Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Thomas Ward, Jr.


This study investigated the relationship between the attitudes of principals and teachers toward mainstreaming and the level of comfort participants felt toward special education and mainstreaming. Sixty-five large and small middle schools from the state of Virginia were randomly selected to participate in this study. Participants completed demographic/information sheets, the Attitude Towards Mainstreaming Scale (ATMS), and the Comfortability Scale for Special Education (CSSE). Data were analyzed using statistical methods.;The following research questions were explored (1) do the current attitudes of school personnel differ from previous findings, (2) does a middle level principal's attitude relate to a middle level teacher's attitude, (3) does the level of comfort of a middle level principal relate to a middle level teacher's level of comfort, (4) do the indirect factors such as number of years of experience, teacher level of education, number of special education courses and preservice training influence a teacher's or principal's attitude, and (5) does attitude and comfort relate to school division size and school personnel?;It was concluded the attitudes of middle school personnel are similar to the attitudes of personnel who work in other grade levels. Furthermore, principals had more favorable attitudes towards mainstreaming than teachers. Principals can influence the attitudes of teachers toward mainstreaming, however, principals' level of comfort do not influence teachers' level of comfort. Specific factors were found to be indirectly related to attitude. The significant factors included prior experience working with persons with disabilities, educational background, and coursework in special education were significant. The size of a school division was related to the level of comfort of school personnel when working in team situations.;Further study is needed to evaluate the relationship between level of comfort and attitude. A disparity in an individual's attitude and level of comfort exists between large and small school divisions. Additional studies should examine the relationship between principal attitudes and teacher attitudes at all grade levels. Also, a principal's role in implementing special education programs should be studied.



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