Public secondary school principals' knowledge of and attitude toward P.L. 94-142 and their relationship to the provision of special education services at the building level
The purpose of this study was to investigate Virginia public secondary school principals' knowledge of and attitude toward P.L. 94- 142, personal background, and the relationship of these variables to the provision of special education services at the building level.
Provision of services was defined as the proportion of students receiving special education services, the number of students served in self-contained classes, and by a special educator's rating of the principals' influence and support for special education.
Knowledge and attitude scores were normally distributed for the 46 principals. A mean score of 14.18 was obtained on the 29 item instrument, Knowledge of P.L. 94-142. A mean of 70.82 (100 possible, the higher the score the more positive the attitude) was found on the instrument, What is Your Opinion?
Regression analysis using the three dependent variables accounted for 11 to 20 percent of the variance in the provision of services. Twenty percent was controlled when using the special educators’ rating of the principals' influence and support for special education. Fifteen percent of the variance was controlled for using the number of students in self-contained programs. Eleven percent of the variance was controlled for using the proportion of students served in the building.
Special education administrators consistently reported their perception that principals' knowledge and attitudes strongly influence the provision of special education services in their buildings. They also attributed more influence over special education at the building level to the principals than the principals perceived. The relationship between special education administrators' perceptions and principals' perceptions and scores were consistently low and in some cases negatively correlated.