Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




The affective meanings, defined by a semantic differential, that special educators of the mentally retarded, learning disabled and emotionally disturbed in Virginia public schools assign to their concepts of certain exceptional students, regular students, special educators, and themselves personally were explored. In addition, relationships between these affective meanings and the age, race, sex, endorsements, and experience of teachers were examined.;Mailed survey data were returned by 152 special educators from a 10% stratified random sample of Virginia public school systems. Data were analyzed using a multivariate analysis and a series of multiple regressions, and the following conclusions were drawn: (1) Virginia special educators perceived each concept studied as distinctive, with affective meanings in the moderate positive range. The exceptions were the concepts "learning disabled student" and "regular class student" which did not differ in their affective meanings. (2) The concept "emotionally disturbed student" was significantly higher on potency and significantly lower on evaluation than all other concepts. (3) The concept "educable mentally retarded student" was significantly lower on activity and potency than other concepts. (4) The concepts "special educator" and "me (myself)" were significantly higher on evaluation and activity than other concepts, but comparatively low on potency. (5) Special educators perceived exceptional students as significantly lower on activity than the non-handicapped. (6) The predictor variables (1) age, (2) race, (3) type of service delivery, (4) special education endorsement, and (5) size of employing school system were significantly correlated with several of the affective meanings studied, while level of education, length of teaching experience, sex and level of service delivery were not found to be important predictors.



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