Date of Award

2011

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

First Advisor

Ronald Nanney

Abstract

Legislative mandates require teachers to provide access to the general curriculum for all students in the least restrictive environment. Though policies are in place to ensure high quality instruction for all students, many students with developmental disabilities are still being served in self-contained settings with a life-skills instructional approach only, without the necessary supports for accessing the general curriculum. The purpose of this study was to reveal the extent of pre-service teacher perceptions of teacher training on curriculum alignment in order to improve pre-service teacher training in special education for access to the general curriculum for students with developmental disabilities.

The researcher utilized a mixed-methods research design. Data collection was collected with a survey and through interview questions in order to determine the extent of pre-service teacher perceptions on (a) lesson planning linked to the student individualized education program, (b) lesson planning aligned to state standards, (c) universal design for learning aligned to state standards, (d) integration of curriculum aligned to state standards, and (e) progress monitoring aligned to state standards for students with developmental disabilities.

An analysis of the data collection revealed that reform in pre-service teacher training is warranted for integrated coursework and field experiences as a multi-disciplinary approach to teacher preparation programming. A multi-disciplinary approach within the framework of a K-12 teacher preparation program should include a universal design for learning approach centering on flexibility with regard to differentiated instruction and progress monitoring, differentiated curriculum materials, and specifically designed supports for curriculum engagement by students with varying ability levels, including students with significant cognitive disabilities.