Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




The purpose of this study was to determine the perceived competencies involved in administering special education programs and the attitude toward educational preparation and training of a select group of elementary school administrators. Principals from fourteen public school divisions throughout the State of Virginia, during the 1985-86 school year, participated in the study.;An original survey developed for purposes of the study was mailed to 173 elementary school administrators chosen in a random sampling from seven geographical divisions throughout the state. Sixty-nine percent of the administrators responded to the survey.;Responses from the three part survey were analyzed through use of the IBM Statistical Program for the Social Sciences (SPSS). The data were used to investigate five hypotheses designed to determine any significant differences between two specific groups of administrators applicable to educational preparation, the extent to which perceived competencies in fulfilling responsibilities in administering special education programs differed, and attitudes toward various topics related to additional preparation and training. The two groups were identified as (1) those administrators who were certified for and employed as administrators before the passage of Public Law 94-142 (The Education For All Handicapped Children Act), and (2) those administrators certified for and employed after passage of the Law in 1975.;There were no significant differences between the two groups with regards to educational preparation nor their perceived competencies. All hypotheses were rejected with the exception of one which showed that all administrators participating in the study perceived a need for additional preparation and training efforts. The overall results suggest that although the administrators were relatively confident in their abilities to administer special education programs, they supported measures to intensify efforts for educational preparation and training.;Speculation pertinent to the findings is presented in the study. Recommendations are made for preparation and training efforts to improve skills and knowledge which will assist administrators in their endeavors to provide programs and services to handicapped children and youth who are educated in the public school systems.



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