Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




F. Douglas Prillaman


The purpose of this study was to investigate the perceptions that school principals, directors of special education/directors of pupil personnel/psychologists, regular educators, and special educators in Virginia public schools have of the process of integrating educable mentally retarded, learning disabled, and emotionally disturbed students into regular classes in grades 5-9. The study sought to examine mainstreaming perceptions of educators, factors that underlie educator perceptions, and obtain individual qualitative accounts of educator perspectives regarding the availability of instructional resources within their school divisions.;The Survey of Educator Perceptions of Enhancing and Restraining Forces Related to the Integration of Mildly Handicapped Students in the Regular Educational Setting, was the survey instrument used in this study (Prus, 1989). Six hundred and forty educators were randomly selected from school divisions characterized by size and rural and urban demographics and mailed a survey. Three hundred thirty-three (333) educators returned completed surveys.;One hundred twenty-eight (128) regular educators were randomly selected to participate in individual interviews with the research regarding the availability of instructional resources within their school. The selected sample included four teachers from each of the division types; a total of 16 participants comprised the sample. Interviews were conducted at the school site of each participant. A structured, interview questionnaire, developed and field tested by the researcher, was used as a guide for data collection.;The results of the Multivariate Analysis of Variance, Analyses of Variance, and post-hoc analyses indicated the existence of significant differences between educator groups on the survey scales. Except for the Attitudes Toward Mainstreaming scale, principals provided the most positive ratings on each scale. Regular educators provided significantly lower ratings on this scale.;Pearson Product-Moment correlations indicated several demographic variables were found to be small, but significant predictors of the total survey score.;The validity of the survey results was supported by content analysis of respondent recommendations for the improvement of mainstreaming effectiveness within their school divisions, and the analysis of interview data.;It was concluded principals perceive the level of administrative support, support services/resources, expectations/climate, and instructional training/planning as more facilitating than inhibiting factors related to the mainstreaming process in their school divisions. The significantly lower ratings revealed by other educator groups suggest these groups perceive these factors to be more inhibiting factors related to mainstreaming effectiveness within their divisions. Consistent with the pattern of differences noted on the survey analysis, survey respondents and interview participants indicated areas of need for improvement in division mainstreaming efforts. Specific recommendations for further research and practice are included.



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