The acquisition and retention of special education information in relation to needs satisfaction and practicability of inservice training for secondary teachers

TR Number



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University


This study investigated the acquisition and retention of information presented in the Secondary Instructional/Special Education Project conducted in Chesterfield County, Virginia, Public Schools. A two-group pretest posttest posttest design was used. Retention of information was measured after teachers completed the Inservice Project and returned to the classroom. In addition to the acquisition and retention of information, the relationship of practicability and needs satisfaction to the acquisition and retention of information was investigated. Theoretical practices associated with inservice education were reviewed and presented.

Analysis of variance using treatments-by-subjects design was employed to compare the scores on the pretest, posttest I and posttest II for each group. When the F was found to be significant in the analysis of variance, the Duncan's Multiple Range Test was used for making multiple comparisons. The Pearson Product-Moment Correlation was used to determine if there was a significant statistical relationship between information acquired, practicability and needs satisfaction. The Pearson Product-Moment Correlation was also used to examine the statistical relationship between retention and the factors of practicability and needs satisfaction. On-going class assessments and teacher interview data were collected and used in the assessment of practicability and needs satisfaction.

The analysis of the data revealed a significant increase in the participants' information about special education as measured by the difference between the scores on the pretest and on posttest I immediately following the completion of the course. Information was retained over time by participants in the follow-up study. For participants, ten months after their training, the data revealed that most of the information was retained as represented by the significant difference between the mean pretest score of 21.60 and the mean posttest II score of 43.07. For participants six months following training there was no significant decrease in information as measured by the difference in scores on posttest I and posttest II.

Although no significant statistical relationship was demonstrated between acquisition or retention of information to practicability and needs satisfaction through an analysis of data using the Pearson Product-Moment Correlation, participants interviewed indicated that they had used the information presented in their teaching. They also indicated that the training had affected their teaching and made a difference in their understanding of and work with handicapped children. The interview results were consistent with findings collected throughout the Inservice Project indicating a high level of practicability and usefulness of information.