistent with observations of their teaching practices? Definition of Terms Developmental-constructivism. The principles of developmentalconstructivism include learning that invo lves continuous, active construction and reconstruction of experiences; knowledge is invented or constructed rather than storing verbatim information gathered from teachers, textbooks, peers, and the surrounding environment (Sutton, Cafarelli, Lund, Schurdell, & Bichsel, 1996). Empowerment. Empowerment is described as the sense of accomplishment and professionalism (Fang et al., 2004a); a gradual increase of confidence, the process of acquiring more knowledge, and gaining or having access to educational resources as a result of the student teaching experience (i.e., final internship). In this study, empowerment was operationalized as the collective sense of teacher efficacy, competence, and preparedness.

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Pre-service Special Educators 10 Institutional grains/barriers. Institutional grains/barriers have not previously been defined. In this study, institutional grains are unavoidable barriers that impede pre-service special educators from implementing best practices in reading instruction and that contribute to the research gap between theory and practice (e.g., high-stakes testing, school administrators) (Fang et al., 2004). Pre-service special educator/prospec tive teacher/teacher candidate. These terms are used interchangeably and refer to undergraduate students in the department of Special Education at the university where the study took place. In this study pre-service special educators refer to students in their student teaching experiences. Research-to-practice gap This refers to a gap, divide, or dichotomy between research/theory and practice (Greenwood, 2001). Sense of personal teaching efficacy This dimension of teacher efficacy refers to individuals’ assessment of their own teaching competence and ability to effect positive change in student achievement. Teachers’ perceptions of their own teaching abilities influence their choice of classroom management and instructional strategies (Ashton & Webb, 1986, p. 4). Sense of teaching efficacy This dimension of teachers’ sense of efficacy refers to teachers’ expectations that teaching can influence student learning (Ashton & Webb, 1986, p. 4). Teachers’ sense of efficacy The construct of teachers’ sense of efficacy refers to teachers’ situation-specific expectation that they can help students learn. Teachers’ efficacy expectations influence their thoughts and feelings, their

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Pre-service Special Educators 11 choice of activities, the amount of effort they expend, and the extent of their persistence in the face of obstacles (Ashton & Webb, 1986, p. 3). Delimitations The proposed research design utilized a case study approach and utilized mixed methods during the data collection, analysis, and interpretation phases of the investigation. Deliberate limitations for the quantitative and qualitative components include the selection criteria for the participants in the study. The pre-service special educators asked to complete the surveys/questionnaires in the quantitative component also were asked to participate in the interviews and observations for the qualitative components. The number of available participants were based on the number of pre-service special educators enrolled in their final internship in the Department of Special Education at the university where the study took place. Limitations The primary reasons for utilizing mixed methods in this study were for the complementarity and the triangulation of the research findings (Greene, Caracelli, & Graham, 1989). The researcher hoped to offset the weaknesses inherent in the study by combining the strengths of both the quantitative and qualitative components (Johnson & Turner, 2003). Assessing the validity of this study include considering threats to the internal and external validity of findings for the quantitative portion and consideration of the threats to internal and external credibility of results from the qualitative portions. The Quantitative and Qualitative Legitimation Models were used as a framework for the discussion in

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Pre-service Special Educators 12 the sections to follow (Onwuegbuzie & Johnson, 2004). In these models, threats to internal validity, external validity, internal credibility, and external credibility are assumed to occur at the following three stages of the research process: research design, data collection, data analysis, and data interpretation. Threats to in Internal Validity Instrumentation. During the research design/data collection phase of the quantitative research process, possible threats to internal validity are instrumentation, maturation, testing, observational bias, evaluation anxiety, reactive arrangements (Onwuegbuzie, 2003a). Data were collected from the participants using three different survey instruments. To gather perceptions from pre-service teachers on their levels of perceived competency in special education skills, a questionnaire was developed by the Council of Exceptional Children (CEC) (Wigle & Wilcox, 2003). Unfortunately, there is no documented normative, reliability, or validity data on the survey. Likewise, there is no documented normative, reliability, or validity data on the questionnaire that was used to gather perceptions of teachers’ preparedness to teach reading. Also, because these instruments examined perceptions of pre-service special educators, data not reported or incorrectly reported by the students potentially threatened internal validity via instrumentation in this study (Onwuegbuzie, 2003a; Onwuegbuzie & Johnson, 2004). Maturation. Maturation was a potential threat to internal validity due to the natural growth and development during the pre-service special educators’ progression through their final internships. Prior to their final internships, the

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Pre-service Special Educators 13 teacher candidates did not have the sole responsibility of planning and implementing reading instruction for their class (es). It was expected during their final internships that they assumed full responsibility for planning and implementing lessons. During this transition, developmental changes (maturation) that had occurred throughout their student teaching experiences was expected (Onwuegbuzie, 2003a; Onwuegbuzie & Johnson, 2004). Testing. Testing posed a threat to internal validity because the pre-service special educators were completing the surveys/questionnaires at two different moments in the study. Pretest sensitization might have accounted for changes in responses that were attributable to the second administration of the research instruments rather than experiences related to their student teaching experiences. Particularly when attit udes and measures of personality were investigated, the teacher candidates might have recalled some of their prior responses and thus have made positive or negative adjustments to their responses based on their memory (Onwuegbuzie, 2003a; Onwuegbuzie & Johnson, 2004). Another possible threat to internal validity was observational bias (Lincoln & Guba, 1985). Observational bias occurs when there is an insufficient sampling of the behaviors(s) of interest. To reduce observational bias as a potential threat, the observation rubric for identifying reading instruction practices were developed by the researcher and the doctoral committee. To ensure that the reading practices represented in the observational rubric were valid, the items in the rubric reflected the standards of reading developed by the International Reading

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Pre-service Special Educators 14 Association. Using the course syllabus of the literacy-related courses in which the pre-service special educators were enrolled, the standards of reading were then compared to the learner objectives. The items on the observation rubric only included reading practices that were aligned with both the standards of reading and the learner objectives (Onwuegbuzie, 2003a; Onwuegbuzie & Johnson, 2004). Evaluation anxiety. While completing the surveys/questionnaires, the preservice special educators might have experienced evaluation anxiety. The items on the research instruments asked questions related to their perceived competence, efficacy, and preparedness. The prospective teachers might have considered the items on the research instruments to be evaluative rather than informative (collecting perceptions), thereby posing a potential threat to internal validity by introducing systematic error in the measurement (Onwuegbuzie, 2003a; Onwuegbuzie & Johnson, 2004). Reactive arrangements. Reactivity pertains to changes an individual’s responses and behaviors based on the individual’s participation in the study. Specifically, the responses on the surveys/questionnaires from the pre-service special educators might have reflected increased motivation, interest, or participation merely because of their awareness of being investigated. This type of threat is called the Hawthorne effect. The novelty effect allows as a possible threat to internal validity because the unnatural reactions of the participants competed with the explanations of the observed research findings (Onwuegbuzie, 2003a; Onwuegbuzie & Johnson, 2004).

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Pre-service Special Educators 15 Threats to External Validity Population, ecological, temporal validity, and specificity of variables were present possible threats to external validity. Population validity. Population validity posed a threat to external validity because the responses on the surveys/ questionnaires from the pre-service special educators in the Department of S pecial Education at the study site were not generalizable to other departments in the College of Education or to other students at the institution. Population validity is typically enhanced with larger and randomized samples; however, this study utilized a small, nonrandomized sample of participants. Additionally, the accessible population was not representative of the target population, thereby inhibiting generalizations (Onwuegbuzie, 2003a; Onwuegbuzie & Johnson, 2004). Ecological validity. Ecological validity might have been a threat to external validity of the findings because the re sponses from the surveys/questionnaires could not be transferred to settings, conditions, variables, or contexts outside of the parameters set beyond this study. Responses from the surveys/questionnaires could not be used to make generalizations about other teacher preparation programs or school districts. Hence, it posed a threat to external validity (Onwuegbuzie, 2003a; Onwuegbuzie & Johnson, 2004). Temporal validity Another possible threat to external validity was temporal validity. The responses from the surveys/questionnaires might have varied depending on the semester in which data were collected. This posed a threat to

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Pre-service Special Educators 16 external validity because the results may not transfer across time (Onwuegbuzie, 2003a; Onwuegbuzie & Johnson, 2004). Specificity of variables. Specificity of variables was a threat to external validity due to the specific constructs that were used in this study to operationalize empowerment. The specific instruments used to measure the constructs of competency, efficacy, and preparation were specific to this study which made the findings less generalizable. Additionally, the operational definition of empowerment was unique to this study and might not have had meaning outside of this context, time, participants, conditions, and variables (Onwuegbuzie, 2003a; Onwuegbuzie & Johnson, 2004). Threats to Legitimation Maxwell (1992) identified five types of validity in qualitative research: descriptive, interpretive, theoretical, evaluative, and generalizability validity. Maxwell’s representation of legitimation is an eclectic conceptualization of validity and, perhaps, is the most inclusive (Onwuegbuzie & Leech in press). The threats that were relevant to this study were descriptive, interpretive, theoretical, and generalizability validity. Descriptive validity. Descriptive validity refers to the factual accuracy of research events as documented by the researcher (Maxwell, 1992). To ensure accuracy in reporting descriptive information pertinent to the study, the researcher obtained thick descriptions of the pre-service special educators’ academic history and final internship settings (e.g., urban, suburban, rural) (Creswell, 1998; Lincoln & Guba, 1985). Audiotapes also were utilized during the

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Pre-service Special Educators 17 interview process to prevent errors of omission and commission (Onwuegbuzie & Leech in press; Onwuegbuzie & Teddlie, 2003). Interpretive validity. Interpretive validity is the extent to which the researcher’s interpretation of responses during the interviews and events/accounts during the observations are representative of the pre-service special educators’ perceptions and abilities (Maxwell, 1992). The researcher carefully delineated the pre-service teachers’ voices and attempted to understand the world from their perspectives (Johnson, 1999; Onwuegbuzie & Leech in press). To validate accurate in terpretation of the interview responses and accounts during the observations, t he researcher conducted member checks throughout the phases of data collection, analysis, and interpretation (Creswell, 1998; Lincoln & Guba, 1985). Theoretical validity. Theoretical validity represents the degree to which the research findings are credible, trustworthy, defensible, and consistent with the theoretical framework that guided the study (Johnson, 1999; Onwuegbuzie & Leech in press). Threats to theoretical validity occur when researchers ignore discrepant data or opposing explanations/understandings (Onwuegbuzie & Leech in press). To minimize this threat, the researcher conducted follow-up interviews to corroborate findings from the quantitative and qualitative portions. The follow-up interviews also provided the researcher with the opportunity to explain discrepant data. The researcher also compared the themes from the coding of the data to determine if the patterns were consistent with the framework that guided this study.

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Pre-service Special Educators 18 Generalizability validity. Generalizability validity refers to the researcher’s abilities to generalize the research findings beyond the parameters of this study (Maxwell, 1992). Responses from interviews and data collected during the observations posed a threat to external generalizations of the accounts/events specific to this study, thereby it posed a threat to this study. However, internal generalizations refer to the generalizability of results within the participants of this study (Onwuegbuzie & Leech in press). In other words, general conclusions based on the research findings were generalized to the pre-service special educators in this study. Organization of Remaining Chapters The remaining chapters present information relevant to this study. Chapter 2 is a review of the theoretical framework that guides the inquiry into teacher efficacy, competency, and preparation to teach reading. In this chapter, I investigate how these perceptions of efficacy, competence, and preparation are consistent with classroom practice. Chapter 3 provides an overview of the methodology that was utilized in this study. Chapter 4 provides an overview of the quantitative findings and results from the qualitative phases of the study. Finally, chapter 5 provides a discussion of the results, research implications, and recommendations for future research.

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Pre-service Special Educators 19 CHAPTER 2 Review of the Related Literature Introduction Chapter two includes an overview of the literature that is related to the theoretical framework, to reading instruction, to teacher efficacy, to competence, to teacher preparation, and to empowerment. The theoretical framework, developmental-constructivism, provided a relevant research-base upon which to guide this investigation. The literature on reading instruction provided a context for investigating reading instructional practices in special education. In particular, this literature review focused on research related to integrating special and reading education, the roles of the specia l educator as a teacher of reading, and the condition of reading in urban schools. The review of literature on empowerment and its constructs as defined by this study, teacher efficacy, competence, and preparedness, provided foundational knowledge and the status of current research on empowerment as it relates to teacher education. The review of literature that included research on teacher efficacy included background information on teacher efficacy scales and previous studies on teacher efficacy in the context of special education. Also, the review of literature included research on developing competence in pre-service special educators. Finally, the review included research on the role of teacher

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Pre-service Special Educators 20 preparation programs to produce well-prepared pre-service special educators in light of the legislative mandates for “highly-qualified teachers.” Based on the assumptions of developmental-constructivism, the significance of studying teacher efficacy, competence, and preparation in this study was to determine whether pre-service special educators felt more efficacious, competent, and prepared after completing their final internships. Theoretical Framework Developmental-constructivist principles of knowledge acquisition are particularly well-suited for examining the core knowledge of preparing special educators because these principles have im plications for what and how children are taught, how progress toward expertise in teaching is conceptualized, and how teachers are educated (Black & Ammon, 1992). Other researchers (Colton & Sparks-Langer, 1993; Fosnot, 1989) have applied the principles of developmental-constructivism to teacher education as well. As applied to teacher education, it is assumed not only that teacher education students invent and construct knowledge based on their prior experiences and learning, but qualitative changes in the nature of some aspects of this thinking can be observed and classified into goals of instruction and requirements for learning and the nature of teaching (Sutton et al., 1996). A developmental-constructivist approach to epistemological thinking also considers possible changes over time as seen in teacherpreparation programs and the mechanisms for these changes such as levels of perceived competence, sense of efficacy, and preparedness (Sutton et al., 1996).

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Pre-service Special Educators 21 Based on the work of Jean Piaget and Lev Vygotsky, constructivism has major ramifications for the goals that teachers set for the learners with whom they work, the instructional strategies t eachers employ in working toward these goals, and the methods of assessment used by school personnel to document genuine learning (Fosnot, 1996). In contrast to previous theories of mastery learning such as behaviorism and maturationism, the goal of instruction in constructivism is premised on the concept of development and deep understanding rather than behaviors, skills, and definite stages (Fosnot, 1996). The theory of mastery learning views “knowing” as a commodity that is passed from teacher to learner, while construc tivists believe that “knowing” is an inherently individual process that cannot be transmitted but must be constructed by the learner. Hence, developmental-cons tructivists argue that by building on the learner’s interests, curiosity, and previous experiences, intrinsic motivation of the learner becomes much easier to cultivate (Kohn, 1999; Phillips, 1996; Sagor & Cox, 2004). As noted by Philips (1996), constructivism places the student at the center of the learning process and it uses the learner’s innate interests and current level of understanding as the platform upon which further learning is built. It is the “constructivist” process that results in deeper understandings thereby allowing the learner to move beyond recalling correct answers and instead invites the learner to construct meaningful conclusions of their own. It is through this independent reconstruction that one comes to view him or herself as competent. When teaching from a constructivist model, the goal is to have the learner

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Pre-service Special Educators 22 believe in his or her own competence. Then, the focus of both the teacher and learner must continuously be on what the learner understands and is able to do independently rather than on what is covered by the teacher (Sagor & Cox, 2004). This view of the teacher as curriculum developer and orchestrator emphasizes what learners get from their educational experiences rather than just getting through the material or simply covering it. Reading Instruction The principles of constructivism and how it is applied in the teaching of reading to at-risk children (Stanovich, 1994) and to students with special needs, including those with learning disabilities (Harris & Graham, 1994, 1996), is of particular interest. Instructional approaches in reading and special education have undergone a series of changes during the last three decades (Chall, 1992; Gaffney & Anderson, 2000; Pearson, 2000; Rankin-Erickson & Pressley, 2000; Stainback & Stainback, 1996). These recent changes speak to the training needs of pre-service special educators who are entering the profession at a time when general and special educators are struggling to decide not only what type of literacy instruction is effective for students with differing needs, but also how to deliver this instruction in settings that include all students (Rankin-Erickson & Pressley, 2000). As noted by Wigle and Wilcox’s (2003) research, the tasks of special education teachers today are mo re demanding than ever before. Special education teachers must have a solid understanding of the aspects of language that affect learning to read and write; they must understand the theories and principles of direct instruction as well as constructivism, the theory on which

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Pre-service Special Educators 23 whole language is based; they must know how to implement effective teaching strategies that reflect these differing philosophies of reading acquisition; and, they must have the necessary interpersonal skills to communicate effectively and collaborate with other professionals who may have a very different view of the reading process and how it should be taught (Rankin-Erickson & Pressley, 2000). Integrated Approach to Reading Historically, early reading pedagogy stems from a strong reliance on drill and practice and rote memorization (Chall, 1992; Pearson, 2000; RankinErickson & Pressley, 2000). Most teacher candidates entering a teacher preparation program have a constructed view of learning as the acquisition of specific facts, rules, and attitudes about reading. These views are typically captured through inaccurate teaching models that give rise to impressions of the teacher’s role as showing and telling students what they need to know (Hutcheson & Ammon, 1986). Similar to the field of special education, reading education is moving beyond this narrow perspective (Pearson, 2000) to include elements of both constructivism and direct instruction for a balanced approach to teaching reading. For students at-risk and those challenged by disabilities, a purposeful, integrated approach to teaching and learning that directly addresses transactional relationships among affective, behavioral, cognitive, developmental, ecological, and social processes of change and outcomes is particularly appropriate and important (Harris & Graham, 1994). According to Harris and Graham, such an integrative approach must be flexible and modifiable to meet the needs of

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Pre-service Special Educators 24 students and teachers and must directly address the role of teachers and teacher education. For example, in an experiment comparing explicit and implicit instruction in phonemic awareness, Cunningham (1990) found that reading instruction that emphasizes direct instruction and focuses on analytic skills does not itself have to be entirely decontextualized. Felton (1993) developed a training program for at-risk children and children with learning disabilities that emphasized direct instruction of language analysis and alphabetic coding. He argued that although the principles of direct reading instruction appeared to be at odds with the current trends in reading, it is feasible to present such reading instruction to at-risk and reading disabled children in the context of literaturebased programs and other constructivist accounts such as schema theory, cognitive strategies, whole language, scaffolded instruction, and directed discovery (Felton, 1993; Harris & Graham, 1994; Stanovich, 1994). Most of the controversy involving reading and special education includes the implementation of best instructional practices that are supported by a solid research base (Schmidt, Rozendal, & Greenman, 2002; Simmons & Kameenui, 1998). When direct instruction is used as the sole form of instruction, it is viewed as antithetical when working with students with reading disabilities. Instead, a constructivist approach that acknowle dges and builds upon the strengths and experiences of the students is preferred in order to improve student achievement (Au, 1993; Pressley, Rankin, & Yokoi, 1996). However, the development of skills and abilities among learners at-risk or with disabilities is a major concern if general and special educators neglect to make skills a part of their

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Pre-service Special Educators 25 constructivistic approaches. The development of some reading skills (e.g., decoding and word recognition abilities and understandings) requires instruction that is explicit, focused, and, at times isolated, yet integrated into the larger literacy context (Harris & Graham, 1994). Role of the Special Educator to Teach Reading According to Reid (1993), special educators cannot abandon their instructional roles, typically characterized by explicitness and intensity. Instead, special educators must be empowered to be creative in supporting those children who do not engage in language tasks despite immersion, who do not spontaneously abstract the structure of stories and paragraphs, who do not relate what they are reading to what they already know, and who do not monitor their performances for accuracy. It is imperative for pre-service special educators to acquire the knowledge and experience necessary to integrate several pedagogies of reading to meet the unique needs of struggling readers. Without it, they will be unprepared to make better instructional decisions and provide the appropriate level of support needed (i.e., from explicit, direct explanation through discovery) (Harris & Graham, 1996). In Rankin-Erickson and Pressley’s (2000) study, the researchers surveyed 33 special education teachers to investigate the literacy instruction of those nominated as highly effective literacy teachers. Specifically, the questionnaires used in the study examined the beliefs and philosophies of special education teachers and determined where a teacher stood on the issue of whole language learning with special education students. As a group, the special educators had

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Pre-service Special Educators 26 not totally embraced whole language nor skill and drill. These teachers had integrated many of the positive aspects of whole language with those instructional practices that were more explicit and that have been effective with students experiencing difficulties in beginning reading. Condition of Reading in Urban Schools The intersection of reading and special education is critical in the identification and treatment of students with reading difficulties. One of the major predictors of referral and placement of students in special education is low reading ability. Access to fully prepared, qualified teachers is not only essential to a good education but is also a major divide in the experiences of school children from advantaged and disadvantaged socioeconomic and racial groups (Cochran-Smith, 2002). It is within these disadvantaged socioeconomic and racial clusters that we have the lowest reading achievement and the least qualified teachers to provide reading instruction (IRA, 2003). The International Reading Association reports that a lack of appropriate reading instruction and early reading interventions among low-performing students of color is a major contributing factor to the overrepresentation of these children in the disability categories of learning disabilities, mental retardation, and emotional disturbance. Higher proportions of Native Americans, African Americans, and Hispanic students are identified as having high-incidence disabilities when compared with White students (IRA, 2003). In fact, African Americans are 2.88 times more likely than are White students to be identified and placed in programs for students with mental retardation, 1.92 times more likely to be identified and placed in programs

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Pre-service Special Educators 27 for students with emotional disturbance, and 1.32 times more likely to be identified and placed in programs for students with learning disabilities (Parrish, 2002). Data indicate that 80% of the children referred for specific learning disabilities are referred due to reading problems. This number is substantial because students labeled as having learning disabilities account for approximately 50% of the children placed in special education (Snow, Burns, & Griffin, 1998). Although there are no direct data that link reading difficulties to the mental retardation and emotional disturbance categories, there is a chain of logic suggesting that early reading difficulty is a factor in special education referrals. Reading difficulty may trigger concerns about learning that result in identification and placement in mental retardation programs. The logic chain for emotional disturbance placements is even more convincing. It suggests that early reading difficulties may lead to failure--failure is often a contributing factor in misbehaviors that may lead to emotional disturbance referrals (Losen & Orfield, 2002). As the levels of poverty and the proportion of students of color present in the population increase so does the overrepresentation of students of color in special education, indicating that poor instruction is a plausible explanation for children’s low levels of reading achievement (Oswald, Coutinho, Best, & Singh, 1999). The teaching force assigned to high-poverty schools typically contain high proportions of inexperienced and non-certified teachers, overuse of paraprofessionals, frequent use of substitute teachers, and consistently un-

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Pre-service Special Educators 28 staffed vacancies (Cochran-Smith, 2002; IRA, 2003). Thus, the lack of high quality instruction in reading combined with limited availability of reading material and other resources and the poor physical conditions of the schools may be responsible for the reading failure that prompts the referral of so many minority children to special education (IRA, 2003). Another contributing factor to inadequate reading instruction is the belief held by some teachers that poverty creates deficits in children’s functioning and predestines them to reading failures (Taylo r, Pearson, Clark, & Walpole, 1999). Despite strong relationships among poverty, racial and/or ethnic status, and achievement, poverty itself does not necessarily result in low learning potential or reading failure. What teachers often read as lack of achievement are the different forms of diverse learners’ pre-literacy experiences, which are often unrecognized in school environments (Donovan & Cross, 2002). Teacher Efficacy Teacher beliefs have been well-documented, particularly within the last 15 years (Allinder, 1994; Ashton & Webb, 1986; Bandura, 1977; Gibson & Dembo, 1984; Woolfolk & Hoy, 1990). Also, teacher efficacy, or the extent to which teachers believe they can affect student learning (Gibson & Dembo, 1984), has been investigated within the context of teaching. Efficacious teachers believe that skillful instruction can offset the effects of an impoverished home environment (Coladarci & Benton, 1997). A couple of the earlier studies of the effect of teacher efficacy on the achievement of students from lowsocioeconomic backgrounds found that teachers’ beliefs about their own

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Pre-service Special Educators 29 professional competence appeared to have a major impact on what happens and how effective they are (Allinder, 1994; Berman, McLauglin, Bass, Pauly, & Zellman, 1977). The positive impact that teacher efficacy has on student achievement has been replicated in other studies (Armor et al., 1976; Ashton & Webb, 1986; Tracz & Gibson, 1986). Previous research on teachers’ sense of efficacy indicates that there are two different components: general teaching efficacy and personal efficacy (Allinder, 1994; Bandura, 1977; Coladarci & Benton, 1997; Coladarci & Breton, 1997; Gibson & Dembo, 1984; Woolfolk & Hoy, 1990). General teaching efficacy comprises the teacher’s belief that teaching can influence student learning, whereas personal teaching efficacy consists of the teacher’s belief in his or her own ability to affect student learning (Gibson & Dembo, 1984). A teacher’s sense of teaching and personal efficacy affects his or her thoughts and feelings, choice of activities, amount of effort exerted, and extent of his or her persistence (Allinder, 1994). In the context of reading, teachers with a low sense of teaching efficacy do not exert much effort or persist for an extended period to ensure mastery of a particular skill or concept because they think that there is something inherently wrong with the student. If the student comes from a lowsocioeconomic background or is culturally and/or linguistically diverse, a teacher with low general teaching efficacy will assume that the student did not have a print-rich environment and the parents did not read to him or her at home, therefore, the student will not be able to read. Teachers with a low sense of

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Pre-service Special Educators 30 personal teaching efficacy may believe that although students can learn, they themselves do not feel competent or prepared to teach them to read. Special Education Although there is limited research on teacher efficacy among special educators (Allinder, 1994; Coladarci & Benton, 1997; Coladarci & Breton, 1997; Miller & McDaniel, 1989; Podell & Soodak, 1993; Soodak & Podell, 1993), the theory of teacher efficacy is of particular relevance in special education due to the nature of the students served (McDaniel & Diabella-McCarthy, 1989; Ysseldyke & Algozzine, 1982). In particular, research conducted by Soodak and Podell (1993) and Ysseldkyke and Algozzine (1982) suggests that the overrepresentation of students of color in special education is a result of poor teacher decision-making. Their research indicated that teachers’ beliefs about their effectiveness (i.e., teacher effica cy) are important factors relating to decision-making. Furthermore, these beli efs influence teacher decisions such as whether to refer a difficult-to-teach studen t to special education. Teachers who believe that their teaching cannot influence student outcomes may decide to refer that student to special education. In contrast, teachers who have a greater belief in their abilities to effect change may be more willing to retain the difficult-toteach student in regular education (Soodak & Podell, 1993). Although the referral-to-placement process mandated by Public Law 94-142 provides safeguards against unwarranted placement of students in special education, studies suggest that teacher referral almost invariably leads to placement (Soodak & Podell, 1993; Ysseldyke, Christenson, Pianta, & Algozzine, 1983).

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Pre-service Special Educators 31 According to McDaniel and Diabella-McCarthy (1989), special educators often feel overwhelmed by too many students, too few adequate services, and lack of support from administrators, staff, and parents. This creates the potential for disillusionment, disenchantment, and frustration, leading to lower self-esteem and eventually burnout. A lack of perceived success is an obvious source of stress in special education because these students often learn at a slower rate than their regular education counterparts and are in need of specialized instructional techniques and materials. The potential for failure is high if teachers are not prepared to implement instructional programs that will ensure student success. When students fail to meet the teacher’s expectations, teachers can have a diminished sense of teaching efficacy (McDaniel & Diabella-McCarthy, 1989). Special education teachers serv e students who have diverse and challenging learning needs. For special e ducators, the work overload involves not only the time and paperwork required for assessments, individual education plans (IEP), and meetings with parents and professionals, but also the expectations that they will be energetic, patient, dedicated, and emotionally available to needy students for six hours a day (McDaniel & Diabella-McCarthy, 1989). According to Billingsley (2002), 80% of special education teachers serve students with two or more primary disabilities and 32% teach students with four or more different primary disabilities. On average, 25% of their students are from a cultural or linguistic group different from their own and 7% are English language learners.

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Pre-service Special Educators 32 Developing Competence Another goal of constructivism is to create opportunities for learners to experience genuine feelings of competence. Facilitating the development of high levels of competency can enhance teachers’ sense of self-efficacy. Investigating the competence of pre-service special educators within the developmentalconstructivist framework relies on its capacity to build self-confidence and its potential for developing life-long learners and helping them to become intrinsically motivated (Sagor & Cox, 2004). However, the confidence of “new” special educators (p. 27) is being compromised with the changing roles and responsibilities of the special education teacher. The current emphasis on including all students with special needs in the general education setting has generated anxiety among special educators (Wigle & Wilcox, 2003). There is growing concern about the effects of inclusion on the educational efficacy of the general education teacher and the special educators’ abilities to handle t he new demands that inclusion places upon them (Wigle & Wilcox, 1996, 1997). Due to the emergence of the new roles for special educators and the focus on the consultative and collaborative aspects of the “new” special educator, Wigle and Wilcox (2003) investigated the extent to which the competencies of special educators observed?? in their new roles. Based on the standards set by the CEC, Wigle and Wilcox identified a set of 35 skills vital to professionals working in special education. Overall, the results of the study suggest that college and university pre-service teacher preparation programs need to focus more time and effort on ensuring that special educators

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Pre-service Special Educators 33 develop the skills that are related to the newer competency areas, such as inclusive practices, collaboration skills, increased content knowledge, and leadership skills, without neglecting the traditional skills of special educators. Emphasizing these newer competencies is critical in order to align the existing curricula to the new national and professional standards. Even more important isto prepare pre-service special educators fully for the expectations they will encounter as they begin their teaching careers (Wigle & Wilcox, 2003). Preparation of Pre-service Special Educators One of the challenges for teacher preparation programs is to prepare preservice special educators to reconstruct th eir thinking about the learning process. In particular, teacher candidates need to make concerted efforts not to teach as they were taught but as they were taught to teach. By operating within a constructivist framework, such thinking can be facilitated because it allows the teaching/learning process to be promoted through activity, reflection, and discourse in both coursework and field work (Fosnot, 1996). Producing special educators who effectively integrate pedagogies of reading and special education requires pre-service teachers to understand and appreciate the developmental process of arriving at an answer rather than merely regurgitating the correct answer. Thus, as stated by Simpson, Whelan, and Zabel (1993), this type of reconstructive thinking exudes the intricate and important role of the teacher in the learning to read process. As the orchestrator of learning, the special educator provides support and guidance and allows for further investigation and

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Pre-service Special Educators 34 deeper understanding of the reading process through questioning and probing (Simpson et al., 1993). The most positive and beneficial learning experience for applying problem solving to reading difficulties is discovering what works for each individual student. Hence, teacher preparation programs are responsible for providing opportunities that assist pre-service spec ial educators’ in their understanding of the reading process. In other words, the preparation of special educators in the 21st century requires both more depth and more breadth. For example, rather than special educator preparation focusing on teaching students with learning disabilities and/or behavior disorders to read, teachers of the 21st century will need to have specialized training in understanding and remediating learning disabilities and/or behavior disorders in reading (Simpson et al., 1993). High quality initial teacher preparation is greatly needed. A growing body of evidence suggests that lack of adequate, initial preparation contributes to high attrition rates resulting in an unstable low-ability teaching force (DarlingHammond, 2000, 2003). Lack of preparation also contributes to the cycle of lower levels of learning, especially for those students who most need skillful teaching in order to succeed (Darling-Hammond, 2000). Darling-Hammond (2003) states that there are a myriad of urban and/or high poverty schools that has high teacher turnover rates (approximately 50% higher than in low poverty schools) due to the number of unprepared teachers being employed. Additionally, new teachers in urban districts exit or transfer at higher rates than do their suburban counterparts (Darling-Hammond, 2003). Unfortunately, the

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Pre-service Special Educators 35 majority of culturally and linguistically diverse learners and students from impoverished home environments who repeatedly perform at below basic levels in reading are enrolled in these urban school settings; the very students who need the best prepared teachers. Darling-Hammond et al. (2002) surveyed new teachers and asked them to rate their preparedness and their personal views about teaching, including their sense of teaching efficacy and their plans to remain in teaching. Their findings suggest that feelings of preparedness were significantly related to their sense of efficacy. In other words, teachers who felt better prepared were significantly more likely to believe they could reach all of their students, handle problems in the classroom, teach all students to high levels, and make a difference in their students’ lives. These feelings of preparedness also were significantly related to teachers’ sense of efficacy and their confidence about their abilities to achieve teaching goals. Those who felt inadequately prepared were significantly more likely to feel uncertain about how to teach some of their students and were more likely to believe that students’ peers and home environments influence learning more than teachers do. Additionally, results from Darling-Hammond et al.’s (2002) study were consistent with other research (Coladarci, 1992; Evans & Tribble, 1986; Guskey, 1984) that has linked teachers’ efficacy and preparedness to their commitment to teaching. Findings from Darling-Hammond et al.’s study are consistent with other findings regarding teacher preparation, retention, and effectiveness where in teachers who enter the profession inadequately prepared tend to experience greater difficulties in the classroom and they tend to leave the

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Pre-service Special Educators 36 profession at higher rates than those with adequate preparation (DarlingHammond, 1992; Grossman, 1989; Jelmberg, 1996). Moreover, some evidence suggests that in the long run, the greater entry and retention rates of well-prepared teachers may actually save money over the costs of hiring, inducting, and replacing inadequately prepared recruits who leave at alarmingly high rates (Darling-Hammond et al., 2002). States and local school districts should implement strategies and make investments that improve teachers’ access to high-quality preparation and their incentives for becoming well-prepared. Until this occurs, many students will continue to be taught by teachers who are unprepared to facilitate their learning (Darling-Hammond et al., 2002). Pre-service Teachers Learning to Teach Reading Teacher education programs are committed to exploring innovative and effective ways to examine and challenge pre-service teachers’ perceptions and knowledge about children who struggle with learning to read. Teacher educatorresearchers have conducted studies to understand pre-service teachers’ perceptions and knowledge about teaching, th eir abilities as teachers, and their future teaching lives. However, there is minimal research documenting preservice teachers’ perceptions of teaching reading, particularly in the context of special education. Nierstheimer, Hopkins, Dillon, and Schmitt (2000) surveyed pre-service elementary education teachers’ perceptions and knowledge about children who struggle to read and gathered information regarding the pre-service teachers’

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Pre-service Special Educators 37 beliefs about their roles in facilitating reading achievement. The researchers followed and documented 67 pre-service teachers enrolled in a reading methods course for three consecutive semesters. They documented the pre-service teachers’ shifts in beliefs towards assuming responsibility for helping children with reading disabilities. At the end of the study, 50% of the respondents reported beliefs that inadequate home situations or lack of literacy support by parents was a cause for a child’s reading problems, 49% of the pre-service teachers indicated that poor reading achievement is a result of classroom teachers’ ineffective reading instruction, whereas 47% of the respondents indicated inappropriate use of reading strategies as an explanation for why children experience reading difficulties. Fifty-nine percent of the prospective teachers reported a definite shift towards accepting responsibility for struggling literacy learners’ instruction and stated that they could employ specific literacy instructional practices to address children’s reading problems. However, the participants reported a continued need for a variety of instructional approaches for struggling literacy learners that was delivered with enthusiasm, that was motivating and that was based on the individual characteristics and interests of the student. The instructional practices that students identified as effective in remediating reading problems were (a) provide engaging opportunities for children to practice reading; (b) build upon children’s strengths by positively supporting struggling literacy learners; and (c) teach children multiple, effective reading strategies (Nierstheimer et al., 2000).

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Pre-service Special Educators 38 Duffy and Atkinson (2001) conducted an analysis of pre-service teachers’ levels of knowledge of learning to teach struggling readers. Their research was designed to describe elementary school pre-service teachers’ beliefs, understandings, and instruction of struggling and non-struggling readers. Assignments of 22 pre-service teachers across one year were analyzed to determine the level of integration of their personal, practical, and professional knowledge and how it informed their reading instruction. Seven categories emerged from the analysis of their work: 1. Pre-service teachers improved in their abilities to integrate their personal practical and professional knowledge to inform their actual or intended reading instruction. 2. Pre-service teachers decreased in their misunderstanding of reading instruction principles, practices, and terminology. 3. Pre-service teachers’ abilities to examine reading instruction critically in relation to best practices, research, and theory increased. 4. Pre-service teachers’ estimations of their preparedness to teaching struggling readers increased. 5. Pre-service teachers valued the use of diagnostic assessment to inform their instruction of struggling readers. 6. Pre-service teachers requested assistance in the use of assessment and/or instructional strategies prior to and during their initial instruction of struggling and non-struggling readers.

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Pre-service Special Educators 39 7. Pre-service teachers valued their experiences tutoring struggling readers (Duffy & Atkinson, 2001). Risko, Roskos, and Vukelich (2002) examined and documented the reflective thinking of 30 prospective teachers enrolled in a literacy methods course. Data were collected using written reflections in journals and capturing their oral responses during interviews Findings suggest that prospective teachers preferred subjective reasoning as a strategy for reflective thinking. In other words, their experiences, expectations, values, and beliefs guided much of their reflective work and helped them to remember information and make sense of course content. Initially, the prospective teachers rarely applied a critical stance strategy to guide their reflections Only after class discussions “overtly” raised concerns about the social, moral, and political implications of literacy learning, did the teachers vary the use of instructional strategies. Pedagogical implications important for teacher educators suggest that instructors need to be keenly sensitive to their students’ strategic patterns and provide them with multiple opportunities to vary the use of learning strategies. This will encourage the prospective teacher to analyze problems from different perspectives and can encourage deeper learning and acquisition of new information (Risko et al., 2002). Duffy (1977) investigated teachers’ c onceptions of reading. The purposes of the study were to describe the distribution of these conceptions of the teaching of reading among teachers and, in a second phase of the study, to compare teachers’ espoused beliefs with their actual classroom behaviors. Results

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Pre-service Special Educators 40 identified teacher attitude as the most important variable in using effective reading practices. Duffy reported that only 4 teachers out of 37 consistently employed practices that directly reflected their beliefs. Results indicated that reading conceptions and instructional practices were not related in a simple, linear way (Duffy, 1977). Constraints on teacher behaviors, such as mandated curriculum materials, resources, time available, habits, and student abilities may interpose between theory and action and account for observed discrepancies (Clark & Peterson, 1986). Empowerment Teachers will be better prepared to marry their beliefs with their practices when prospective teachers are trained to be managers of their own inquiry and to develop a reflective, problem-solving orientation by engaging in teacher research, school-based inquiry, and inquiry into students’ experiences. Too often there is a disparity between the conceptions of good practice that novice teachers are taught and those they encounte r when they enter the profession. Teacher educators must seek to em power teachers to use and develop knowledge about teaching and learning so that they can keep up with the demands of the profession and bring to the forefront observed discrepancies between theory and action (Darling-Hammond, 1996). Pre-service teachers must be able to make pedagogical transitions from total reliance on prepackaged commercial reading programs to being able to make informed decisions about curriculum and pedagogy. It is this that will empower them to make pedagogical

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Pre-service Special Educators 41 decisions that are responsive to students’ needs and interests (Fang et al., 2004b). In light of current legislative mandates, federal and state governments have been pivotal in dictating what to teach and how to teach in United States public schools (Allington, 2002; Garan, 2002). This situation is in direct opposition to the developmental-constructivist framework (Fosnot, 1989, 1996). With recent legislation calling for a dramatic expansion of state-wide high-stakes testing, teachers feel pressured to comply with the government mandates by teaching to the test. There has been a proliferation of prepackaged commercial reading programs that claim to meet state and/or federal educational standards and to stem from scientifically-based research. Consequently, many teachers are resorting to these programs for a quick fix (Fang et al., 2004b). As a result, this standards-driven, high-stakes testing climate has exacerbated the problems for those in urban and high-poverty schools (Mathison & Freeman, 2003). Furthermore, it undermines and inhibits teacher development and professional expertise. Simultaneously, it decreases the opportunities for authentic schoolbased tasks and meaningful learning (Fang et al., 2004b; Mathison & Freeman, 2003). For a novice teacher, teaching against the institutional grain can be difficult. Therefore, it is critical for teacher preparation programs to foster a high degree of teacher autonomy and accountability for student learning, especially in literacy learning. An example of this is a professional development project coordinated by the North East Florida Educational Consortium to help teachers

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Pre-service Special Educators 42 become empowered professionals. Initially, the teachers in the project referred to their struggling readers and writers from a deficit model rather than a developmental one and focused on what the children could not do and what was not working. During the tenure of the project, teachers were taught how to use students’ data regarding their strengths and needs in order to plan instruction that maximizes each student’s learning (Fang et al., 2004b). As a result of this intervention, the teachers understood and appreciated instruction that was aligned with students’ needs rather than what was outlined in scripted reading manuals. They made a philosophical shift that enabled them to appraise a student from a positive perspective (what the child can do), a historical perspective (what the child has learned to do and needs to learn to do more), and from an individual perspective (where the child is in terms of his/her developmental trajectory) (Fang et al., 2004) Ultimately, the teachers in the project no longer relied solely on outside experts, high-stakes testing, commercial reading programs, or manuals to diagnose and remediate their students. Instead, they relied on their ability to make professional sound instructional decisions based on their experiences, knowledge base, and scientifically-based research. This implies that teacher educators who empower teachers to become reflective, independent decision makers will significantly have a positive and enduring impact on student learning and achievement (Fang et al., 2004).

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Pre-service Special Educators 43 Empowerment and Teacher Dispositions Cartwright and Blacklock (2003) documented that teacher dispositions were impediments to literacy learning by struggling readers (Allington & Cunningham, 1996; Walmsley & Allington, 1995) and that attitudes about literacy learning were the responsibility of the preparation program (Cartwright & Blacklock, 2003). Fifty-five senior level teacher candidates were surveyed before and after their internship to assess their dispositions in reference to struggling readers. The greatest change was in candidates’ beliefs about their abilities to teach struggling readers (e.g., Belief that classroom teacher is responsible to teach struggling readers; Self-efficacy to teach struggling readers; Responsiveness and persistence in trying to meet the needs of all learners). The growing sense of empowerment that the candidates experienced were quantitatively reported, however, it was most powerfully expressed by the following candidate’s reflection: As much as I hate to say it, this work with an at-risk reader made me uncomfortable at the beginning. It wasn’t the course or my student that troubled me but the lack of confidence I had in myself about the knowledge of this stuff. But working with Jose has been a highlight for me this semester! He showed a passion for leaning which came as a shock to me. From my standpoint, a child who struggled so much would do anything but enjoy trying to learn. The two intervention goals for Jose were definite necessities. He worked very hard on sight words, phonological awareness, and blending of sounds in reading and writing.

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Pre-service Special Educators 44 The goals for this sequence turned out to be very successfully met. Jose’s strongest jump was in his sight word recognition, with a gain of 60%! I could see evidence of this gain and his 48% gain in blending sounds as I listened to him read throughout the intervention sequence. When I first started testing him, he struggled with a page of six words. Last week he read a story to me that had 15-20 words on each page. Now his frustration in reading has changed to excitement and interest! I have conquered that which intimidated me, and I have realized that every child with even the smallest amount of potential can be nurtured and matured. (K. Langley, reflection journal, December 2001, as cited in Cartwright & Blacklock, 2003, pp. 14-15) Results from Cartwright and Blacklock’s (2003) study were consistent with the findings of Fang et al., (2004) that suggested that by documenting student gains, teachers and teacher candidates learn the importance of using data to drive instruction. Additionally, the teacher candidates were fulfilling the requirement of the accountability movement in ways that strengthened, not impeded student learning (Cartwright & Blacklock, 2003). Summary This review of the literature provides an overview of the developmentalconstructivist framework and its implicat ions for the way special educators are prepared to teach reading to struggling readers. The intersection of reading and special education has given impetus for t eacher preparation programs to reach a consensus regarding the preparation of pre-service special educators that

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Pre-service Special Educators 45 empowers them to become reflective decision makers and problem solvers. Teacher preparation programs share the responsibility for facilitating attitudes and beliefs of pre-service special educators so that they reflect philosophical shifts in the learning and teaching of reading. In light of high-stakes testing and regardless of socioeconomic status or ethnicity, beginning teachers are pivotal in determining the literacy success of the students they have in their classrooms. Teachers’ feelings of preparedness, levels of competence, and their sense of teaching efficacy are correlated with teacher effectiveness and their commitment to remain in the profession (DarlingHammond et al., 2002). Urban and high poverty schools would benefit the most from a renewed commitment to provide all students with a well-prepared, competent, and highly efficacious teacher. This study explored the phenomenon of empowerment through the constructs of preparedness, competence, and efficacy in the context of special education. Absent from the literature is research investigating the phenomenon of empowerment as a predictor of success in the learning and teaching of reading. In this study, empowerment will be viewed as the core to problem solving reading disabilities and making instructional decisions that improve reading achievement. This study also will seek to identify perceived impediments/barriers that prevent pre-service special educators from implementing effective reading practices. Research findings from this study will add to the knowledge base established by other researchers by assessing the

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Pre-service Special Educators 46 impact of teacher programs to help narrow the theory-to-practice gap in special education.

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Pre-service Special Educators 47 CHAPTER 3 Methodology Introduction The College of Education at the university where the study took place is ranked in the top third of all graduate schools of education in the country, according to the university’s website. Based on The College of Education’s mission statement, the Department of Special Education has developed a framework that guides their commitment to teacher preparation: 1. Collaboration with our colleagues in public schools is essential to the planning and delivery of quality teacher education programs. 2. Teacher education must take place within an ecologically valid setting that enables students to apply knowledge and practical skills. 3. Relationships with our colleagues in public schools should be mutually beneficial and collegial. 4. Reflective teachers are teachers who can learn from their teaching and continuously improve their teaching. While this is a skill that is natural to some, it is also a skill that can be acquired. Students should be informed at the beginning of their programs that this is an expectation of them and they should have ample opportunities to receive and give feedback that contributes to the reflective process.

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Pre-service Special Educators 48 5. Teacher preparation programs should actively recruit candidates from diverse backgrounds and perspectives to enrich the discourse and level of understanding. 6. Likewise, the teaching faculty of teacher preparation programs should be diverse with respect to professional training, personal backgrounds, gender, and ethnicity. Based upon these values and principles, and in accordance with the philosophy of the College of Education, the Special Education department strives to educate teachers who are reflective practitioners, technologically proficient, professional, ethical, caring, and committed to diversity. Based on the philosophy of the Special Education Department and increasing referrals to special education for persistent reading difficulties in public schools, the following research questions were posed: Quantitative Research Question How are the constructs of empowerment such as competency, efficacy, and preparedness distributed across a six-member cohort of pre-service special educators? Qualitative Research Question How are perceptions of preparedness to teach reading of these pre-service special educators consistent with observations of their teaching practices?

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Pre-service Special Educators 49 Participants This mixed methods research design employed a non-random, convenient purposive sampling scheme to recruit participants for the quantitative and the qualitative components. The participants were recruited from the Department of Special Education at a large southeastern university. Due to low enrollment into the Special Education Undergraduate Program, pre-service special educators in their final internship were asked to participate in both the quantitative and qualitative portions. The courses that the department of special education has selected to prepare the pre-service special educators to teach reading were as follows: 1. RED 4310 Early Literacy Learning (3 credit hours)—The purpose of this course is to prepare pre-service teachers to understand the foundations of literacy and the learning principles and instructional strategies necessary to provide literacy instruction to emergent, novice, and transitional readers and writers. 2. RED 4511 Literacy in the Intermediate and Middle Grades (3 credit hours)—The purpose of this course is to prepare pre-service teachers to facilitate literacy learning for students who are beyond the primary grades. Students will develop an understanding of instructional strategies and materials appropriate for remedial, multicultural, and mainstream students in ways to promote literacy development across the curriculum, and theories of reading disabilities.

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Pre-service Special Educators 50 3. LAE 4314 Teaching Writing in the Elementary School, Grades K-6 (3 credit hours)-The purpose of this course is for students to understand children’s writing development and to design and implement instructional strategies for teaching composition in an integrated Language Arts curriculum. 4. EEX 4243 Education of the Exceptional Adolescent and Adult (3 credit hours)--This course is designed to provide pre-service special educators with procedures for implementing educational programs for exceptional adolescents and adults. This course had been modified to incorporate an emphasis on reading in the content areas. 5. EEX 4846 Clinical Teaching in Special Education (3 credit hours)-This course is designed to provide effective teaching principles, instructional management procedures, and specialized teaching techniques for exceptional students. This course also has been modified to incorporate an emphasis on early literacy instruction for students with reading disabilities. Selection of Participants Convenient sampling was utilized to select students from the available students enrolled in their final internships. An identical sample of students was used for the quantitative and qualitative portions (Onwuegbuzie & Collins, 2004). In order to participate in this study, the students had to be enrolled in the special education courses at the institution for the last six consecutive semesters. There

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Pre-service Special Educators 51 were 26 students enrolled in Senior Seminar during the spring semester of 2005. Eleven students volunteered and met the criteria for participation for this study. Ethical Considerations The researcher sought permission from the Institutional Review Board (IRB) at the study site to grant permission to conduct this investigation involving human participants. Informed consent was obtained from all participants. The participants did not experience any risks associated with the proposed study. Students were not exposed to any discomfort, deception, or risk from this investigation. The confidentiality and privacy of students were not invaded because no individual students were identified. The surveys, interviews, and observation checklists were coded rather than including identifying information for each participant. Coding of the data also allowed for confidentiality and privacy during the transcription and analysis of the interview data by outside researchers (e.g., independent coders for inter-rater reliability). Member checking was necessary because participants were interviewed, thus interpretation of data needed to be checked for accuracy. Provisions for cultural and language barriers and medical and support services were not needed. Interview data and observational checklists were locked in the office of the researcher. Quantitative Instruments The data obtained for the quantitative components of this study were extracted from several questionnaires. First, to determine the perceived levels of competency for pre-professionals working in the area of special education, a

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Pre-service Special Educators 52 survey encompassing 35 skills identified by CEC was administered (Wigle & Wilcox, 2003). The survey has not been previously named; therefore for the purposes of this study this survey was labeled the Special Education Competency Scale (SECS). The self-reported competencies required the respondent to indicate his/her level of competency by checking either (a) skilled, (b) adequate, or (c) inadequate. The respondents indicated “skilled” if the individual completing the form believed he/she mastered a listed skill and could apply it easily and accurately; “adequate” if the individual completing the form believed he/she mastered a listed skill, but not with ease or accuracy; “inadequate” would indicate that the individual completing the form had not developed a listed skill and so could not apply it with any degree of reliability (Wigle & Wilcox, 2003). To explore the perceptions of preparedness to teach reading by preservice special educators, the teacher candidates were administered a 4-point Likert-type scale. For the purposes of this study, the scale was called the Perceptions of Preparedness to Teach Reading Scale (PPTRS). The researcher extracted survey items from the Standards for Reading Professional developed by the Professional Standards and Ethics Committee and the Advisory Group to the National Council of Accreditation of Teacher Education Joint Task Force of the International Reading Association (Lunsford & Pauls, 1992). The subsequent items then were aligned with the course objectives outlined in the syllabi of the three literacy and two special education courses in which they were enrolled. As a result of this cross analysis, the researcher developed a survey that

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Pre-service Special Educators 53 appropriately reflected the knowledge and skills relevant to their pre-professional preparation to teach reading. The survey required the respondents to indicate whether they acquired the knowledge to teach the listed skill to a struggling reader, and to indicate from which aspect of their pre-professional training they received that specific skill. The respondents had to select one of the following options: (a) not prepared, (b) slightly prepared, (c) moderately well prepared, and (d) well prepared. The final instrument utilized to collect quantitative data was the Teachers’ Sense of Efficacy Scale (TSES; Tsc hannen-Moran & Woolfolk-Hoy, 2001). The TSES was used to explore the pre-service special educators’ perceptions of their abilities to affect change and improv e student outcomes. As noted by Tschannen-Moran and Woolfolk-Hoy, the T SES is a superior measure of teacher efficacy in that it has a “unified and stable factor structure and assesses a broad range of capabilities that teachers consid er important to good teaching without being so specific as to render its comparisons of teachers across contexts, levels, and subjects” (pp. 801-802). The construct-related validity of the T SES was examined by assessing the relationship of this measure to other existing measures of teacher efficacy. Total scores on the TSES were positively related to the Rand instrument ( r = 0.18 and 0.53, p < 0.01) (Guskey, 1984) as well as to both the personal teaching efficacy (PTE) factor ( r = 0.64, p < 0.010) and the general teaching efficacy (GTE) factor ( r = 0.16, p < 0.01) of the Gibson and Dembo (1984) Teacher Efficacy Scale. The score reliabilities for the teacher efficacy subscales were 0.91 for instruction, 0.90 for management, and 0.87 for

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Pre-service Special Educators 54 engagement (Tschannen-Moran & Hoy, 2001). The participants’ selected from the following choices: Nothing, Very little, To Some degree, Quite a bit, or A great deal. A rating of “Nothing” indicated that the participant perceived that she could not do anything to bring about a desired outcome, whereas a rating of “A great deal” meant that the participant perceived that she was capable of bringing about a desired outcome with “A great deal” of confidence whether it was achievement, behavior, or motivation. Qualitative Instruments Interviews and observations were employed during the qualitative component of this proposed study. The initial interview contained 10 open-ended questions that allowed for an in-depth analysis of factors contributing to perceptions of preparedness. Specifically, these questions sought to elicit from participants their perceptions of how to assess and monitor struggling readers, what materials to use, and how to modify instruction. The interviews were conducted at the beginning and at the end of the study. The observations were conducted midway into the study. The interviews were semi-structured (i.e., primarily unstructured in content but had limited structure provided by the two questions; Creswell, 1998; Fontana & Frey, 2000). Each interview lasted approximately 15 minutes and was primarily informal in nature. The researcher secured a quiet room in the College of Education to conduct the interviews. The follow-up interview questions were developed during the data collection and data analysis portions to account for any observed discrepancies. The researcher cross-checked responses from the

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Pre-service Special Educators 55 questionnaires with the data from the observations and developed a follow-up interview protocol to explain further the phenomena and corroborate findings of the obtained relationships. These questions were the same for each participant. The survey devised by the researcher to investigate pre-service special educators’ preparedness to teach reading (PTRS) was subsequently used as an observational tool to assess their reading instruction practices. An observational checklist was developed that allowed the researcher and an independent observer to identify the participants’ reading instructional practices. Besides the targeted reading instructional practice, the researcher and independent observer checked the appropriate box for “observed” or “not observed”. A space also was provided for anecdotal notes. Therefore, based upon the standards for reading professionals and the knowledge and skills acquired during their pre-professional training, the teacher candidates were observed using a videotaped lesson wherein participants provided reading instruction in their internship classroom settings. The researcher and an independent observer used the observation checklist to cross-validate observed instru ctional practices with objectives from formal and/or informal instruction and/ or active learning experiences gained during their tenure in the special education program. The researcher trained the independent observer on the targeted skills prior to the observations. Immediately following the observations, the researcher and independent observer compared their ratings, and reaching inter-rater reliability of at least 85% for each observation.

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Pre-service Special Educators 56 Procedures Quantitative Procedures Appropriate approval was obtained as explained in the Ethical Considerations section. After receiving IRB approval and informed consent forms from the participants, the, pre-service special educators were asked to complete the surveys prior to the start of their internships. The researcher administered the surveys both at the beginning and at the end of the study and emphasized that their overall grades in the class would not be impacted by their participation or nonparticipation in the research study. However, the researcher and seminar facilitator agreed to relieve the participants of two journal assignments for their participation in the study. No identifying information was recorded on the survey instruments; however, a coding system was implemented to match responses to those from the qualitative portions. A pragmatist paradigm guided the component of this study. The pragmatist paradigm combines quantitative and qualitative methodologies and both objective and subjective points of view within the same inquiry (Onwuegbuzie, 2003b). Consistent with the purposes of this study, utilizing a mixed methods research design enabled the researcher to validate quantitative research findings by referring to informat ion extracted from the qualitative phase, and vice versa (Madey, 1982). Qualitative Procedures A case study approach guided the qualitative component in order to investigate the phenomena specific to this study (Stake, 2005; Yin, 2003). The

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Pre-service Special Educators 57 phenomena studied were efficacy, competency, and preparedness and its application to reading instruction. As stated earlier, appropriate approval was obtained as explained in the Ethical Considerations section. After collecting the quantitative data, the researcher arranged dates and times convenient for the participants to complete pre-internship interviews. Permission was given and the interviews were audio-taped for transcription purposes only. The participants were informed that their names would not be used in this study. At the end of each interview, the researcher debriefed the participant to ensure accurate interpretation of the responses. Member checking took place throughout the study (Creswell, 1998; Lincoln & Guba, 1985). The observational checklist was used to document instructional practices and to record anecdotal notes. Prior to video-taping, IRB approval was given and participant consent was obtained. In conjunction with the participants’ regularly scheduled class meetings, the participants were given the assignment to videotape themselves in their final internship setting. The instructor for the course and the researcher modified the assignment for the participants in the study to include a videotaped lesson in which the participant was implementing effective reading instructional practices. The videotapes were viewed during a scheduled class meeting. The participants described their lessons prior to showing the 15-minute clips of their reading instructional practices. The researcher and the independent observer completed the observation checklist of the videotaped lessons during the class meeting. The researcher and the

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Pre-service Special Educators 58 independent observer reached an inter-rater reliability of at least 85% for each observation. Research Design This study used a collective case study research design to determine how pre-service special educators were empowered to solve reading difficulties and to make researched-based decisions that positively impact student reading achievement (Stake, 2005). Quantitative and qualitative data were collected within the same time frame from the same sample members consistent with a concurrent, identical sampling design (Onwuegbuzie & Collins, 2004). Nonrandom, convenient purposive sampling was used to select identical samples. In addition, this study examined the extent to which the perceived constructs of empowerment were evidenced in the application of reading instruction using multiple cases (Yin, 2003). A concurrent triangulation of mixed methods was used in an attempt to cross-validate the research findings (Greene et al., 1989). This design generally uses separate quantitative and qualitative methods as a means to offset the weaknesses inherent within one method with the strengths of the other method (Creswell et al., 2003; Onwuegbuzie & Leech, 2004). Results from both components were used to triangulate and complement the research findings (i.e., triangulation, complementarity) (Greene et al., 1989). The quantitative portion of this study was less dominant. Data from the Likert-type scales were collected concurrently with the initial phase of the interviews. In this study, the priority was given to the qualitative component (Creswell, Plano-Clark, Gutmann, & Hanson, 2003) due to practical constraints

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Pre-service Special Educators 59 involving the quantitative portion (e.g., only 11 participants participated in the study, which is not large enough to determine statistical significance) (Cohen, 1988). To corroborate the research findings in the quantitative component with the findings from the qualitative component, the researcher conducted initial interviews, videotaped observations, and follow-up interviews, sequentially. The results of the two methods were integrated during the interpretation phase of the study (Creswell et al., 2003). In this collective case study design, methodological triangulation and complementarity intents were employed (Greene et al., 1989). Methodological triangulation sought to converge and corroborate findings from different methods that study the same phenomena. Complementarity sought to elaborate, illustrate, enhance, and clarify the findings from one method with results from another method (Onwuegbuzie & Leech, in press-a). Data Analysis Quantitative Analysis Descriptive analysis of results from the quantitative portion of this proposed study was calculated using frequency distributions for each survey instrument. Due to the limited participation, inferential statistics could not be computed. Instead, measures of central tendency and variability were utilized for this study. Particular to this study, the percentage of responses for each item examined in each of the three surveys were computed and reported.

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Pre-service Special Educators 60 Qualitative Analysis Themes or categories were created both a priori and a posteriori (Constas, 1992). The themes and categories for the initial interview were created a posteriori, whereas the themes for the follow-up interview were created a priori. The researcher entered the responses from the initial interview using ATLAS.ti, a computer-assisted qualitative software (Muhr, 2004). This aided in the management of the rich, unstructured data (Creswell, 1998). The categories were created and explored by coding, merging, and shifting the data using ATLAS.ti. Also, key word searches were employed for words that may be metaphors used frequently by the participants. These frequently used key words began the categorization process in ATLAS.ti. An iterative process was utilized during several stages of the study. This process enabled the tentative movement of the categories caused by revisions, expansions, or omissions of categories. Additionally, this process allowed the reanalysis of collected data to ensure adequate representation of the categories. Thus, continual checking of the categories (i.e., constant comparative analysis of themes) existed throughout the study (Strauss & Corbin, 1998). Mixed Methods Data Analysis Mixed methods data analysis were conducted implemented for data reduction, data display, data transformation, data comparison, and data integration (Onwuegbuzie & Teddlie, 2003). Data reduction was used to compute descriptive statistics for the surveys and to convert observations of reading instruction practices into percentages for comparison purposes. The raw

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Pre-service Special Educators 61 scores from the quantitative data also were used to verify conclusions drawn from the results (Onwuegbuzie & Teddlie, 2003). Data reduction also was used to code and binarize (Onwuegbuzie, 2001) the qualitative data extracted from the interviews. The data reduced from the interviews were used to compute interrespondent and intrarespondent matrices and intensity effect sizes for the initial and follow-up interviews. The qualitizing and quantitizing of the data into interrespondent and intrarespondent matrices and intensity effect sizes also were included in the data transformation stage (Onwuegbuzie, 2001; Onwuegbuzie & Teddlie, 2003). The data display stage followed the data reduction stage (Onwuegbuzie & Teddlie, 2003). Tables, figures, and matrices were used throughout this study to simplify the data and make it easily understood (Miles & Huberman, 1994). Additionally, the use of all the tables, figures, and matrices was conveniently used during the data comparison stage. The data comparison stage is consistent with the purpose of employing mixed methodology in this investigation: triangulation and complementarity of the data sources (i.e., conducting interviews and observations to confirm the self-reported data from the participants) (Greene et al., 1989).

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Pre-service Special Educators 62 CHAPTER 4 Results This study was designed to investigate how the constructs of empowerment, competency, efficacy, and preparedness, were distributed across six pre-service special educators and the degree to which their self-report of preparedness to teach reading was consistent with observations of their reading instructional practices. In order to conduct this study, pre-service special educators were selected from a university in one of the largest urban districts in Florida, which attracts students from neighboring counties. The Department of Special Education has partnerships with school districts both inside and outside this large, metropolitan county that have resulted in Professional Development Schools (PDS) and Professional Practice Partners ( PPP) (i.e., c ooperating teacher) that assist with supervising student teachers. Description of Cases Ashley Ashley is a White female in her mid 40’s. She completed the last six semesters at the university as an undergraduate student in the Department of Special Education. Commencing her final internship, Ashley’s professional core grade point average (GPA) was 3.13. Relevant to this study, she received the following grades in her teaching specialization courses: EEX 4243 Education of

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Pre-service Special Educators 63 the Exceptional Adolescent and Adult; B+ EEX 4846 Clinical Teaching in Special Education, C ; LAE 4314 Teaching Writing in the Elementary School, C+ ; RED 4511 Literacy in the Intermediate and Middle Grades, A ; and RED 4310 Early Literacy Learning, B Ashley completed her final internship at Delta Elementary in Hernando County. Delta is located on the urban fringe of a larger city. Delta Elementary had a student population of 875 students, of which 54% were male. The student population consisted of 2% Asian, 8% Hispanic, 6% Black, and 84% White. Fiftysix percent of the students were eligible for free or reduced lunch. The percentage of students with disabilities is not known. Results from the State Report Card (2004) indicated that Delta Elementary earned a “B” grade and made Adequate Yearly Progress ( AYP) for No Child Left Behind (NCLB). All subgroups, including the economically disadvantaged, students with disabilities, and Limited English Proficient (LEP), met the criteria for AYP (Hernando County School Board [HCSB], 2004). Ashley’s student teaching took place in a self-contained, pre-k classroom with varying exceptionalities (VE). There were 11 students, 2 females and 9 males. One student was Black, one was bi-racial (Black and White), one was Hispanic, and the remaining students were White. They ranged in age from three to five years old. The disabilities represented were Autism (1), Down Syndrome (1), Emotional Handicaps (2), Mental Retardation (2), and Language Impairments (5). Ashley’s PPP is a bi-racial (Hispanic and White) female with her Bachelor’s Degree and with 15 years of experience as a Special Education

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Pre-service Special Educators 64 teacher. Table 1 and Table 2 provide summary data for Ashley and Ashley’s PPP. Bridgette Bridgette is a White female in her late 20’s. She completed the last six semesters at the university as an undergraduate student in the Department of Special Education. Commencing her final internship, Bridgette’s professional core grade point average (GPA) was 3.60. Relevant to this study, she received the following grades in her teaching specialization courses: EEX 4243 Education of the Exceptional Adolescent and Adult, B+ ; EEX 4846 Clinical Teaching in Special Education, A; LAE 4314 Teaching Writing in the Elementary School, A+ ; RED 4511 Literacy in the Intermediate and Middle Grades, A+ ; and RED 4310 Early Literacy Learning, B+ Bridgette completed her student teaching at Woods Elementary in Hillsborough County. Woods Elementary is a Title 1 school located within an urban area of the county. It had a population of 873 students. The student population consisted of 0.2% American Indian, 1.5% Asian, 28% Hispanic, 24% Black, 41% White, and 5.3% other. Seventy-one percent of the students were eligible for free or reduced lunch and 19% of the students are classified as having disabilities. The instructional focus is on Continuous Progress, Florida Uniting Students in Education (FUSE), hands-on learning and project-based learning (School District of Hillsborough County [SDHC], 2004). Results from the NAEP ( 2003) indicated that Wood Elementary earned a “B” grade and did not make Adequate Yearly Progress ( AYP) for No Child Left

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Pre-service Special Educators 65 Behind (NCLB). Sixty percent of the students were reading at or above grade level, 66% of students made a year’s worth of progress in reading, and 63% of struggling students made a year’s worth of progress in reading. However, students with disabilities in this school were identified as needing improvement in Reading (SDHC, 2004). Bridgette’s final internship experience was completed in a self-contained kindergarten class with students who had Educable Mental Handicaps (EMH) and Language Learning Disabilities (LLD). The class consisted of eight boys who were from White, Hispanic, and Black ethnic backgrounds. Bridgette’s PPP was a White female with a Bachelor’s degree and more than 25 years of experience as a Special Education teacher. Table 1 and Table 2 provide summary data for Bridgette and Bridgette’s PPP. Celeste Celeste is a Hispanic female in her mid 20’s. She completed the last six semesters at the university as an undergraduate student in the Department of Special Education. Commencing her final internship, Celeste’s professional core grade point average (GPA) was 3.07. Relevant to this study, she received the following grades in her teaching specialization courses: EEX 4243 Education of the Exceptional Adolescent and Adult, A; EEX 4846 Clinical Teaching in Special Education, B+; LAE 4314 Teaching Writing in the Elementary School, A; RED 4511 Literacy in the Intermediate and Middle Grades, A; and RED 4310 Early Literacy Learning, B

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Pre-service Special Educators 66 Celeste was placed at Justice Middle School in Hillsborough County to complete her final internship. Justice Middle is a Title 1 school located within a rural area of the county; however, students from the inner city were bused in to this rural school. The school had a population of 1,261 students. The student population consisted of 0.38% American Indian, 0.76% Asian, 11.8% Hispanic, 31% Black, 52% White, and 4.06% other. Ninety-four percent of the students were eligible for free or reduced lunch and 25% of the students had disabilities. The instructional focus implemented by Justice Middle is the 5 x 5 Instructional Model (SDHC, 2004). Results from the NAEP ( 2003) indicated that Justice Middle School earned a “C” grade and did not make Adequate Yearly Progress ( AYP) for No Child Left Behind (NCLB). Forty-one percent of the students were reading at or above grade level, 51% of students made one year’s worth of progress in reading, and 56% of struggling students made one year’s worth of progress in reading. However, students with disabilities, LEP students, and Black students in this school were identified as needing improvement in Reading (SDHC, 2004). Celeste completed her student teaching in an eighth-grade class with students with Specific Learning Disabilities (SLD) and Emotional Handicaps (EH). The class consisted of 4 girls and 11 boys who were from White, Hispanic, and Black backgrounds. Celeste’s PPP was a White female with a Master’s Degree and 15 years of experience as Special Education teacher. Table 1 and Table 2 provide summary data for Celeste and Celeste’s PPP.

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Pre-service Special Educators 67 Denise Denise is a Hispanic female in her mid 20’s. She completed the last six semesters at the university as an undergraduate student in the Department of Special Education. Commencing her final internship, Denise’s professional core grade point average (GPA) was 2.93. Relevant to this study, she received the following grades in her teaching specialization courses: EEX 4243 Education of the Exceptional Adolescent and Adult, B+; EEX 4846 Clinical Teaching in Special Education, B ; LAE 4314 Teaching Writing in the Elementary School, B; RED 4511 Literacy in the Intermediate and Middle Grades, B; and RED 4310 Early Literacy Learning, C Denise completed her student teaching in the same school as Bridgette, Woods Elementary. Denise’s class consisted of nine students, eight boys and one girl. There was one Hispanic, three Black, and five White students. This was a fourth-grade, self-contained classroom with Emotional Handicaps, Specific Learning Disabilities, and Language Impairments. Denise’s PPP is a Black female with a Master’s Degree and 25 years of experience as a Special Education teacher. Table 1 and Table 2 provide summary data for Denise and Denise’s PPP. Emma Emma is a White, female in her early 20’s. She completed the last six semesters at the university as an undergraduate student in the Special Education Department. Commencing her final internship, Emma’s professional core grade point average (GPA) was 3.40 GPA. Relevant to this study, she received the

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Pre-service Special Educators 68 following grades in her teaching specialization courses: EEX 4243 Education of the Exceptional Adolescent and Adult, A; EEX 4846 Clinical Teaching in Special Education, B; LAE 4314 Teaching Writing in the Elementary School, A+ ; RED 4511 Literacy in the Intermediate and Middle Grades, B; and RED 4310 Early Literacy Learning, A Emma’s student teaching took place at Hampton Elementary located in a suburb of Hillsborough County. It had a small population of 479 students. The student population consisted of 5% Asian, 25% Hispanic, 19% Black, 41% White, and 10% other. Forty-seven percent of the students were eligible for free or reduced lunch and 11% of the students were categorized as having disabilities (SDHC, 2004). Results from the NAEP ( 2003) indicated that Hampton Elementary earned a “C” grade and did not make Adequate Yearly Progress ( AYP) for No Child Left Behind (NCLB). Sixty-eight percent of the students were reading at or above grade level, 58% of students made a year’s worth of progress in reading, and 53% of struggling students made a year’s worth of progress in reading (SDHC, 2004). Emma’s student teaching took place in a fourth-grade general education classroom with six students with Specific Learning Disabilities mainstreamed throughout the day. The class consisted of 3 Hispanic girls and 25 White and Hispanic boys. Emma’s PPP was a Hispanic female with a Doctoral degree and 20 years of experience as a Special Education teacher. Table 1 and Table 2 provide summary data for Emma and Emma’s PPP.

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Pre-service Special Educators 69 Felicia Felicia is a White female in her early 20’s. She completed the last six semesters at the university as an undergraduate student in the Special Education Department. Commencing her final internship, Emma’s professional core grade point average (GPA) was 3.53. Relevant to this study, she received the following grades in her teaching specialization courses: EEX 4 243 Education of the Exceptional Adolescent and Adult, A; EEX 4846 Clinical Teaching in Special Education, A; LAE 4314 Teaching Writing in the Elementary School, A+; RED 4511 Literacy in the Intermediate and Middle Grades, A+; and RED 4310 Early Literacy Learning, A Felicia’s student teaching took place at Lakeside Elementary located in a rural community East of Hillsborough County. The total student population was 590. The student population consisted of 0.5% American Indian, 2% Asian, 12% Hispanic, 13% Black, 67% White, and 5.5% other. Thirty-two percent of the students were eligible for free or reduced lunch and 5% of the students have disabilities (SDHC, 2004). The instructional focus is on Continuous Progress and Back-to-Basics Traditional Instruction (SDHC, 2004). Results from the NAEP ( 2003) indicated that Lakeside Elementary earned an “A” grade and made Adequate Yearly Progress ( AYP) for No Child Left Behind (NCLB). Eighty-six percent of the students were reading at or above grade level, 78% of students made one year’s worth of progress in reading, and 59% of struggling students made one year’s worth of progress in reading (SDHC, 2004).

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Pre-service Special Educators 70 Felicia served 25 students with Specific Learning Disabilities and Emotional Handicaps for kindergarten and first grade in a resource classroom. She typically worked with 18 to 20 students (8 White, 6 Hispanic, and 4 Black students). Felicia’s PPP was a White female with a Bachelor’s degree and 18 years of experience as a Special Education teacher. Table 1 and Table 2 provide summary data for Felicia and Felicia’s PPP. Table 1 Summary of Intern Characteristics ________________________________________________________________ Age Race GPA Internship Setting ________________________________________________________________ Ashley Mid 40’s White 3.13 Pre-K, self-contained Bridgette Late 20’s White 3.60 KG, self-contained Celeste Mid 20’s Hispanic 3.07 8th, self-contained Denise Mid 20’s Hispanic 2.93 4th, self-contained Emma Early 20’s White 3.40 4th, mainstreamed Felicia Early 20’s White 3.53 KG/1st, resource

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Pre-service Special Educators 71 Table 2 Summary of PPP Characteristics Race Gender Years of Highest Degree Experience Earned ________________________________________________________________ Ashley’s Bi-racial F 15 Bachelor PPP Bridgette’s White F 25 Bachelor PPP Celeste’s White F 15 Master PPP Denise’s Black F 25 Master PPP Emma’s Hispanic F 20 Doctorate PPP Felicia’s White F 18 Bachelor PPP ________________________________________________________________ Teachers’ Sense of Efficacy Scale (TSES) The TSES has been found to be related to many m eaningful educational outcomes such as teachers’ persistence, enthusiasm, commitment, and instructional behavior, as well as student outcomes such as achievement, motivation, and self-efficacy beliefs (Tschannen-Moran & Woolfolk-Hoy, 2001). In this study, the participants were administered the T SES before commencing their internship and again at the end of the nine week. The results were reported in percentages as an overall sense of efficacy, efficacy in student engagement (e.g., “How much can you do to get through to the most difficult students?”),

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Pre-service Special Educators 72 efficacy in instructional practices (e.g., “How much can you do to adjust your lessons to the proper level for individual students?”), and efficacy in classroom management (e.g., “How much can you do to control disruptive behavior in the classroom?”). The participants’ selected from the following five response options: (1) Nothing, (2) Very little, (3) Some degree, (4) Quite a bit, or (5) A great deal. A rating of “Nothing” indicated that the participant perceived that she could not do anything to bring about a desired outcome, whereas a rating of “A great deal” meant that the participant perceived that she was capable of bringing about a desired outcome with “A great deal” of confidence whether it is achievement, behavior, or motivation. For interpretation purposes, a score of “1” or “2” is rated as “nothing”; a score of “3” or “4” is rated as “very little”; a score of “5” or “6” is rated as “some degree”; a score of “7” or “8” is rated as “quite a bit”; and a score of “9” is rated as “a great deal.” Within-Case Analysis Ashley Sense of Efficacy. During the pretest administration of the TSES, almost all (95.8%) of Ashley’s responses fell in the “quite a bit” range. One response (4.2%) fell into the to “some degree” range. At posttest, one-third (33.3%) of her responses fell into the “quite a bit” range, whereas two-thirds (66.7%) of her responses fell into the “a great deal” range. In fact, compared to the overall T SES mean (7.1) for the norm group, Ashley’s overall mean of responses increased from 6.9 at pretest to 8.3 at posttest. Thus, Ashley’s overall sense of efficacy appears to have increased based on these data. This interpretation is supported

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Pre-service Special Educators 73 when examining the total raw scores wherein the total scores increased from 166 at pretest to 200 at posttest. Table 3 shows data for Ashley’s overall sense of efficacy. Table 3 Ashley TSES Overall Efficacy Pretest Posttest Very Little Some Degree 4.2% Quite a Bit 95.8% 33.3% A Great Deal 66.7% ________________________________________________________________ Efficacy in Student Engagement. At pretest, all of (100%) Ashley’s responses fell in the “quite a bit” range. At posttest, three-fourths (75%) of her responses fell into the “quite a bit” range, whereas one-fourth (25%) of her responses fell into the “a great deal” range. In fact, compared to the subscale mean (7.3) of the norm group for efficacy in student engagement, Ashley’s subscale mean increased from 7.0 at pretest to 7.5 at posttest. Therefore, Ashley’s efficacy in student engagement appears to have increased based on these data. This interpretation is supported when examining the subscale raw scores wherein the subscale scores for efficacy in student engagement increased from 56 at pretest to 60 at posttest. Table 4 shows data for Ashley’s efficacy in student engagement.

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Pre-service Special Educators 74 Table 4 Ashley Efficacy in Student Engagement Pretest Posttest Very Little Some Degree Quite a Bit 100.0% 75.0% A Great Deal 25.0% ________________________________________________________________ Efficacy in Instructional Practices. At pretest, the majority (87.5%) of Ashley’s responses fell into the “quite a bit” range. One response (12.5%) fell into the “some degree” range. At posttest the most (87.5%) of Ashley’s responses fell into the “a great deal” range. One response (12.5%) fell into the “quite a bit” range. Compared to the subscale mean (7.3) of the norm group for efficacy in instructional practices, Ashley’s subscale mean increased from 6.8 at pretest to 8.8 at posttest. Consequently, Ashley’s efficacy in instructional practices appears to have increased based on these data. This interpretation is supported when examining the subscale raw scores wherein the subscale scores for efficacy in instructional practices increased from 54 at pretest to 70 at posttest. Table 5 shows data for Ashley’s efficacy in instructional practices.

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Pre-service Special Educators 75 Table 5 Ashley Efficacy in Instructional Practices Pretest Posttest Very Little Some Degree 12.5% Quite a Bit 87.5% 12.5% A Great Deal 87.5% ________________________________________________________________ Efficacy in Classroom Management. Initially, all (100%) of Ashley’s responses fell into the “quite a bit” range. At the end of her final internship, most (87.5%) of Ashley’s responses fell into the “a great deal” range. One response (12.5%) fell into the “quite a bit” range. Compared to the subscale mean (6.7) of the norm group for efficacy in classroom management, Ashley’s subscale mean increased from 7.0 at pretest to 8.8 at posttest. Thus, Ashley’s efficacy in classroom management appears to have increased based on these data. This interpretation is supported when examining the subscale raw scores wherein the subscale scores for efficacy in classroom management increased from 56 at pretest to 70 at posttest. Table 6 shows data for Ashley’s efficacy in classroom management.

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Pre-service Special Educators 76 Table 6 Ashley Efficacy in Classroom Management Pretest Posttest Very Little Some Degree Quite a Bit 100.0% 12.5% A Great Deal 87.5% ________________________________________________________________ Summary. B ased on these data, Ashley’s sense of efficacy increased overall and in each subscale area. Her sense of efficacy in instructional practices appears to have increased the most from pretest to posttest. Analysis of the subscales indicates that at pretest her sense of efficacy in instructional practices was the least. Ashley’s sense of efficacy in classroom management and student engagement was equal. However, at posttest her sense of efficacy in student engagement was the least of the three subscales. Her sense of efficacy in instructional practices and classroom management was equal. Bridgette Sense of Efficacy. During the pretest administration of the TSES, Bridgette’s responses fell equally between the “some degree” range (45.9%) and the “quite a bit” range (45.8%). Two responses (8.3%) fell into the “a great deal” range. At posttest, the majority (75%) of he r responses fell into the “quite a bit” range. Several responses (20.8%) fell into the “some degree” range, whereas only one response (4.2%) fell into the “a great deal” range. Compared to the overall mean (7.1) of the norm group, Bridgette’s overall mean increased slightly

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Pre-service Special Educators 77 from 6.8 at pretest to 6.9 at posttest. Consequently, Bridgette’s overall sense of efficacy appears to have increased minimally based on these data. This interpretation is supported when examining the total raw scores wherein the total scores for her overall efficacy increased from 163 at pretest to165 at posttest. Table 7 shows data for Bridgette’s overall sense of efficacy. Table 7 Bridgette TSES Overall Efficacy Pretest Posttest Very Little Some Degree 45.9% 20.8% Quite a Bit 45.8% 75.0% A Great Deal 8.3% 4.2% ________________________________________________________________ Efficacy in Student Engagement. At pretest, most (62.5%) of Bridgette’s responses fell in the “some degree” range. Two of her responses (25%) fell into the “quite a bit” range, whereas one response (12.5%) fell into the “a great deal” range. At posttest, most (62.5%) of Bridgette’s responses fell into the “quite a bit” range. Two of her responses (25%) fell into the “some degree” range, whereas one response fell (12.5%) into the “a great deal” range. Compared to the subscale mean (7.3) of the norm group for efficacy in student engagement, Bridgette’s subscale mean increased from 6.6 at pretest to 7.0 at posttest. Therefore, Bridgette’s efficacy in student engagement appears to have increased based on these data. This interpretation is supported when examining the subscale raw scores wherein the subscale scores for efficacy in student

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Pre-service Special Educators 78 engagement increased from 53 at pretest to 56 at posttest. Table 8 shows data for Bridgette’s efficacy in student engagement. Table 8 Bridgette Efficacy in Student Engagement Pretest Posttest Very Little Some Degree 62.5% 25.0% Quite a Bit 25.0% 62.5% A Great Deal 12.5% 12.5% ____________________________________________________________ Efficacy in Instructional Practices. At pretest, one-half (50%) of Bridgette’s responses fell into the “some degree” range. Several (37.5%) of Bridgette’s responses fell into the “quite a bit” ra nge, whereas only one response (12.5%) fell into the “a great deal” range. At posttest, most (62.5%) of Bridgette’s responses fell into the “quite a bit” range. The remainder of Bridgette’s responses (37.5%) fell into the “some degree” range. Compared to the subscale mean (7.3) of the norm group for efficacy in instructional practices, Bridgette’s subscale mean decreased from 6.9 at pretest to 6.5 at posttest. Consequently, Bridgette’s efficacy in instructional practices appears to have decreased slightly based on these data. This interpretation is supported when examining the subscale raw scores wherein the subscale scores for efficacy in instructional practices decreased minimally from 55 at pretest to 52 at posttest. Table 9 shows data for Bridgette’s efficacy in instructional practices.

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Pre-service Special Educators 79 Table 9 Bridgette Efficacy in Instructional Practices Pretest Posttest Very Little Some Degree 50% 37.5% Quite a Bit 37.50% 62.50% A Great Deal 12.5% ________________________________________________________________ Efficacy in Classroom Management. Initially, three-fourths (75%) of Bridgette’s responses fell into the “quite a bit” range. One-fourth (25%) of Bridgette’s responses fell into the “some degree” range. At the end of her final internship, all (100%) of Bridgette’s responses fell into the “quite a bit” range. Compared to the subscale mean (6.7) of the norm group for efficacy in classroom management, Bridgette’s subscale mean increased from 6.9 at pretest to 7.1 at posttest. Therefore, Bridgette’s efficacy in classroom management appears to have increased based on these data. This interpretation is supported when examining the subscale raw scores wherein the subscale scores for efficacy in classroom management increased slightly from 55 at pretest to 57 at posttest. Table 10 shows data for Bridgette’s efficacy in classroom management.

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Pre-service Special Educators 80 Table10 Bridgette Efficacy in Classroom Management Pretest Posttest Very Little Some Degree 25% Quite a Bit 75% 100% A Great Deal ________________________________________________________________ Summary. Based on these data, Bridgette’s sense of efficacy increased overall and in two of the three subscales. Her sense of efficacy in student engagement appears to have increased the most from pretest to posttest. Analysis of the subscales indicates that at pretest her sense of efficacy in student engagement was the least, whereas her sense of efficacy in classroom management was the greatest. However, her sense of efficacy in instructional practices decreased from pretest to posttest. Celeste Sense of Efficacy. During the pretest administration of the TSES, Celeste’s responses (62.5%) fell primarily in the “quite a bit” range. Approximately one-fifths (20.8%) of her responses fell into the “a great deal” range, 12.5% fell into the “some degree” range, and 4.2% fell into the “very little” range. At posttest, the majority (58.4%) of her responses fell into the “quite a bit” range. Several responses (29.2%) fell into the “a great deal” range, whereas a few responses (12.5%) fell into the “some degree” range. Celeste’s overall sense of efficacy appears to have increased based on these data. Compared to

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Pre-service Special Educators 81 the overall mean (7.1) of the norm group for, Celeste’s overall mean increased from 7.4 at pretest to 7.9 at posttest. Thus, Celeste’s overall sense of efficacy appears to have increased based on these data. This interpretation is supported when examining the total raw scores wherein the total scores for her overall efficacy increased from 178 at pretest to190 at posttest. Table 11 shows data for Celeste’s overall sense of efficacy. Table 11 Celeste TSES Overall Efficacy Pretest Posttest Very Little 4.2% Some Degree 12.5% 12.5% Quite a Bit 62.5% 58.4% A Great Deal 20.8% 29.2% ________________________________________________________________ Efficacy in Student Engagement. At pretest, the highest proportion (37.5%) of Celeste’s responses fell into the “quite a bit” range. Twenty-five percent (25%) of her responses fell into both the “some degree” and “a great deal” range, whereas 12.5% of her responses fell into the “very little” range. At posttest, most (62.5%) of Celeste’s responses fell into the “quite a bit” range. Several of her responses (25%) fell into the “a great deal” range, whereas a few responses (12.5%) fell into the “some degree” range. In fact, compared to the subscale mean (7.3) of the norm group for efficacy in student engagement, Celeste’s subscale mean increased from 7.0 at pretest to 7.6 at posttest. Thus, Celeste’s efficacy in student engagement appears to have increased based on

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Pre-service Special Educators 82 these data. This interpretation is supported when examining the subscale raw scores wherein the subscale scores for efficacy in student engagement increased from 56 at pretest to 61 at posttest. Table 12 shows data for Celeste’s efficacy in student engagement. Table 12 Celeste Efficacy in Student Engagement Pretest Posttest Very Little 12.5% Some Degree 25.0% 12.5% Quite a Bit 37.5% 62.5% A Great Deal 25.0% 25.0% ________________________________________________________________ Efficacy in Instructional Practices. At pretest, the majority (62.5%) of Celeste’s responses fell into the “quite a bit” range. Several (25%) of Celeste’s responses fell into the “a great deal” r ange whereas a few responses (12.5%) fell into the “some degree” range. At posttest, one-half (50%) of Celeste’s responses fell into the “quite a bit” range. The remainder of Celeste’s responses fell equally between the “some degree” range (25%) and “a great deal” range (25%). In fact, compared to the subscale mean (7.3) of the norm group for efficacy in instructional practices, Celeste’s subscale mean increased from 7.5 at pretest to 8.0 at posttest. Thus, Celeste’s efficacy in instructional practices appears to have increased based on these data. This interpretation is supported when examining the subscale raw scores wherein the subscale scores for

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Pre-service Special Educators 83 efficacy in instructional practices increased from 60 at pretest to 64 at posttest. Table 13 shows data for Celeste’s efficacy in instructional practices. Table 13 Celeste Efficacy in Instructional Practices Pretest Posttest Very Little Some Degree 12.5% 25.0% Quite a Bit 62.5% 50.0% A Great Deal 25.0% 25.0% ________________________________________________________________ Efficacy in Classroom Management. Initially, the majority (87.5%) of Celeste’s responses fell into the “quite a bit” range whereas 12.5% fell into the “a great deal” range. At the end of her final internship, most of Celeste’s responses (62.5%) fell into the “quite a bit” range. The remainder (37.5%) of Celeste’s responses fell into the “a great deal” range. Compared to the subscale mean (6.7) of the norm group for efficacy in classroom management, Celeste’s subscale mean increased from 7.8 at pretest to 8.1 at posttest. Therefore, Celeste’s efficacy in classroom management appears to have increased based on these data. This interpretation is supported when examining the subscale raw scores wherein the subscale scores for efficacy in classroom management increased slightly from 62 at pretest to 65 at posttest. Table 14 shows data for Celeste’s efficacy in classroom management.

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Pre-service Special Educators 84 Table 14 Celeste Efficacy in Classroom Management Pretest Posttest Very Little Some Degree Quite a Bit 87.5% 62.5% A Great Deal 12.5% 37.5% ________________________________________________________________ Summary. Based on these data Celeste’s sense of efficacy increased overall and in all three of the subscales. Her sense of efficacy in student engagement appears to have increased the most from pretest to posttest, whereas her sense of efficacy in classroom management increased the least from pretest to posttest. Analysis of the subscales indicates that at both pretest and posttest Celeste’s sense of efficacy in student engagement was the least whereas her sense of efficacy in classroom management was the greatest. Denise Sense of Efficacy. During the pretest administration of the TSES, threefourths (75%) of Denise’s responses fell primarily in the “quite a bit” range. Twenty-five percent (25%) of her responses fell into the “a great deal” range. At posttest, the majority of her responses (62. 5%) fell into the “quite a bit” range. The remainder of her responses (37.5%) fell into the “a great deal” range. Compared to the overall mean (7.1) of the norm group, Denise’s overall mean increased from 8.0 at pretest to 8.3 at posttest. Consequently, Denise’s overall sense of efficacy appears to have increased based on these data. This

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Pre-service Special Educators 85 interpretation is supported when examining the total raw scores wherein the total scores for her overall efficacy increased from 191 at pretest to 200 at posttest. Table 15 shows data for Denise’s overall sense of efficacy. Table 15 Denise TSES Overall Efficacy Pretest Posttest Very Little Some Degree Quite a Bit 75.0% 62.5% A Great Deal 25.0% 37.5% ________________________________________________________________ Efficacy in Student Engagement. At pretest, most (75%) of Denise’s responses fell into the “a great deal” range. Twenty-five percent (25%) of her responses fell into the “quite a bit” range. At posttest, most of Denise’s responses (62.5%) fell into the “quite a bit” range. The remainder of her responses (37.5%) fell into the “a great deal” range Compared to the subscale mean (7.3) of the norm group for efficacy in student engagement, Denise’s subscale mean decreased from 8.8 at pr etest to 8.3 at posttest. Therefore, Denise’s efficacy in student engagement appears to have decreased based on these data. This interpretation is supported when examining the subscale raw scores wherein the subscale scores for efficacy in student engagement decreased from 70 at pretest to 66 at posttest. Table 16 shows data for Denise’s efficacy in student engagement.

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Pre-service Special Educators 86 Table 16 Denise Efficacy in Student Engagement Pretest Posttest Very Little Some Degree Quite a Bit 25.0% 62.5% A Great Deal 75.0% 37.5% ________________________________________________________________ Efficacy in Instructional Practices. At pretest, all of Denise’s responses (100%) fell into the “quite a bit” range. At posttest, approximately two-thirds (62.5%) of Denise’s responses fell into the “quite a bit” range. The remaining one-third (37.5%) of Denise’s responses fell into the “a great deal” range. Compared to the subscale mean (7.3) of the norm group for efficacy in instructional practices, Denise’s subscale mean increased from 7.5 at pretest to 8.4 at posttest. Consequently, Denise’s efficacy in instructional practices appears to have increased based on these data. This interpretation is supported when examining the subscale raw scores wherein the subscale scores for efficacy in instructional practices increased from 60 at pretest to 67 at posttest. Table 17 shows data for Denise’s efficacy in instructional practices.

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Pre-service Special Educators 87 Table 17 Denise Efficacy in Instructional Practices Pretest Posttest Very Little Some Degree Quite a Bit 100.0% 62.5% A Great Deal 37.5% ________________________________________________________________ Efficacy in Classroom Management. Initially, all of Denise’s responses (100%) fell into the “quite a bit” range. At the end of her final internship, most of Denise’s responses (62.5%) fell into the “quite a bit” range. The remainder of Denise’s responses (37.5%) fell into the “a great deal” range. Compared to the subscale mean (6.7) of the norm group for efficacy in classroom management, Denise’s subscale mean increased from 7.6 at pretest to 8.4 at posttest. Therefore, Denise’s efficacy in classroom management appears to have increased based on these data. This interpretation is supported when examining the subscale raw scores wherein the subscale scores for efficacy in classroom management increased from 61 at pretest to 67 at posttest. Table 18 shows data for Denise’s efficacy in classroom management.

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Pre-service Special Educators 88 Table 18 Denise Efficacy in Classroom Management Pretest Posttest Very Little Some Degree Quite a Bit 100.0% 62.5% A Great Deal 37.5% ________________________________________________________________ Summary. Based on these data Denise’s sense of efficacy increased overall and in two of the three subscales. Her sense of efficacy in classroom management and instructional practices increased the most from pretest to posttest. Interestingly, Denise’s sense of efficacy in student engagement decreased slightly from pretest to posttest. Analysis of the subscales indicates that at pretest her sense of efficacy in student engagement was actually greater than her sense of efficacy in classroom management and instructional practices. However, at posttest her sense of efficacy in student engagement decreased and was the least of the three subscales, whereas her sense of efficacy in classroom management and instructional practices was greater. Emma Sense of Efficacy. During the pretest administration of the TSES, one-half (50%) of Emma’s responses fell primarily in the “quite a bit” range. One-third (33.3%) of her responses fell into the “some degree” range. The remainder of her responses (16.7%) fell into the “a great deal” range. At posttest, one-half (50%) of her responses fell into the “quite a bit” range, whereas the remaining

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Pre-service Special Educators 89 one-half (50%) fell into the “a great deal” range. In fact, compared to the overall mean (7.1) of the norm group for, Emma’s overall mean increased from 7.3 at pretest to 8.5 at posttest. Consequently, Emma’s overall sense of efficacy appears to have increased based on these data. This interpretation is supported when examining the total raw scores wherein the total scores for her overall efficacy increased from 175 at pretest to 204 at posttest. Table 19 shows data for Emma’s overall sense of efficacy. Table 19 Emma TSES Overall Efficacy Pretest Posttest Very Little Some Degree 33.3% Quite a Bit 50.0% 50.0% A Great Deal 16.7% 50.0% ________________________________________________________________ Efficacy in Student Engagement. At pretest, one-half (50%) of Emma’s responses fell into the “some degree” ra nge. Thirty-seven and one-half percent (37.5%) of her responses fell into the “quite a bit” range, whereas 12.5% of her responses fell into the “a great deal” rang e. At posttest, all of Emma’s responses (100%) fell into the “quite a bit” range. In fact, compared to the subscale mean (7.3) of the norm group for efficacy in student engagement, Emma’s subscale mean increased from 6.8 at pretest to 8.0 at posttest. Therefore, Emma’s efficacy in student engagement appears to have increased based on these data. This interpretation is supported when examining the subscale raw scores

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Pre-service Special Educators 90 wherein the subscale scores for efficacy in student engagement increased from 54 at pretest to 64 at posttest. Table 20 shows data for Emma’s efficacy in student engagement. Table 20 Emma Efficacy in Student Engagement Pretest Posttest Very Little Some Degree 50.0% Quite a Bit 37.5% 100.0% A Great Deal 12.5% ________________________________________________________________ Efficacy in Instructional Practices. At pretest, one-half (50%) of Emma’s responses fell into the “some degree” range. The remaining one-half (50%) of her responses fell into the “quite a bit” range. At posttest, one-half (50%) of Emma’s responses fell into the “quite a bit” range. The remainder of Emma’s responses (50%) fell into the “a great deal” range. In fact, compared to the subscale mean (7.3) of the norm group for efficacy in instructional practices, Emma’s subscale mean increased from 6.8 at pretest to 8.5 at posttest. Consequently, Emma’s efficacy in instructional practices appears to have increased based on these data. This interpretation is supported when examining the subscale raw scores wherein the subscale scores for efficacy in instructional practices decreased minimally from 54 at pretest to 68 at posttest. Table 21 shows data for Emma’s efficacy in instructional practices.

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Pre-service Special Educators 91 Table 21 Emma Efficacy in Instructional Practices Pretest Posttest Very Little Some Degree 50.0% Quite a Bit 50.0% 50.0% A Great Deal 50.0% ________________________________________________________________ Efficacy in Classroom Management. Initially, the majority of Emma’s responses (62.5%) fell into the “quite a bit” range, whereas 37.5% fell into the “a great deal” range. At the end of her final internship, all (100%) of Emma’s responses fell into the “a great deal” range. In fact, compared to the subscale mean (6.7) of the norm group for efficacy in classroom management, Emma’s subscale mean increased from 8.4 at pretest to 9.0 at posttest. Therefore, Emma’s efficacy in classroom management appears to have increased based on these data. This interpretation is supported when examining the subscale raw scores wherein the subscale scores for efficacy in classroom management increased slightly from 67 at pretest to 72 at posttest. Table 22 shows data for Emma’s efficacy in classroom management.

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Pre-service Special Educators 92 Table 22 Emma Efficacy in Classroom Management Pretest Posttest Very Little Some Degree Quite a Bit 62.5% A Great Deal 37.5% 100.0% ________________________________________________________________ Summary. Based on these data, Emma’s sense of efficacy increased overall and in each subscale area. Her sense of efficacy in instructional practices appears to have increased the most from pretest to posttest. Analysis of the subscales indicates that at pretest her sense of efficacy in student engagement and instructional practices was the least, whereas her sense of efficacy in classroom management was the greatest. At posttest her sense of efficacy in student engagement was the least of the three subscales, whereas her sense of efficacy in classroom management remained the greatest. Felicia Sense of Efficacy. During the pretest administration of the TSES, the majority (79.2%) of Felicia’s responses fell primarily in the “quite a bit” range. The remainder of her responses (20.8%) fell into the “a great deal” range. At posttest, one-half (50%) of her responses fell into the “quite a bit” range. The remaining one-half (50%) of her responses fell into the “a great deal” range. Compared to the overall mean (7.1) of the norm group for, Felicia’s overall mean increased from 7.9 at pretest to 8.5 at posttest. Consequently, Felicia’s overall

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Pre-service Special Educators 93 sense of efficacy appears to have increased based on these data. This interpretation is supported when examining the total raw scores wherein the total scores for her overall efficacy increased from 189 at pretest to 204 at posttest. Table 23 shows data for Felicia’s overall sense of efficacy. Table 23 Felicia TSES Overall Efficacy Pretest Posttest Very Little Some Degree Quite a Bit 79.2% 50.0% A Great Deal 20.8% 50.0% ________________________________________________________________ Efficacy in Student Engagement. At pretest, most of Felicia’s responses (87.5%) fell into the “quite a bit” range. Twelve and one-half percent (12.5%) of her responses fell into the “a great deal” range. At posttest, three-fourths (75%) of Felicia’s responses fell into the “quite a bit” range. The remaining one-fourth (25%) of her responses fell into the “a great deal” range. Compared to the subscale mean (7.3) of the norm group for efficacy in student engagement, Felicia’s subscale mean increased from 7.8 at pretest to 8.3 at posttest. Therefore, Felicia’s efficacy in student engagement appears to have increased based on these data. This interpretation is supported when examining the subscale raw scores wherein the subscale scores for efficacy in student engagement increased from 62 at pretest to 66 at posttest. Table 24 shows data for Felicia’s efficacy in student engagement.

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Pre-service Special Educators 94 Table 24 Felicia Efficacy in Student Engagement Pretest Posttest Very Little Some Degree Quite a Bit 87.5% 75.0% A Great Deal 12.5% 25.0% ________________________________________________________________ Efficacy in Instructional Practices. At pretest, three-fourths (75%) of Felicia’s responses fell into the “quite a bit” range. The remaining one-fourth (25%) of her responses fell into the “a great deal” range. At posttest, one-half (50%) of Felicia’s responses fell into the “quite a bit” range. The remaining onehalf (50%) of Felicia’s responses fell into the “a great deal” range. Compared to the subscale mean (7.3) of the norm group for efficacy in instructional practices, Felicia’s subscale mean increased from 7.9 at pretest to 8.5 at posttest. Consequently, Felicia’s efficacy in instructional practices appears to have increased based on these data. This interpretation is supported when examining the subscale raw scores wherein the subscale scores for efficacy in instructional practices increased from 63 at pretest to 68 at posttest. Table 25 shows data for Felicia’s efficacy in instructional practices.

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Pre-service Special Educators 95 Table 25 Felicia Efficacy in Instructional Practices Pretest Posttest Very Little Some Degree Quite a Bit 75.0% 50.0% A Great Deal 25.0% 50.0% ________________________________________________________________ Efficacy in Classroom Management. Initially, 75% of Felicia’s responses fell into the “quite a bit” range, whereas 25% of her responses fell into the “a great deal” range. At the end of her final internship, 75% of Felicia’s responses fell into the “a great deal” range, whereas 25% of her responses fell into the “quite a bit” range. Compared to the subscale mean (6.7) of the norm group for efficacy in classroom management, Felicia’s subscale mean increased from 8.0 at pretest to 8.8 at posttest. Therefore, Felicia’s efficacy in classroom management appears to have increased based on these data. This interpretation is supported when examining the subscale raw scores wherein the subscale scores for efficacy in classroom management increased slightly from 64 at pretest to 70 at posttest. Table 26 shows data for Felicia’s efficacy in classroom management.

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Pre-service Special Educators 96 Table 26 Felicia Efficacy in Classroom Management Pretest Posttest Very Little Some Degree Quite a Bit 75.0% 25.0% A Great Deal 25.0% 75.0% ________________________________________________________________ Summary. Based on these data, Felicia’s sense of efficacy increased overall and in each subscale area. Her sense of efficacy in classroom management appears to have increased the most from pretest to posttest. Analysis of the subscales indicates that at pretest her sense of efficacy in student engagement was the least, whereas her sense of efficacy in classroom management was the greatest. At posttest her sense of efficacy in student engagement continued to be the least of the three subscales, whereas her sense of efficacy in classroom management remained the greatest. Cross-Case Analysis Overall Sense of Efficacy (TSES) The total raw scores at pretest indicated that Denise (191) had the highest overall sense of efficacy followed by Felicia (189), Celeste (178), Emma (175), and Ashley (166). Bridgette (163) had the lowest overall sense of efficacy. The responses ranged from “very little” to “a great deal.” The majority of the participants’ responses fell into the “quite a bit” range. Celeste had the greatest

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Pre-service Special Educators 97 percentage of responses that fell into the “very little” range. Denise had the most responses that fell into the “a great deal” range. The total raw scores at posttest indicated that both Felicia (204) and Emma (204) had the highest overall sense of efficacy followed by Denise (200), Ashley (200), and Celeste (190). Bridgette (165) had the lowest overall sense of efficacy and had the least gain between pr etest and posttest responses, whereas Ashley had the greatest gain. The responses ranged from “some degree” to “a great deal.” The majority of the participants’ responses fell into the “quite a bit” range. Celeste, Denise, Emma, and Felicia all increased in their overall sense of efficacy but to a lesser degree compared to Ashley. Table 27 shows comparison data for each participant’s overall sense of efficacy. Table 27 TSES Overall Efficacy Very Little Pretest Very Little Posttest Some Degree Pretest Some Degree Posttest Quite A Bit Pretest Quite A Bit Posttest A Great Deal Pretest A Great Deal Posttest Ashley 4.2% 95.8%33.3% 66.7% Bridgette 45.9%20.8%45.8%75.0% 8.3% 4.2% Celeste 4.2% 12.5%12.5%62.5%58.4% 20.8% 29.2% Denise 75.0%63.0% 25.0% 37.5% Emma 33.3% 50.0%50.0% 16.7% 50.0% Felicia 79.1%50.0% 20.8% 50.0%________________________________________________________________ Efficacy in Student Engagement The subscale raw scores at pretest indicated that Denise (70) had the highest efficacy in student engagement followed by Felicia (62), Ashley (56),

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Pre-service Special Educators 98 Celeste (56), Emma (54), and Bridgette (53). The pretest responses ranged from “very little” to “a great deal.” At pretest Celeste had the greatest percentage of responses that fell into the “very little” range. Denise had the greatest percentage of responses that fell into the “a great deal” category. The subscale raw scores at posttest indicated that both Denise (66) and Felicia (66) had the highest efficacy in student engagement, however, Denise’s efficacy in student engagement decreased from pretest (70) to posttest (66). Bridgette (56) continued to have the lowest efficacy in student engagement, whereas Emma had the greatest gains for her efficacy in student engagement from pretest (54) to posttest (64). The posttest responses ranged from “some degree” to “a great deal.” Although the percentage of responses in the “a great deal” category decreased for Denise from pretest (75%) to posttest (37.5%), she continued to have the highest percentage of responses in the “a great deal” category at posttest. Results from both pretest and posttest indicated that efficacy in student engagement was rated as the lowest of all three subscales. Table 28 shows comparison data for each participant’s efficacy in student engagement.

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Pre-service Special Educators 99 Table 28 TSES Efficacy in Student Engagement Very Little Pretest Very Little Posttest Some Degree Pretest Some Degree Posttest Quite A Bit Pretest Quite A Bit Posttest A Great Deal Pretest A Great Deal Posttest Ashley 100.0%75.0% 25.0% Bridgette 62.5%25.0%25.0%62.5% 12.5% 12.5% Celeste 12.5% 25.0%12.5%37.5%62.5% 25.0% 25.0% Denise 25.0%62.5% 75.0% 37.5% Emma 50.0% 37.5%100.0% 12.5% Felicia 87.5%75.0% 12.5% 25.0%________________________________________________________________ The following are questions from the efficacy in student engagement subscale. Table 29 represents the subscale raw scores for each question. 1. How much can you do to get through to the most difficult students? 2. How much can you do to help your students think critically? 4. How much can you do to motivate students who show low interest in school work? 6. How much can you do to get students to believe they can do well in school work? 9. How much can you do to help you students value learning? 12. How much can you do to foster student creativity? 14. How much can you do to improve the understanding of a student who is failing?

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Pre-service Special Educators 100 22. How much can you assist families in helping their children do well in school? Question analysis Table 29 shows the subscale raw scores at pretest and posttest by all participants for each qu estion corresponding to “efficacy in student engagement.” At pretest, Question 22 (i.e., “How much can you assist families in helping their children do well in school?”) had the highest ratings, whereas Question 14 (i.e., “How much can you do to improve the understanding of a student who is failing?”) had the lowest ratings. At posttest, Question 6 (i.e., “How much can you do to get students to believe they can do well in school work?”) had the highest ratings, whereas Question 14 continued to have the lowest ratings. Question 4 (i.e., “How much can you do to motivate students who show low interest in school work?”), Qu estion 6 (i.e., “How much can you do to get students to believe they can do well in school work?”), and Question 12 (i.e., “How much can you do to foster student creativity?”) had the highest (5) increase in ratings from pretest to posttest. Ques tion 22 (i.e., “How much can you assist families in helping their children do well in school?”) had a decrease in ratings from pretest (48) to (45).

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Pre-service Special Educators 101 Table 29 Question Analysis of Efficacy in Student Engagement ________________________________________________________________ Summary. Overall, in the efficacy in student engagement, the participants appear to have gained the most confidence in their ability to motivate students who show low interest in school and work, get students to believe they can do well in school work, and to foster student creativity. Based on these data, the participants appear to have experienced a decrease in perceptions of their Pretest Raw Scores Posttest Raw Scores Question 1How much can you do to get through to the most difficult students? 45 45 Question 2How much can you do to help your students think critically? 42 46 Question 4How much can you do to motivate students who show low interest in school work? 44 49 Question 6How much can you do to get students to believe they can do well in school work? 47 52 Question 9How much can you do to help you students value learning? 43 47 Question 12How much can you do to foster student creativity? 43 48 Question 14How much can you do to improve the understanding of a student who is failing? 39 43 Question 22How much can you assist families in helping their children do well in school? 48 45

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Pre-service Special Educators 102 abilities to assist families in helping their children do well in school. There was no change from pretest to posttest with the participants’ perceptions of their abilities to get through to the most difficult student. Efficacy in Instructional Practices The subscale raw scores at pretest indicated that Felicia (63) had the highest efficacy in instructional practices followed by Celeste (60), Denise (60), Bridgette (55), Ashley (54), and Emma (54). The pretest responses ranged from “some degree” to “a great deal.” The findings indicated that prior to starting the final internship the participants rated their efficacy in instructional practices as the second highest of all three subscales The subscale raw scores at posttest indicated that Ashley (70) had the highest efficacy in instructional practices followed by Emma (68), Felicia (68), Denise (67), Celeste (64), and Bridgette (52). Ashley also had the greatest gains from pretest (54) to posttest (70), whereas Celeste had the least gains from pretest (60) to posttest (64). Interestin gly, Bridgette experienced a decrease in perceptions of her abilities from pretest (55) to posttest (52). Table 30 shows data comparisons for each participant for efficacy in instructional practices.

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Pre-service Special Educators 103 Table 30 TSES Efficacy in Instructi onal Practices Very Little Pretest Very Little Posttest Some Degree Pretest Some Degree Posttest Quite A Bit Pretest Quite A Bit Posttest A Great Deal Pretest A Great Deal Posttest Ashley 12.5% 87.5%12.5% 87.5% Bridgette 50.0%37.5%37.5%62.5% 12.5% Celeste 12.5%25.0%62.5%50.0% 25.0% 25.0% Denise 100.0%62.5% 37.5% Emma 50.0% 50.0%50.0% 50.0% Felicia 75.0%50.0% 25.0% 50.0%________________________________________________________________ The following are questions from the efficacy in instructional practices subscale. Table 31 represents the subscale raw scores for each question. 7. How well can you respond to difficult questions from students? 10. How much can you gauge student comprehension of what you have taught? 11. To what extent can you craft good questions for your students? 17. How much can you do to adjust your lessons to the proper level for individual students? 18. How much can you use a variety of assessment strategies? 20. To what extent can you provide an alternative explanation or example when students are confused?

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Pre-service Special Educators 104 23. How well can you implement alternative strategies in your classroom? 24. How well can you provide appropriate challenges for very capable students? Question analysis Table 31 shows the subscale raw scores of the responses at pretest and posttest by all the participants for each question corresponding to “efficacy in instructional practice.” At pretest, Question 23 (i.e., “How well can you implement alternative strategies in your classroom?”) had the highest ratings, whereas Question 11 (i.e., ”To what extent can you craft good questions for your students?”) had the lowest ratings. At posttest, Question 11 (i.e., “To what extent can you craft good questions for your students?”), Question 17 (i.e., “How much can you do to adjust your lessons to the proper level for individual students?”) and Question 18 (i.e., “How much can you use a variety of assessment strategies?”) had the highest ratings. Question 20 (i.e., “To what extent can you provide an alternative explanation or example when students are confused?”) and Question 23 (i.e., “How well can you implement alternative strategies in your classroom?”) had the lowest ratings. In fact, Question 23 decreased slightly from pretest (48) to (47). Question 11 (i.e., ”To what extent can you craft good questions for your students?”) had the greatest gains from pretest (39) to posttest (50), whereas, Question 24 (i.e., “How well can you provide appropriate challenges for very capable students?”) had the least gains from pretest (46) to (49) to posttest.

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Pre-service Special Educators 105 Table 31 Question Analysis of Efficacy in Instructional Practices Pretest Raw Scores Posttest Raw Scores Question 7How well can you respond to difficult questions from students? 40 48 Question 10How much can you gauge student comprehension of what you have taught? 43 48 Question 11To what extent can you craft good questions for your students? 39 50 Question 17How much can you do to adjust your lessons to the proper level for individual students? 44 50 Question 18How much can you use a variety of assessment strategies? 44 50 Question 20To what extent can you provide an alternative explanation or example when students are confused? 42 47 Question 23How well can you implement alternative strategies in your classroom? 48 47 Question 24How well can you provide appropriate challenges for very capable students? 46 49 Summary. Based on these data, the participants appear to have been the most confident in their abilities to craft good questions for their students. The participants’ perceptions of their abilities to respond to difficult questions from students, to gauge student comprehension of what they have taught, to adjust their lessons to the proper level for individual students, to use a variety of assessment strategies, to provide an alternative explanation or example when

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Pre-service Special Educators 106 students are confused, and to provide appropriate challenges for very capable students increased from pretest to posttest. However, the participants’ perceptions of their abilities to implement alternative strategies in their classrooms decreased from pretest to posttest. Efficacy in Classroom Management The subscale raw scores at pretest indicated that Emma (67) had the highest efficacy in classroom management followed by Felicia (64), Celeste (62), Denise (61), Ashley (56), and Bridgette (55). The pretest responses ranged from “some degree” to “a great deal.” The findings indicated that prior to starting the final internship the participants rated their efficacy in classroom management as the highest of all three subscales. The subscale raw scores at posttest indicated that Emma (72) continued to have the highest efficacy in classroom management followed by Ashley (70), Felicia (70), Denise (67), Celeste (65), and Bridgette (57). Ashley had the greatest gains from pretest (56) to posttest (70), whereas Bridgette had the lowest gains from pretest (55) to posttest (57). The posttest responses ranged from “quite a bit” to “a great deal.” Table 32 shows data comparisons for each participant for efficacy in classroom management.

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Pre-service Special Educators 107 Table 32 TSES Efficacy in Classroom M anagement Very Little Pretest Very Little Posttest Some Degree Pretest Some Degree Posttest Quite A Bit Pretest Quite A Bit Posttest A Great Deal Pretest A Great Deal Posttest Ashley 100.0%12.5% 87.5% Bridgette 25.0%75.0%100.0% Celeste 87.5%62.5% 12.5% 37.5% Denise 100.0%62.5% 37.5% Emma 62.5% 37.5% 100.0% Felicia 75.0%25.0% 25.0% 75.0%________________________________________________________________ The following are questions from the efficacy in classroom management subscale. Table 33 represents the subscale raw scores for each question. 3. How much can you do to control disruptive behavior in the classroom? 5. To what extent can you make your expectations clear about student behavior? 8. How well can you establish routines to keep activities running smoothly? 13. How much can you do to get children to follow classroom rules? 15. How much can you do to calm a student who is disruptive or noisy? 16. How well can you establish a classroom management system with each group of students?

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Pre-service Special Educators 108 19. How well can you keep a few problem students from ruining an entire lesson? 21. How well can you respond to defiant students? Question Analysis. Table 33 shows the subscale raw scores at pretest and posttest by all participants for each question corresponding to “efficacy in classroom management.” At pretest, Question 5 (i.e., ”To what extent can you make your expectations clear about stud ent behavior?”) had the highest ratings. Question 3 (i.e., “How much can you do to control disruptive behavior in the classroom?”), Question 15 (i.e., “How much can you do to calm a student who is disruptive or noisy?”), and Question 16 (i.e., “How well can you establish a classroom management system with each group of students?”) had the lowest ratings for efficacy in classroom management. At posttest, Question 5 (i.e.,”To what extent can you make your expec tations clear about student behavior?”) had the highest ratings. Questions 3, (i.e., “How much can you do to control disruptive behavior in the classroom?”) and Question 19 (i.e., “How well can you keep a few problem students from ruining an entire lesson?”) had the lowest ratings. Question 15, (i.e., “How much can you do to calm a student who is disruptive or noisy?”) had the highest gains from pretest (44) to posttest (51), whereas Question 19 (i.e., “How well can you keep a few problem students from ruining an entire lesson?”) had the least gains.

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Pre-service Special Educators 109 Table 33 Question Analysis of Efficacy in Classroom Management _________________________________________________________________ Summary. Based on these data, the participants appear to have been the most confident in their ability to make their expectations clear about student behavior. The participants’ perceptions of their abilities to control disruptive behavior in the classroom, establish routines to keep activities running smoothly, to get children to follow classroom rules, to calm a student who is disruptive or noisy, to keep a few problem students from ruining an entire lesson, to establish a Pretest Raw Scores Posttest Raw Scores Question 3How much can you do to control disruptive behavior in the classroom? 44 48 Question 5To what extent can you make your expectations clear about student behavior? 49 52 Question 8How well can you establish routines to keep activities running smoothly? 46 51 Question 13How much can you do to get children to follow classroom rules? 47 51 Question 15How much can you do to calm a student who is disruptive or noisy? 44 51 Question 16How well can you establish a classroom management system with each group of students? 44 50 Question 19How well can you keep a few problem students from ruining an entire lesson? 46 48 Question 21How well can you respond to defiant students? 45 50

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Pre-service Special Educators 110 classroom management system with each group of students, and to respond to defiant students increased from pretest to posttest. There were no decreases in this subscale. Special Education Competency Scale (SECS) The SECS was designed to determine whether special education professionals were being prepared adequately. The survey investigated the selfreported competencies of special educators on a set of 35 skills based on the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) standards (Wigle & Wilcox, 2003). The survey comprised four distinct groups of competencies. Group 1 competencies, developing budgets and procuring funding, dealt with new and emerging roles of special educators that are not typically part of pre-service preparation of special educators. Group 2 competencies contained competencies indicative of recent changes impacting special educators such as using technology, creating professional development programs, implementing a variety of administrative procedures and initiatives. Group 3 competencies represented a mixture of skills such as assessing students with disabilities and developing instructional programs appropriate to the needs of the students on the traditional end. The transitional skills included collaborating with administrators, teachers, and families and advocating for students. Group 4 competencies dealt with the traditional roles of understanding and interpreting data and information for students with disabilities, communicating with parents, developing collaborative educational programs, and demonstrating increases in standards of ethical

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Pre-service Special Educators 111 practice. In addition, Group 4 competencies also were indicative of the effectiveness of pre-service teacher education programs. The participant indicated her level of competency by checking one of the following three response options: skilled, adequate, or inadequate. A response of “skilled” meant that the participant felt she had mastered that skill and could apply it easily and accurately. A response of “adequate” meant that the participant could apply the specific skill but not as easily or accurately. And, finally, a response of “inadequate” meant that the participant had not developed that particular skill (Wigle & Wilcox, 2003). Within-Case Analysis Ashley Overall results. Ashley’s pretest (i.e., before starting the final internship) ratings on the SECS indicated that overall, she perceived her levels of competency to have been 17.4% “inadequate”, 79.7% “adequate”, and 2.9% “skilled.” At posttest (i.e., at the end of the final internship) ratings on the SECS indicated that overall, she perceived her levels of competency to have been 48.6% “adequate” and 51.4%” skilled.” In other words, it appears that Ashley perceived herself to have been more “skilled” at the end of the final internship than before starting the internship. This interpretation is supported when examining the raw scores wherein the total scores for overall competency levels increased from 63 at pretest to 88 at posttest. Table 34 shows data for Ashley’s overall competencies.

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Pre-service Special Educators 112 Table 34 Ashley SECS Overall Pretest Posttest Inadequate 17.4% Adequate 79.7% 48.6% Skilled 2.9% 51.4% ________________________________________________________________ Group 1 Competencies: New and Emerging Roles. Group 1 competencies consisted of two skills. Ashley’s pretest ratings indicated that, overall, she perceived her levels of competency in new and emerging roles to have been 50% “inadequate” and 50% “adequate.” At posttest, ratings indicated that overall, she perceived her levels of competency to have been 100% “adequate.” In other words, it appears that Ashley perceived herself to have been more “skilled” with developing budgets and procuring funding at the end of the final internship. This interpretation is supported when examining the subscale raw scores wherein the subscale scores for Group 1 competencies slightly increased from 3 at pretest to 4 at posttest. Table 35 shows data for Ashley’s competency levels in new and emerging roles.

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Pre-service Special Educators 113 Table 35 Ashley New and Emerging Roles Pretest Posttest Inadequate 50% Adequate 50% 100% Skilled ________________________________________________________________ Group 2 Competencies: Recent Changes in Technology, Program Development, Leadership Roles. Group 2 competencies consisted of 14 skills. Ashley’s pretest ratings indicated that she perceived her levels of competency in technology, program development, and leadership roles to have been 23.1% “inadequate” and 76.9% “adequate.” At posttest, ratings indicated that she perceived her levels of competency to have been 53.8% “adequate”, and 46.2% ”skilled.” In other words, As hley perceived herself to have been more “skilled” in creating professional development programs, using technology, developing new services and programs, and implementing a variety of administrative procedures. This interpretation is supported when examining the subscale raw scores wherein the subscale scores for Group 2 competencies increased from 24 at pretest to 32 at posttest. Table 36 shows data for Ashley’s competency levels in recent changes in technology, program development, and leadership roles.

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Pre-service Special Educators 114 Table 36 Ashley Recent Changes in Technology, Program Development, & Leadership Pretest Posttest Inadequate 23.1% Adequate 76.9% 53.8% Skilled 46.2% ________________________________________________________________ Group 3 Competencies: Assessment, Modifications, Instruction, Inclusive Practices. Group 3 competencies consisted of 12 skills. Ashley’s pretest ratings indicated that she perceived her levels of competency in assessment, modifications, instruction, and inclusive practices to have been 23.1% “inadequate” and 76.9% “adequate.” At posttest, ratings indicated that she perceived her levels of competency to have been 53.8% “adequate” and 46.2% ”skilled”. In other words, Ashley perceived herself to have been more “skilled” in developing discipline policies, and programs of assessment, creating inclusive settings, creating and advocating for families of individuals with disabilities, and developing effective consultative and collaborative techniques during the final internship. This interpretation is supported when examining the subscale raw scores wherein the subscale scores for Group 3 competencies increased from 22 at pretest to 32 at posttest. Table 37 shows data for Ashley’s competency levels in assessment, modifications, instruction, and inclusive practices.

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Pre-service Special Educators 115 Table 37 Ashley Assessment, Modifications, Instruction, Inclusive Practices Pretest Posttest Inadequate 23.1% Adequate 76.9% 53.8% Skilled 46.2% ________________________________________________________________ Group 4 Competencies: Traditional Roles and ResponsibilitiesInterpretation, Communication, Collaboration, and Ethics. Group 4 competencies consisted of seven skills. Ashley’s pretest ratings indicated that she perceived her levels of competency in traditional roles and responsibilities to have been 85.7% “adequate” and 14.3% “skill ed.” At posttest, ratings indicated that she perceived her levels of competency to have been 14.3% “adequate” and 85.7% ”skilled”. In other words, Ashley perceived herself to have been more “skilled” in understanding and interpreting data and information for students with disabilities, communicating with parents, developing collaborative educational programs, and demonstrating increases standards of ethical practice. This interpretation is supported when examining the subscale raw scores wherein the subscale scores for Group 4 competencies increased from 14 at pretest to 20 at posttest. Table 38 shows data for Ashley’s competency levels in traditional roles and responsibilities.

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Pre-service Special Educators 116 Table 38 Ashley Traditional Roles and Responsibilities Pretest Posttest Inadequate Adequate 85.7% 14.3% Skilled 14.3% 85.7% _________________________________________________________________ Summary Based on these data, Ashley perceived herself to have been more competent with the Group 4 (i.e., understanding and interpreting data and information, developing effective communications with parents and families, demonstrating high standards of ethical practice, and developing collaborative programs of education) skills than with the Group 1 (i.e., new and emerging roles), Group 2 (i.e., technology, program development, leadership roles ) and Group 3 (i.e., assessment, modifications, instruction, discipline, inclusive practices) skills. She perceived herself to have been the least competent with the Group 1 (i.e., new and emerging roles) skills, which is consistent with the results from the Wigle and Wilcox (2003) study. This was not surprising given that pre-service special educators were not trained to develop budgets and interagency agreements during their teacher preparation programs. Bridgette Overall results. Bridgette’s pretest ratings on the SECS indicated that, overall, she perceived her levels of competency to have been 5.7% “inadequate,” 51.4% “adequate,” and 42.9% “skilled.” Her posttest ratings on the SECS indicated that overall, she perceived her levels of competency to have been 8.6%

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Pre-service Special Educators 117 “inadequate,” 60% “adequate,” and 31.4% ”skilled.” In other words, Bridgette perceived herself to have been slightly less “skilled” at the end of the final internship than before starting the internship. This interpretation is supported when examining the raw scores wherein the total raw scores for overall competency levels decreased from 83 at pretest to 78 at posttest. Table 39 show’s Bridgette’s overall ability levels for each of the competencies. Table 39 Bridgette SECS Overall Pretest Posttest Inadequate 5.7% 8.6% Adequate 51.4% 60% Skilled 42.9% 31.4% ________________________________________________________________ Group 1 Competencies: New and Emerging Roles. Pretest levels indicated that Bridgette’s perceived competency levels in new and emerging roles was at 100% “inadequate.” At posttest, her perceptions remained the same, indicating that she did not perceive herself to have been more skilled in developing budgets and interagency agreements after the final internship. This interpretation is supported when examining the subscale raw scores wherein the subscale scores for Group 1 competencies remained at 2 for pretest and posttest. Table 40 shows data for Bridgette’s competency levels for new and emerging roles.

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Pre-service Special Educators 118 Table 40 Bridgette New and Emerging Roles Pretest Posttest Inadequate 100% 100% Adequate Skilled _________________________________________________________________ Group 2 Competencies: Recent Changes in Technology, Program Development, Leadership Roles. Bridgette’s pretest ratings indicated that she perceived her levels of competency recent changes in technology, program development, and leadership roles initially to have been 69.2% “adequate” and 30.8% “skilled.” At posttest, ratings indicated that she perceived her levels of competency to have been 7.7% “inadequate,” 76.9% “adequate,” and 15.4% ”skilled.” In other words, after the final internship, Bridgette perceived herself to have been less “skilled” in creating professional development programs, using technology, developing new services and programs, and implementing a variety of administrative procedures. This interpretation is supported when examining the subscale raw scores wherein the subscale scores for Group 2 competencies decreased from 30 at pretest to 27 at posttest. Table 41 shows data for Bridgette’s competency levels in recent changes in technology, program development, and leadership roles.

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Pre-service Special Educators 119 Table 41 Bridgette Recent Changes in Technology, Program Development, Leadership Pretest Posttest Inadequate 7.7% Adequate 69.2% 76.9% Skilled 30.8% 15.4% _________________________________________________________________ Group 3 Competencies: Assessment, Modifications, Instruction, Inclusive Practices. Bridgette’s pretest ratings indicated that she perceived her levels of competency assessment, modifications, instruction, and inclusive practices initially to have been 69.2% “adequate” and 30.8% “skilled.” At posttest, ratings indicated that she perceived her levels of competency to have been 84.6% “adequate” and 15.4% ”skilled.” In other words, Bridgette perceived herself to have been less “skilled” with developing discipline policies and programs of assessment, creating inclusive settings, creating and advocating for families of individuals with disabilities, and developing effective consultative and collaborative techniques during the final internship. This interpretation is supported when examining the subscale raw scores wherein the subscale scores for Group 3 competencies decreased from 30 at pretest to 28 at posttest. Table 42 shows data for Bridgette’s competency levels for assessment, modifications, instruction, and inclusive practices.

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Pre-service Special Educators 120 Table 42 Bridgette Assessment, Modifications, Instruction, Inclusive Practices Pretest Posttest Inadequate Adequate 69.2% 84.6% Skilled 30.8% 15.4% ________________________________________________________________ Group 4 Competencies: Traditional Roles and ResponsibilitiesInterpretation, Communication, Collaboration, and Ethics. Bridgette’s pretest ratings indicated that she perceived her levels of competency in traditional roles and responsibilities initially to have been 100% “skilled.” At posttest, ratings indicated that she perceived her levels of competency to have been 100% ”skilled.” In other words, Bridgette perceived herself to be equally “skilled” at pretest and posttest in understanding and interpreting data and information, developing effective communications with parents and families, demonstrating high standards of ethical practice, and developing collaborative programs of education. This interpretation is supported when examining the subscale raw scores wherein the subscale scores for Group 4 competencies remained the same from pretest (21) to posttest (21). Table 43 shows data for Bridgette’s competency levels for traditional roles and responsibilities.

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Pre-service Special Educators 121 Table 43 Bridgette Traditional Roles and Responsibilities Pretest Posttest Inadequate Adequate Skilled 100% 100% ________________________________________________________________ Summary. Based on these data, Bridgette perceived herself to have been more competent with the Group 4 (i.e., understanding and interpreting data and information, developing effective communications with parents and families, demonstrating high standards of ethical practice, and developing collaborative programs of education) skills than with the Group 1 (i.e., new and emerging roles), Group 2 (i.e., technology, program development, leadership roles), and Group 3 (i.e., assessment, modifications, instruction, discipline, inclusive practices) skills. She perceived herself to have been the least competent with the Group 1 (i.e., new and emerging roles) skills, which is consistent with the results from the Wigle and Wilcox (2003) study. As stated previously, this was not surprising given that pre-service special educators were not trained to develop budgets and interagency agreements during their teacher preparation programs. However, what was surprising was the fact that Bridgette’s perceived level of competency decreased from pretest to posttest with the Group 2 (i.e., technology, program development, leadership roles and Group 3 (i.e., assessment, modifications, instruction, discipline, inclusive practices) skills.

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Pre-service Special Educators 122 Celeste Overall results. Celeste’s pretest ratings on the SECS indicated that, overall, she perceived her levels of competency to have been 45.7% “inadequate,” 22.9% “adequate,” and 31.4% “skilled.” The posttest ratings on the SECS indicated that, overall, she perceived her levels of competency to have been 57.1% “inadequate,” 42.9% “adequate,” and 0% ”skilled.” In other words, Celeste perceived herself to have been less “skilled” at the end of the final internship than before starting the internship. This interpretation is supported when examining the raw scores wherein the total raw scores for overall competency levels decreased from 65 at pretest to 50 at posttest. Table 44 shows data for Celeste’s competency levels overall. Table 44 Celeste SECS Overall Pretest Posttest Inadequate 45.7% 57.1% Adequate 22.9% 42.9% Skilled 31.4% 0 __________________________________________________________________ Group 1 Competencies: New and Emerging Roles. Celeste’s pretest ratings indicated that she perceived her levels of competency in new and emerging roles to have been 100% “inadequate.” At posttest, her ratings indicated that she perceived her levels of competency to have been 100% “inadequate.” In other words, Celeste perceived herself to have been equally inadequately “skilled” in developing budgets and interagency agreements after

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Pre-service Special Educators 123 the final internship. This interpretation is supported when examining the subscale raw scores wherein the subscale scores for Group 1 competencies remained the same at pretest (2) and posttest (2). Table 45 shows data for Celeste’s competency levels for new and emerging roles. Table 45 Celeste New and Emerging Roles Pretest Posttest Inadequate 100% 100% Adequate Skilled ________________________________________________________________ Group 2 Competencies: Recent Changes in Technology, Program Development, Leadership Roles. Group 2 competencies consisted of 14 skills. Pretest ratings indicated that Celeste’s perceived competency level in recent changes in technology, program development, and leadership roles was at 30.8% “inadequate” and 69.2% “adequate.” At posttest, her perceived competency level increased to 53.8% “inadequate” and 46.2% “adequate,” which is indicative of a decrease in perceived ability to create professional development programs, using technology, developing new services and programs, and implementing a variety of administrative procedures. This interpretation is supported when examining the subscale raw scores wherein the subscale scores for Group 2 competencies decreased from 27 at pretest to 19 at posttest. Table 46 shows Celeste’s competency levels for recent changes in technology, program development, and leadership roles.

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Pre-service Special Educators 124 Table 46 Celeste Recent Changes in Technology, Program Development, Leadership Roles Pretest Posttest Inadequate 30.8% 53.8% Adequate 69.2% 46.2% Skilled _________________________________________________________________ Group 3 Competencies: Assessment, Modifications, Instruction, Inclusive Practices. Group 3 competencies consisted of 12 skills. Pretest perceived Levels of competencies in assessment, modifications, instruction, and inclusive practices were 69.2% “inadequate,” 23.1% “adequate,” and 7.7% “skilled.” At posttest, Celeste’s perceived competency level in assessment, modifications, instruction, and inclusive practices was 76.9% “inadequate,” 23.1% “adequate,” and 0% “skilled,” indicating that she perceived herself to have been slightly less competent with developing discipline policies, programs of assessment, creating inclusive settings, creating and advocating for families of individuals with disabilities, and developing effective consultative and collaborative techniques after the final internship. This interpretation is supported when examining the subscale raw scores wherein the subscale scores for Group 3 competencies decreased from 18 at pretest to 16 at posttest. Table 47 shows data of Celeste’s competency levels for assessment, modifications, instruction, and inclusive practices.

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Pre-service Special Educators 125 Table 47 Celeste Assessment, Modifications, Instruction, Inclusive Practices Pretest Posttest Inadequate 69.2% 76.9% Adequate 23.1% 23.1% Skilled 7.7% 0% _________________________________________________________________ Group 4 Competencies: Traditional Roles and Responsibilities Interpretation, Communication, Collaboration, and Ethics. Group 4 competencies consisted of seven skills. Before starting the final internship, percentages of competencies indicated that Celeste’s perceived ability level traditional roles and responsibilities was 14.3% “inadequate,” 14.3% “adequate,” and 71.4% “skilled.” Posttest ratings of competencies were 14.3% “inadequate,” 85.7% “adequate,” and 0% “skilled,” which is indicative of a decreased confidence in understanding and interpreting data and information, developing effective communications with parents and fam ilies, demonstrating high standards of ethical practice, and developing collaborative programs of education. This interpretation is supported when examining the subscale raw scores wherein the subscale scores for Group 4 competencies decreased from 18 at pretest to 13 at posttest. Table 48 shows data for Celeste’s competency levels for traditional roles and responsibilities.

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Pre-service Special Educators 126 Table 48 Celeste Traditional Roles and Responsibilities Pretest Posttest Inadequate 14.3% 14.3% Adequate 14.3% 85.7% Skilled 71.4% 0% _________________________________________________________________ Summary. Based on these data, Celeste did not perceive herself to have been “skilled” in any of the grouped skills. She perceived herself to have been more “adequate” with the Group 4 (i.e., understanding and interpreting data and information, developing effective communications with parents and families, demonstrating high standards of ethical practice, and developing collaborative programs of education) skills than with Group 1 (i.e., new and emerging roles), Group 2 (i.e., technology, program development, leadership roles, and Group 3 (i.e., assessment, modifications, instruction, discipline, inclusive practices) skills. Celeste perceived herself to have been the least competent with the Group 1 (i.e., new and emerging roles) skills, which is consistent with the results from the Wigle and Wilcox (2003) study. As stated previously, this was not surprising given that pre-service special educators were not trained to develop budgets and interagency agreements during their teacher preparation programs. However, what was surprising was the fact that Celeste did not perceive herself to have been “skilled” in any of the competencies after the final internship; rather, in general she perceived herself to have been less “skilled” overall.

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Pre-service Special Educators 127 Denise Overall results. Denise’s pretest ratings on the SECS indicated that overall, she perceived her levels of competency in each of the competencies initially to have been 14.3% “inadequate,” 82.9% “adequate,” and 2.9% “skilled.” Her posttest ratings on the SECS indicated that, overall, she perceived her levels of competency to have been 31.4% “inadequate,” 31.4% “adequate,” and 34.3% ”skilled.” In other words, Denise perceived herself to have been both more and less “skilled” at the end of the final internship than before starting the internship. This interpretation is supported when examining the raw scores wherein the total raw scores for overall competency levels increased from 65 at pretest to 69 at posttest. Table 49 shows data for Denise’s overall competency levels. Table 49 Denise SECS Overall Pretest Posttest Inadequate 14.3% 31.4% Adequate 82.9% 31.4% Skilled 2.9% 34.3% ________________________________________________________________ Group 1 Competencies: New and Emerging Roles. Group 1 competencies consisted of two skills. Pretest percentages indicated that Denise’s perceived competency levels in new and emerging roles were 100% “inadequate.” At posttest, her perceived levels of competence was 50% “inadequate” and 50% “adequate,“ indicating that she perceived herself to have been more skilled in developing budgets and interagency agreements after the final internship. This

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Pre-service Special Educators 128 interpretation is supported when examining the subscale raw scores wherein the subscale scores for Group 1 competencies increased from 2 at pretest to 3 at posttest. Table 50 shows Denise’s competency levels for new and emerging roles. Table 50 Denise New and Emerging Roles Pretest Posttest Inadequate 100% 50% Adequate 50% Skilled ________________________________________________________________ Group 2 Competencies: Recent Changes in Technology, Program Development, Leadership Roles. Group 2 competencies consisted of 14 skills. Pretest ratings indicated that Denise’s perceived competency levels in recent changes in technology, program development, and leadership roles were 23.1% “inadequate” and 76.9% “adequate.” At posttest, her perceived competency levels were 53.8% “inadequate,” 30.8% “adequate,” and 15.4% “skilled,” which is indicative of both an increase and a decrease in perceived ability to create professional development programs, using technology, developing new services and programs, and implementing a variety of administrative procedures. This interpretation is supported when examining the subscale raw scores wherein the subscale scores for Group 2 competencies decreased from 23 at pretest to 21 at posttest. Table 51 shows data for Denise’s

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Pre-service Special Educators 129 competency levels in recent changes in technology, program development, and leadership roles. Table 51 Denise Recent Changes in Technology, Program Development, and Leadership Roles Pretest Posttest Inadequate 23.1% 53.8% Adequate 76.9% 30.8% Skilled 0 15.4% ________________________________________________________________ Group 3 Competencies: Assessment, Modifications, Instruction, Inclusive Practices. Group 3 competencies consisted of 12 skills. Pretest perceived levels of competencies were at 100% “adequate.” At posttest, Denise’s perceived competency level were 23.1% “inadequate,” 46.2% “adequate,” and 23.1% “skilled,” indicating that she perceived herself to have been both less competent and more skilled in developing discipline policies and programs of assessment, creating inclusive settings, creating and advocating for families of individuals with disabilities, and developing effective consultative and collaborative techniques during the final internship. This interpretation is supported when examining the subscale raw scores wherein the subscale scores for Group 3 competencies decreased from 26 at pretest to 24 at posttest. Table 52 shows data for Denise’s competency levels for assessment, modifications, instruction, and inclusive practices.

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Pre-service Special Educators 130 Table 52 Denise Assessment, Modifications, Instruction, Inclusive Practices Pretest Posttest Inadequate 0 23.1% Adequate 100% 46.2% Skilled 0 23.1% _______________________________________________________________ Group 4 Competencies: Traditional Roles and ResponsibilitiesInterpretation, Communication, Collaboration, and Ethics. Group 4 competencies consisted of seven skills. Before starting the final internship, Denise’s perceived levels of competencies in traditional roles and responsibilities indicated that her perceived ability level was 85.7% “adequate” and 14.3% “skilled.” Posttest ratings of competencies was at 100% “skilled,” which is indicative of her ability to understand and interpret data and information, develop effective communications with parents and fam ilies, demonstrate high st andards of ethical practice, and develop collaborative programs of education. This interpretation is supported when examining the subscale raw scores wherein the subscale scores for Group 4 competencies increased from 14 at pretest to 21 at posttest. Table 53 shows data for Denise’s competency levels for traditional roles and responsibilities.

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Pre-service Special Educators 131 Table 53 Denise Traditional Roles and Responsibilities Pretest Posttest Inadequate 0 0 Adequate 85.7% 0 Skilled 14.3% 100% _______________________________________________________________ Summary. Based on these data, Denise perceived herself to have been more competent with the Group 4 (i.e., understanding and interpreting data and information, developing effective communications with parents and families, demonstrating high standards of ethical practice, and developing collaborative programs of education) skills than with the Group 1 (i.e., new and emerging roles), Group 2 (i.e., technology, program development, leadership roles), and Group 3 (i.e., assessment, modifications, instruction, discipline, inclusive practices) skills. After the final in ternship, her perceptions increased in “skillfulness” with each of the grouped skills. However, Denise perceived herself to have been the least competent with the Group 1 (i.e., new and emerging roles) skills, which is consistent with the results from the Wigle and Wilcox (2003) study. As stated previously, this was not surprising given that pre-service special educators were not trained to develop budgets and interagency agreements during their teacher preparation programs. Emma Overall results. Emma’s pretest ratings on the SECS indicated that, overall, she perceived her overall levels of competency to have been 5.7%

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Pre-service Special Educators 132 “inadequate,” 42.9% “adequate,” and 51.4% “skilled.” Her posttest ratings on the SECS indicated that, overall, she perceived her levels of competency to have been 14.3% “inadequate,” 37.1% “adequate,” and 48.6% ”skilled.” In other words, Emma perceived herself to have been both more and less “skilled” at the end of the final internship than before starting the internship. This interpretation is supported when examining the raw scores wherein the total raw scores for overall competency levels decreased from 87 at pretest to 82 at posttest. Table 54 shows data for Emma’s overall competency levels. Table 54 Emma SECS Overall Pretest Posttest Inadequate 5.7% 14.3% Adequate 42.9% 37.1% Skilled 51.4% 48.6% _______________________________________________________________ Group 1 Competencies: New and Emerging Roles. Group 1 competencies consisted of two skills. Pretest percentages indicated that Emma’s perceived competency levels were 50% “inadequate” and 50% “adequate.” At posttest, her perceptions decreased to 100% “inadequate,” indicating that she perceived herself to have been less skilled in developing budgets and interagency agreements after the final internship. This interpretation is supported when examining the subscale raw scores wherein the subscale scores for Group 1 competencies decreased from 3 at pretest to 2 at posttest. Table 55 shows data for Emma’s competency levels for new and emerging roles.

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Pre-service Special Educators 133 Table 55 Emma SECS New and Emerging Roles Pretest Posttest Inadequate 50% 100% Adequate 50% Skilled _______________________________________________________________ Group 2 Competencies: Recent Changes in Technology, Program Development, Leadership Roles. Group 2 competencies consisted of 14 skills. Pretest ratings indicated that Emma’s perceived competency levels in recent changes in technology, program development, and leadership roles were 7.7% “inadequate,” 46.2% “adequate,” and 46.2% “skilled.” At posttest, her perceived competency levels were 23.1% “inadequate,” 69.2% “adequate,” and 7.7% “skilled,” which is indicative of an overall decrease in perceived ability to create professional development programs, using technology, developing new services and programs, and implementing a variety of administrative procedures. This interpretation is supported when examining the subscale raw scores wherein the subscale scores for Group 2 competencies decreased from 31 at pretest to 24 at posttest. Table 56 shows data for Emma’s competency levels in recent changes.

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Pre-service Special Educators 134 Table 56 Emma Recent Changes in Technology, Program Development, Leadership Pretest Posttest Inadequate 7.7% 23.1% Adequate 46.2% 69.2% Skilled 46.2% 7.7% _______________________________________________________________ Group 3 Competencies: Assessment, Modifications, Instruction, Inclusive Practices. Group 3 competencies consisted of 12 skills. Pretest percentages of perceived competencies in assessment, modifications, instruction, and inclusive practices were 38.5% “adequate” and 61.5% “skilled.” At posttest, Emma’s perceived competency levels were 30.8% “adequate” and 69.2% “skilled,” indicating that she perceived herself to have been more skilled with developing discipline policies, programs of assessment, creating inclusive settings, creating and advocating for families of individuals with disabilities, and developing effective consultative and collaborative techniques after the final internship. This interpretation is supported when examining the subscale raw scores wherein the subscale scores for Group 3 competencies slightly increased from 34 at pretest to 35 at posttest. Table 57 shows data for Emma’s competency levels in assessment, modifications, instruction, and inclusive practices.

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Pre-service Special Educators 135 Table 57 Emma Assessment, Modifications, Instruction, Inclusive Practices Pretest Posttest Inadequate Adequate 38.5% 30.8% Skilled 61.5% 69.2% _______________________________________________________________ Group 4 Competencies: Traditional Roles and ResponsibilitiesInterpretation, Communication, Collaboration, and Ethics. Group 4 competencies consisted of seven skills. Before starting the final internship, Emma’s perceived levels of competencies in traditional roles and responsibilities were 42.9% “adequate” and 57.1% “skilled.” Posttest ratings of competencies was at 100% “skilled,” which is indicative of an increase in perceived ability to understand and interpret data and information, develop effective communications with parents and families, demonstrate high standards of ethical practice, and develop collaborative programs of education following the final internship. This interpretation is supported when examining the subscale raw scores wherein the subscale scores for Group 4 competencies increased from 19 at pretest to 21 at posttest. Table 58 shows data for Emma’s competency levels for traditional roles and responsibilities.

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Pre-service Special Educators 136 Table 58 Emma Traditional Roles and Responsibilities Pretest Posttest Inadequate Adequate 42.9% Skilled 57.1% 100% _______________________________________________________________ Summary. Based on these data, Emma perceived herself to have been more competent with the Group 4 (i.e., understanding and interpreting data and information, developing effective communications with parents and families, demonstrating high standards of ethical practice, and developing collaborative programs of education) skills than with the Group 1(i.e., new and emerging roles), Group 2 (i.e., technology, program development, leadership roles), and Group 3 (i.e., assessment, modifications, instruction, discipline, inclusive practices) skills. After the final in ternship, her perceptions increased in “skillfulness” with each of the grouped skills with the exception of the Group 2 (i.e., technology, program development, leadership roles) skills. Emma perceived herself to have been the least competent with the Group 1 (i.e., new and emerging roles) skills, which is consistent with the results from the Wigle and Wilcox (2003) study. As stated previously, this was not surprising given that preservice special educators were not trained to develop budgets and interagency agreements during their teacher preparation programs.

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Pre-service Special Educators 137 Felicia Overall results. Felicia’s pretest ratings on the SECS indicated that overall, she perceived her levels of competency to have been 8.6% “inadequate,” 57.1% “adequate,” and 34.3% “skilled.” At posttest ratings on the SECS indicated that overall, she perceived her levels of competency to have been 11.4% “inadequate,” 40% “adequate,” and 48.6% ”skilled.” In other words, Felicia perceived herself to have been both more and less “skilled” at the end of the final internship than before starting the internship. This interpretation is supported when examining the raw scores wherein the total raw scores for overall competency levels increased from 79 at pretest to 85 at posttest. Table 59 shows data for Felicia’s overall competency levels. Table 59 Felicia SECS Overall Pretest Posttest Inadequate 8.6% 11.4% Adequate 57.1% 40% Skilled 34.3% 48.6% ____________________________________________________________ Group 1 Competencies: New and Emerging Roles. Group 1 competencies consisted of two skills. Pretest percentages indicated that Felicia’s perceived competency levels were at 100% “inadequate.” At posttest, her perceptions remained the same. Felicia’s perceived competency level was at 100% “inadequate,” indicating that she did not perceive herself to have been more skilled in developing budgets and interagency agreements after the final

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Pre-service Special Educators 138 internship. This interpretation is supported when examining the subscale raw scores wherein the subscale scores for Group 1 competencies remained the same at pretest (2) and posttest (2). Table 60 shows data for Felicia’s competency levels for new and emerging roles. Table 60 Felicia New and Emerging Roles Pretest Posttest Inadequate 100% 100% Adequate Skilled _______________________________________________________________ Group 2 Competencies: Recent changes in Technology, Program Development, Leadership Roles. Group 2 competencies consisted of 14 skills. Pretest ratings indicated that Felicia’s perceived competency levels were 7% “inadequate,” 76.9% “adequate,” and 15.4% “skilled.” At posttest, her perceived competency levels were 7.7% “inadequate,” 46.2% “adequate,” and 46.2% “skilled,” which is indicative of an increase in perceived ability to create professional development programs, using technology, developing new services and programs, and implementing a variety of administrative procedures. This interpretation is supported when examining the subscale raw scores wherein the subscale scores for Group 2 competencies increased from 27 at pretest to 32 at posttest. Table 61 shows data for Felicia’s competency levels for recent changes in technology, program development, and leadership roles.

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Pre-service Special Educators 139 Table 61 Felicia Recent Changes in Technology, Program Development, Leadership Roles Pretest Posttest Inadequate 7.7% 7.7% Adequate 76.9% 46.2% Skilled 15.4% 46.2% _______________________________________________________________ Group 3 Competencies: Assessment, Modifications, Instruction, Inclusive Practices. Group 3 competencies consisted of 12 skills. Pretest perceived levels of competencies in assessment, modifications, instruction, and inclusive practices were 7.7% “inadequate,” 46.2% “adequate,” and 46.2% “skilled.” At posttest, Felicia’s perceived competency levels were 46.2% “adequate” and 53.8% “skilled,” indicating that she perceived herself to have been more skilled with developing discipline policies, programs of assessment, creating inclusive settings, creating and advocating for families of individuals with disabilities, and developing effective consultative and collaborative techniques after the final internship. This interpretation is supported when examining the subscale raw scores wherein the subscale scores for Group 3 competencies decreased from 33 at pretest to 31 at posttest. Table 62 shows data for Felicia’s competency levels for assessment, modifications, instruction, and inclusive practices.

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Pre-service Special Educators 140 Table 62 Felicia Assessment, Modifications, Instruction, Inclusive Practices Pretest Posttest Inadequate 7.7% 0 Adequate 46.2% 46.2% Skilled 46.2% 53.8% _______________________________________________________________ Group 4 Competencies: Traditional Roles and ResponsibilitiesInterpretation, Communication, Collaboration, and Ethics. Group 4 competencies consisted of seven skills. Before starting the final internship, percentages of competencies in traditional roles and responsibilities indicated that Felicia’s perceived ability levels were 57.1% “adequate” and 42.9% “skilled.” Posttest ratings of competencies were 28.6% “adequate” and 71.4% “skilled,” which is indicative of her ability to understand and interpret data and information, develop effective communications with parents and families, demonstrate high standards of ethical practice, and develop collaborative programs of education. This interpretation is supported when examining the subscale raw scores wherein the subscale scores for Group 4 competencies increased from 17 at pretest to 20 at posttest. Table 63 shows data for Felicia’s competency levels for traditional roles and responsibilities.

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Pre-service Special Educators 141 Table 63 Felicia Traditional Roles and Responsibilities Pretest Posttest Inadequate Adequate 57.1% 28.6% Skilled 42.9% 71.4% _______________________________________________________________ Summary. Based on these data, Felicia perceived herself to have been more competent with the Group 4 (i.e., understanding and interpreting data and information, developing effective communications with parents and families, demonstrating high standards of ethical practice, and developing collaborative programs of education) skills than with the Group 1 (i.e., new and emerging roles), Group 2 (i.e., technology, program development, leadership roles), and Group 3 (i.e., assessment, modifications, instruction, discipline, inclusive practices) skills. After the final in ternship, her perceptions increased in “skillfulness” with each of the grouped skills. However, Felicia perceived herself to have been the least competent with the Group 1 (i.e., new and emerging roles) skills, which is consistent with the results from the Wigle and Wilcox (2003) study. As stated previously, this was not surprising given that pre-service special educators were not trained to develop budgets and interagency agreements during their teacher preparation programs.

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Pre-service Special Educators 142 Cross-Case Analysis Overall Results The overall pretest levels of competencies indicated that before the internship started, Ashley perceived herself to have been the least skilled. Emma perceived herself to have been the most skilled. The overall posttest percentages of competencies indicated that following the final internship, Ashley perceived herself to have been the most skilled. Celeste perceived herself to have been the least skilled and was the only participant who did not mark any indicators in the “skilled” category at posttest on any of the items. Table 64 shows data for overall competency levels for each participant. Table 64 SECS Overall Results Inadequate Pretest Inadequate Posttest Adequate Pretest Adequate Posttest Skilled Pretest Skilled Posttest Ashley 17.1% 77.1%48.6%2.9% 51.4% Bridgette 5.7% 8.6%51.4%60.0%42.9% 31.4% Celeste 45.7% 57.1%22.9%42.9%31.4% Denise 14.3% 31.4%82.9%31.4%2.9% 34.3% Emma 5.7% 14.3%42.9%37.1%51.4% 48.6% Felicia 8.6% 11.4%57.1%40.0%34.3% 48.6%________________________________________________________________ Group 1 Competencies: New and Emerging Roles At pretest, this group of skills was perceived as the least “skilled” for all six participants. Bridgette, Celeste, Denise, and Felicia perceived themselves to

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Pre-service Special Educators 143 have been 100% “inadequate.” Ashley’s and Emma’s levels of self-perceptions suggested they regarded themselves as more skilled than did the other participants. After the final internship, the Group 1 (i.e., new and emerging roles) skills continued to have been perceived as the least “skilled” among all of the participants. The perceptions of Ashley and Denise could be considered as representing the most skilled participants. Bridgette, Celeste, Emma, and Felicia continued to perceive themselves as being 100% “inadequate” in developing budgets and interagency agreements. Table 65 shows data representing the competency levels of each participant for new and emerging roles. Table 65 SECS New and Emerging Roles Inadequate Pretest Inadequate Posttest Adequate Pretest Adequate Posttest Skilled Pretest Skilled Posttest Ashley 50% 50%100% Bridgette 100% 100% Celeste 100% 100% Denise 100% 50% 50% Emma 50% 100%50% Felicia 100% 100% __________________________________________________________________ The following are questions from the Group 1 competencies, new and emerging roles. Table 66 represents the subscale raw scores for each competency.

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Pre-service Special Educators 144 1. Develop district budgets and procure funding from federal, state, and local sources to ensure the efficient and effective allocation of resources. 2. Develop and implement interagency agreements that create system-linked programs with shared responsibility for students with exceptionalities. Question analysis. Table 66 shows the subscale raw scores at pretest and posttest for all participants for each question corresponding to new and emerging roles. The Group 1 competencies consisted of only two skilled areas. The participants rated their competency levels in this group as the lowest among all of the grouped competencies. Overall, there was a slight increase from pretest to posttest with the Group 1 competencies. This interpretation is supported when examining the subscale raw scores wherein the subscale scores for Group 1 competencies increased from 14 at pretest to 15 at posttest. The participants perceived themselves to be less skilled in Competency 1 (e.g., Develop district budgets and procure funding from federal, state, and local sources to ensure the efficient and effective allocation of resources) than in Competency 2. The participants’ perceptions of their abilities with Competency 2 (e.g., Develop and implement interagency agreements that create system-linked programs with shared responsibility for students with exceptionalities) did not change from pretest to posttest.

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Pre-service Special Educators 145 Table 66 Question Analysis New and Emerging Roles Pretest Raw Scores Posttest Raw Scores Competency 1Develop district budgets and procure funding from federal, state, and local sources to ensure the efficient and effective allocation of resources 6 7 Competency 2Develop and implement interagency agreements that create system-linked programs with shared responsibility for students with exceptionalities 8 8 ______________________________________________________________________ Group 2 Competencies: Technology, Program Development, Leadership Roles. At pretest, Celeste’s self-perceptions emerged as representing the least skilled participant. Emma perceived herself to have been the most skilled. The majority of the percentages of competencies were distributed as “adequate.” At posttest, Ashley’s self-perceptions were rated as being the least inadequate and the most skilled among the six participants. The perceptions of Bridgette, Celeste, Denise, and Emma could be considered as representing the least skilled participants at developing programs, using technology, and serving in leadership roles. Surprisingly, Bridgette, Celeste, and Emma experienced a decrease in perceived “skillfulness” from pretest to posttest. Overall, this group of skills was perceived as the second, least “skilled” group of competencies. Table 67 shows data representing competency levels for each participant in recent changes in technology, program development, and leadership roles.

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Pre-service Special Educators 146 Table 67 SECS Recent Changes in Technology, Program Development, Leadership Roles Inadequate Pretest Inadequate Posttest Adequate Pretest Adequate Posttest Skilled Pretest Skilled Posttest Ashley 23.1% 76.9%53.8% 46.2% Bridgette 7.7%69.2%76.9%30.8% 15.4% Celeste 30.8% 53.8%30.8%46.2%38.5% Denise 23.1% 53.8%76.9%30.8% 15.4% Emma 7.7% 23.1%46.2%69.2%46.2% 7.7% Felicia 7.7% 7.7%76.9%46.2%15.4% 46.2%__________________________________________________________________ The following are questions from the Group 2 competencies, recent changes in technology, program development, and leadership roles. Table 68 represents the subscale raw scores for each competency. 1. Develop parent/family education programs and other support groups. 2. Develop and implement professional development programs for individuals, school sites, and district personnel that include use of technology. 3. Use a variety of technologies to enhance efficient management of district resources and programs. 4. Develop and implement a technology plan that provides a wide array of technology for use in direct services.

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Pre-service Special Educators 147 5. Implement conflict resolution programs and support consensus building. 6. Develop and implement transition programs and strategies that promote seamless movement of individuals with exceptionalities across educational and other programs from school to post-school settings. 7. Interpret and communicate the evolving case law, federal, state, and local policies and practices to various constituencies. 8. Develop strategic plans that are integrated with general education plans and provide maximum opportunities for collaboration across programs and agencies. 9. Ensure that post-school outcomes for individuals with exceptionalities are addressed in the general system standards and curriculum. 10. Implement a variety of management and administrative procedures to ensure clear communication among administrators and between administrators and instructional staff, and related service personnel. 11. Develop and implement flexible service delivery programs based on effective practices that address the range of exceptional individuals and include prevention services. 12. Develop and communicate an inclusive vision for meeting the needs of individuals with exceptionalities to the various publics/constituencies within the school, community, and state.

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Pre-service Special Educators 148 13. Develop and implement strategies to support teachers and other in-service providers of individuals with exceptionalities through professional development programs and constructive evaluation procedures which are designed to improve instructional content and practices. Question analysis. Table 68 shows the subscale raw scores at pretest and posttest for all participants for each question corresponding to technology, program development, and leadership roles. The Group 2 competencies consisted of 13 skilled areas. The participants rated their competency levels in this group as the second lowest among all of the grouped competencies. Overall, there were marked increases in Competency 3 (i.e., Develop parent/family education programs and other support groups), Competency 5 (i.e., Use a variety of technologies to enhance efficient management of district resources and programs), Competency 10 (i.e., Develop strategic plans that are integrated with general education plans and provide maximum opportunities for collaboration across programs and agencies), Competency 13 (i.e., Develop and implement flexible service delivery programs based on effective practices that address the range of exceptional individuals and include prevention services), and Competency 14 (i.e., Develop and communicate an inclusive vision for meeting the needs of individuals with exceptionalities to the various publics/constituencies within the school, community, and state). There were marked decreases in Competency 4 (i.e., Develop and implement professional development programs for individuals, school sites, and district personnel that

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Pre-service Special Educators 149 include use of technology), Competency 6 (i.e., Develop and implement a technology plan that provides a wide a rray of technology for use in direct services), Competency 7 (i.e., Implement conflict resolution programs and support consensus building), Competency 8 (i.e., Develop and implement transition programs and strategies that promote seamless movement of individuals with exceptionalities across educational and other programs from school to post-school settings), Competency 9 (i.e., Interpret and communicate the evolving case law, federal, state, and local policies and practices to various constituencies), and Competency 15 (i.e., Develop and implement strategies to support teachers and other in-service providers of individuals with exceptionalities through professional development programs and constructive evaluation procedures which are designed to improve instructional content and practices). Finally, there was no change with Competency 11 (i.e., Ensure that post-school outcomes for individuals with exceptionalities are addressed in the general system standards and curriculum) and Competency 12 (i.e., Implement a variety of management and administrative procedures to ensure clear communication among administrators and between administrators and instructional staff, and related service personnel) from pretest to posttest. At pretest, there was not a particular competency that could be isolated as having the lowest ratings. In fact, Competency 3 (i.e., Develop parent/family education programs and other support groups), Competency 5 (i.e., Use a variety of technologies to enhance efficient management of district resources and programs), Competency 9 (i.e., Interpret and communicate the evolving

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Pre-service Special Educators 150 case law, federal, state, and local policies and practices to various constituencies), Competency 12 (i.e., Implement a variety of management and administrative procedures to ensure clear communication among administrators and between administrators and instructional staff, and related service personnel), and Competency 13 (i.e., Develop and implement flexible service delivery programs based on effective practices that address the range of exceptional individuals and include prevention services) had equally low ratings. Competency 11 (i.e., Ensure that post-school outcomes for individuals with exceptionalities are addressed in the general system standards and curriculum), Competency 14, and Competency 15 (i.e., Develop and implement strategies to support teachers and other in-service providers of individuals with exceptionalities through professional development programs and constructive evaluation procedures which are designed to improve instructional content and practices) equally had the highest ratings. At posttest, Competency 9 (i.e., Interpret and communicate the evolving case law, federal, state, and local policies and practices to various constituencies) secured the lowest skill ratings, followed by Competency 6 (i.e., Develop and implement a technology plan that provides a wide array of technology for use in direct services). Competency 14 (i.e., Develop and communicate an inclusive vision for meeting the needs of individuals with exceptionalities to the various publics/constituencies within the school, community, and state) was perceived as representing areas for which they had the most skill and had the greatest gains from pretest to posttest.

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Pre-service Special Educators 151 Table 68 Question Analysis Recent Changes in Technology, Program Development, and Leadership Roles Pretest Raw Scores Posttest Raw Scores Competency 3Develop parent/family education programs and other support groups 11 12 Competency 4Develop and implement professional development programs for individuals, school sites, and district personnel that include use of technology 12 11 Competency 5Use a variety of technologies to enhance efficient management of district resources and programs 11 12 Competency 6Develop and implement a technology plan that provides a wide array of technology for use in direct services. 13 10 Competency 7Implement conflict resolution programs and support consensus building. 13 10 Competency 8Develop and implement transition programs and strategies that promote seamless movement of individuals with exceptionalities across educational and other programs from school to post-school settings. 13 11 Competency 9Interpret and communicate the evolving case law, federal, state, and local policies and practices to various constituencies. 11 9 Competency 10Develop strategic plans that are integrated with general education plans and provide maximum opportunities for collaboration across programs and agencies. 13 14 Competency 11Ensure that post-school outcomes for individuals with exceptionalities are addressed in the general system standards and curriculum. 14 14 Competency 12Implement a variety of management and administrative procedures to ensure clear communication among administrators and between administrators and instructional staff, and related service personnel. 11 11 _________________________________________________________________________________

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Pre-service Special Educators 152 Table 68 (cont’d) Question Analysis SECS Recent Changes in Technology, Program Development, and Leadership Roles ____________________________________________________________________ Summary. Overall, in the Group 2 competencies, which encompass technology, program development, and leadership roles, the participants, appear to have gained the most confidence in their ability to develop and communicate an inclusive vision for meeting the needs of individuals with exceptionalities. Based on these data, the participants appear to have experienced a decrease in their perceptions of their ability in dev eloping and implementing professional development programs, using a variety of technology, developing and implementing a technology plan, implementing conflict resolution programs, developing and implementing transition programs and strategies, interpreting and communicating laws, and developing and implementing strategies to support teachers and other in-service providers to sup port individuals with exceptionalities. In other words, it appears that the participants’ perceived competency levels were Pretest Raw Scores Posttest Raw Scores Competency 13Develop and implement flexible service delivery programs based on effective practices that address the range of exceptional individuals and include prevention services. 11 12 Competency 14Develop and communicate an inclusive vision for meeting the needs of individuals with exceptionalities to the various publics/constituencies within the school, community, and state. 14 16 Competency 15Develop and implement strategies to support teachers and other in-service providers of individuals with exceptionalities through professional development programs and constructive evaluation procedures which are designed to improve instructional content and practices. 14 13

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Pre-service Special Educators 153 highest in leadership roles (i.e., Competencies 9, 10, 11, 12, and 14) than in program development (i.e., Competencies 3, 4, 7, 8, 13, and 15), and technology (i.e., Competencies 5 and 6) competencies, respectively. Group 3 Competencies: Assessment, Modifications, Communication and Advocacy, Inclusive Practices. Overwhelmingly, Celeste perceived herself to have been the least skilled at the start of the final internship. Emma perceived herself to have been the most “skilled.” Denise perceived herself to have been 100% adequate at pretest. At posttest, Ashley’s and Felicia’s levels of perceived self-competence were the lowest. However, Celeste and Denise experienced increased perceptions of inadequacy. Emma’s level of self-competence was the highest. Bridgette experienced a decrease in perceived “skillfulness” after the final internship. This group of skills was perceived as the second, most “skilled” group of competencies. Table 69 shows data representing competency levels for each participant in assessment, modification, instruction, and inclusive practices.

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Pre-service Special Educators 154 Table 69 SECS Assessment, Modifications, Instruction, Inclusive Practices Inadequate Pretest Inadequate Posttest Adequate Pretest Adequate Posttest Skilled Pretest Skilled Posttest Ashley 15.4% 76.9%53.8% 46.2% Bridgette 69.2%84.6%30.8% 15.4% Celeste 69.2% 76.9%23.1%23.1%7.7% Denise 23.1%100%46.2% 23.1% Emma 38.5%30.8%61.5% 69.2% Felicia 7.7% 46.2%46.2%46.2% 53.8%__________________________________________________________________ The following are questions from the Group 3 competencies, assessment, modifications, instruction, and inclusive practices. Table 70 represents the subscale raw scores for each competency. 14. Develop and implement a district discipline policy and procedures for individuals with exceptionalities including procedures for IEP development. 15. Plan, communicate and negotiate student and family needs and programs within the state, local district, including local schools and other public and private service agencies. 16. Develop and support communication and collaboration with educational and other agency administrators.

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Pre-service Special Educators 155 17. Support individual school sites in implementing a range of strategies that promote positive behavior, including crisis intervention and family support and involvement. 18. Develop and implement ongoing evaluations of district special education programs, and practices based on student learning. 19. Advocate for the inclusion of individuals with exceptionalities in the local and state accountability system. 20. Develop building level supports that sustain inclusive education settings. 21. Implement an assessment program for individuals with exceptionalities that is linked to the general system assessments, provides appropriate accommodations and/or valid alternative assessments and which will demonstrate learner progress toward educational goals. 22. Assist in development of district curriculum and instructional models that provide appropriate experiences for all students, including individuals with exceptionalities. 23. Serve as the advocate for individua ls with exceptionalities and their families at the district level. 24. Develop and implement programs that respond to individual and family characteristics, cultures, and needs within a continuum of services.

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Pre-service Special Educators 156 25. Implement effective consultation and collaboration techniques to use in management and instructional settings. 26. Support site-based decision making processes and ensure that decisions and management procedures provide appropriate services to individuals with exceptionalities. Question analysis. Table 70 shows the subscale raw scores of responses for all participants for each question corresponding to assessment, modifications, communication and advocacy, discipline, and inclusive practices. Group 3 competencies consisted of 13 skilled areas. The participants’ ratings of their competency levels in this group were the second highest among all of the grouped competencies. Overall, there were marked increases with Competency 20 (i.e., Develop and implement ongoing evaluations of district special education programs, and practices based on student learning), Competency 21 (i.e., Advocate for the inclusion of individuals with exceptionalities in the local and state accountability system), Competency 22 (i.e., Develop building level supports that sustain inclusive education settings), Competency 23 (i.e., Implement an assessment program for individuals with exceptionalities that is linked to the general system assessments, provides appropriate accommodations and/or valid alternative assessments and which will demonstrate learner progress toward educational goals), Competency 25 (i.e., Serve as the advocate for individuals with exceptionalities and their families at the district level), Competency 26 (i.e., Develop and implement programs that respond to individual and family characteristics, cultures, and needs within a

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Pre-service Special Educators 157 continuum of services), Competency 27 (i.e., Effective consultation and collaboration techniques and their application in management and instructional settings), and Competency 28 (i.e., Support site-based decision making processes and ensure that decisions and management procedures provide appropriate services to individuals with exceptionalities). There were notable decreases with Competency 16 (i.e., Develop and implement a district discipline policy and procedures for individuals with exceptionalities including procedures for IEP development), Competency 17 (i.e., Plan, communicate and negotiate student and family needs and programs within the state, local district, including local schools and other public and private service agencies), and Competency 18 (i.e., Develop and support communication and collaboration with educational and other agency administrators). Competency 19 (i.e., Support individual school sites in implementing a range of strategies that promote positive behavior, including crisis intervention and family support and involvement), Competency 23 (i.e., Implement an assessment program for individuals with exceptionalities that is linked to the general system assessments, provides appropriate accommodations and/or valid alternative assessments and which will demonstrate learner progress toward educational goals), and Competency 24 (i.e., Assist in development of district curriculum and instructional models that provide appropriate experiences for all students, including individuals with exceptionalities) remained the same during pretest and posttest. At pretest, Competency 20 (i.e., Develop and implement ongoing evaluations of district special education programs, and practices based on

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Pre-service Special Educators 158 student learning), Competency 23 (i.e., Implement an assessment program for individuals with exceptionalities that is linked to the general system assessments, provides appropriate accommodations and/or valid alternative assessments and which will demonstrate learner progress toward educational goals), and Competency 27 (i.e., Effective consultation and collaboration techniques and their application in management and instructional settings were rated as the least skilled. Competency 16 (i.e., Develop and implement a district discipline policy and procedures for individuals with exceptionalities including procedures for IEP development), Competency 18 (i.e., Develop and support communication and collaboration with educational and other agency administrators), Competency 21 (i.e., Advocate for the inclusion of individuals with exceptionalities in the local and state accountability system), and Competency 26 (i.e., Develop and implement programs that respond to individual and family characteristics, cultures, and needs within a continuum of services) were rated as the highest skilled. There was one missing score with competency 27 (i.e., Effective consultation and collaboration techniques and their application in management and instructional settings). At posttest, Competency 17 (i.e., Plan, communicate and negotiate student and family needs and programs within the state, local district, including local schools and other public and private service agencies) and Competency 22 (i.e., Develop building level supports that sustain inclusive education settings) were rated as the least skilled. Competency 21 (i.e., Advocate for the inclusion of individuals with exceptionalities in the local and state accountability system)

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Pre-service Special Educators 159 was rated as the highest skilled competency followed by Competency 25 (i.e., Serve as the advocate for individuals with exceptionalities and their families at the district level), Competency 26 (i.e., Develop and implement programs that respond to individual and family characteristics, cultures, and needs within a continuum of services), and Competency 28 (i.e., Support site-based decision making processes and ensure that decisions and management procedures provide appropriate services to individuals with exceptionalities). There was one missing score with Competency 22 (i.e., Develop building level supports that sustain inclusive education settings).

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Pre-service Special Educators 160 Table 70 Question Analysis SECS Assessment, Modification, Instruction, Inclusive Practices Pretest Raw Scores Posttest Raw Scores Competency 16Develop and implement a district discipline policy and procedures for individuals with exceptionalities including procedures for IEP development. 14 12 Competency 17Plan, communicate and negotiate student and family needs and programs within the state, local district, including local schools and other public and private service agencies. 12 11 Competency 18Develop and support communication and collaboration with educational and other agency administrators. 14 13 Competency 19Support individual school sites in implementing a range of strategies that promote positive behavior, including crisis intervention and family support and involvement. 13 13 Competency 20Develop and implement ongoing evaluations of district special education programs, and practices based on student learning. 11 12 Competency 21Advocate for the inclusion of individuals with exceptionalities in the local and state accountability system. 14 15 Competency 22Develop building level supports that sustain inclusive education settings. 12 11 Competency 23Implement an assessment program for individuals with exceptionalities that i s linked to the general system assessments, provides appropriate accommodations and/or valid alternative assessments and which w ill demonstrate learner progress toward educational goals. 11 12 Competency 24Assist in development of district curriculum and instructional models that provide appropriate experiences for all students, including individuals with exceptionalities. 12 12

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Pre-service Special Educators 161 Table 70 (cont’d) Question Analysis SECS Assessment, Modification, Instruction, Inclusive Practices Summary. Overall, with respect to the Group 3 competencies, which encompass assessment, modifications, communication and advocacy, discipline, and inclusive practices, the participants appear to have gained the most confidence in their abilities in serving as the advocate for individuals with exceptionalities and their families and providing effective consultation and collaboration techniques in management and instructional setting. Based on these data, it appears that the participants experienced a decrease in their abilities to develop and implement a district discipline policy and procedures for individuals with exceptionalities including procedures for IEP development; to plan, communicate, and negotiate student and family needs and programs; develop and support communication and collaboration with educational and other Pretest Raw Scores Posttest Raw Scores Competency 25Serve as the advocate for individuals with exceptionalities and their families at the district level. 12 14 Competency 26Develop and implement programs that respond to individual and family characteristics, cultures, and needs within a continuum of services. 14 14 Competency 27Effective consultation and collaboration techniques and their application in management and instructional settings. 11 13 Competency 28Support site-based decision making processes and ensure that decisions and management procedures provide appropriate services to individuals with exceptionalities. 13 14

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Pre-service Special Educators 162 agency administrators; and support individual school sites in implementing a range of strategies that promote positive behavior. It appears that the participants’ skilled levels of performance were greater in the assessment of students with disabilities (i.e., Competencies 20 and 23) than with the other competencies associated with modification of curriculum, instruction, and materials (i.e., Competencies 24 and 26), inclusive practices (i.e., Competencies 21, 22, and 25), communication and advocacy (i.e., Competencies 17, 18, 27, and 28), and discipline of students with disabilities (i.e., Competencies 16 and 19), respectively. G roup 4 Competencies: Traditional Roles and ResponsibilitiesInterpretation, Communication, Collaboration, and Ethics. At pretest, Celeste was the only participant who perceived herself to have been the least skilled. Ashley, Denise, Emma, and Felicia perceived themselves to have been “adequately” skilled. Bridgette perceived herself to have been the most skilled. At posttest, this group of skills was perceived as the most “skilled” among all the participants with the exception of Celeste. She perceived herself to have been the least “skilled.” Bridgette, Denise, and Emma perceived themselves to have been 100% “skilled.” Ashley and Feli cia experienced the highest increase in their perceived skillfulness overall. Table 71 shows data representing competency levels for each participant in traditional roles and responsibilities.

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Pre-service Special Educators 163 Table 71 SECS Traditional Roles and Responsibilities Inadequate Pretest Inadequate Posttest Adequate Pretest Adequate Posttest Skilled Pretest Skilled Posttest Ashley 85.7%14.3%14.3% 85.7% Bridgette 100.0% 100.0% Celeste 14.3% 14.3%14.3%85.7%71.4% Denise 85.7% 14.3% 100.0% Emma 42.9% 57.1% 100.0% Felicia 57.1%28.6%42.9% 71.4%_________________________________________________________________ The following are questions from the Group 4 competencies, traditional roles and responsibilities. Table 72 represents the subscale raw scores of responses for each competency. 27. Understand and interpret data/information about individual students and their families within a cultural context. 28. Develop and provide effective and ongoing communication with parents and families of individuals with exceptionalities. 29. Develop collaborative general and special programs and other innovative approaches to ensure that individuals with exceptionalities have access to and appropriately participate in the general education curricula and instructional programs. 30. Communicate and demonstrate a high standard of ethical practice.

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Pre-service Special Educators 164 31. Collaborate and engage in shared decision-making with building administrators to support appropriate programs for individuals with exceptionalities. 32. Respect and support students’ self-advocacy efforts. 33. Make decisions concerning individuals with exceptionalities based on communication, trust, mutual respect, and dignity. Question analysis Table 72 shows the subscale raw scores of responses for all participants for each question corresponding to interpretation, communication, collaboration, and ethical practices. Group 4 competencies consisted of seven skilled areas. The participants rated their competency levels in this group as the highest among all of the grouped competencies. Overall, there were marked increases with all the competencies except one. Competency 34 (i.e., Respect and support students’ self-advocacy efforts) maintained the number of total ratings from pretest to posttest. At pretest, Competency 33 (i.e., Collaborate and engage in shared decision-making with building administrators to support appropriate programs for individuals with exceptionalities) was rated as the lowest skilled competency, followed by Competency 31 (i.e., Develop collaborative general and special programs and other innovative approaches to ensure that individuals with exceptionalities have access to and appropriately participate in the general education curricula and instructional programs). Competency 34 (i.e., Respect and support students’ self-advocacy effo rts) was rated as the highest skilled followed by both Competency 32 (i.e., Communicate and demonstrate a high

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Pre-service Special Educators 165 standard of ethical practice) and Competency 35 (i.e., Make decisions concerning individuals with exceptionalities based on communication, trust, mutual respect, and dignity). At posttest, Competency 30 (i.e., Develop and provide effective and ongoing communication with parents and families of individuals with exceptionalities), Competency 32 (i.e., Communicate and demonstrate a high standard of ethical practice), Competency 34 (i.e., Respect and support students’ self-advocacy efforts), and Competency 35 (i.e., Make decisions concerning individuals with exceptionalities based on communication, trust, mutual respect, and dignity) had equally high ratings. Competency 31 (i.e., Develop collaborative general and special programs and other innovative approaches to ensure that individuals with exceptionalities have access to and appropriately participate in the general education curricula and instructional programs) and Competency 33 (i.e., Collaborate and engage in shared decision-making with building administrators to support appropriate programs for individuals with exceptionalities) had the greatest gains in ratings from pretest to posttest.

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Pre-service Special Educators 166 Table 72 Question Analysis: Traditional Roles and ResponsibilitiesInterpretation, Communication, Collaboration, and Ethics Pretest Raw Scores Posttest Raw Scores Competency 29Understand and interpret data/information about individual students and their families within a cultural context. 14 16 Competency 30Develop and provide effective and ongoing communication with parents and families of individuals with exceptionalities. 15 17 Competency 31Develop collaborative general and special programs and other innovative approaches to ensure that individuals with exceptionalities have access to and appropriately participate in the general education curricula and instructional programs. 13 16 Competency 32Communicate and demonstrate a high standard of ethical practice. 16 17 Competency 33Collaborate and engage in shared decision-making with building administrators to support appropriate programs for individuals with exceptionalities. 13 16 Competency 34Respect and support students’ self-advocacy efforts. 17 17 Competency 35Make decisions concerning individuals with exceptionalities based on communication, trust, mutual respect, and dignity. 16 17 ______________________________________________________________ Summary. Overall, in the Group 4 competencies which encompass interpretation, communication, collaboration, and ethics, the participants appear to have experienced an overall increase in their abilities in understanding and interpreting data/information, developing and providing effective and ongoing communication with parents and families of individuals with exceptionalities, developing collaborative general and special program, communicating and

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Pre-service Special Educators 167 demonstrating a high standard of ethical practice, collaborating and engaging in shared decision-making about programs for individuals with exceptionalities, making decisions concerning individuals with exceptionalities based on communication, trust, mutual respect, and dignity. In other words, it appears that the participants’ skilled level of performance were greater with ethical practices and communicating with parents (i.e., Competencies 30, 33, 34, and 35) than with developing collaborative educational programs (i.e., Competencies 31 and 33) and understanding and interpreting data and information about students with disabilities (i.e., Competency 29). Preparedness to Teach Reading Survey (PTRS) The PTRS was designed to explore how prepared the pre-service special educators perceived themselves to have be to teach reading to students with disabilities. The survey comprised four distinct reading standards identified by the International Reading Association (IRA, 2003). Standard 1, foundational knowledge, encompassed knowledge of the foundations of reading and writing processes and instruction. Standard 2, instructional strategies and curriculum materials, consisted of knowledge of the use of a wide range of instructional practices, approaches, methods, and curric ulum materials that support reading and writing instruction. Standard 3, assessment, diagnosis, and evaluation, included the use of a variety of assessment tools and practices to plan and evaluate effective reading instruction. Standard 4, creating a literate environment, consisted of the ability to create a literate environment that fosters reading and writing by integrating foundational knowledge; use of instructional

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Pre-service Special Educators 168 practices, approaches, and methods; curriculum materials; and the appropriate use of assessments. Within-Case Analysis Ashley Overall results. Overall, at pretest, Ashley rated herself as “well prepared” to teach reading for 92.3% of all the survey items. At posttest, Ashley perceived herself to have been even better prepared. She increased her overall level of preparedness to “very well prepared” for 92.3% of the items. This interpretation is supported when examining the total raw scores wherein the total scores for overall preparedness incr eased from 77 at pretest to 102 at posttest. Table 73 shows data for Ashley’s overall preparedness. Table 73 Ashley PTRS Overall Results Pretest Posttest Not Prepared Moderately Prepared 3.8% Well Prepared 92.3% 7.7% Very Well Prepared 3.8% 92.3% _____________________________________________ ______________ Standard 1: Foundational Knowledge. At pretest, Ashley rated herself as “well prepared” to teach reading for 100% of the Standard 1 survey items. After the final internship, Ashley’s perception of preparedness increased. Her perceived level of preparedness increased to “very well prepared” for 87.5% of the survey items. This interpretation is supported when examining the subscale

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Pre-service Special Educators 169 raw scores wherein the subscale scores for Standard 1 skills increased from 24 at pretest to 31 at posttest. Table 74 shows data for Ashley’s preparedness levels in foundational knowledge. Table 74 Ashley Foundational Knowledge Pretest Posttest Not Prepared Moderately Prepared Well Prepared 100% 12.5% Very Well Prepared 87.5% ____________________________________________________________ Standard 2: Instructional Strategies and Curriculum Materials. At pretest, Ashley rated herself as “well prepared” to teach reading for 90.9% of the Standard 2 survey items. At posttes t, Ashley’s perception of preparedness increased. Her perceived level of preparedness increased to “very well prepared” for 100% of the survey items. This interpretation is supported when examining the subscale raw scores wherein the subscale scores for Standard 2 skills increased from 33 at pretest to 44 at posttest. Table 75 shows data for Ashley’s preparedness levels in instructional strategies and curriculum materials.

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Pre-service Special Educators 170 Table 75 Ashley Instructional Strategies and Curriculum Materials ___________________________________________________________ Standard 3: Assessment, Diagnosis, and Evaluation. Prior to the final internship, Ashley rated herself as “well prepared” to teach reading for 100% of the Standard 3 survey items. After the final internship, Ashley’s perception of preparedness increased. Her perceived level of preparedness increased to “very well prepared” for 75% of the survey items. This interpretation is supported when examining the subscale raw scores wherein the subscale scores for Standard 3 skills increased from 12 at pretest to 15 at posttest. Table 76 shows data for Ashley’s preparedness levels in assessment, diagnosis, and evaluation. Table 76 Ashley PTRS Assessment, Diagnosis, and Evaluation ____________________________________________________________ Pretest Posttest Not Prepared Moderately Prepared 9.1% Well Prepared 90.9% Very Well Prepared 100% Pretest Posttest Not Prepared Moderately Prepared Well Prepared 100% 25% Very Well Prepared 75%

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Pre-service Special Educators 171 Standard 4: Creating a Literate Environment. Prior to the final internship, Ashley rated herself as “moderately prepared” to teach reading for 33.3% and “well prepared” for the other 66.7% of the Standard 4 survey items. At posttest, Ashley’s perception of preparedness increased. Her perceived level of preparedness increased to “very well prepared” for 100% of the survey items. This interpretation is supported when examining the subscale raw scores wherein the subscale scores for Standard 4 skills increased from 8 at pretest to 12 at posttest. Table 77 shows data for Ashley’s preparedness levels for creating a literate environment. Table 77 Ashley PTRS Creating a Literate Environment Pretest Posttest Not Prepared Moderately Prepared 33.3% Well Prepared 66.7% Very Well Prepared 100% ____________________________________________________________ In summary, Ashley perceived herself to have been “very well prepared” to teach reading for 92.3% of the survey items. Before starting the final internship, she rated herself to have been best prepared to teach reading with the Standard 4 skills. After the final internship, Ashley increased her level of preparedness in each of the four standards. However, she rated herself as least “very well prepared” with the Standard 3 skills.

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Pre-service Special Educators 172 Bridgette Overall results. Overall, at pretest, Bridgette rated herself as “well prepared” to teach reading for 100% of all the survey items. At posttest, Bridgette perceived herself to have been less prepared for 3.8% and more prepared for 3.8% of the survey items. Bridgette’s overall self-perceptions of preparedness remained constant from pretest to posttest. This interpretation is supported when examining the total raw scores wherein the total scores for overall preparedness remained at 76 from pretest and posttest. Table 78 shows data for Bridgette’s overall preparedness levels. Table 78 Bridgette PTRS Overall Pretest Posttest Not Prepared Moderately Prepared 3.8% Well Prepared 100% 92.3% Very Well Prepared 3.8% ____________________________________________________________ Standard 1: Foundational Knowledge. At pretest, Bridgette rated herself as “well prepared” to teach reading for 100% of the Standard 1 survey items. After the final internship, Bridgette’s perception of preparedness decreased slightly. Her perceived level of preparedness slightly decreased to “moderately prepared” for 12.5% of the survey items. This interpretation is supported when examining the subscale raw scores wherein the subscale scores for Standard 1

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Pre-service Special Educators 173 skills decreased from 24 at pretest to 23 at posttest. Table 79 shows data for Bridgette’s preparedness levels in foundational knowledge. Table 79 Bridgette Foundational Knowledge Pretest Posttest Not Prepared Moderately Prepared 12.5% Well Prepared 100% 87.5% Very Well Prepared _____________________________________________________________________ Standard 2: Instructional Strategies and Curriculum Materials. At pretest, Bridgette rated herself as “well prepared” to teach reading for 100% of the Standard 2 survey items. At posttest, Bridgette’s perception of preparedness slightly increased. Her perceived level of preparedness increased to “very well prepared” for 9.1% of the survey items. This interpretation is supported when examining the subscale raw scores wherein the subscale scores for Standard 2 skills slightly increased from 33 at pretest to 34 at posttest. Table 80 shows data for Bridgette’s preparedness level in instructional strategies and curriculum materials.

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Pre-service Special Educators 174 Table 80 Bridgette Instructional Strategies and Curriculum Materials ____________________________________________________________ Standard 3: Assessment, Diagnosis, and Evaluation. Prior to the final internship, Bridgette rated herself as “well prepared” to teach reading for 100% of the Standard 3 survey items. After the final internship, Bridgette’s perception of preparedness did not change. Her perceived level of preparedness remained at “well prepared” for 100% of the survey items. This interpretation is supported when examining the subscale raw scores wherein the subscale scores for Standard 4 skills remained at 12 from pretest to posttest. Table 81 shows data for Bridgette’s preparedness levels in assessment, diagnosis, and evaluation. Table 81 Bridgette Assessment, Diagnosis, and Evaluation Pretest Posttest Not Prepared Moderately Prepared Well Prepared 100% 100% Very Well Prepared ____________________________________________________________ Pretest Posttest Not Prepared Moderately Prepared Well Prepared 100% 90.9% Very Well Prepared 9.1%

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Pre-service Special Educators 175 Standard 4: Creating a Literate Environment. Prior to the final internship, Bridgette rated herself as “well prepared” to teach reading for 100% of the Standard 4 survey items. At posttest, Bridgette’s perception of preparedness did not change. Her perceived level of preparedness remained at “well prepared” for 100% of the survey items. This interpretation is supported when examining the subscale raw scores wherein the subscale scores for Standard 4 skills remained at 9 for pretest and posttest. Table 82 shows data for Bridgette’s preparedness level in creating a literate environment. Table 82 Bridgette PTRS Creating a Literate Environment Pretest Posttest Not Prepared Moderately Prepared Well Prepared 100% 100% Very Well Prepared ____________________________________________________________ In summary, Bridgette perceived herself to have been “very well prepared” to teach reading for 3.8% of the survey items. Before starting the final internship, she rated herself to have been “well prepared” for 100% of the survey items with all the standard skills. After the final internship, Bridgette increased her level of preparedness in all of the standards except for the Standard 1 skills. She experienced a decrease in the level of preparedness for Standard 1 skills at posttest.

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Pre-service Special Educators 176 Celeste Overall results. Overall, at pretest Celeste’s perceived level of preparedness ranged from “not prepared” for 3.8% of the items to “very well prepared” for 34.6% of all the survey items. She indicated that she was mostly “well prepared” for 46.2% of the survey items. At posttest, Celeste perceived herself to have been “moderately prepared” for 26.9%, “well prepared” for 53.8%, and “very well prepared” for 15.4% of all the survey items. Again she indicated that she was mostly “well prepared,” however, Celeste felt slightly less wellprepared at posttest. This interpretation is supported when examining the total raw scores wherein the total scores for overall preparedness decreased from 81 at pretest to 72 at posttest. Table 83 shows the data for Celeste’s overall preparedness levels. Table 83 Celeste PTRS Overall Results Pretest Posttest Not Prepared 3.8% 3.8% Moderately Prepared 15.4% 26.9% Well Prepared 46.2% 53.8% Very Well Prepared 34.6% 15.4% ____________________________________________________________ Standard 1: Foundational Knowledge. At pretest, Celeste rated herself as “well prepared” to teach reading for 75% of all the survey items. After the final internship, Celeste’s perception of preparedness decreased significantly. Her perceived level of preparedness decreased to “moderately prepared” for 25% of

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Pre-service Special Educators 177 the survey items. This interpretation is supported when examining the subscale raw scores wherein the subscale scores for Standard 1 skills decreased from 26 at pretest to 22 at posttest. Table 84 shows data for Celeste’s preparedness levels in foundational knowledge. Table 84 Celeste PTRS Foundational Knowledge Pretest Posttest Not Prepared Moderately Prepared 25% Well Prepared 75% 75% Very Well Prepared 25% ____________________________________________________________ Standard 2: Instructional Strategies and Curriculum Materials. At pretest, Celeste’s perceived level of preparedness ranged from “not prepared” for 9.1% to “very well prepared” for 27.3% of the Standard 2 survey items. Although Celeste’s perceived level of “not prepared” was not represented during the posttest, her perception of “very well prepared” decreased to 18.2%. At the end of the final internship, her perceived level of preparedness was mostly “well prepared.” This is representative minimal change from pretest to posttest. This interpretation is supported when examining the subscale raw scores wherein the subscale scores for Standard 2 skills decreased from 32 at pretest to 29 at posttest. Table 85 shows data for Celeste’s preparedness levels in instructional strategies and curriculum materials.

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Pre-service Special Educators 178 Table 85 Celeste PTRS Instructional Strategies and Curriculum Materials Pretest Posttest Not Prepared 9.1% Moderately Prepared 18.2% 27.3% Well Prepared 45.4% 54.5% Very Well Prepared 27.3 18.2% ___________________________________________________________ Standard 3: Assessment, Diagnosis, and Evaluation. Prior to the final internship, Celeste rated herself mostly as “very well prepared” to teach reading for 50% of the Standard 3 survey items. After the final internship, Bridgette’s perception of preparedness decreased. Her perceived level of preparedness decreased to “moderately prepared” for 25% and “well prepared” for 75% of the survey items. This interpretation is supported when examining the subscale raw scores wherein the subscale scores for Standard 3 skills decreased from 13 at pretest to 11 at posttest. Table 86 shows data for Celeste’s preparedness levels in assessment, diagnosis, and evaluation. Table 86 Celeste PTRS Assessment, Diagnosis, and Evaluation Pretest Posttest Not Prepared Moderately Prepared 25.0% 25.0% Well Prepared 25.0% 75.0% Very Well Prepared 50.0% ____________________________________________________________

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Pre-service Special Educators 179 Standard 4: Creating a Literate Environment. Prior to the final internship, Celeste rated herself as “moderately prepared” to teach reading for 33.3% and “very well prepared” for 66.7% of the Standard 4 survey items. At posttest, Celeste’s perception of preparedness decreased, substantially. Her perceived level of preparedness decreased to “m oderately prepared” for 33.3% and “very well prepared” for 66.7% of the survey items. This interpretation is supported when examining the subscale raw scores wherein the subscale scores for Standard 4 skills remained at 10 from pretest to posttest. Table 87 shows data for Celeste’s preparedness levels in creating a literate environment. Table 87 Celeste PTRS Creating a Literate Environment Pretest Posttest Not Prepared Moderately Prepared 33.3% 33.3% Well Prepared Very Well Prepared 66.7% 66.7% _____________________________________________________________ In summary, Celeste perceived herself to have been “very well prepared” to teach reading for 15.4% of the survey items. Before starting the final internship, Celeste’s level of preparedness was the greatest for the Standard 4 skills. After the final internship, Celeste decreased her perceived level of preparedness for all four Standards: 1, 2, 3, and 4.

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Pre-service Special Educators 180 Denise Overall results. Overall, at pretest, Denise rated herself as “well prepared” to teach reading for 92.3%% of all the survey items. At posttest (i.e., after the final internship), Denise perceived herself to have been more prepared. She increased her overall level of preparedness to “very well prepared” for 88.5% of the items. This interpretation is supported when examining the total raw scores wherein the total scores for overall preparedness increased from 76 at pretest to 101 at posttest. Table 88 shows data for Denise’s overall preparedness. Table 88 Denise PTRS Overall Results Pretest Posttest Not Prepared Moderately Prepared 7.7% Well Prepared 92.3% 11.5% Very Well Prepared 88.5% ____________________________________________________________ Standard 1: Foundational Knowledge. At pretest, Denise rated herself as “well prepared” to teach reading for 100% of the Standard 1 survey items. After the final internship, Denise’s perception of preparedness increased. Her perceived level of preparedness increased to “very well prepared” for 87.5% of the survey items. This interpretation is supported when examining the subscale raw scores wherein the subscale scores for Standard 1 skills increased from 24 at pretest to 31 at posttest. Table 89 shows data for Denise’s preparedness levels in foundational knowledge.

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Pre-service Special Educators 181 Table 89 Denise PTRS Foundational Knowledge Pretest Posttest Not Prepared Moderately Prepared Well Prepared 100.0% 12.5% Very Well Prepared 87.5% _____________________________________________________________ Standard 2: Instructional Strategies and Curriculum Materials. At pretest, Denise rated herself as “well prepared” to teach reading for 81.8% of the Standard 2 survey items. At posttest, Denise’s perception of preparedness increased. Her perceived level of preparedness increased to “very well prepared” for 90.9% of the survey items. This interpretation is supported when examining the subscale raw scores wherein the subscale scores for Standard 2 skills increased from 31 at pretest to 43 at posttest. Table 90 shows data for Denise’s preparedness in instructional strategies and curriculum materials. Table 90 Denise PTRS Instructional Strategies and Curriculum Materials Pretest Posttest Not Prepared Moderately Prepared 18.2% Well Prepared 81.8% 9.1% Very Well Prepared 90.9% ____________________________________________________________ Standard 3: Assessment, Diagnosis, and Evaluation. Prior to the final internship, Denise rated herself as “well prepared” to teach reading for 100% of

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Pre-service Special Educators 182 the Standard 3 survey items. After the final internship, Denise’s perception of preparedness increased. Her perceived level of preparedness increased to “very well prepared” for 75% of the survey items. This interpretation is supported when examining the subscale raw scores wherein the subscale scores for Standard 3 skills increased from 12 at pretest to 15 at posttest. Table 91 shows data for Denise’s preparedness levels in assessment, diagnosis, and evaluation. Table 91 Denise PTRS Assessment, Diagnosis, and Evaluation Pretest Posttest Not Prepared Moderately Prepared Well Prepared 100.0% 25.0% Very Well Prepared 75.0% ____________________________________________________________ Standard 4: Creating a Literate Environment. Prior to the final internship, Denise rated herself as “well prepared” to teach reading for 100% of the Standard 4 survey items. At posttest, Denise’s perception of preparedness increased. Her perceived level of preparedness increased to “very well prepared” for 100% of the survey items. This interpretation is supported when examining the subscale raw scores wherein the subscale scores for Standard 4 skills increased from 9 at pretest to 12 at posttest. Table 92 shows the data for Denise’s preparedness levels in creating a literate environment.

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Pre-service Special Educators 183 Table 92 Denise PTRS Creating a Literate Environment Pretest Posttest Not Prepared Moderately Prepared Well Prepared 100% Very Well Prepared 100% __________________________________________________ _________ In summary, Denise perceived herself to have been “very well prepared” to teach reading for 88.5% of the survey items. Before starting the final internship, she rated herself to have been “well prepared” for 100% of the survey items with Standards 1, 3, and 4. She rated herself as least prepared with Standard 2. After the final internship, Denise rated herself as “very well prepared” for 100% of the Standard 4 skills. She perceived herself to have been the least prepared with the Standard 3 skills at posttest. Emma Overall results. Overall, at pretest, Emma rated herself as mostly “well prepared” to teach reading for 61.5% of all the survey items. At posttest, Emma perceived herself to have been more prepared. She increased her overall level of preparedness to “very well prepared” for 61.5% of the items. This interpretation is supported when examining the total raw scores wherein the total scores for overall preparedness increased from 72 at pretest to 94 at posttest. Table 93 shows Emma’s overall preparedness levels.

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Pre-service Special Educators 184 Table 93 Emma PTRS Overall Results Pretest Posttest Not Prepared Moderately Prepared 30.8% Well Prepared 61.5% 38.5% Very Well Prepared 7.7% 61.5% ____________________________________________________________ Standard 1: Foundational Knowledge. At pretest, Emma rated herself as “well prepared” to teach reading for 62.5% of the Standard 1 survey items. After the final internship, Emma’s perception of preparedness increased. Her perceived level of preparedness increased to “very well prepared” for 62.5% of the survey items. This interpretation is supported when examining the subscale raw scores wherein the subscale scores for Standard 1 skills increased from 23 at pretest to 29 at posttest. Table 94 shows data for Emma’s preparedness levels in foundational knowledge. Table 94 Emma PTRS Foundational Knowledge Pretest Posttest Not Prepared Moderately Prepared 25.0% Well Prepared 62.5% 37.5% Very Well Prepared 12.5% 62.5% ____________________________________________________________

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Pre-service Special Educators 185 Standard 2: Instructional Strategies and Curriculum Materials. At pretest, Emma rated herself as “well prepared” to teach reading for 63.6% of the Standard 2 survey items. At posttes t, Emma’s perception of preparedness increased. Her perceived level of preparedness increased to “very well prepared” for 63.6% of the survey items. This interpretation is supported when examining the subscale raw scores wherein the subscale scores for Standard 2 skills increased from 29 at pretest to 40 at posttest. Table 95 shows Emma’s preparedness levels in instructional strategies and curriculum materials. Table 95 Emma PTRS Instructional Strategies and Curriculum Materials Pretest Posttest Not Prepared Moderately Prepared 27.3% Well Prepared 63.6% 36.4% Very Well Prepared 9.1% 63.6% ____________________________________________________________ Standard 3: Assessment, Diagnosis, and Evaluation. Prior to the final internship, Emma rated herself as “moderately prepared” for 50% and “well prepared” to teach reading for 50% of the Standard 3 survey items. After the final internship, Emma’s perception of preparedness increased. Her perceived level of preparedness increased to “very well prepared” for 25% of the survey items. This interpretation is supported when examining the subscale raw scores wherein the subscale scores for Standard 3 skills increased from 10 at pretest to

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Pre-service Special Educators 186 13 at posttest. Table 96 shows data for Emma’s preparedness levels in assessment, diagnosis, and evaluation. Table 96 Emma PTRS Assessment, Diagnosis, and Evaluation Pretest Posttest Not Prepared Moderately Prepared 50.0% Well Prepared 50.0% 75.0% Very Well Prepared 25.0% ____________________________________________________________ Standard 4: Creating a Literate Environment. Prior to the final internship, Emma rated herself as “well prepared” for 66.7% and “very well prepared” to teach reading for 33.3% of the Standard 4 survey items. At posttest, Emma’s perception of preparedness increased. Her perceived level of preparedness increased to “very well prepared” for 100% of the survey items. This interpretation is supported when examining the subscale raw scores wherein the subscale scores for Standard 4 skills increased from 10 at pretest to 12 at posttest. Table 97 shows data for Emma’s preparedness levels in creating a literate environment.

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Pre-service Special Educators 187 Table 97 Emma Creating a Literate Environment Pretest Posttest Not Prepared Moderately Prepared Well Prepared 66.7% Very Well Prepared 33.3% 100.0% ____________________________________________________________ In summary, Emma perceived herself to have been “very well prepared” to teach reading for 61.5% of the survey items. Before starting the final internship, she rated herself to have been least prepared for Standards 3 and 4. After the final internship, Emma increased her level of preparedness in all of the standards. Emma perceived herself to have been the best prepared with the Standard 4 skills. Felicia Overall results. Overall, at pretest (e.g., before starting the final internship), Felicia rated herself as “very well prepared” to teach reading for 76.9% of all the survey items. At posttest (e.g., after the final internship), Felicia perceived herself to have been less prepared. She decreased her overall level of preparedness to “very well prepared” for 65.4% of the items. This interpretation is supported when examining the total raw scores wherein the total scores for overall preparedness decreased from 98 at pretest to 95 at posttest. Table 98 shows data for Felicia’s overall preparedness levels.

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Pre-service Special Educators 188 Table 98 Felicia PTRS Overall Results Pretest Posttest Not Prepared Moderately Prepared Well Prepared 23.1% 34.6% Very Well Prepared 76.9% 65.4% ____________________________________________________________ Standard 1: Foundational Knowledge. At pretest, Felicia rated herself as “very well prepared” to teach reading for 87.5% of the Standard 1 survey items. After the final internship, Felicia’s perception of preparedness did not change. Her perceived level of preparedness remained at “very well prepared” for 87.5% of the survey items. This interpretation is supported when examining the subscale raw scores wherein the subscale scores for Standard 1 skills remained at 31 from pretest to posttest. Table 99 shows data for Felicia’s preparedness levels in foundational knowledge. Table 99 Felicia Foundational Knowledge Pretest Posttest Not Prepared Moderately Prepared Well Prepared 12.5% 12.5% Very Well Prepared 87.5% 87.5% ____________________________________________________________ Standard 2: Instructional Strategies and Curriculum Materials. At pretest, Felicia rated herself as “very well prepared” to teach reading for 63.6% of the

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Pre-service Special Educators 189 Standard 2 survey items. At posttest, Felicia’s perception of preparedness decreased. Her perceived level of preparedness decreased to “very well prepared” for 41.7% of the survey items. This interpretation is supported when examining the subscale raw scores wherein the subscale scores for Standard 2 skills slightly decreased from 40 at pretest to 39 at posttest. Table 100 shows data for Felicia’s preparedness levels in instructional strategies and curricular materials. Table 100 Felicia PTRS Instructional Strategies and Curriculum Materials Pretest Posttest Not Prepared Moderately Prepared Well Prepared 36.4% 58.3% Very Well Prepared 63.6% 41.7% ____________________________________________________________ Standard 3: Assessment, Diagnosis, and Evaluation. Prior to the final internship, Felicia rated herself as “very well prepared” to teach reading for 100% of the survey items. After the final internship, Felicia’s perception of preparedness decreased slightly. Her perceived level of preparedness decreased to “very well prepared” for 75% of the survey items. This interpretation is supported when examining the subscale raw scores wherein the subscale scores for Standard 3 skills decreased slightly from 16 at pretest to 15 at posttest. Table 101 shows data for Felicia’s preparedness levels in assessment, diagnosis, and evaluation.

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Pre-service Special Educators 190 Table 101 Felicia PTRS Assessment, Diagnosis, and Evaluation Pretest Posttest Not Prepared Moderately Prepared Well Prepared 25.0% Very Well Prepared 100.0% 75.0% ____________________________________________________________ Standard 4: Creating a Literate Environment. Prior to the final internship, Felicia rated herself as “well prepared” for 33.3% and “very well prepared” for 66.7% of the Standard 4 survey items. At posttest, Felicia’s perception of preparedness increased. Her perceived le vel of preparedness decreased to “very well prepared” for 33.3% of the survey items. This interpretation is unsupported when examining the subscale raw scores wherein the subscale scores for Standard 4 skills slightly decreased from 11 at pretest to 10 at posttest. Table 102 shows data for Felicia’s preparedness levels in creating a literate environment. Table 102 Felicia PTRS Creating a Literate Environment Pretest Posttest Not Prepared Moderately Prepared Well Prepared 33.3% 66.7% Very Well Prepared 66.7% 33.3% ____________________________________________________________

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Pre-service Special Educators 191 In summary, Felicia perceived herself to have been “very well prepared” to teach reading for 65.4% of all the survey items at posttest, which is a decrease from pretest. Before starting the final internship, she rated herself to have been the most prepared with Standard 3 skills. She was least prepared with the Standard 2 and Standard 4 skills. After the final internship, Felicia decreased her level of preparedness in all of the standards except for the Standard 1 skills where her self-perceptions of preparedness remained the same. She experienced a decrease in self-perceptions of preparedness in three of the four Standards: Standard 2, Standard 3, and Standard 4. Felicia perceived herself to be the most prepared with the Standard 1 skills overall. Cross-Case Analysis Overall Results At pretest, the total raw scores indicated that Felicia’s (98) self-perceptions of preparedness represented the highest level of perceived preparedness followed by Celeste (81), Bridgette (78), Ashley (77), Denise (76), and Emma’s (72). Celeste was the only participant who rated herself as “not prepared” on any of the survey items. The majority of the participants indicated that they were “well prepared” to teach reading. At posttest, the total raw scores indicated that Ashley’s (102) selfperceptions of preparedness were considered to be greater than the other participants: Denise (101), Felicia (95), Emma (94), Bridgette (78), and Celeste (72). Ashley’s self-perceptions of pr eparedness increased the most from pretest (77) to posttest (102), whereas Bridgette’s self-perceptions remained the same.

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Pre-service Special Educators 192 Celeste’s and Felicia’s self-perceptions of preparedness decreased from pretest to posttest. Table 103 shows the data for overall preparedness levels for each participant. Table 103 PTRS Overall Results Not Prepared Pretest Not Prepared Posttest Moderately Prepared Pretest Moderately Prepared Posttest Well Prepared Pretest Well Prepared Posttest Very Well Prepared Pretest Very Well Prepared Posttest Ashley 3.8% 92.3% 7.7% 3.8% 92.3% Bridgette 3.8% 100.0% 92.3% 3.8% Celeste 3.8% 15.4% 26.9% 46.2% 53.8% 34.6% 15.4% Denise 7.7% 92.3% 11.5% 88.5% Emma 30.8% 61.5% 38.5% 7.7% 61.5% Felicia 23.1% 34.6% 76.9% 65.4% _________________________________________________________________ Standard 1: Foundational Knowledge At pretest, Emma rated herself as the least prepared to understand the foundations of reading and writing processes and instruction. Ashley, Bridgette, and Denise perceived themselves to have been equally “well prepared” in the Standard 1 skills. Felicia perceived herself to have been the most prepared. At posttest, Celeste and Bridgette experienced decreases in their selfperceptions in understanding the foundations of reading and writing. Ashley, Denise, and Emma experienced the greatest increases in their levels of preparedness from pretest to posttest, whereas Felicia’s perceived level of preparedness remained constant. Bridgette is the only participant who did not

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Pre-service Special Educators 193 indicate that she was “very well prepared” on any of the survey items in the Standard 1 skills. This group of standards was perceived as the second least “very well prepared” skill among the four standards. Table 104 shows the preparedness levels for each participant in foundational knowledge. Table 104 PTRS Foundational Knowledge Not Prepared Pretest Not Prepared Posttest Moderately Prepared Pretest Moderately Prepared Posttest Well Prepared Pretest Well Prepared Posttest Very Well Prepared Pretest Very Well Prepared Posttest Ashley 100.0%12.5% 87.5% Bridgette 12.5%100.0%87.5% Celeste 25.0%75.0%75.0% 25.0% Denise 100.0%12.5% 87.5% Emma 25.0% 62.5%37.5% 12.5%62.5% Felicia 12.5%12.5% 87.5%87.5%__________________________________________________________________ The following items are from the Standard 1 skills. Table 105 represents the subscale raw scores for each skill. 1. Demonstrate understanding of foundations of literacy including writing development and reading acquisition. 2. Demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between oral language and literacy development. 3. Identify learning theories and models of the reading process that have shaped our teaching practice.

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Pre-service Special Educators 194 4. Identify factors that affect literacy acquisition and ways these factors impact children’s language and literacy development, including factors specific to ESOL students and students with special needs. 5. Demonstrate the use of instructional strategies that support language development and comprehension, including appropriate ESOL strategies. 6. Demonstrate the use of instructional strategies that support the acquisition of word recognition skills and of reading fluency including appropriate ESOL strategies. 9. Identify direct and indirect instructional materials for promoting vocabulary growth. 10. Describe the comprehension processes, and identify direct and indirect instructional materials and strategies that will enhance comprehension. Question analysis. Table 105 shows the subscale raw scores of responses for all participants for each question corresponding to foundational knowledge. The Standard 1 indicators consisted of eight skills. Overall, there were increases in perceptions of prepar edness to teach reading from pretest to posttest with all skills. At pretest, Skill 4 (i.e., Identify factors that affect literacy acquisition and ways these factors impact children’s language and literacy development, including factors specific to ESOL students and students with special needs) had

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Pre-service Special Educators 195 the highest ratings for preparedness to teach reading. The participants felt least prepared to teaching reading with Skill 3 (i.e., Identify learning theories and models of the reading process that have shaped our teaching practice). However, at posttest the participants felt best prepared with Skill 4 (i.e., Identify factors that affect literacy acquisition and ways these factors impact children’s language and literacy development, including factors specific to ESOL students and students with special needs) and Skill 9 (i.e., Identify direct and indirect instructional materials for promoting vocabulary growth). The participants felt least prepared with Skill 3 (i.e., Identify learning theories and models of the reading process that have shaped our teaching practice). The greatest gains from pretest to posttest were with Skill 9 (i.e., Identify direct and indirect instructional materials for promoting vocabulary growth).

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Pre-service Special Educators 196 Table 105 Question Analysis Foundational Knowledge Pretest Raw Scores Posttest Raw Scores Skill 1Demonstrate understanding of foundations of literacy including writing development and reading acquisition. 19 21 Skill 2Demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between oral language and literacy development. 19 21 Skill 3Identify learning theories and models of the reading process that have shaped our teaching practice. 18 19 Skill 4Identify factors that affect literacy acquisition and ways these factors impact children’s language and literacy development, including factors specific to ESOL students and students with special needs. 20 22 Skill 5Demonstrate the use of instructional strategies that support language development and comprehension, including appropriate ESOL strategies. 19 20 Skill 6Demonstrate the use of instructional strategies that support the acquisition of word recognition skills and of reading fluency including appropriate ESOL strategies. 19 21 Skill 9Identify direct and indirect instructional materials for promoting vocabulary growth. 19 22 Skill 10Describe the comprehension processes, and identify direct and indirect instructional materials and strategies that will enhance comprehension. 19 21 ________________________________________________________________ Summary. Based on these data, it appears that each of the participants’ self-perceptions increased in the underst anding of foundations of the reading and writing processes. The participants felt most prepared in identifying factors that affect literacy acquisition and ways these factors impact children’s language and

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Pre-service Special Educators 197 literacy development, including factors specific to ESOL students and students with special needs and in identifying direct and indirect instructional materials for promoting vocabulary growth. The participants’ self-perceptions indicated that they were least prepared in identifying learning theories and models of the reading process that have shaped our teac hing practice and in demonstrating the use of instructional strategies that support language development and comprehension, including appropriate ESOL strategies. Standard 2: Instructional Strategies and Curriculum Materials Standard 2 skills consisted of knowledge of the use of a wide range of instructional practices, approaches, methods, and curriculum materials that support reading and writing instruction. The subscale raw scores indicated that Emma’s self-perceptions of preparedness represented the lowest level of preparedness; however, Celeste was the only participant that indicated that she was not prepared for 9.1% of the Standard 2 skills. Initially, Felicia perceived herself to be the most prepared to use a variety of instructional strategies. Based on the subscale raw scores, Ashley’s (44) self-perceptions of preparedness represented the highest level of preparedness compared to Denise (43), Emma (40), Felicia (39), Bridgette (34) and Celeste (29). Celeste’s and Felicia’s self-perceptions of prepar edness decreased from pretest to posttest, whereas Denise had the greatest gains in perceived levels of preparedness. This group of standards was perceived as the second most “very well prepared” skill among the four standards. Table 106 shows data for the preparedness levels of each participant.

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Pre-service Special Educators 198 Table 106 PTRS Instructional Strategies and Curriculum Materials Not Prepared Pretest Not Prepared Posttest Moderately Prepared Pretest Moderately Prepared Posttest Well Prepared Pretest Well Prepared Posttest Very Well Prepared Pretest Very Well Prepared Posttest Ashley 9.1% 90.9% 100.0% Bridgette 100% 90.9% 9.1% Celeste 9.1% 18.2% 27.3% 45.4% 54.5% 27.3% 18.2% Denise 18.2% 81.8% 9.1% 90.9% Emma 27.3% 63.6% 36.4% 9.1% 63.6% Felicia 36.4% 54.5% 63.6% 45.5% _________________________________________________________________ The following items are from this PTRS subscale. Table107 represents the percentage of responses for each skill. 12. Plan instruction of literacy across the curriculum using basal readers, textbooks, authentic literature and technology. 14. Demonstrate ability in matching and adapting materials for students having various levels of proficiency in reading, including materials for ESOL students and students with special needs. 17. Identify guidelines for developing literacy with at-risk students that have varied ability levels and culturally diverse backgrounds. 18. Describe instructional strategies and identify materials for facilitating the development of fluency and graphophonic cue system use with remedial readers. 20. Explain strategies for developing students’ ability to read for

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Pre-service Special Educators 199 information in content text having varied expository structures. 21. Determine appropriate reading levels of instructional materials, including the leveling of trade books. 22. Demonstrate ability in matching and adapting materials for students having various levels of proficiency in reading, including materials for ESOL learners. 23. Plan for a variety of instructional formats including grouping for guided reading lessons. 24. Select, design, and evaluate instructional methods and materials relevant to the teaching of writing to students with diverse backgrounds, languages, and needs. 25. Apply instructional strategies for integrating writing across the curriculum. 26. Select appropriate and authentic methods for evaluating children’s development in writing. Question analysis. Table 107 shows the subscale raw scores of responses for all participants for each question corresponding to instructional strategies and curriculum materials. The Standard 2 indicators consisted of eleven skills. Overall, all the participants had increases in their self-perceptions of preparedness from pretest to posttest in eac h skill. However, Standard 22 (i.e., Demonstrate ability in matching and adapting materials for students having various levels of proficiency in reading, including materials for ESOL learners)

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Pre-service Special Educators 200 and Standard 23 (i.e., Plan for a variety of instructional formats including grouping for guided reading lessons) remained the same from pretest to posttest. At pretest, Skill 22 (i.e., Demonstrate ability in matching and adapting materials for students having various levels of proficiency in reading, including materials for ESOL learners) had the highest ratings for preparedness to teach reading. Skill 14, (i.e., Demonstrate ability in matching and adapting materials for students having various levels of proficiency in reading, including materials for ESOL learners), Skill 21 (i.e., Determine appropriate reading levels of instructional materials, including the leveling of trade books), Skill 23 (i.e., Plan for a variety of instructional formats including grouping for guided reading lessons), and Skill 24 (i.e., Select, design, and evaluate instructional methods and materials relevant to the teaching of writing to students with diverse backgrounds, languages, and needs) had equally high ratings. On the other hand, the participants felt least prepared to teaching reading with Skill 18 (i.e., Describe instructional strategies and identify materials for facilitating the development of fluency and graphophonic cue system use with remedial readers). At posttest, the participants felt better prepared with Skill 14 (i.e., Demonstrate ability in matching and adapting materials for students having various levels of proficiency in reading, including materials for ESOL learners), Skill 21 (i.e., Determine appropriate reading levels of instructional materials, including the leveling of trade books), Skill 24 (i.e., Select, design, and evaluate instructional methods and materials relevant to the teaching of writing to students

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Pre-service Special Educators 201 with diverse backgrounds, languages, and needs) and Skill 25 (i.e., Apply instructional strategies for integrating writing across the curriculum). The participants felt least prepared with Skill 23 (i.e., Plan for a variety of instructional formats including grouping for guided reading lessons). The greatest gain overall from pretest to posttest was with skill 18 (i.e., Describe instructional strategies and identify materials for facilitating the development of fluency and graphophonic cue system use with remedial readers).

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Pre-service Special Educators 202 Table 107 Question Analysis Instructional Strategies and Curriculum Materials Pretest Raw Scores Posttest Raw Scores Skill 12Plan instruction of literacy across the curriculum using basal readers, textbooks, authentic literature and technology 17 22 Skill 14Demonstrate ability in matching and adapting materials for students having various levels of proficiency in reading, including materials for ESOL students and students with special needs 19 21 Skill 17Identify guidelines for developing literacy with at-risk students that have varied ability levels and culturally diverse backgrounds 18 22 Skill 18Describe instructional strategies and identify materials for facilitating the development of fluency and graphophonic cue system use with remedial readers 15 21 Skill 20Explain strategies for developing students’ ability to read for information in content text having varied expository structures. 17 21 Skill 21Determine appropriate reading levels of instructional materials, including the leveling of trade books 19 21 Skill 22Demonstrate ability in matching and adapting materials for students having various levels of proficiency in reading, including materials for ESOL learners 20 20 Skill 23Plan for a variety of instructional formats including grouping for guided reading lessons 19 19 Skill 24Select, design, and evaluate instructional methods and materials relevant to the teaching of writing to students with diverse backgrounds, languages, and needs 19 22 Skill 25Apply instructional strategies for integrating writing across the curriculum 18 22 Skill 26Select appropriate and authentic methods for evaluating children’s development in writing 17 20

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Pre-service Special Educators 203 Summary. Based on these data, it appears that the participants’ perceptions increased from pretest to posttest in all skilled areas. Specifically, the participants’ self-perceptions represent ed increases in their abilities to plan instruction of literacy across the curriculum using basal readers, textbooks, authentic literature, and technology; match and adapt materials for students having various levels of proficiency in reading, including materials for ESOL students and students with special needs; to identify guidelines for developing literacy with at-risk students who have varied ability levels and culturally diverse backgrounds; to describe instructional strategies and identify materials for facilitating the development of fluency and graphophonic cue system use with remedial readers; to determine appropriate reading levels of instructional materials, including the leveling of trade books; to demonstrate ability in matching and adapting materials for students having various levels of proficiency in reading, including materials for ESOL learners; to plan for a variety of instructional formats including grouping for guided reading lessons; to select, design, and evaluate instructional methods and materials relevant to the teaching of writing to students with diverse backgrounds, languages, and needs; to apply instructional strategies for integrating writing across the curriculum; to select appropriate and authentic methods for evaluating children’s development in writing; and to explain strategies for developing students’ ability to read for information in content text having varied expository structures.

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Pre-service Special Educators 204 Standard 3: Assessment, Diagnosis, and Evaluation Standard 3 skills included the use of a variety of assessment tools and practices to plan and evaluate effective reading instruction. Overall, this group of standards was perceived as the least “v ery well prepared” among the four standards. Based on the subscale raw scores, Emma’s self-perceptions of preparedness represented the lowest levels of preparedness to teach reading, whereas Felicia’s self-perceptions represented the highest levels of preparedness. At posttest, the subscale raw scores indicated that Ashley (15) and Denise (15) rated themselves to have been the most prepared. Bridgette is the only participant who did not indicate that she was “very well prepared” for any of the Standard 3 skills. Celeste and Felicia experienced a decrease in level of preparedness from pretest to posttest. Table 108 shows data for levels of preparedness for each participant. Table 108 PTRS Assessment, Diagnosis, and Evaluation Not Prepared Pretest Not Prepared Posttest Moderately Prepared Pretest Moderately Prepared Posttest Well Prepared Pretest Well Prepared Posttest Very Well Prepared Pretest Very Well Prepared Posttest Ashley 100.0%25.0% 75.0% Bridgette 100.0%100.0% Celeste 25.0% 25.0%25.0%75.0% 50.0% Denise 100.0%25.0% 75.0% Emma 50.0% 50.0%75.0% 25.0% Felicia 25.0% 100.0%75.0%

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Pre-service Special Educators 205 The following items are from this PTRS subscale. Table 109 represents the percentage of responses for each skill. 13. Describe the relationship between instruction and assessment and identify ways to assess the literacy development of emergent, novice, transitional, and expert readers and writers in the classroom, including use of alternative assessments. 15. Demonstrate understandings of the si milarities and differences in the literacy processes of beginning, skilled, and remedial readers. 16. Give explanations of the proposed causes of reading disabilities and how each impacts decision-making processes about instruction. 19. Describe the role of different assessment methods for determining student performance in literacy, including contrasting error analysis. Question analysis. Table 109 shows the subscale raw scores of responses for all participants for each q uestion corresponding to the use of a variety of assessment tools and practices to plan and evaluate effective reading instruction. The Standard 3 indicators consisted of four skills. Overall, there were marked increases in perceptions of preparedness to teach reading with Skill 13 (i.e., Describe the relationship between instruction and assessment and identify ways to assess the literacy development of emergent, novice, transitional, and expert readers and writers in the classroom, including use of alternative assessments), Skill 15 (i.e., Demonstrate understandings of the similarities and differences in the literacy processes of beginning, skilled, and remedial readers), and Skill 16 (i.e., Give explanations of the proposed causes of

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Pre-service Special Educators 206 reading disabilities and how each impac ts decision-making processes about instruction). Skill 19 (i.e., Describe the role of different assessment methods for determining student performance in literacy, including contrasting error analysis) exhibited a decreased in the participants’ overall perceived preparedness to teach reading. At pretest, Skill 19 (i.e., Describe the role of different assessment methods for determining student performance in literacy, including contrasting error analysis) had the highest ratings for preparedness to teach reading. The skills to receive the next highest ratings for preparedness to teach reading were Skill 13 (i.e., Describe the relationship between instruction and assessment and identify ways to assess the literacy development of emergent, novice, transitional, and expert readers and writers in the classroom, including use of alternative assessments) and Skill 15 (i.e., Demonstrate understandings of the similarities and differences in the literacy processes of beginning, skilled, and remedial readers). In contrast, the ratings for Skill 16 (i.e., Give explanations of the proposed causes of reading disabiliti es and how each impacts decision-making processes about instruction) indicated th at the participants were less prepared. At posttest the participants felt best prepared with Skill 13 (i.e., Describe the relationship between instruction and assessment and identify ways to assess the literacy development of emergent, novice, transitional, and expert readers and writers in the classroom, including use of alternative assessments) and Skill 15 (i.e., Demonstrate understandings of the similarities and differences in the literacy processes of beginning, skilled, and remedial readers). The participants

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Pre-service Special Educators 207 felt least prepared with Skill 19 (i.e., Describe the role of different assessment methods for determining student performance in literacy, including contrasting error analysis). In fact, there was a decrease in ratings from pretest to posttest for Skill 19. The greatest gain overall from pretest to posttest was with Skill 16 (i.e., Give explanations of the proposed causes of reading disabilities and how each impacts decision-making processes about instruction). Table 109 Question Analysis Assessment, Diagnosis, Evaluation Pretest Raw Scores Posttest Raw Scores Skill 13Describe the relationship between instruction and assessment and identify ways to assess the literacy development of emergent, novice, transitional, and expert readers and writers in the classroom, including use of alternative assessments. 19 21 Skill 15Demonstrate understandings of the similarities and differences in the literacy processes of beginning, skilled, and remedial readers. 19 21 Skill 16Give explanations of the proposed causes of reading disab ilities and how each impacts decision-making processes about instruction. 17 20 Skill 19Describe the role of different assessment methods for determining student performance in literacy, including contrasting error analysis. 20 19 ________________________________________________________________ Summary. Based on these data, it appears that the participants’ selfperceptions increased from pretest to postt est in their abilities to describe the relationship between instruction and assessment, to demonstrate understanding of the literacy processes, and to provide explanations for causes of reading disabilities. In contrast, the participants exhibited a decrease in their abilities in

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Pre-service Special Educators 208 describing the role of different assessment methods for determining student performance in literacy. Standard 4: Creating a Literate Environment Standard 4 skills consisted of the ability to create a literate environment that fosters reading and writing by integrating foundational knowledge, use of instructional practices, approaches, and methods, curriculum materials, and the appropriate use of assessments. This group of skills was perceived to have been the most “very well prepared” among the four standards. At pretest, Emma rated herself as the least prepared. Ashley, Celeste, and Felicia rated themselves to have been the most prepared. At posttest, Ashley, Denise, Emma, and Felicia perceived themselves to have been “very well prepared” for 100% of the Standard 4 survey items. Celeste experienced a slight decrease in perceived level of preparedness from pretest to posttest. Bridgette is the only participant who indicated that she was not “very well prepared” in any of the Standard 4 skills. Table 110 shows data for levels of preparedness for each participant.

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Pre-service Special Educators 209 Table 110 PTRS Creating a Literate Environment Not Prepared Pretest Not Prepared Posttest Moderately Prepared Pretest Moderately Prepared Posttest Well Prepared Pretest Well Prepared Posttest Very Well Prepared Pretest Very Well Prepared Posttest Ashley 50.0% 50.0% 100.0% Bridgette 100.0% 100.0% Celeste 50.0% 50.0% 50.0% 50.0% Denise 100.0% 100.0% Emma 50.0% 50.0% 100.0% Felicia 50.0% 50.0% 100.0% _____________________________________________________________________ The following items are from the Standard 4 skills. Table 111 represents the subscale raw scores of responses for each skill. 7. Demonstrate competence in organizing the elementary classroom to support the literacy learning of emergent, novice, transitional, and expert readers and writers. 8. Identify classroom practices that will promote appreciation and enjoyment of reading and writing. 11. Describe a classroom environment that will promote students’ development, and demonstrate implementation of strategies that further enhance the development with multicultural students. Question analysis. Table 109 shows the subscale raw scores of responses for all participants for each question corresponding to creating a

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Pre-service Special Educators 210 literate environment. The Standard 4 indicators consisted of three skills. Overall, there were marked increases in perceptions of preparedness to teach reading with all of the skills. At pretest, skill 11 (i.e., Describe a classroom environment that will promote students’ development, and demonstrate implementation of strategies that further enhance the development with multicultural students) had the highest ratings for preparedness to teach reading. The skill to receive the next highest rating for preparedness to teach reading was skill 8 (i.e., Identify classroom practices that will promote appreciation and enjoyment of reading and writing). The participants felt least prepared to teaching reading with skill 7 (i.e., Demonstrate competence in organizing the elementary classroom to support the literacy learning of emergent, novice, transitional, and expert readers and writers). However, at posttest the participants felt best prepared with skill 8 (i.e., Identify classroom practices that will promote appreciation and enjoyment of reading and writing). The skill with the next highest rating was skill 11 (i.e., Describe a classroom environment that will promote students’ development, and demonstrate implementation of strategies that further enhance the development with multicultural students). Again, the participants felt least prepared with skill 7 (i.e., Demonstrate competence in organizing the elementary classroom to support the literacy learning of emergent, novice, transitional, and expert readers and

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Pre-service Special Educators 211 writers). The greatest gain overall from pretest to posttest was with skill 8 (i.e., Identify classroom practices that will promote appreciation and enjoyment of reading and writing). In conclusion, it appears that the participants’ perceptions increased from pretest to posttest in their abilities to describe a classroom environment that will promote students’ development, and demonstrate implementation of strategies that further enhance the development with multicultural students, to identify classroom practices that will promote appreciation and enjoyment of reading and writing, and to demonstrate competence in organizing the elementary classroom to support th e literacy learning of emergent, novice, transitional, and expert readers and writers. Table 111 Question Analysis Creating a Literate Environment ___________________________________________________________________ Pretest Raw Scores Posttest Raw Scores Skill 7Demonstrate competence in organizing the elementary classroom to support the literacy learning of emergent, novice, transitional, and expert readers and writers 16 20 Skill 8Identify classroom practices that will promote appreciation and enjoyment of reading and writing 20 23 Skill 11Describe a classroom environment that will promote students’ development, and demonstrate implementation of strategies that further enhance the development with multicultural students 21 22

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Pre-service Special Educators 212 Question analysis. Table 111 shows the percentage of responses by all participants for each question corresponding to creating a literate environment. The standard 4 indicators consisted of three skills. Overall, there were marked increases in perceptions of preparedness to teach reading with all of the skills. At pretest, Skill 11 (i.e., Describe a classroom environment that will promote students’ development, and demonstrate implementation of strategies that further enhance the development with multicultural students) had the highest ratings for preparedness to teach reading. The skill to receive the next highest rating for preparedness to teach reading was Skill 8 (i.e., Identify classroom practices that will promote appreciation and enjoyment of reading and writing). The participants felt least prepared to teaching reading with skill 7 (i.e., Demonstrate competence in organizing the elementary classroom to support the literacy learning of emergent, novice, transitional, and expert readers and writers). At posttest, the participants felt best prepared with Skill 8 (i.e., Identify classroom practices that will promote appreciation and enjoyment of reading and writing). The skill with the next highest rating was Skill 11 (i.e., Describe a classroom environment that will promote students’ development, and demonstrate implementation of strategies that further enhance the development with multicultural students). Again, the participants felt least prepared with Skill 7 (i.e., Demonstrate competence in organizing the elementary classroom to support the literacy learning of

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Pre-service Special Educators 213 emergent, novice, transitional, and ex pert readers and writers), however, the greatest gains overall from pretest to posttest was with Skill 7. In conclusion, it appears that the participants’ perceptions increased from pretest to posttest in their abilities to describe a classroom environment that will promote students’ development, and demonstrate implementation of strategies that further enhance the development with multicultural students, to identify classroom practices that will promote appreciation and enjoyment of reading and writing, and to demonstrate competence in organizing the elementary classroom to support the literacy learning of emergent, novice, transitional, and expert readers and writers. Overview of Findings Teacher Sense of Efficacy Scale (TSES) Based on the self-reported data, the overall findings indicate that the participants perceived themselves to be most empowered in the area of classroom management, compared to the areas of instructional practices and student engagement. The participants appeared to be least empowered in the areas of student engagement. Gains were made from pretest to posttest in all subscales, which is indicative of an increased sense of empowerment overall. Figures 1-6 shows comparison data of the pretest and posttest T SES subscale percentages for each participant. Although there was an increased sense of empowerment overall, there were unique incidents in which the participants reported a decrease across their

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Pre-service Special Educators 214 final internship. Bridgette and Celeste reported decreases in their levels of efficacy in instructional practices, whereas Denise reported a decrease in her efficacy in student engagement. Overall, from pretest to posttest, decreases were reported with respect to the following questions: 1. How much can you do to get through to the most difficult students? 2. How much can you do to help value students’ learning? 3. How much can you assist families in helping their children do well in school? 4. How well can you implement alternative strategies in your classroom? 5. How well can you keep a few problem students from ruining an entire lesson?

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Pre-service Special Educators 215 Figure 1 TSES St udent Engagement (Pretest) 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% AshleyBridgetteCelesteDeniseEmmaFelicia Nothing Very Little Some Degree Quite A Bit A Great Deal________________________________________________________________ Figure 2 TSES Instructi onal Practices (Pretest) 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% AshleyBridgetteCelesteDeniseEmmaFelicia Nothing Very Little Some Degree Quite A Bit A Great Deal________________________________________________________________

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Pre-service Special Educators 216 Figure 3 TSES Classroom Man agement (Pretest) 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% AshleyBridgetteCelesteDeniseEmmaFelicia Nothing Very Little Some Degree Quite A Bit A Great Deal________________________________________________________________ Figure 4 TSES St udent Engagement (Posttest) 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% AshleyBridgetteCelesteDeniseEmmaFelicia Nothing Very Little Some Degree Quite A Bit A Great Deal________________________________________________________________

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Pre-service Special Educators 217 Figure 5 TSES Instructi onal Practices (Posttest) 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% AshleyBridgetteCelesteDeniseEmmaFelicia Nothing Very Little Some Degree Quite A Bit A Great Deal _________________________________________________________________ Figure 6 TSES Classroom Man agement (Posttest) 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% AshleyBridgetteCelesteDeniseEmmaFelicia Nothing Very Little Some Degree Quite A Bit A Great Deal ________________________________________________________________

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Pre-service Special Educators 218 Special Education Competency Scale (SECS) Based on the self-reported data, the overall findings indicated that the participants perceived themselves to be most empowered in competencies associated with the traditional roles of special educators, which included interpreting and understanding data, communicating with parents, developing collaborative educational programs, and demonstrating increases in standards and ethical practices, followed by competencies associated with assessment, modifications, instruction, and inclusive practices. The participants appeared to be least empowered in competencies associated with the new and emerging roles of special educators such as developing budgets and procuring funding, followed by recent changes in using technology, creating professional development programs, and implementing administrative procedures and initiatives. This trend was consistent in both pretest and posttest measures. Gains were made from pretest to posttest in all subscales, which is indicative of an increased sense of empowerment overall. Figures 7-14 shows comparison data of the pretest and posttest SECS subscale percentages for each participant. Again although there was an increased sense of empowerment overall, there were unique incidents in which the participants reported a decrease. Bridgette reported decreases in her abilities with the new and emerging roles, the competencies that are associated with recent changes, and the assessment, modifications, instruction, and inclusive practices of special educators (i.e., in 3 out of the 4 grouped skills she reported a decrease). Celeste reported a decrease in the competencies associated with the assessment, modifications,

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Pre-service Special Educators 219 instruction, and inclusive practices and the traditional roles of special educators. Denise also reported decreases in the competencies associated with the recent changes and the assessment and transitional skills of special educators. Finally, Emma reported a decrease in only the competencies associated with recent changes in the roles and responsibilities of special educators such as using technology and creating professional development programs. Overall, from pretest to posttest, there were decreas es with respect to the following competencies: 1. Developing district budgets and procuring funding from federal, state, and local sources to ensure the efficient and effective allocation of resources. 2. Developing and implementing professional development programs for individuals, school sites, and district personnel that include the use of technology. 3. Implementing conflict resolution programs and support consensus building. 4. Developing and implementing transition programs and strategies that promote seamless movement of individuals with exceptionalities across educational and other programs from school to post-school settings. 5. Interpreting and communicating the evolving case law, federal, state, and local policies and practices to various constituencies. 6. Developing and implementing strategies to support teachers and other inservice providers of individuals with exceptionalities through professional

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Pre-service Special Educators 220 development programs and constructive evaluation procedures which are designed to improve instructional content and practices. 7. Developing and implementing a district discipline policy and procedures for individuals with exceptionalities including procedures for IEP development. 8. Planning, communicating and negotiating student and family needs and programs within the state, local district, including local schools and other public and private service agencies. 9. Developing and supporting communication and collaboration with educational and other agency administrators. 10. Supporting individual school sites in implementing a range of strategies that promote positive behavior, including crisis intervention and family support and involvement.

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Pre-service Special Educators 221 Figure 7 SECS Group 1: New and Emerging Roles (Pretest) 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% AshleyBridgetteCelesteDeniseEmmaFelicia Inadequate Adequate Skilled________________________________________________________________ Figure 8 SECS Group 2: Recent Changes in Technology, Program Development, and Leadership Roles (Pretest) 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% AshleyBridgetteCelesteDeniseEmmaFelicia Inadequate Adequate Skilled___________________________________________________________________

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Pre-service Special Educators 222 Figure 9 SECS Group 3: Assessment, Modifications, Instruction, and Inclusive Practices (Pretest) 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% AshleyBridgetteCelesteDeniseEmmaFelicia Inadequate Adequate Skilled___________________________________________________________________ Figure 10 SECS Group 4: Traditional Roles and Responsibilities (Pretest) 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% AshleyBridgetteCelesteDeniseEmmaFelicia Inadequate Adequate Skilled________________________________________________________________

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Pre-service Special Educators 223 Figure 11 SECS Group 1: New and Emerging Roles (Posttest) 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% AshleyBridgetteCelesteDeniseEmmaFelicia Inadequate Adequate Skilled________________________________________________________________ Figure 12 SECS Group 2: Recent Changes in Technology, Program Development, and Leadership Roles (Posttest) 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% AshleyBridgetteCelesteDeniseEmmaFelicia Inadequate Adequate Skilled________________________________________________________________

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Pre-service Special Educators 224 Figure 13 SECS Group 3: Assessment, Modifications, Instruction, and Inclusive Practices (Posttest) 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% AshleyBridgetteCelesteDeniseEmmaFelicia Inadequate Adequate Skilled________________________________________________________________ Figure 14 SECS Group 4: Traditional Roles and Responsibilities (Posttest) 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% AshleyBridgetteCelesteDeniseEmmaFelicia Inadequate Adequate Skilled

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Pre-service Special Educators 225 Preparedness to Teach Reading Survey (PTRS) Based on the self-reported data, the overall findings indicated that the participants perceived themselves to be most empowered in skills associated with the foundational knowledge of reading and writing processes, followed by creating a literate environment that fosters reading and writing. The participants appeared to be least empowered in skills associated with the instructional strategies, practices, approaches, methods, and curriculum materials that support reading and writing, followed by the assessment, diagnosis, and evaluation of effective reading instruction. Gains were made from pretest to posttest in all subscales, which is indicative of an increased sense of empowerment overall. Figures 15-22 shows comparison data from pretest and posttest percentages on the PTRS subscales. Again although there was an increased sense of empowerment overall, there were unique incidents in which the participants reported a decrease. Bridgette reported decreases in the foundational knowledge of reading and writing. Celeste reported decreases in the foundational knowledge of reading and writing, with the assessment, diagnosis, and evaluation of reading and writing, and in creating a literate environment for supporting reading and writing. Felicia reported decreases in instructional practices to support effective reading instruction and in creating a literate environment for reading and writing. Overall, from pretest to posttest, there were decreases with respect to the following skills: 1. Explaining strategies for developing a student’s ability to read for information in content text having varied expository structures.

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Pre-service Special Educators 226 2. Giving explanations of the proposed causes of reading disabilities and how each impacts decision-making processes about instruction. 3. Describing the role of different assessment methods for determining student performance in literacy, including contrasting error analysis. Figure 15 PTRS Standard 1: Foundational Knowledge (Pretest) 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% AshleyBridgetteCelesteDeniseEmmaFelicia Not Prepared Moderately Prepared Very Prepared Very Well Prepared________________________________________________________________

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Pre-service Special Educators 227 Figure 16 PTRS Standard 2: Instructional Strategies and Curriculum Materials (Pretest) 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% AshleyBridgetteCelesteDeniseEmmaFelicia Not Prepared Moderately Prepared Very Prepared Very Well Prepared________________________________________________________________ Figure17 PTRS Standard 3: Assessment, Diagnosis, and Evaluation (Pretest) 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% AshleyBridgetteCelesteDeniseEmmaFelicia Not Prepared Moderately Prepared Very Prepared Very Well Prepared________________________________________________________________

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Pre-service Special Educators 228 Figure 18 PTRS Standard 4: Traditional Roles and Responsibilities (Pretest) 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% AshleyBridgetteCelesteDeniseEmmaFelicia Not Prepared Moderately Prepared Very Prepared Very Well Prepared__________________________________________________________________ Figure 19 PTRS Standard 1: Foundational Knowledge (Posttest) 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% AshleyBridgetteCelesteDeniseEmmaFelicia Not Prepared Moderately Prepared Very Prepared Very Well Prepared________________________________________________________________

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Pre-service Special Educators 229 Figure 20 PTRS Standard 2: Instructional Strategies and Curriculum Materials (Posttest) 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% AshleyBridgetteCelesteDeniseEmmaFelicia Not Prepared Moderately Prepared Very Prepared Very Well Prepared________________________________________________________________ Figure21 PTRS Standard 3: Assessment, Diagnosis, and Evaluation (Posttest) 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% AshleyBridgetteCelesteDeniseEmmaFelicia Not Prepared Moderately Prepared Very Prepared Very Well Prepared________________________________________________________________

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Pre-service Special Educators 230 Figure 22 PTRS Standard 4: Traditional Roles and Responsibilities (Posttest) 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% AshleyBridgetteCelesteDeniseEmmaFelicia Not Prepared Moderately Prepared Very Prepared Very Well Prepared_______________________________________________________________ Observations To determine the degree to which the pre-service special educators’ selfreports of preparedness to teach reading were consistent with observations of their reading instructional practices, the researcher administered the PTRS and conducted observations of their reading instruction. The results from the PTRS were described in the previous section. The remainder of this section will be devoted to reporting the results of the observation rubric and the interview data and analysis. Ashley Results from the videotape observation reveal that Ashley demonstrated approximately 50% of the total reading competencies on the PTRS. When

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Pre-service Special Educators 231 comparing Ashley’s ratings of her level of preparedness on the PTRS to those competencies observed from her videotape, 65% of the competencies for which she rated herself as “at least moderately prepared” were observed. The researcher and the independent observer reached 95% inter-rater reliability while viewing Ashley’s reading instructional practices. The following competencies were not observed: relate reading to writing, incorporate technology during reading instruction, refer to learning theories and models of reading process, use instructional strategies that support the acquisition of word recognition skills, use instructional strategies that support reading fluency, refer to classroom environment that support literacy development at all levels, and reference to relationship between instruction and assessment. Bridgette Results from the videotape observation reveal that Bridgette demonstrated 54% of the total reading competencies on the PTRS. When comparing Bridgette’s ratings of her level of preparedness on the PTRS to those competencies observed from her videotape, 70% of the competencies for which she rated herself as “at least moderately prepared” were observed. The researcher and the independent observer reached 100% inter-rater reliability while viewing Bridgette’s reading instructional practices. The following competencies were not observed: relate reading to writing, incorporate technology during reading instruction, refer to learning theories and models of reading process, use instructional strategies that support reading fluency,

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Pre-service Special Educators 232 planned instruction of literacy across the curriculum, and reference to relationship between instruction and assessment. Celeste Results from the videotape observation reveal that Celeste demonstrated 54% of the total reading competencies on the PTRS. When comparing Celeste’s ratings of her level of preparedness on the PTRS to those competencies observed from her videotape, 65% of the competencies for which she rated herself as “at least moderately prepared ” were observed. The researcher and the independent observer reached 90% inter-rater reliability while viewing Celeste’s reading instructional practices. The following competencies were not observed: relate reading to language development, use of grouping formats, modify instruction for culturally and linguistically diverse students, refer to learning theories and models of reading processes, use of instructional strategies that support reading fluency, plan instruction of literacy across curriculum, and reference to the relationship between instruction and assessment. Denise Results from the videotape observation reveal that Denise demonstrated 62% of the total reading competencies on the PTRS. When comparing Denise’s ratings of her level of preparedness on the PTRS to those competencies observed from her videotape, 65% of the competencies for which she rated herself as “at least moderately prepared ” were observed. The researcher and the independent observer reached 85% inter-rater reliability while viewing Denise’s reading instructional practices. The following competencies were not

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Pre-service Special Educators 233 observed: incorporate technology during reading instruction, practice promoting motivation/appreciation of reading, refer to learning theories and models of reading process, use of instructional strategies that support reading fluency, refer to classroom environment that support literacy development at all levels, plan instruction of literacy across curriculum, or refer to the relationship between instruction and assessment. Emma Results from the videotape observation reveal that Emma demonstrated 58% of the total reading competencies on the PTRS. When comparing Emma’s ratings of her level of preparedness on the PTRS to those competencies observed from her videotape, 65% of the competencies for which she rated herself as “at least moderately prepared ” were observed. The researcher and the independent observer reached 90% inter-rater reliability while viewing Emma’s reading instructional practices. The following competencies were not observed: make personal connections with text, incorporate technology during reading instruction, use grouping formats, refer to learning theories and models of reading process, match and adapt materials for students with differing proficiencies in reading, and identify similarities and differences between varying levels of skilled readers. Felicia Results from the videotape observation reveal that Felicia demonstrated 50% of the total reading competencies on the PTRS. When comparing Felicia’s ratings of her level of preparedness on the PTRS to those competencies

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Pre-service Special Educators 234 observed from her videotape, 60% of the competencies for which she rated herself as “at least moderately prepared ” were observed. The researcher and the independent observer reached 95% inter-rater reliability while viewing Felicia’s reading instructional practices. The following competencies were not observed: relate reading to writing activities, use of a variety of instructional strategies to support comprehension, select appropriate and authentic methods, refer to learning theories and models of reading process, use instructional strategies that support reading fluency, plan instruction of literacy across curriculum, and reference to the relationship between instruction and assessment. Self-perceptions and Abilities To determine the consistency of the participants’ self-perceptions of preparedness to teach reading, the self-reported data from the PTRS was compared to the percentage of reading competencies demonstrated based on the results from the observation rubrics (i.e., theory-to-practice gap). For interpretation purposes, the response ratings in the “very well prepared” category were used for the comparisons. The majority of the participants believed they were more able to bring about desired outcomes in reading achievement than they actually were able to based on observations from the videotape. Specifically, as can be seen from Figure 23, Ashley, Denise, and Felicia judged their capability to demonstrate effective reading practices on the PTRS at higher percentages than that of their observ ed reading practices in the videotaped reading lessons. The differences between how Ashley, Denise, and Felicia

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Pre-service Special Educators 235 judged their capabilities to demonstrate effective reading practices and their observed abilities to demonstrate effective reading instruction 27%, 24%, and 5%, respectively. Felicia’s beliefs and practices were more consistent than those of Ashley and Denise. However, there were three participants whose observed reading instructional practices were greater than how they judged themselves to be on the PTRS. Specifically, Bridgette, Celeste, and Emma underestimated their preparedness to teach reading. When observed, Bridgette, Celeste, and Emma demonstrated higher percentages of reading skills on the PTRS than their selfreported beliefs on the PTRS, which resulted in a reversed difference between their judged capabilities and observed read ing practices. The differences are 66%, 50%, and 3%, respectively. Emma’s beliefs and practices were more consistent than those of Bridgette and Celeste. In comparison, Bridgette could be considered to have the widest gap between beliefs and practices, whereas Emma could be considered to have the narrowest gap between beliefs and practices.

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Pre-service Special Educators 236 Figure 23 Beliefs and Practices 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% AshleyBridgetteCelesteDeniseEmmaFelicia Beliefs Practice ________________________________________________________________ Interview Data and Analysis The purpose of the first interview questions was to obtain specific answers from the pre-service special educators regarding their understanding of best instructional practices for struggling r eaders. Five themes emerged from the participants’ responses a posteriori (Constas, 1992): reading strategies and/or instructional methods, assessment tools and/or instruments, prerequisites and/or basic skills, active learning and/or hands-on instruction, and motivation. Table 112 shows the endorsement rates of themes by each participant (i.e., interrespondent matrix). Table 113 shows the intensity effect sizes of each of the five themes (i.e., intrarespondent matrix; Onwuegbuzie & Teddlie, 2003).

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Pre-service Special Educators 237 Reading strategies and/or instructional methods was the most endorsed theme. Reading strategies and/or instructional methods were used to describe instructional tools implemented in order to teach a struggling reader a targeted skill in reading. Examples of reading strategies and/or instructional methods included: “choral reading,” “cooperative learning”, “journaling,” “chunking,” “phonemic awareness,” “directed reading,” “UFLI (i.e., a beginning reading instruction process),” “reader finger,” ”structural cue,” “visual cue,” “meaning cue,” “elkonin boxes,” “chunking,” “2’s and 3’s,” “phonics.” “spelling/word lists,” “qualitative reading inventory,” “sight words,” “running records,” and “magnetic boards and letters.” Assessment tools and/or instruments, prerequisites and/or basic skills, active learning, and motivation were the least endorsed themes. The participants identified examples of assessment tools and/or instruments that could be used to determine the reading level of a struggling reader and/or to characterize the struggling reader’s miscues. Examples that characterized assessment tools and/or instruments included “frustration level,” “running records,” “informal reading inventory,” “UFLI,” “leveled boo ks,” “basal readers,” and “structured reading assessments.” The participants identified the following as prerequisites and/or basic skills for successful reading: “early language experiences,” “letter-tosound correspondence,” and the “alphabetic principle.” The participants described active learning and/or hands-on learning as “practicum,” “field experiences”, “service-learning projects,” “not lecturing,” and “having the opportunity to teach,” Finally, the participants felt that a good reader is motivated

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Pre-service Special Educators 238 to read if they have “fun” with reading, are “interested” in reading, “engaged in the reading task”, “have exciting teachers and/or professors,” and are “successful” at reading. Table 112 Interrespondent Matrix of Themes for the Preparedness to Teach Reading Interview Ashley Bridgette Celeste Denise Emma Felicia Total Reading Strategies/ Instructional Methods 10 4 0 2 9 12 37 Assessment tools/ Instruments 4 0 3 0 9 7 23 Prerequisites/Basic Skills 5 1 1 3 6 5 21 Active Learning/Hands-on 3 3 0 0 2 5 13 Motivation 0 1 0 1 2 2 6 Total 22 9 4 6 28 31 100 _________________________________________________________________

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Pre-service Special Educators 239 Table 113 Intrarespondent Matrix and Intensity Effect Sizes for the Preparedness to Teach Reading Interview __________________________________________________________________ The purpose of the second interview was to obtain specific information from the pre-service special educators regarding their perceptions of their teacher preparation program. The emergent themes from the second interview were created a priori (Constas, 1992) in order to explore how the participants communicated about the major variables in this study Three themes emerged: preparedness, empowerment, and institutional barriers. Preparedness referred Category Number Generic Category (Theme) Number of Descriptor Codes in Each Generic Category Frequency of Occurrence Intensity Effect Sizes (percentage of total) 1 Reading Strategies/ Instructional Methods 18 37 37 2 Assessment Tools/Instruments 8 23 23 3 Prerequisites/Basic Skills 6 21 21 4 Active Learning/Hands-on 3 13 13 5 Motivation 4 6 6 Total 5 overall generic categories (themes) 39 100 100

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Pre-service Special Educators 240 to how the participants described their teacher preparation program and the specific aspects of the t eacher preparation program that prepared them the most. Additionally, statements referring to or related to the conceptual framework, developmental-constructivism was collapsed with preparedness. Developmental-constructivism, included descriptions of learning that are continuous, active, and meaningful; knowledg e that is invented or constructed rather than stored and gathered from teachers, textbooks, peers, and the surrounding environment (Sutton et al., 1996). Empowerment is described as the gradual sense of accomplishment and professionalism (Fang et al., 2004). In this study, empowerment is operationalized as the collective sense of teacher efficacy, competence, and preparedness. Institutional barriers were characterized as unavoidable barriers t hat impede pre-service special educators from implementing best practices in reading instruction and that contributed to the research gap between theory and practice (e.g., high-stakes testing, school administrators) (Fang et al., 2004). Theory-to-practice gap referred to the disjunction between what and/or how the participants were prepared in their teacher preparation program compared to the reality of teaching from their perspectives. Based on the mixed-method data analysis, empowerment was the most endorsed theme on the follow-up interview, whereas institutional barriers and/or research-to-practice gap was the least endorsed them. Table 114 shows the endorsement rates of themes by each participant (i.e., interrespondent matrix).

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Pre-service Special Educators 241 Table 115 shows the intensity effect sizes of each of the three themes (i.e., intrarespondent matrix; Onwuegbuzie & Teddlie, 2003). Table 114 Interrespondent Matrix of Themes for the Preparedness to Teach Reading Follow-up Interview _________________________________________________________________ Table 115 Intrarespondent Matrix and Intensity Effect Sizes for the Preparedness to Teach Reading Follow-up Interview Category Number Generic Category (Theme) Number of Descriptor Codes in Each Generic Category Frequency of Occurrence Intensity Effect Sizes (percentage of total) 1 Empowerment 11 71 48.3 2 Preparedness 7 55 37.4 3 Institutional Barriers/ Research-toPractice Gap 5 21 14.3 Total 3 overall generic categories (themes) 23 147 100 Ashley Bridgette Celeste Denise Emma FeliciaTotal Empowerment 7 9 9 21 7 18 71 Preparedness 4 17 11 10 2 11 55 Institutional Barriers/ Research-to-Practice Gap 3 8 2 5 1 2 21 Total 14 34 22 36 10 31 147

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Pre-service Special Educators 242 Preparedness The results from the second interview will be discussed according to individual student responses from thos e questions that addressed each theme. The prompt for developmental-constructivism was stated indirectly. To explore how the elements of developmental-constructivism would automatically emerge from the interview, I did not include “developmental-constructivism” in the prompts. The following questions/prompts elicited responses that related to preparedness: Tell me what you think about your pre-service preparation and how adequately you feel you were prepared entering in your final internship; How prepared do you feel to effectively diagnose reading difficulties and teach reading for students with disabilities?; and What experiences (i.e., coursework, field experiences) in your pre-service trai ning prepared you the most to teach reading? Ashley. Ashley addressed several aspects of her program that relate to preparedness. Three areas of the program were mentioned as it relates to preparedness. Ashley addressed her final internship, describing how well she was prepared and how it all came together. For example, Very prepared, the teachers were great for the classes, I came out of class with a lot of knowledge, but teaching everyday makes a difference; Hands on not just lecturing; active learning; sometimes too active; The final internship, it comes all together in the internship. I had the chance to put to use what I’ve learned.

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Pre-service Special Educators 243 Bridgette. Bridgette attributed a few different aspects to her preparation. Overall, Bridgette described the level of her preparedness as “I think I was as prepared as I could have been.” Bridgette also indicated that cooperative learning strategies and activities that were meaningful attributed to her overall level of preparedness. According to Bridgette, these included active and realistic engagement with students and experiences in the classroom (e.g., I think that having some of the group work we did and some of the assignments such as the charter school proposal was a big thing for me.”) Celeste. The theme surrounding the majority of Celeste’s responses to her thoughts about preparation was the availability of resources. She repeatedly said that as long as she had accessibility to resources that enabled her to teach reading, she felt prepared. For example, I felt very prepared going into my final internship, but when it comes to reading you always want more. I feel like as a teacher, I want to have all the resources I can for the different types of learners; I feel prepared but again, I think I would like to have more accessibility to resources;… I can always seek out the information I need from other source. In addition, Celeste said that having consistent pro-seminars along with hands-on learning opportunities such as the University Community Center projects and experiences were instrumental in her preparation. For example, I think just having those pro-seminars on a consistent basis. They always help us out as well as the literacy classes and the subject matter classes when we do the hands-on things; The majority of preparedness that I

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Pre-service Special Educators 244 received in the classes I took in literacy and the majority of the classes were like this too, a lot of things were done hands-on. I learn best handson. We did a lot of in-class projects. I think the best thing for me was that in one of my literacy classes we had to actually do a mentoring type thing with a student one-on-one. That was primarily what the class was about. The class was off campus and it was the University Community Center. It was a whole different environment. We were able to work with the students one-on-one. So much of what I learned was with hands-on rather than just sitting through a lecture and then being tested afterwards. Denise. Denise attributed most of her preparation to two professors and the classes they taught. For example, Especially this last semester, I felt really prepared. I don’t know how it is in other colleges, but with Penny we learned so much. She really prepared us and Dr. Apple with his reading program (UFLI) and his Classroom Management and Behavior Management classes. Penny taught us a lot about differentiated instruction and how to get to know the students. Penny taught us a lot. Coming from her class and Dr. Apple’s class, I was really prepared going into my final internship. The preparation Denise received from Penny and Dr. Apple helped her to provide reading instruction for a variety of students who were struggling to read. For example, We worked a lot on reading and reading is one of things that I really like to work with. I know there are a lot strategies and I feel that you just

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Pre-service Special Educators 245 basically have to get to know your st udents and different things that work, like always assessing your student. If one thing doesn’t work, you move on to try and see what works what the best for the child. So I think that I was well prepared and I feel like that I still will be learning and I feel like I need to know what are the new practices that are coming out to see what’s going on and I feel like at this point I feel prepared to teach reading and to work with students with disabilities. In addition to Penny and Dr. Apple, Denise attributed hands-on activities as an important part of her preparation. For example, It was mostly hands-on experience with the students at the schools. Everything that was in the classroom especially with the two professors I mentioned before, whatever we learned in the classroom setting we would take back to the students. So it was very hands-on. We used textbooks, but whatever we talked about in class, we would take it back and we would use it with our students. Emma. Emma indicated that she felt very prepared entering into her final internship. According to the results from her first evaluation by the PPP, Emma was functioning at a level commensurate with a first-year teacher. For example, I feel confident. During my first evaluation, my teacher said that I was functioning at a first-year teacher level, which increased me to try harder, to be more engaged and more outgoing. I think I do as much at the school as the in-service teachers in cluding extracurricular activities.

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Pre-service Special Educators 246 Emma indicated that on a scale from 1 to 10, her preparedness to diagnose reading difficulties was approximately an 8 or 9. She believed her strengths were in providing strategies to students who have already been identified with a specific reading disability. In addition, Emma indicated that having a computerized tracking system for reading progress such as Accelerated Reader (AR) makes it easier. For example, I think I’m about an 8 or 9. It’s kind of hard to diagnose a child and give them a label to say this is what’s wrong with them and this is where they are. They make it easy in the schools because of the computer system (AR) that makes it easy for tracking. But if know they are disordered I can find ways to reach them….I usually start with low level books. I have the students pick out the books that are at their instructional level. Students are not going to pick out a book that’s on their frustration level and read to me. And by then I can see that this is where I need to start my instructional level. And from there you can use phonics and elkonin boxes which go along with UFLI. And work with students that way and have them to decode words. Emma thought UFLI was very instrumental in helping her to determine when a struggling reader has reached her/his instructional level. For example, Very instrumental, I’m very glad that we were very engaged in that program. I spoke about leveled books earlier and UFLI has leveled books for struggling readers. And it is easy to pull one out and say, hey can you

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Pre-service Special Educators 247 read this? If the student reads it 85% or above, then you can move on to the next level. And you are increasing the difficulty of the text”). Felicia. Felicia indicated that she felt very confident and prepared to teach reading. She addressed several factors that contributed to her preparation to teach reading. Like Denise and Emma, Felicia also referred to Penny as an important aspect of her preparation. For example, Penny, the practica, and now the internship has helped me to be the most prepared. Penny’s energy and zeal for wanting to teach and to reach the kids was very inspiring. As talented as she is and how professional she portrays herself to be, Penny could be doing anything else; yet she chooses to teach us in a way that gets us fired up to want to teach and to reach us instead of just filling a classroom. Also, instead of sitting a desk teaching one plus one equals two, she taught us how to make it fun in order to reach the kids. She made our classes fun. She would come in and do interpretive dance to songs. While I didn’t want to sit in class for 4 hours on Thursday night, I didn’t mind as much with her. All of those things made an impression. When I don’t know what to do with a kid, I would think, what would Penny do? She rubbed into everybody’s head about differentiated instruction and that just seems to work when I’m having a problem. So not just her energy, but her knowledge and how she portrayed all of that to us.

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Pre-service Special Educators 248 Empowerment Prompts from the follow-up interview protocol on reading instruction related to empowerment included: In your words, define empowerment; Is it safe to say that you have become more empow ered as a special education teacher since your internship?; What aspects of your teacher preparation empowered you the most?; and Do you feel empowered to improve reading achievement in students you will teach? (Please explain). Ashley. Ashley shared her thoughts about empowerment and mentioned several aspects about the teacher preparation program and the final internship that empowered her. For example, Empowerment is the knowledge of what I’m doing and having the outcome to be successful. I definitely feel more empowered after the internship experience. It’s like night and day. I did get a lot of practice in Practica 1, 2, 3. UFLI helped me feel more empowered to teach reading. Particularly, with the procedures of how to keep track of the students’ progress using graphs and levels. At the end of the interview, Ashley added this comment, “I feel more empowered now that graduation is nearer. I don’t feel intimidated to go into work everyday. To me that is more empowered. I’m more confident. I feel more confident.” Bridgette. Bridgette defined empowerment as “feeling confident and feeling that I got all the skills I need to teach to the students and feeling that I have the confidence that I am ready to do that as a pre-service teacher.”

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Pre-service Special Educators 249 Bridgette attributed the opportunity to practice teaching as the most influential part of the final internship. For example, Having the chance to follow through and do it myself; to actually be able to try out all the things we’ve done; to be able to do the things with the students myself and not see someone else do it but to do it myself to follow through and practice things that we have learned; just the opportunity to be the teacher, to be honest. Bridgette indicated that she definitely felt more empowered after completing her final internship. She attributed her increased sense of empowerment to the successful outcomes for the students particularly as it related to reading achievement. For example, After having some of the experiences and being able to do things with the students, I feel more confident and I feel like I’ve had the experience to see what can be done and see how the kids have progressed. Especially after working with the students, that I have worked with, who have a hard time even with recognizing letters in the reading process. That’s where we are right now and just seeing the progress they’ve made has definitely given me confidence boost in knowing that what I do does work and that its effectiveness. Celeste. The same factors that attributed to Celeste’s feelings of preparedness are the same factors that she attributed to empowerment. Celeste defined empowerment to be the following:

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Pre-service Special Educators 250 Being able to reach a child through giving them resources to practice and working hands-on with them; giving them the guidance and the mentorship. That’s how I would best describe empowerment. Being able to give the child hands-on resources which in essence will build skills towards knowledge. When Celeste was asked if she felt more empowered, she said that she was but wanted more. Again, her response to what she wanted more of was directly related to more resources. For example, I would say more hands-on as far as being able to reach them and having other resources that I’ve never used before. Yeah, just being able to have resources that I can give hands-on to a student and in the same way I can learn. Denise. Having confidence, advocating for your students, inspiring your students, and having the desire to teach were descriptors used by Denise to describe empowerment (e.g., When I think about empowerment I think about confidence and advocating for your students. Also, I think about inspiration and having the desire to teach. Being inspirational; being inspiring to your students”). Denise indicated that through her increased sense of empowerment during her final internship, she had gained more strength to continue in the teaching profession. One of the contributing factors towards her increased sense of empowerment again stemmed from Penny and Dr. Apple. For example, One thing is my professors. They really set high expectations for us. They really believed in us especially Dr. Apple and Penny. They really

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Pre-service Special Educators 251 believed in us. And not that many professors are like that. Many professors would teach and they don’t believe in you like they did. Another factor that contributed to Denise’s increased sense of empowerment was related to successful student outcomes. For example, When I was with Dr. Apple, we were working with a reading student and at that time I really wasn’t confident. When my student improved, I still didn’t feel confident until after I did the assessments and it showed he really did improve. Afterwards, I felt more confident. At that time, I really couldn’t see it. And now, I’m working with these different reading groups and I was assessing them and doing different activities with them and I can see how these activities are really helping them. And they are all on different levels and I have this one student who couldn’t read cat or hat but with these different activities he was able to read them”). Emma. Emma described empowerment as the ability to teach effectively the desired mechanics of reading to one or a group of students. For example, Empowerment is the ability to teach either one student or a group of students the phonics of a language to the best ability that you have. I used multiple resources that I found beneficial to me and my students. But empowerment, in additional to competencies, is the desire to do so. Teach phonics, teach reading. Similar to Denise, Emma indicated that her professors empowered her most to teach reading. For example,

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Pre-service Special Educators 252 It was the Linking to Literacy course and the class that Penny taught too. Actually, it was the textbooks and the way the information was presented. A lot of the books that I have, Reading for Success and Ways to teach Reading in the Classroom, really helped me. And by Penny being a wonderful instructor, she really brought everything to life with examples and things we can use in the classroom. In addition, Emma shared similarities with Celeste as well. Like Celeste, Emma indicated that her accessibility to resources was a contributing factor in her increased sense of empowerment. For example, Due to my different settings in this semester, it has given me a wide array of resources of methods that I could use and I feel as though I can fall back on that and think about what would be good for my next students coming up from prior experience. As all of the other participants have alluded to, Emma also indicated that having the active learning and hands-on experiences in the final internship were definitely more empowering. For example, Hands-on instruction has empowered me the most. I was taught knowledge, but until I got into the classroom and was able to use it I didn’t fully understand it. I feel more confident talking with you now than I initially did in the beginning. I was spitting out things that I had been taught. And now that I’ve had more time, to get in a school setting and teach, five days a week with the same students all over again, I feel a lot more confident sitting here talking to you again”).

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Pre-service Special Educators 253 Felicia. In describing what empowerment was, Felicia related her feelings of empowerment with her level of preparedness to teach reading. For example, The first thing that comes to mind is preparedness and different experiences. Not just the knowledge we got from the university. It’s the ability to pull that knowledge and to do something with it. In other semesters we got to work with it, but it wasn’t until this semester where I was in charge of finding the resources and being in charge of assessing the students and marking their improvements especially within these last couple of weeks since I’ve been taking over everything. Empowerment is not just teaching but it’s how to reach the student. Felicia expanded her sense of empowerment beyond the classroom and teaching reading. She alluded to all the aspects of being a teacher. For example, Yes, most definitely. I’m just more aware of different exceptionalities but also different classroom constructs. Like the one I’m in now, its not my favorite, I’ve had to learn how to maximize the time that I have and the resources I have. I’ve learned how to work with other teachers and with the classroom setup and work with the principal and all those kinds of things. And also now, I’ve been able to have more contact with the parents and I understand the power of working with the students at home and it can help them both with literacy issues such as fluency. With all of that combined, this internship has definitely helped. It has made me feel more empowered as far as confidence goes.

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Pre-service Special Educators 254 Additionally, when Felicia was asked what empowered her the most, she revealed that she was influenced mostly by having classroom management skills. She indicated that by having control of the class, you are empowered to teach anything, not just reading. For example, This may be off topic a little bit since we are talking about reading, but for me, it has been classroom management. The classroom management almost came natural and I kind of feel that the background of it was something that I could handle with the kids so therefore I have control of the classroom. While there are a lot of unknowns like “how will this work or how will this lesson plan work?”; “Is it too hard for them?”; “Are they at their frustration level?”; and “Is it too easy?” Having control over the classroom, the students know the routine, they know what I expect and they know what to do. It makes it a whole lot easier. Institutional Barriers Prompts from the follow-up interview protocol on reading instruction related to institutional barriers included: Were there any problems you encountered during your final internship that you feel hindered you from providing the best reading instruction? and How relevant were your course work, field experiences/practica, and educational research in helping you to teach reading? Ashley. Ashley alluded to two elements that could be considered as contributing factors to ineffective reading instruction. Specifically, Ashley addressed disruptive student behaviors and challenging mentor-mentee relationships as hindrances. For example,

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Pre-service Special Educators 255 Behaviors and being in another person’s class… I have a controlling PPP and now that I’m doing everything she wants me to, it’s a better working environment and it’s less irritating to her… I would change grade level internships because I had a pre-k class and I didn’t get a lot of practice to teach reading. Bridgette. Bridgette addressed several aspects that were related to factors that may be perceived as institutional barriers or a disconnection between university courses and field experiences. She described environmental disrupters as contributing factors to preventing her from providing the most effective reading instruction (e.g., “The obstacles that teachers just endure everyday like changes in the schedule, the student population, changing of the students from one class to another and those kinds of interruptions; just everyday obstacles that we have to encounter”). In addition, Bridgette talked about the illusion that is created in the university classroom, which suggests that everything that is taught can be accomplished (i.e., “I think that in the classroom, they make everything out to be ‘yes you can do it’ type of attitude all the things that sound so great but when getting in the classroom it doesn’t work out for you”). Celeste. Celeste did not allude to any hindrances to providing the best reading instruction during her final internship. In fact, she indicated that she was fortunate enough to be placed in a school where they had great resources for the students. For example, Not so far, I think I’ve been placed in a really good final internship where the school has great resources, so I think I’ve been very fortunate. For

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Pre-service Special Educators 256 example, we’ve been working with novels and the students have their own novels they can take home and study. They can actually sign it out and go over the materials with their parents. In some cases, some schools aren’t that fortunate. I’ve been very fortunate to be linked with a school that has great resources. However, when asked what would you change about your final internship, she indicated that she would have preferred a stronger mentor-mentee relationship: “I just wish I had more time in the final internship. When you placed in the internship there’s not enough time to really build a strong mentor-mentee relationship.” Denise. Denise discussed two aspects that she considered to be hindrances in providing best reading instructional practices. First, Denise referred to student behaviors as a problem and the behavior management plan that the PPP had in place. As an indicator of empowerment, Denise implemented a behavior management plan that was more effective for her: “The teacher had a behavior plan but towards the end of the internship I developed something that worked better. I decided to do something of my own that worked better for me.” Second, Denise’s PPP was not trai ned and, consequently, Denise felt “short changed” because she was not provided with the feedback to which she thought she was entitled. For example, I had an experience where I wasn’t paired with an actual PPP. We really got along and I liked her, but I don’t think I got a lot of feedback. I wanted more. I’m very reflective in what I do and I felt like I was short changed

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Pre-service Special Educators 257 because she wasn’t trained and she didn’t give me what I needed to know in my opinion. Emma. Emma referred to the practica experiences prior to the final internship as beneficial in reducing the theory-to-practice gap in her preparation program. For example, Practicum 1, 2, and 3 allowed me to be in a school setting and get the university instruction. And because we had 1 full day in the first semester and 2 full days the rest of the semesters, it wasn’t like it was a sticker shock when I got into my final internship. In addition, Emma indicated that by having the PPP in the classroom daily rather than having someone else come in occasionally to conduct observations eliminates the need to put on a “pony” show. For example, I think that its wonderful now that they have PPP’s who are certified to observe me instead of professor. The professor doesn’t have to come out here once a month that I’m doing a pony show for. I’m working with my teacher one-on-one and she sees me everyday. Felicia. Felicia referred to the mentor-mentee dynamics as a hindrance to providing effective reading instruction. According to Felicia, the teacher did not know she was coming, neither was the teacher a trained PPP: “The very beginning of the school year it was real rocky because the teacher didn’t know I was coming. Nothing was set up prior to me coming and the teacher wasn’t a PPP.” Am ong Felicia’s frustrations was the fact that while Felicia was left to work

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Pre-service Special Educators 258 with the students, the mentor she was paired with completed IEP’s on the computer and checked her email. For example, My current frustration right now is that my teacher sits at the computer all day and work on IEP’s or send emails or whatever. I’m responsible for working with all the groups and she says it because she wants me to get the experience of being a real resource teacher. If I wasn’t there, she’d be doing it all by herself. But my current frustration is that I am there. There are two of us in the classroom and I understand she wants me to get the experience but when I’m having difficulty with a group the other groups are just sitting there and I have to wind up giving them busy work. And when I said something to her, she said, ‘Oh, I want you to experience it.’” I think there is a fine line between me experiencing it and us reaching the kids. I think while I’m there, let us go ahead and do what’s best for these kids versus me just getting the experience”). Member Checks Member checks were conducted throughout the data collection, analysis, and interpretation phases of the interview process (Creswell, 1998). During the interviewer and interviewee dialogue, the researcher asked for clarification as needed and paraphrased the respondents’ information to ensure accurate interpretation of the data. As the data were being analyzed, the interviewer corresponded with the respondents on an individual basis via telephone, email, and face-to-face interactions when questions were raised or when more information was warranted. All of the participants were involved with the member

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Pre-service Special Educators 259 check process and agreed that the information was collected an interpreted accurately.

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Pre-service Special Educators 260 CHAPTER 5 Discussion This study was designed to investigate pre-service special educators’ perceptions about their abilities to teach reading to students with disabilities. The purposes throughout this study were to (a) explore how pre-service special educators were empowered to implement effective practices during their student teaching by examining their sense of teac her efficacy, feelings of competence, and views of preparedness; and (b) cross-validate perceptions of preparedness to teach reading with observed practices of reading instruction. Data were collected from six pre-service specia l educators via pre-and post-surveys, interviews, evaluations, and videotaped observations to glean answers to the following two questions: 1. How are the constructs of empowerment such as competency, efficacy, and preparedness distributed across a six-member cohort of pre-service special educators? 2. How are perceptions of preparedness to teach reading of these preservice special educators consistent with observations of their teaching practices? This chapter provides the following information: (a) conclusions, (b) the significance and implications drawn from the findings, and (c) recommendations

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Pre-service Special Educators 261 for future research. As presented in Chapter 4, the overview of findings from this study is categorized by the results from the TSES, SECS, PTRS, and videotaped observations. Conclusions This study was designed to address the need for teacher education that results in use of appropriate and effective instruction in reading for children assumed to have disabilities. Effective reading instruction is a local, state, and national concern, particularly with students with learning and reading disabilities (Allington, 2002; IRA, 2003; Vaughn et al., 1998). While, effective reading instructional practices exist that meet these students’ needs these practices are not consistently demonstrated in the classroom. Consequently, this study examined the extent to which pre-service special educators believed themselves empowered to provide effective reading instructional practices as a result of their student teaching experiences and their abilities to implement these practices. The participants believed they were more empowered when they gained more knowledge about reading instructional practices, when they were equipped with the resources necessary to provide effective reading instruction, when they gained confidence in their abilities to teach reading with hands-on training, and when they obtained successful student outcomes. The sense of empowerment of the pre-service teachers was captured via measures of the constructs of efficacy (TSES), competency (SECS), and preparedness (PTRS).

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Pre-service Special Educators 262 Teacher Sense of Efficacy The responses to the T SES indicated that overall, participants had the greatest sense of efficacy in the area of classroom management compared to the areas of instructional practices and student engagement. These results are inconsistent with the normative data on the TSES (Tsc hannen-Moran & WoolfolkHoy, 2001), wherein the area of classroom management secured the lowest mean response. The least gains from pretest to posttest were made in instructional practices. These results do not bode well for Teacher Education programs narrowing the research-to-practice gap in special education. Particularly, the institutional barriers seem to have contri buted to limited gains in sense of efficacy for instructional practices (e.g., disruptions and student behaviors). Bridgette confirms this interpretation when discussing what made it difficult to implement practices she learned during her program. The obstacles that teachers just endure everyday like changes in the schedule, the student population, changing of the students from one class to another and those kinds of interrupt ions; just everyday obstacles that we have to encounter. I think that in the classroom, they make everything out to be ‘yes you can do it’ type of attitude that all the things sound so great but when you get in the classroom it doesn’t work for you. Are the teacher preparation programs doing their jobs if they matriculate teacher candidates with good grades and high GPA’s into the profession but who lack the ability to put what they have learned into practice?

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Pre-service Special Educators 263 Results from the efficacy in instructional practices subscale on the TSES indicated that Ashley’s beliefs were the highest, whereas Bridgette’s perceptions were the lowest. In the context of this study, the results suggested that Ashley would exert more effort and be more persistent in ensuring that a student has mastered a particular skill or concept (Allinder, 1994). In contrast, Bridgette would think there is something inherently wrong with the student if he/she is not demonstrating mastery of a particular reading skill or concept. Additionally, if the student comes from a low-socioeconomic background or is culturally and/or linguistically diverse, Bridgette would assume that the student did not have a print-rich environment and the parents did not read to him/her at home, therefore, assuming that the student is not able to read (Allinder, 1994). Beliefs about Special Education Competency The findings from this study are consistent with the results of Wigle and Wilcox’s (2003) in that the participants judged their abilities to be highest with respect to those competencies associat ed with “traditional special educators’ roles.” Their roles included interpreting and understanding data, communicating with parents, developing collaborative educational programs, and demonstrating increases in standards and ethical practices and in competencies related to assessment, modifications, instruction, and inclusive practices. With regard to the new and emerging roles of special educators such as, developing budgets, procuring funding, use of technology, creation of professional development programs, and implementation of administrative procedures and initiatives, the pre-service special educators rated themselves lowest in terms of competency.

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Pre-service Special Educators 264 Participants’ perceived levels of c onfidence about being special educators changed during their student teaching experience. It appears as if they felt more empowered as they progressed through their final internships. The post interview data indicates that factors leading to this increased empowerment were increases in knowledge, more access to resources, service-learning projects through the University Community Center and other hands-on/meaningful activities, influential professors (e.g., Penny and Dr. Apple), and successful student outcomes. Moreover, the participants indicated that they learned more when teaching and learning was interactive and motivating. The special education competencies that entailed tasks considered to be more goal-directed rather than student –directed or people oriented were rated lower (i.e., program development, developing budgets, etc.). This would make sense given that their program emphasizes the later rather than the former. One might assume that high academic performance in class would translate to increased confidence in competency. Interestingly, academic performance in program courses does not ap pear to be a factor in participants; beliefs about their competencies as special educators. For example, in 75% of the “grouped” special education competencies Ashley had the greatest gains in self-perceptions from pretest to posttest. Specifically with regards to the course, EEX 4846 Clinical Teaching in Special Education, she earned a grade of “C” and had the second to lowest GPA (3.13) among the participants. In contrast, Bridgette had the highest overall GPA (3.60) and received an “A” grade in

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Pre-service Special Educators 265 Clinical Teaching in Special Education. However, her self-perceptions on the SECS mostly indicated that she had less confidence in her abilities than her peers even though she exhibited more effective instructional practices. In fact, Bridgette had the widest gap between her beliefs of what she would do and her actual practices (Figure 23). How beginning special educators cope with the job-related demands that challenge their beliefs about their abilities as teachers may determine the kind of teacher they become (Billingsley, 2002). As noted by Darling-Hammond et al., (2002) Ashley is characterized as a be ginning special educator who would be able to cope with the job-related demands during a time of accountability and immense pressure to adhere to the federal and state guidelines for documenting student outcomes (Fang, et al., 2004) more so than the other participants. With the growing concern of special education attrition rates, the results from this study suggest that Ashley would have a greater commitment to staying in the field (Donovan & Cross, 2002; Pajares, 1992). However, Bridgette would be considered to be one that would leave the field of special education prematurely (Billingsley, 2002). Preparedness to Teach Reading Survey The responses to the PTRS indicate that overall, participants judged their capabilities in foundational knowledge of reading and in creating a literate environment higher than their abilities to implement effective instructional practices and to assess, diagnose, and evaluate reading difficulties.

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Pre-service Special Educators 266 Consistent with the results from the SECS and the T SES, as it relates to instructional practices, results from the PTRS indicated similar results: instructional practices were rated lower than the other subscales (i.e., foundational knowledge and literate environments). Teacher preparation programs could benefit from this information when considering how to enhance their programs. During both of the interviews, the participants indicated that the practica and professional seminars best contributed to their preparedness to teach. They believed that their continuous involvement in the practica and professional seminars throughout the teacher preparation program facilitated in the reduction of a research-to-practice to gap. However, their self-perceptions on the PTRS indicated that there is a still a “gap” and a continued need to integrate the fields of reading and special education. The need for integration between reading and special education is warranted based on data that documents that 80% of the children with specific learning disabilities have disabilities in reading. This proportion is substantial because 50% of the students in special education have been identified as having learning disabilities (Snow et al., 1998). The gap between the participants’ beliefs and practices reflect two amalgamations: (a) the participants’ perceptio ns of their abilities to teach reading were higher than their actual instructional practices and (b) the participants’ actual instructional practices were higher than their self-reported beliefs about their abilities to teach reading (Figure 23). Additionally, there were three distinct patterns among the participants: (a) Ashley and Denise, (b) Bridgette and Celeste, and (c) Emma and Felicia. Ideally, one would like to see a “narrowed”

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Pre-service Special Educators 267 gap that is similar to Emma, in which her actual practices are higher than her self-reported beliefs. Although gaps exist between the participants’ beliefs and practices, the overall percentages of observed instructional practices indicates that the participants’ demonstrated practices were nearly consistent. The percentages for observed practices ranged from 60% to 70%. Apart from the participants’ self-reported beliefs, the participants demonstrated approximately the same number of reading skills. Hence, these findings are reflective of the skills and knowledge the participants ascertained from their teacher preparation program. There were no within group variables (i.e., age, race, or academic performance) that accounted for the gaps between the participants’ beliefs and practices. The final internship settings (i.e., self-contained, resource) and grade levels (i.e., pre-k, middle school) were not considered as factors contributing to the gaps in the participants’ beliefs and practices. For example, the two participants with the larger gaps (i.e., Bridgette and Celeste) were placed in a kindergarten class and in a middle school setting, respectively. On the other hand, the two participants with the lower gaps between beliefs and practices (i.e., Emma and Felicia) were assigned to a fourth-grade general education setting and a kindergarten/first-grade resource setting, respectively. Videotape Observations of Reading Instructional Practices In an attempt to verify the pre-service special educators’ beliefs about their levels of preparedness, videotaped observations of the pre-service special educators while teaching a reading lesson were analyzed. To cross-validate

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Pre-service Special Educators 268 their beliefs with observed reading practices, the observation rubric was designed using the IRA (2003) reading standards and course objectives from the PTRS. The percentages of observed practices of the total competencies on the PTRS ranged from 50% to 62%. Moreover, the participants demonstrated on average 55% of the items of the PTRS, which means that the participants demonstrated approximately one-half of the reading standards that are mandated at the national, state, and local levels for reading instruction. What do these say about the NCLB and its concepts of “leave no child behind” and “highly qualified teachers?” If teachers are only able to demonstrate 55% of the reading instruction standards expected, what impact can they have on students’ reading outcomes. These findings are disturbing if we believe that the classroom teacher is the most important factor that influences student learning (Darling-Hammond, 2001; Soodak & Podell). Access to fully prepared, qualified teachers is not only essential to a good education but it also represents a major divide between the experiences of schoolchildren from advantaged and disadvantaged socioeconomic and racial groups (Cochran-Smith, 2002). It is within these disadvantaged socioeconomic and racial clusters that the lowest evidence of reading achievement occurs and where t he least qualified teachers to provide reading instruction (IRA, 2003). The International Reading Association reports that a lack of appropriate reading instruction and early reading interventions among low-performing students of color is a major contributing factor to the

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Pre-service Special Educators 269 overrepresentation of these children in disability categories of learning disabilities, mental retardation, and emotional disturbance (IRA, 2003). Noted by Oswald, et al. (1999) poor instruction is a plausible explanation for children’s low reading achievement. The fact that the participants in this study represent beginning special educatio n teachers and will be among those most likely teaching reading to students in need of effective reading instruction is cause for contemplation. These beginning teachers represent those most prepared to teach. What can be expected from those teachers who are typically assigned to high-poverty schools where there are highproportions of inexperienced and non-certified teachers, overuse of paraprofessionals, where there is frequent use of substitute teachers, and where there are consistently unstaffed vacancies (Cochran-Smith, 2002; IRA, 2003). Limitations of Study Threats to Internal Validity The threats to internal validity that were pertinent to this study were instrumentation, maturation, and reactive arrangements. Instrumentation posed a threat to internal validity due to the unavailability of normative, reliability, or validity data on the SECS and PTRS questionnaires. As a result, during the analysis and interpretation phases, there were no previously documented findings to compare the results from this study to (Onwuegbuzie, 2003; Onwuegbuzie & Johnson, 2004). Maturation posed a threat to internal validity due to the natural growth and development that occurred during the participants’ student teaching experiences.

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Pre-service Special Educators 270 During the participants’ student teaching experiences, the pre-service educators made transitions in developmental stages un til they assumed full responsibility for teaching. For this reason, all changes that occurred from pretest to posttest cannot be accounted for (Onwuegbuzie, 2003; Onwuegbuzie & Johnson, 2004). Based on the response patterns of one participant, it is assumed that reactive arrangements posed a threat to internal validity. The response patterns for Ashley were predictable. For instance, the majority of Ashley’s responses at pretest were low and high at posttest. Typically, her self-perceptions on the surveys reflected the most gains (Onwuegbuzie, 2003; Onwuegbuzie & Johnson, 2004). Threats to External Validity Specificity of variables posed the only threat to external validity. Specifically, the constructs of empowerm ent were defined in this study as the increased sense of accomplishment associated with efficacy, competency, and preparedness. These variables are unique to this study and would not generalize to another investigation (Onwuegbuzie, 2003; Onwuegbuzie & Johnson, 2004). Threats to Legitimation The findings from this study could not be generalized beyond the parameters of this study (Maxwell, 1992). This is primarily due to having only six participants in the study. In addition, the parameters used to define empowerment were defined to fulfill the purposes of this study only. Thus, generalizability validity was the only threat posed to legitimation.

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Pre-service Special Educators 271 Implications of Research Findings Developmental-Constructivism The conceptual framework that framed this research is the developmental-constructivist model, a model that emphasizes the “experience” of learning (Colton & Sparks-Langer, 1993). The developmental-constructivist framework also suggests that learning is best acquired when the student is the center of learning, is intrinsically motivated, and is engaged in active and meaningful learning opportunities (Black & Ammon, 1992). It was from this model that I designed this research study to determine whether pre-service special educators felt more empowered to teach reading as a result of the active experiences gained in their final internships. Surprisingly, not all of the participants felt more empowered as they matriculated through their final internships. As indicated previously, there were several instances in which the participants felt less empowered. Although all of the participants during the follow-up interviews indicated that they felt more empowered to teach reading after their final internship, their responses on the survey instruments indicated otherwise. Additionally, when the participants were asked specifically what part of their final internship prepared and empowered them the most to teach reading, all six of the participants indicated that is was the opportunity to teach actively. Even more interesting is the fact that most participants felt less empowered as their student teaching progressed on those competencies related to their role as special educators. Possible explanations for this phenomenon

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Pre-service Special Educators 272 are (a) the participants overestimated thei r abilities as a special educator, and when they had the opportunity to teach, they realized exactly how much they did not know, (b) their pre-service preparation program did not adequately prepare them, or (c) they were not able to overcome the institutional grains and/or barriers they encountered during the final internship. All of the participants at one point or another did not feel adequately prepared to face the challenges in the classroom, despite the active and meaningful opportunities to teach. During the follow-up interview the participants were given the opportunity to discuss the institutional grains and/or barriers they encountered that may have hindered them from providing the best reading instructional practices. Four out of the six participants alluded to problems surrounding their professional practice partner (PPP). Two partici pants indicated that their PPP did not know they were having an intern nor had the PPP gone through the required training. As a result, the participants felt they did not receive the support and feedback to which they were entitled. In addition, one of the participants indicated that her PPP was controlling and, consequently, she was faced with personality conflicts. Overall, the mentor-mentee relationship was an important factor in determining whether the interns actually felt empowered. The emphasis placed on the mentor-mentee relationship by the participants could be an explanation for their decreased sense of efficacy as special educators (Ralph, 2003). Relationship building is critical to success as it relates to inclusive practices, collaboration, conflict resolution, and how well pre-

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Pre-service Special Educators 273 service special educators are prepared to work with other professionals. Not only are special educators responsible for collaborating with other professionals but they are also required to work with families. Moreover, Special educators are often placed in compromising situations where they may have to advocate for their students’ unique learning needs. Effective communication and productive collaboration are essential skills for promoting successful learning opportunities in the classroom. The importance of the relationship between pre-service teacher and supervising teache rs can not be underestimated. Theory-to-Practice Gap It is evident from the results of this study that it is not best practice for researchers to present findings that tell only half of the story. In particular, many studies have made claims about teaching practice based only on information gathered about teachers’ beliefs, without observations of practice (Kane et al., 2002). Results from this study and other research findings have revealed a “disjunction between stated aims and claimed educational practice” (Murray & MacDonald, 1997, p. 331). The participants could have been influenced by “what they believed they should say” and/or could be “saying what they would ideally like to do” (p. 345). It is possible that the instruments employed in this study provided the participants with an opportunity to fulfill the researcher’s expectations. However, when the researcher cross-validated the data with the actual practice (i.e., triangulation of the data), a disjunction was found in the majority of the cases.

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Pre-service Special Educators 274 During the interview, the participants were asked how relevant their coursework was as it related to their ac tual teaching experiences in their final internships. The majority of the participants responded positively and indicated that there was little or no evidence of a theory-to-practice gap in their university preparation. More specifically, their levels 1, 2, and 3 practica facilitated a smooth transition between coursework and field experiences. The only evidence of a theory-to-practice gap seemed to occur during the final internship when it appears that the positive beliefs that the participants had developed about their competencies were challenged by their actual experiences. A dissonance developed between what they experienced and what they had previously encountered in their professional development program. Recommendations for Future Research Based on the findings of this study and the current gaps in the literature surrounding pre-service special educators, it is suggested that more research is focused on narrowing the research-to-practice gap between reading and special education (Greenwood, 2001). The research should emphasize triangulating data sources to confirm and cross-validate conclusions drawn from the research findings. In other words, not only should conclusions be drawn from perceptions/beliefs but data should be co llected using additional measures to provide evidence of perceived abilities and actual practices (Pajares, 1992). There is a lack of research on pre-service special educators’ beliefs, particularly related to how efficacy (Coladarci & Breton, 1997; Soodak & Podell, 1993) preparedness and demonstrated competency intersect. Further research

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Pre-service Special Educators 275 should investigate why dissonance occurs between pre-service special educators’ beliefs about their practice and their actual practices and how this disconnect between reading instruction and reading outcomes impacts students with disabilities. Specifically, research should be expanded to include more pre-service teachers and investigations should be directed toward identifying supports that will enable the teacher candidate to employ effective instructional practices. The participants in this study attributed poor mentor-mentee relationships as an institutional barrier in providing the best instructional practices. As noted by Ralph (2003) novice teachers in their final internships will encounter optimal learning opportunities when appropriate matching of cooperating teachers’ mentorship styles are matched with student teachers’ skill-specific developmental levels of teaching. This match between mentor and protg will help reduce the problems associated with personality conflicts which often interfere with maximal learning of students and teachers (Ralph, 2003). Although this study was not intended to explore relationships between PPP’s and their interns, future research should be conducted to capture the PPP’s perceptions and explanations of the student teaching experiences. It is recommended that further research using the theoretical framework of developmental-constructivism be completed as it relates to using the gap between what beginning teachers believe they can do and what they actually do in practice. As the participants progressed through their student teaching experiences, the assumptions of the developmental-constructivism theory and

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Pre-service Special Educators 276 empowerment that would have an increased sense of empowerment and gain more confidence were not confirmed. The participants indicated that active learning environments such as service learning projects facilitated their learning. However, when examining their instructional practices, there were decreases in self-perceptions of competency, effi cacy, and preparedness from pretest to posttest. This could be an explanation for the persistent gaps in beliefs and practices, as well as the continued lo w performance of students in the areas of reading. Finally, teacher preparation programs should operationalize, “highly qualified teacher” in their programs and determine how “highly qualified” addresses the needs of struggling readers. The body of literature that determines the quality of teacher preparation programs is primarily based only on beliefs and perceptions of teacher candidates (Darling-Hammond, 2002; Simpson et al., 1993). The research findings from this study suggests that when evaluating the effectiveness of teacher preparation programs, conclusions and assumptions should not be drawn from perceptions of te acher candidates alone. Additionally, longitudinal studies conducted with pre-service special educators are warranted in order to study how pre-service special educators’ instructional practices are developed and groomed overtime. This study was conducted during the preservice teachers’ final internships, thus only a snapshot of their perceptions and abilities were analyzed.

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277 REFERENCES Allinder, R. M. (1994). The relationship between efficacy and the instructional practices of special education teachers and consultants. Teacher Education and Special Education, 17 86-95. Allington, R. (2002). Big brother and the National Reading Curriculum: How ideology trumped evidence Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. Allington, R., & Cunningham, P. M. (1996). Schools that work: Where all children read and write New York: Harper Collins College Publishers. Armor, D., Conroy-Oseguera, P., Cox, M., King, N., McDonnell, L., Pascal, A., et al. (1976). Analysis of the school preferred reading programs in selected Los Angeles minority schools. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. 130243) Santa Monica, CA: Rand Corporation. Ashton, P. T., & Webb, R. B. (1986). Making a difference: Teachers' sense of efficacy and student achievement New York: Longman. Au, K. H. (1993). Literacy Instruction in multicultural settings Fort Worth, TX: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich College Publishers. Bandura, A. (1977). Self-efficacy: Toward unifying theory of behavioral change. Psychological Review, 84 191-215. Berman, P., McLauglin, M. B., Bass, G., Pauly, E., & Zellman, G. (1977). Federal programs supporting educational change (ERIC Document No. ED 140432). Santa Monica, CA: The Rand Corporation. Billingsley, B. (2002). Beginning Special Educators: Characteristics, qualifications, and experiences Study of Personnel Needs in Special

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292 Ysseldyke, J. E., & Algozzine, B. (1982). Critical issues in special and remedial education Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin. Ysseldyke, J. E., Christenson, S., Pianta, B., & Algozzine, B. (1983). An analysis of teachers' reasons and desired outcomes for students referred for psychoeducational assessment. Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment, 1, 73-83. Zigmond, N., Jenkins, J. R., Fuchs, L. S., Deno, S., Fuchs, D., Baker, J. N., et al. (1995). Special education in restructured schools: Findings from three multi-year studies. Phi Delta Kappan, 76, 531-540.

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293 APPENDIX A: Teacher Sense of Efficacy Scale (TSES)

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294

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295 APPENDIX B: Special Education Competency Scale (SECS)

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296 Special Education Competency Scale Inadequate Adequate Skilled 1. Develop district budgets and procure funding from federal, state, and local sources to ensure the efficient and effective allocation of resources 2. Develop and implement interagency agreements that create system-linked programs with shared res p onsibilit y for students with 3. Develop parent/family education programs and other su pp ort g rou p s. 4. Develop and implement professional development programs for individuals, school sties, and district personnel that include use of technolo gy 5. Use a variety of technologies to enhance efficient mana g ement of district resources and 6. Develop and implement a technology plan that provides a wide array of technology for use in direct services. 7. Implement conflict resolution programs and su p p ort consensus buildin g 8. Develop and implement transition programs and strategies that promote seamless movement of individuals with exceptionalities across educational and other programs from school to p ost-school settin g s. 9. Interpret and communicate the evolving case law, federal, state, and local policies and p ractices to various constituencies. 10. Develop strategic plans that are integrated with general education plans and provide maximum opportunities for collaboration across p ro g rams and a g encies. 11. Ensure that post-school outcomes for individuals with exceptionalities are addressed in the g eneral s y stem standards and curriculum.

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297 APPENDIX B: SECS (continued) Inadequate Adequate Skilled 12. Implement a variety of management and administrative procedures to ensure clear communication among administrators and between administrators and instructional staff, and related service personnel. 13. Develop and implement flexible service delivery programs based on effective practices that address the range of exceptional individuals and include p revention services. 14. Develop and communicate an inclusive vision for meeting the needs of individuals with exceptionalities to the various publics/constituencies within the school, community, and state. 15. Develop and implement strategies to support teachers and other in-service providers of individuals with exceptionalities through professional development programs and constructive evaluation procedures which are designed to improve instructional content and practices. 16. Develop and implement a district discipline policy and procedures for individuals with exceptionalities including procedures for de v e l op m e n t 17. Plan, communicate and negotiate student and family needs and programs within the state, local district, including local schools and other public a n d p riv ate se rvi ce age n c i es

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298 APPENDIX B: SECS (continued) Inadequate Adequate Skilled 18. Develop and support communication and collaboration with educational and other agency administrators. 19. Support individual school sites in implementing a range of strategies that promote positive behavior, including crisis intervention and family support and inv o lv e m e n t 20. Develop and implement ongoing evaluations of district special education programs, and practices based on student learning. 21. Advocate for the inclusion of individuals with exceptionalities in the local and state accountability 22. Develop building level supports that sustain inclusive education settings. 23. Assist in development of district curriculum and instructional models that provide appropriate experiences for all students, including individuals with exceptionalities. 24. Implement an assessment program for individuals with exceptionalities that is linked to the general system assessments, pr ovides appropriate accommodations and/or valid alternative assessments and which will demonstrate learner progress toward educational goals. 25. Serve as the advocate for individuals with exceptionalities and their fam ilies at the district level. 26. Develop and implement programs that respond to individual and family characteristics, cultures, and needs within a continuum services.

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299 APPENDIX B: SECS (continued) Inadequate Adequate Skilled 27. Effective consultation and collaboration techniques and their application in management and instructional settings. 28. Support site-based decision making processes and ensure that decisions and management procedures provide appropriate services to individuals with exce p tionalities. 29. Understand and interpret data/information about individual students and their families within a cultural context. 30. Develop and provide effective and ongoing communication with parents and families of individuals with exceptionalities. 31. Develop collaborative general and special programs and other innovative approaches to ensure that individuals with exceptionalities have access to and appropriately participate in the general education curricula and instructional programs. 32. Communicate and demonstrate a high standard of ethical practice. 33. Collaborate and engage in shared decisionmaking with building administrators to support appropriate programs for individuals with exceptionalities. 34. Respect and support students' self-advocacy efforts. 35. Make decisions concerning individuals with exceptionalities based on communication, trust, mutual respect, and dignity.

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300 APPENDIX C: Pr eparedness to Teach Reading Survey (PTRS)

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301 PREPAREDNESS TO TEACH READING SCALE Please indicate your degree of agreement with each item. I am prepared to… 1Not prepared 2Moderately prepared 3-Well prepared 4Very well prepared Where did you learn this skill? (Check all that apply) Course Field Training Other Work Experiences (specify) (specify) 1. Demonstrate understanding of foundations of literacy including writing development and reading acquisition (IRA-1.1, 1.3) 1 2 3 4 2. Demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between oral language and literacy development (IRA-1.3) 1 2 3 4 3. Identify learning theories and models of the reading process that have shaped our teaching practice (IRA-1.2) 1 2 3 4 4. Identify factors that affect literacy acquisition and ways these factors impact children’s language and literacy development, including factors specific to ESOL students and students with special needs (IRA-1.3) 1 2 3 4 5. Demonstrate the use of instructional strategies that support language development and comprehension, including appropriate ESOL strategies (IRA-1.3, 1.4) 1 2 3 4 6. Demonstrate the use of instructional strategies that support the acquisition of word recognition skills and of reading fluency including appropriate ESOL strategies (IRA-1.4) 1 2 3 4

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302 APPENDIX C: PTRS (continued) 7. Demonstrate competence in organizing the elementary classroom to support the literacy learning of emergent, novice, transitional, and expert readers and writers 1 2 3 4 8. Identify classroom practices that will promote appreciation and enjoyment of reading and writing (IRA-4.1) 1 2 3 4 9. Identify direct and indirect instructional materials for promoting vocabulary growth (IRA1.4) 1 2 3 4 10. Describe the comprehension processes, and identify direct and indirect instructional materials and strategies that will enhance comprehension (IRA-1.4) 1 2 3 4 11. Describe a classroom environment that will promote students’ development, and demonstrate implementation of strategies that further enhance the development with multicultural students 1 2 3 4 12. Plan instruction of literacy across the curriculum using basal readers, textbooks, authentic literature and technology (IRA-2.2, 2.3) 1 2 3 4 13. Describe the relationship between instruction and assessment and identify ways to assess the literacy development of emergent, novice, transitional, and expert readers and writers in the classroom, including use of alternative assessments (IRA-3.3) 1 2 3 4

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303 APPENDIX C: PTRS (continued) 14. Demonstrate ability in matching and adapting materials for students having various levels of proficiency in reading, including materials for ESOL students and students with special needs (IRA-2.2, 2.3) 1 2 3 4 15. Demonstrate understandings of the similarities and differences in the literacy processes of beginning, skilled, and remedial readers (IRA-3.2) 1 2 3 4 16. Give explanations of the proposed causes of reading disabilities and how each impacts decision-making processes about instruction (IRA3.3) 1 2 3 4 17. Identify guidelines for developing literacy with at-risk students that have varied ability levels and culturally diverse backgrounds (IRA-2.2) 1 2 3 4 18. Describe instructional strategies and identify materials for facilitating the development of fluency and graphophonic cue system use with remedial readers (IRA-2.3) 1 2 3 4 19. Describe the role of different assessment methods for determining student performance in literacy, including contrasting error analysis (IRA3.3) 1 2 3 4 20. Explain strategies for developing students’ ability to read for information in content text having varied expository structures 1 2 3 4 21. Determine appropriate reading levels of instructional materials, including the leveling of trade books (IRA-2.2) 1 2 3 4

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304 APPENDIX C: PTRS (continued) 22. Demonstrate ability in matching and adapting materials for students having various levels of proficiency in reading, including materials for ESOL learners (IRA-2.1) 1 2 3 4 23. Plan for a variety of instructional formats including grouping for guided reading lessons (IRA-2.1) 1 2 3 4 24. Select, design, and evaluate instructional methods and materials relevant to the teaching of writing to students with diverse backgrounds, languages, and needs (IRA-2.2) 1 2 3 4 25. Apply instructional strategies for integrating writing across the curriculum (IRA-2.3) 1 2 3 4 26. Select appropriate and authentic methods for evaluating children’s development in writing (IRA-2.3) 1 2 3 4

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305 APPENDIX D: PTRS Observation Rubric

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306Observational Checklist for Reading Competencies Criteria Check if Observed Check if not Observed Comments -relate reading to writing activities -relate reading to language development -make personal connections with text -build on prior knowledge -use a variety of instructional strategies to support comprehension -use instructional strategies to promote vocabulary growth -select appropriate and authentic methods -incorporate technology during reading instruction -identify practices to promote motivation/appreciation of reading -use grouping formats -modify instruction for culturally and linguistically diverse students

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307 APPENDIX D: PTRS Observation Rubric -modify lessons for students with disabilities -refer to learning theories and models of reading process -use instructional strategies that support the acquisition of word recognition skills -use instructional strategies that support reading fluency -refer to classroom environment that support literacy development at all levels -plan instruction of literacy across curriculum -refer to the relationship between instruction and assessment -match and adapt materials for students with differing proficiencies in reading -identify similarities and differences between varying levels of skilled readers

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308 APPENDIX E: Pr eparedness to Teach Reading Interview Protocol

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309Interview Protocol Preparedness to Teach Reading 1. What do children need to know and be able to do in order to learn to read? (probes: What knowledge or skills do you consider prerequisites for reading instruction? How do children develop these knowledge and skills?) 2. How would you assess a struggling reader? (probes: What skills would you assess? What methods or instruments would you use? How?) 3. What methods would you use to teach a struggling reader? (probes: Where would you begin? What skills would you focus on developing first? How would you go about developing these skills? Where would you go from there?) 4. What materials would you use? (probes: How would you determine if the materials you choose are appropriate? What would contribute to your selection of text?) 5. How would you know whether your student is making progress? (probes: What kind of informal assessments would you use? What would you consider sufficient progress?) 6. What are some of the strategies a “good” reader uses when reading? (probes: How might a good reader figure out an unfamiliar word? What other characteristics distinguish a good reader from a poor reader?) 7. How prepared do you feel to teach reading? (probes: What background knowledge do you have about teaching reading? What specific strategies have your course work and experiences emphasized? What opportunities have you had to practice applying your knowledge and skills?) 8. How prepared do you feel to teach struggling readers? (probes: If you had a student in your classroom who could not read even a pre-primer level text, do you feel you know what to do to address that student’s needs? Assuming you will have at least a small group of children in your classroom who are reading below grade level, how prepared do you feel to accelerate their progress to help them catch up?) 9. What experiences influenced you most in the development of your knowledge and skills? (probes: How much of an impact did your reading courses have? How much of an influence did your field experiences have? Did you have any other training specific to reading instruction? How much of an influence did that training have?)

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310 APPENDIX F: Pr eparedness to Teach Reading Interview Protocol (cont’d) 10. How would you characterize your philosophy of teaching reading? (probes: What are some of your opinions—positive or negative—about particular instructional methods or materials?)

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311 APPENDIX F: Follow-up Interview Protocol

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312 Follow-up Interview 1. Describe the setting in which you were teaching (Probes: Population? School climate? Disabilities? Your role?) 2. Tell me what you think about your pre-service preparation and how adequately you felt prepared entering your final internship. 3. How competent do you feel as a special educator? 4. How prepared do you feel to effectively diagnose reading difficulties and teach reading to students with disabilities? 5. What experiences (coursework, fiel d experiences, other) in your pre-service training prepared you the most to teach reading? 6. Do you feel empowered to improve reading achievement in students you will teach? Please explain. 7. Talk about the decision making process involved when determining your approach to reading instruction. Is it the same whether your focus is on one student, small groups or whole class? Explain. 8. How do you problem solve situations when a student or students don’t demonstrate improvement when teaching reading? 9. What aspects of your teacher preparation program (TPP) have most influenced your approach to teaching reading and to the way you make instructional decisions, particularly when students are having difficulty making reading progress? 10. Were there any problems you encountered during your final internship that you feel hindered you from providing the best reading instruction? 11. Tell me what you think developmental constructivism is. 12. Were there principles/elements of developmental constructivism evident in your TPP? Provide examples. 13. Did you translate those principles/elements of developmental constructivism in your own teaching? Why or Why not?

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313 APPENDIX F: Follow-up Interview Protocol (cont’d) 14. After experiencing your internship, what aspects of your TPP would you change or not change (what do you think was missing or you wish you had more/little of)? 15. From your field/practicum experiences, how would you characterize the collaboration/relationship between the school district and the university? 16. How much exposure to the research/professional literature in reading was infused in your TPP? 17. How relevant were your course work, field experiences/practica, and educational research in helping you to teach reading? Explain. Can you site specific examples?

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR Tandria Milagno Callins earned a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders, a Master’s of Science degree in Speech and Language Pathology, and a Doctorate degree in Special Education with a cognate in literacy. Other publications include “Narrowing the Achievement Gap Through Family Literacy,” “Culturally Responsive Literacy Instruction,” “Creating Culturally Responsive Literacy Programs in Inclusive Classrooms,” and “The Village Legacy.” Mrs. Callins has made several presentations at the Linking Academic Scholars to Educational Resources (LASER) and the National Association of Multicultural Education (NAME) conferences. Mrs. Callins works full-time in the public school system as a speech and language pathologist. She also works part-time at the university teaching courses. Her interests include learning and reading disabilities, teacher preparation, family literacy, and culturally responsive instruction.


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ABSTRACT: Ive Got the Power!: Investigating Pre-service Special Educators Perceptions and Abilities to Teach Reading to Students with Disabilities Tandria Milagno Callins M.S., CCC-SLP ABSTRACT This study, through a multiple case study approach, was designed to investigate how pre-service special educators were empowered to teach reading to students with disabilities during their final internship. A developmental-constructivism theoretical framework guided this study in order to examine how a teacher preparation program prepared a six-member cohort of pre-service special educators in the areas of efficacy, competency, and preparedness. Based on the principles of developmental-constructivism, the researcher investigated whether or not these pre-service special educators became more empowered in the areas of efficacy, competency, and preparedness through active-learning and hands-on opportunities.The researcher employed a concurrent mixed-method design for data collection and analysis. To complement the quantitative data from the surveys, the qualitative data from the interviews were collected in order to provide support, to explain, and to account for discrepancies in the data. The levels of empowerment were measured by the differences between self-reported data on pretest and posttest measures on the Teacher Sense of Efficacy Scale (TSES), Special Education Competency Scale (SECS), and Preparedness to Teach Reading Survey (PTRS). Videotaped observations of each pre-service special educator teaching a reading lesson were collected and analyzed to determine the percentage of observable reading practices. Results included both increases and decreases in perceptions of empowerment on the TSES, SECS, and PTRS. The pre-service special educators were able to demonstrate approximately 50-65% of the reading competencies on the reading observation rubric.The results also revealed gaps between self-perceptions and actual practices among the participants. Institutional barriers such as student behaviors and the mentor/mentee relationship accounted for most of the gaps observed between beliefs and practices.
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