Inservice evaluation project

Inservice Evaluation Project Marilyn Samuels, Ph.D. A/I. Anne Price, Ph.D. Alberta Education /dllxrra Digitized by the Internet Archive in 2015 ...

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Inservice Evaluation Project

Marilyn Samuels, Ph.D. A/I. Anne Price, Ph.D.

Alberta Education /dllxrra

Digitized by the Internet Archive in

2015

http://archive.org/details/inserviceevaluatOOsannu

m 28

Inservice Evaluation Project

Marilyn Samuels, Ph.D. M. Anne Price, Ph.D.

Under contract to Alberta Education, Edmonton, Alberta

December 5, 1986

1987

Please Note

The views and recommendations expressed in this report are those of the

researchers and not necessarily those of the Department of Education.

Acknowledgements

The cooperation of the personnel of the school systems surveyed is

gratefully acknowledged.

Appreciation is expressed to the Learning

Centre staff who devote time, energy and expertise to the development of the extensive inservice program offered by the Centre.

Particular thanks goes to Dr. Richard Conte, Research Coordinator, for his assistance in the data collection and analysis; to Mrs. Judy

Rissling, Research Assistant, for her contributions to data collection and analysis; and to Mrs. Marelyn Dubois and Mrs. Merilyn Johnston for

clerical assistance.

Abstract

Inservice education in the area of learning disabilities is limited courses are essential. The field is new and rapidly changing: available at universities across Canada and many teachers lack training. Effective inservice requires careful selection of content and planning in response to assessed needs. The present project was undertaken to gather information to contribute to designing effective inservice programs to meet the needs of teachers in different contexts. Feedback from participants in inservice programs offered by the Learning Centre indicated that both regular and special education personnel are committed to advancing their knowledge about learning disabilities through inservice training but they do have diverse interests. A literature review indicated that there is professional concensus on the knowledge, skills and competencies needed for effective instruction of learning disabled students, but these skills and competencies lack empirical validation. The available information suggests that teachers* needs may vary across regular and special education and across grade levels. The important topics in learning disabilities derived from inservice feedback and the literature review were included in a Learning Disabilities; Needs Assessment Survey distributed to samples of regular and special education personnel across grade levels of two urban school systems (1010 personnel). The return rate was 39% (397 surveys); 45% were regular class teachers; 46% were special education personnel; and The results of the 9% were miscellaneous special services personnel. survey supported the need for inservice training because few regular education teachers have preservice or inservice training in learning disabilities, and special education personnel acquired much of their training through inservice. Teachers were consistent in their preferences for the planning and delivery of inservice programs (e.g., half to full day workshops held during the school day and early in the school year, with teacher input in the planning, and incentives such as release time and payment of fees). Teachers* self-ratings of competence in general information, assessment and instruction/remediation of learning disabilities indicated that special education personnel felt more competent than regular class teachers. Junior high and high school regular class teachers reported lack of confidence in their competence and training in most topic areas surveyed. While special education teachers felt competent overall, junior high and high school educators identified several areas of weakness. Teachers did not consistently select areas of self-perceived weakness as priorities for inservice training. Preferences for inservice topics varied across grade levels and regular and special education. However, there was consistently high interest in learning strategies, problem-solving/thinking and assessment of attention problems, and considerable interest in memory, methods of identification, and screening procedures. The results of the study provided evidence that more opportunities for preservice and inservice training in learning disabilities are essential particularly for regular educators; identified important considerations for the planning and delivery of inservice programs; and, provided guidelines for selecting inservice content to meet self-perceived areas of weakness and interests of teachers in varying contexts, i.e., regular versus special education; elementary versus junior high versus senior high school.

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Table of Contents

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

iii

ABSTRACT

iv

TABLE OF CONTENTS

v

LIST OF TABLES

vi

LIST OF APPENDICES

ix

INTRODUCTION

1

LEARNING CENTRE INSERVICE PROGRAMS

5

LITERATURE REVIEW: KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS AND COMPETENCIES NEEDED BY TEACHERS OF STUDENTS WITH LEARNING DISABILITIES

Method of Review Knowledge, Skills and Competencies Special Education Teachers of LD students A) B) Regular Class Teachers of LD students Summary

LEARNING DISABILITIES:

NEEDS ASSESSMENT SURVEY

Method Results and Discussion Descriptive Information Planning and Delivery of Inservice Programs Self Ratings of Knowledge: Learning Disabilities... -Learning Disabilities: General Information -Learning Disabilities: Assessment -Learning Disabilities: Instruction/Remediation.. Preferred Topics for Inservice

12 12 13 13 25 27 29

29 31 31 42 52 53 61

66 71

CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

87

REFERENCES

96

APPENDICES

101

-v-

List of Tables Table

Table

Table

Table

1:

2:

3:

4:

Inservice Presentations Initiated by the Learning Centre Between September, 1985 and March 31, 1986

6

Learning Centre Inservice Presentations by Invitation Between September, 1985 and March 31, 1986

8

Descriptive Information for Participants in Learning Centre Inservice Programs (September, 1984 - December, 1985)

9

Suggestions for Future Inservice Presentations made by Participants in Learning Centre Presentations (September, 1984 - December, 1985)

10

Descriptive Information

32

Table

5:

Regular Class Teachers:

Table

6:

Special Education Teachers:

Table

7:

Training in the Area of Learning Disabilities

37

Table

8:

Most Helpful Preparation for Working with Students with Learning Difficulties

39

Descriptive Information

35

9:

What is the best time of year for inservice programs? ... .43

Table 10:

What is the best time of week for inservice programs? ... .44

Table 11:

Which of the following presentation formats for inservice training in learning disabilities would you prefer?

45

Who should be included in planning inservice programs on learning disabilities?

46

Which of the following presentation techniques for inservice training in learning disabilities would you prefer?

47

What reasons would encourage you to attend an inservice program in learning disabilities?

48

Table

Table 12:

Table 13:

Table 14:

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List of Tables (continued)

Table 15:

What Incentives for inservice training would be most likely to encourage attendance at an inservice program?

49

Percent of Regular Class Teachers Reporting at Least Average Competence in their Current Knowledge of General Information Topics in Learning Disabilities

54

Percent of Special Class Teachers Reporting at Least Average Competence in their Current Knowledge of General Information Topics in Learning Disabilities

58

Percent of Resource Teachers Reporting at Least Average Competence in their Current Knowledge of General Information Topics in Learning Disabilities

59

Percent of Regular Class Teachers Reporting at Least Average Competence in their Current Knowledge of Assessment

62

Percent of Special Class Teachers Reporting at Least Average Competence in their Current Knowledge of Assessment

63

Percent of Resource Teachers Reporting at Least Average Competence in their Current Knowledge of Assessment

65

Percent of Regular Class Teachers Reporting at Least Average Competence in Instruction/Remediation of Students with Learning Disabilities

67

Percent of Special Class Teachers Reporting at Least Average Competence in Instruction/Remediation of Students with Learning Disabilities

69

Percent of Resource Teachers Reporting at Least Average Competence in Instruction/Remediation of Students with Learning Disabilities

70

,

Table 16:

Table 17:

Table 18:

Table 19:

Table 20:

Table 21:

Table 22:

Table 23:

Table 24:

-vii-

List of Tables (continued)

Table 25:

Table 26:

Table 27:

Table 28:

Table 29:

General Information Inservice Topics Ranked 1 to Elementary, Junior High and High School Regular Class Teachers

5

by 73

Assessment Inservice Topics Ranked 1 to 5 by Elementary, Junior High and High School Regular Class Teachers

74

Instruction/Remediation Inservice Topics Ranked 1 to Elementary, Junior High and High School Regular Class Teachers General Information Inservice Topics Ranked 1 to Elementary and Junior/Senior High School Special Class Teachers

5

5

by 75

by 78

Assessment Inservice Topics Ranked 1 to 5 by Elementary and Junior/Senior High School Special Class Teachers

79

Table 30:

Instruction/Remediation Inservice Topics Ranked 1 to 5 by Elementary and Junior/Senior High School Special Class Teachers 80

Table 31:

General Information Inservice Topics Ranked 1 to 5 by Elementary, Junior High and High School Resource Teachers

Table 32:

Table 33:

82

Instruction/Remediation Inservice Topics Ranked 1 to Elementary, Junior High and High School Resource Teachers

5

Instruction/Remediation Inservice Topics Ranked 1 to Elementary, Junior High and High School Resource Teachers

5

-viii-

by 83

by 84

List of Appendices

Appendix

1

Presentation Evaluation

Appendix

2

Learning Disabilities:

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101

Needs Assessment Survey

102

Introduction

The Learning Centre, a non-profit organization operated by the

Calgary Society for Students with Learning Difficulties, opened in 1979

with the primary goal of improving services to students with learning difficulties.

Each aspect of the Learning Centre's three-fold mandate

Research, Client Services, Professional Development



touches upon

improving the effectiveness of teachers of learning disabled students in the belief that it is through the providers of services for students

with learning difficulties that change and improvement will result. The Professional Development activities of the Learning Centre

include extensive inservice training for educators of learning disabled

students including regular class teachers, special education teachers and resource personnel.

Inservice education is recognized as essential

in the field of education where college training represents the minimum

prerequisite for entry into the teaching profession (Korinek, Schmid & McAdams, 1985).

Entry level skills and knowledge are developed over

time, with experience and with inservice training.

Factors contributing

to the need for an ongoing program of professional development include the current knowledge explosion, the rapid rate of technological change

and the expanding role of educational institutions in modern society (Pansegrau, 1984).

The need for ongoing inservice education regarding learning

disabilities is particularly important.

The field of learning

disabilities is relatively new and rapidly changing.

In a review of

special education in Canada, Bunch (1984) noted that few classes existed for teaching learning disabled students prior to 1970.

Limited

undergraduate and graduate programs in learning disabilities were available at universities across Canada.

Although research and

awareness about learning disabilities have increased dramatically in the past decade. Bunch (1984) argues that few changes have occurred in

teacher training programs. The importance of providing educators in Calgary and Southern

Alberta with access to current information about learning disabilities is supported by Bunch *s (1984) observations together with information

gathered in the Calgary area.

A survey of regular class teachers in the

two Calgary school boards indicated that the majority of professional

personnel employed in school-based positions lacked training in the area of learning disabilities with 66% of respondents reporting no training

in learning disabilities (Hiebert, 1984).

An evaluation of a sample of

programs for learning disabled students in the Calgary Board of

Education noted that there is little consistency in the training and preparation of teachers of the learning disabled (Alberta Education, 1985).

Many teachers rely on inservice training to gain knowledge about learning disabilities.

The Learning Centre receives requests to provide

professional development opportunities in learning disabilities for special education teachers, regular class teachers and resource

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personnel.

In addition, weekend workshops, courses and conferences

organized by the Learning Centre are filled to capacity attesting to the

committment of educators to gaining knowledge and strategies In the area of learning disabilities.

Effective Inservlce programs In learning disabilities are needed.

Reviews examining best practices In Inservlce education consistently Identify the Importance of planning Inservlce In response to assessed needs regarding content and delivery procedures (Hutson, 1981; Korlnek, Schmld, & McAdams, 1985; Wllen & Klndsvatter, 1978).

It Is Important to

respond to local concerns (Parish & Arends, 1983), and to differentiate the needs of each teacher based on varying levels of experience in a

particular area (Nell, 1985).

In focusing on inservlce needs in the

area of learning disabilities, it is Important to permit differentiation of interests and of self-perceived training and competence expressed by

regular school personnel and special educators (McGlnty & Keogh, 1975). The purpose of the present project was to gather Information to

contribute to designing effective inservlce programs in the area of

learning disabilities to meet the needs of educators in different contexts, such as regular versus special education, or elementary grades

versus junior high or senior high. three major sources:

The information was derived from

1) feedback from participants in inservlce

presentations offered by the Learning Centre;

2) content of inservlce

suggested by a survey of the literature relevant to determining the knowledge, skills and competencies required for effective teaching of

learning disabled students;

3) a needs assessment survey assessing

procedural preferences, areas of interest for inservlce programs in

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learning disabilities and areas of self-perceived weakness in the area of learning disabilities as indicated by teachers* self-ratings of

competence. The information gathered will be presented in three sections.

In

the first section, Learning Centre inservice programs are examined to

determine the extent of the need for inservice programs in learning disabilities, the characteristics of participants in these inservice programs, and the inservice topics they identify as areas of interest or need.

In the second section, literature is reviewed to determine the

recommended content for inservice programs in learning disabilities based on the knowledge, skills and competencies which appear to

contribute to the effective training of students with learning disabilities.

Information derived from the feedback from inservice

participants and from the literature review provided a basis for the content of a Needs Assessment Survey described in the third section. The survey tapped the self-perceived competence of educators in areas

relevant to teaching students with learning disabilities.

The survey

also tapped areas of interest for inservice training and information

regarding preferences for the delivery of inservice programs.

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Learning Centre Inservlce Programs

Between September of 1985 and March 31, 1986, Learning Centre staff offered a wide range of professional development opportunities to

persons involved in the education of students with learning

Several presentation formats were offered.

disabilities.

Table 1

presents course/workshop titles, the number of hours of instruction, and the number of participants in inservice courses for university credit

offered in person and via teleconference, and in in-depth training

courses and workshops presenting specialized teaching and assessment approaches.

Most of the inservice programs described in Table 1 were

arranged by the Learning Centre outside of school hours. was voluntary.

Participation

Participants included regular and special class

teachers, resource teachers, special services personnel, administrators,

psychologists, counsellors, and other interested professionals. The courses required substantial time commitment, and yet 325

educators in Southern Alberta made the commitment to avail themselves of these opportunities to extend their knowledge to benefit students with

learning difficulties.

The positive response to these courses provides

evidence that educators perceive the need to extend their knowledge in the area of learning disabilities and take the initiative to do so.

Table 1

Inservice Presentations Initiated by the Learning Centre Between September, 1985, and March 31, 1986

Number of Hours of Instruction

Type of Inservice

University Course Credit EDIS 549.19 Learning Disabilities in the Classroom EDIS 549.27 Selected Topics in the Understanding of Learning Disabilities Fall Teleconference Winter Teleconference

Specialized Training Workshops Instrumental Enrichment Level I Instrumental Enrichment Level II Learning Potential Assessment Device (LPAD) Fall Winter Spring

Cognitive Behavioral Techniques for Treating Impulsive Children Metacognition: A Key Ingredient in the Reading/Writing Process

TOTAL

Number of Participants

21

15

20 20

44 40

40 40

25 4

40 40 40

20 35

12

104

5

26

272

325

6

In addition to inservice programs initiated by the Learning Centre, presentations were made at the invitation of regular and special

education personnel at the school level, for groups of schools, and for school systems in the urban area and rural districts.

Presentations

varied in length from one/two hours, to half day to full day. As can be seen from Table 2, Learning Centre staff offered 28

inservice presentations within the surrounding urban area and six

presentations in other districts.

A total of 737 educators participated

in the 80 hours of inservice instruction.

Eight requests involved

general strategies for teaching students with learning disabilities,

particularly strategies applicable in the regular class.

Three requests

Six presentations considered

involved issues in behavior management.

program planning for students with learning disabilities.

Descriptions

of specific programs and approaches were requested nine times (e.g..

Instrumental Enrichment, Communication and Social Skills).

Other topics

included attention problems, assessing the readability of material,

learning strategies and current research in learning disabilities.

The

volume of requests provides further evidence that information about learning disabilities is a priority item for inservice programs in

Southern Alberta.

Learning Centre staff routinely ask inservice participants to complete an Evaluation Form (Appendix 1).

Descriptive information,

presented in Table 3, and suggestions for future inservices, presented in Table 4, were compiled for 19 presentations offered between September of 1984 and December of 1985.

Eleven presentations were half days,

were full days and one was two hours.

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7

Three hundred and ninety-seven of

Table

2

Learning Centre Inservice Presentations by Invitation Between September, 1985 and March 31, 1986

Location

Within the urban area Full Day (6 hours) Half Day (3 hours) One /two hours TOTAL

Number of Presentations

3

11 8 22

Number of hrs of instruction

18 33 8 59

Outside the urban area Full Day (6 hours) Half Day (3 hours) TOTAL

1

6

5

__15

6

21

Number of Participant!

75 309 153 537

Table 3

Descriptive Information for Participants in Learning Centre Inservice Programs (September, 1984 - December, 1985)

N

Age Range 18-20 years 21-30 years 31-40 years 41-50 years 51-60 years 61-70 years Present Occupation Classroom Teacher Special Education -unspecified -LD teacher -Resource Room -Compensatory Resource Personnel Counsellors ESL Teachers ECS Teachers Teacher Intern Administrator University Student Child Care Worker Undetermined Years in Present Occupation 1 year I- 2 years 3-5 years 6-10 years II- 15 years more than 15 years

382

Frequency

2

126 151 74 15 14

362

(.5) 33

40 19 4 4

130

36

34 13 51

4

22 13 26 2

8 2

12 29

352

Percent

9

14 6 4 7 (.5) 2

(.5) 3 8

9

2

11

3

9

3

71 106 91

43

20 30 26 12

32

9

Table 4

Suggestions for Future Inservlce Presentations made by Participants In Learning Centre Presentations (September, 1984 - December, 1985)

Instructional Strategies for Teaching LP Students -In-depth presentations In content areas - language arts - mathematics - science -Specific strategies for reading, spelling, dictionary skills, study strategies -Application of cognitive strategies In the classroom -Curriculum planning -Program differentiation for LD students In the regular classroom -Adolescents: writing skills, survival skills

Assessment -Many requests for demonstrations of new and/or frequently used assessment Instruments -Diagnostic testing for individual program planning/ interpreting test data (formal and Informal) and making program recommendations Specific Topics -Cognitive Behavior Management -Instrumental Enrichment -Self-esteem -Social Deficits -Attention Deficits -Attention Problems -Language Remediation -Use of computers with LD students -Learning styles Topics for Particular Target Groups -Language Arts Teachers -Math teachers -Counsellor (learning strategies, organizational skills) -Principals

the 513 participants completed the Evaluation Form for a return rate of 77%.

As can be seen from Table 3, the majority of respondents (73%)

were between 21 and 40 years of age.

Twenty-three percent were very

early in their careers, that is, one to two years, when concerns about self and feelings of inadequacy may be present along with concerns about

teaching impact (Reeves & Kazelskis, 1985).

Fifty-three percent had

been in their present occupation for three to 10 years when concerns about teaching impact are high (Reeves & Kazelskis, 1985).

The two

largest groups represented were classroom teachers (36%) and special

education personnel (33%) suggesting that regular class teachers are as committed to increasing their knowledge about learning disabilities as are special education personnel.

Counsellors (7%) also sought further

training to assist in meeting the needs of students with learning disabilities.

The participation by university students (8%) suggests

that they perceive a need to supplement the information about learning

disabilities available in their university courses. The participants suggested many topics they would like to see

included in future inservice presentations (see Table 4).

The diversity

of topics included instructional strategies, assessment approaches,

specific programs and problem areas and content of particular interest to specialized target groups (e.g.. Math teachers).

The wide range of

content suggested and the diverse teaching roles of the inservice

participants further indicated that a systematic assessment of the needs of identified groups of educators was required to plan more effective

inservice programs.

As a basis for developing a survey to assess these

needs, a review of the literature was undertaken to identify the areas

most relevant to the effective teaching of learning disabled students.

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Literature Review:

Knowledge, Skills and Competencies Needed

by Teachers of Students with Learning Disabilities

As one approach to selecting content and specifying objectives of

inservice programs in learning disabilities, relevant literature and

research were reviewed to determine the essential knowledge, skills and competencies required for effective teaching of learning disabled students.

Method of Review Several approaches were adopted to yield a comprehensive review of

relevant literature.

A computer search (ERIC) was conducted using

suitable descriptors, namely, learning disabilities, teacher competencies, teacher effectiveness.

In addition, manual searches were

made for the years 1980 through 1986 in the indexes of Exceptional

Children , Exceptional Education Quarterly , Journal of Learning Disabilities , Topics in Learning and Learning Disabilities , Remedial and Special Education , Teacher Education and Special Education (1982 and 1984), Teaching Exceptional Children , Special Education in Canada .

Relevant textbooks were examined for reference to knowledge, skills and competencies appropriate for educators of learning disabled students.

Knowledge, Skills and Competencies The review of literature highlighted two areas of need:

a)

knowledge, skills and competencies needed by special education teachers of learning disabled students; and b) knowledge, skills and competencies

needed by regular class teachers of LD students.

These two areas are

presented separately. A)

Special Education Teachers of LD students In the area of learning disabilities, a comprehensive document was

set forth in 1978 in the United States by the Division for Children with

Learning Disabilities (DCLD) which may be viewed as encompassing what LD professionals are supposed to know, or be able to do.

The document.

Competencies for Teachers of Learning Disabled Youth (Newcomer, 1978) itemizes eleven major areas of competence:

oral language, reading,

written expression, spelling, mathematics, cognition, behavioral management, counselling and consulting, career /vocational education,

educational operations and historical-theoretical perspectives.

Within

eight of these areas, competencies in general knowledge, assessment and

instruction were described.

The validity of the competencies was based

upon professional concensus and represented the prevalent opinions current at that time.

The competency statements were seen as guidelines

to be modified and altered as changes occurred in the field of learning

disabilities and as empirical data were gathered regarding the validity of the competencies described.

Newcomer (1978) outlined four possible uses of the competency statements:

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1) to provide guidelines for the development or modification of teacher

training programs, 2) to establish

certification standards for professionals in learning

disabilities, 3) to serve as criteria for employment,

4) to provide standards for monitoring ongoing professional practices.

The fourth use is of primary interest here as the competency

statements may influence the content of inservice training (Leigh, 1980).

To determine the appropriate content for inservice training

planned for teachers in a school, one may consider existing competencies and perceived needed competencies (Chalfant, Pysh & Moultrie, 1979). The eleven areas of competence outlined in the DCLD document are

used as guidelines in organizing literature relevant to determining

knowledge, skills and competencies needed by special education teachers of learning disabled students.

Oral Language .

There is professional concensus that teachers of

LD students need general information and competency in the assessment and instruction of oral language (DCLD, 1978).

Information about oral

language is included in textbooks and considerable research emphasizes the oral language difficulties of LD students (e.g., Donahue, 1984;

Dudley-Marling, 1985; Wiig, 1984). Local education agency administrators (USA) rated competency in language remediation and development as desirable in preparation programs for secondary special education teachers; fewer

college/university administrators rated language remediation as important (Miller, Sabatino, & Larsen, 1980).

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LD professionals rated competencies in the area of oral language as important for being able to function at maximum efficiency in their

occupations, but some professionals did not believe that they were fully

competent in this area (Freeman & Becker, 1979; Newcomer, 1982).

Thus,

knowledge about oral language is important for LD teachers, but may not be emphasized in college/university preparation of secondary special

education teachers, and practising professionals may not feel competent in this area.

Reading.

DCLD (1978) competency statements included general

knowledge about developmental, corrective and remedial reading; assessment of reading for screening, evaluation, diagnosis, and ongoing monitoring; and corrective and remedial instruction in reading.

Professional concensus about the importance of reading for teachers of

LD students is further supported by the extensive emphasis given to reading in relevant textbooks.

Difficulty with reading is one of the

most critical problems facing a significant number of LD children (Reid & Hresko, 1981).

The importance of competencies in the area of reading is evident in surveys of practicising LD teachers.

Freeman & Becker (1979) and

Newcomer (1982) reported that LD professionals rated reading as the most important competency area and felt most proficient in reading skills.

Junior and senior high school resource teachers reported spending the most time remediating basic skills (including reading) and ranked

this activity as their most important teaching role (Wells, Schmid,

Algozzine & Maher, 1983).

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Professional concensus about the importance of competencies in the

area of reading is supported by empirical data which points to the

relationship between reading instruction and achievement of LD students.

For example, active academic responding time spent in oral

reading is positively correlated with achievement scores for grade 3 and 4 LD students (Thurlow, Graden, et al. 1983; Thurlow, Ysseldyke et al.,

1984).

Even though there is wide support for the importance of competence in the area of reading for LD professionals working at all grade levels,

LD teachers at the secondary level may not have adequate opportunities to develop competence.

Remedial reading was rated as desirable in

preparation programs for secondary special education teachers by fewer than half of college/university administrators and special education

directors surveyed in the USA (48.6% and 37.6%, respectively) (Miller et al., 1980).

Written Expression and Spelling .

Competence in general knowledge,

assessment, and instruction in written expression and in spelling are included in the DCLD (1978) statements.

Textbooks for LD professionals

Include information about both of these areas.

LD professionals rated competencies in written expression and spelling as important for being able to function at maximum efficiency in their roles.

However, in contrast to self-reported competence in

reading and spelling some professionals did not believe they were fully competent in the area of written expression (Freeman and Becker, 1979; Newcomer, 1982).

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Junior and senior high school resource teachers reported spending the most time in remediating basic skills (including written expression

and spelling) and ranked this activity as their most important teaching

role (Wells et al., 1983).

As was found for reading, active academic responding time spent in

writing is positively correlated with achievement scores of grade 3 and 4 LD students (Thurlow, Graden et al., 1983; Thurlow, Ysseldyke et al.,

1984).

Mathematics .

Professional concensus (DCLD statements and

textbooks) supports competence in mathematics as important for the

effective teaching of LD students.

Junior and senior high school resource teachers included

mathematics as one of the basic areas which they spend time remediating (Wells et al., 1983).

Carpenter (1985) reported that elementary and

secondary students in resource rooms spend an average of one-third of the allocated time in mathematics instruction indicating that

mathematics is an important area of content instruction for resource room teachers.

Considerable evidence suggests that while competence in

mathematics is viewed as important, teachers of LD students may not feel adequately trained in this area.

LD professionals rated competencies in

the area of mathematics as important for being able to function at

maximum efficiency, but some professionals did not believe they were fully competent in this area (Freeman & Becker, 1979; Newcomer, 1982).

Fitzmaurice (1980) reported that teachers of LD students perceived themselves as weak in certain areas of mathematics content, assessment

-17-

and methodology (self-ratings on DCLD mathematics competencies).

There

was no correlation between the number of university credits earned in

mathematics courses and the number of areas in which teachers felt confident.

In another study (Carpenter, 1985), elementary and secondary

resource teachers did not rate all of the DCLD mathematics competency statements as important to their current teaching activities, and the two groups did not consider all competencies equally important.

Ratings

of self-perceived competence indicated that there were areas rated as

important in which teachers did not feel confident (e.g. use of scope and sequence charts in assessment).

Cognition .

The DCLD (1978) document includes the area of

cognition with competency statements including general knowledge, assessment and instruction topics.

However, LD professionals did not

rate competence in the area of cognition as particularly important for

being able to function at maximum efficiency (Newcomer, 1982).

In

addition, textbooks do not always include extensive information on cognition.

Many current texts do include information on the

problem-solving skills, learning strategies and metacognition which appear to be highly important in teaching LD students in light of recent

research emphasizing the strategy deficits of LD students (e.g., Deshler, Warner, Schumaker, & Alley, 1983; Gearheart, De Ruiter, & Sileo, 1986; Reid & Hresko, 1981; Torgesen & Kicht, 1983).

Behavioral Management .

Competence in addressing social/affective

factors and classroom behavior problems are seen as important in the

effective management of LD students (DCLD, 1978).

Interpersonal

communication skills training for resource teachers has been shown to be

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related to gains in student achievement suggesting that affective

variables are important to teachers* overall effectiveness (Robinson & Brosh, 1980).

Relevant textbooks include consideration of behavior management issues.

Social and emotional issues are becoming more prevalent in

textbooks, likely in recognition of growing concern about the social

interaction problems experienced by many LD students (e.g., Bryan & Bryan, 1983).

Social development, social adjustment, self-esteem,

motivation and social skill training are considered to be important areas of classroom instruction by researchers, writers and teacher

trainers (Wells et al., 1983).

Newcomer (1978) reported that LD "teachers are surprisingly unconvinced of the importance of competence in behavior management". However, other studies support the importance of behavior management

competencies.

LD professionals rated behavior management competencies

as highly important (Freeman & Becker, 1979).

Competencies in behavior

management are considered important in the preparation of secondary special education teachers by approximately half of the

college/university and education agency administrators surveyed in the

USA (Miller et al., 1980). Wells (1983) found that approximately one-fourth of the junior and senior high resource teachers surveyed rated developing appropriate

behavior patterns and skills, and developing appropriate values and intact personality structure, as important aspects of their teaching role.

However, these teachers reported that little of their time was

spent in the following areas:

modifying inappropriate behavior,

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developing appropriate values system, developing intact personality structure, and counselling (Wells et al., 1983).

Counselling and Consulting .

The DCLD (1978) document included

competency statements related to consulting with teachers and administrators, consulting and counselling with parents, consulting and

counselling with children.

LD professionals rated all of these areas as

important for effective job performance (Newcomer, 1982).

Freeman and

Becker (1979) reported that LD professionals rated competencies in

consulting with teachers and administrators as highly important. The role of the resource teacher has undergone changes.

Consultative services to other school personnel and parents are becoming an important aspect of the resource teacher's role (e.g., Wiederholt,

Hammil, & Bacon, 1983).

Resource teacher's perceptions of their

responsibilities include consulting as an expected role (Brown, Kiraly & McKinnon, 1979).

Resource teachers, regular class teachers, and

principals indicated that consultation should be part of the resource teacher's role and resource teachers were judged to be moderately

skilled in consultation (Friend, 1984).

When compared with less

effective teachers, the more effective special education teachers as judged by their supervisors, were extensively involved with other school

personnel and with parents (Westling et al., 1981). The emphasis on consultative services is not shared by all special

educators.

Junior and senior high resource teachers reported that they

spend very little time consulting with general educators or counselling students.

Few (11-13%) rated consultant services to central education

staff as an important aspect of their teaching role.

-20-

The lack of

concern for working with general educators was viewed as disturbing by Wells et al. (1983) who stressed the prevailing view that the resource room concept implies a partnership between the general education and the

special education teachers. In view of the increasing emphasis on consultative services, it is of concern that resource teachers often feel inadequately prepared to

function as consultants (Evans, 1981).

Consequently, inservice training

programs have been developed in this area.

For example, Cohen and

Safran (1981) described a training model for LD resource teachers which

was developed in response to a perceived deficiency in training to carry out consultative functions.

Career /Vocational Education .

Competency in career /vocational

education is included in the DCLD (1978) statement.

However, these

issues are not always included in relevant textbooks, nor do LD

professionals view career /vocational education as particularly important for being able to function at maximum efficiency (Newcomer, 1982).

This area becomes more important to secondary-level special

educators even though career planning must begin early for LD students (Newcomer, 1978).

Approximately half of university/college and

education agency administrators surveyed in the USA considered competencies in career education as desirable in the training of secondary special educators (Miller et al., 1980).

Career education is

gaining emphasis as an important component of the high school education of LD students (Haight, 1985).

There may be a growing emphasis on career/vocational education for older LD students, but this information is not always included in

-21-

programs for LD students.

For example, junior and senior high resource

teachers reported that virtually no time was spent in developing career and vocational skills.

Only 11% of junior high teachers and 18% of

senior high school teachers ranked developing career and vocational skills as an important role of resource teachers (Wells et al., 1983).

Educational Operations

.

Competencies included in this section of

the DCLD (1978) statement involve assessment, materials, audio/visual,

learning environment, and instruction.

information on these topics.

Most textbooks include

LD professionals rated competency in

assessment, learning environment, and instruction as important to their

professional roles (Newcomer, 1982).

Professional concensus points to the importance of competence in assessment which may not always be evident in practice.

Junior high and

senior high school resource teachers reported that they spent little time in administering screening and diagnostic tests, and only

one-fourth of the teachers surveyed viewed testing as an important role (Wells et al., 1983).

Only half of the LD teachers surveyed by Wesson,

King, and Deno (1984) used direct and frequent measurement even though this technique has been found to contribute to improved achievement.

Compared to less effective special education teachers, more effective special education teachers (as judged by their supervisors) used

pre-post evaluations of student performance (Westling et al., 1981).

Assessment is used extensively in the education of learning disabled students.

However, Bennett and Shepherd (1982) demonstrated

that LD specialists lacked proficiency in basic measurement concepts

essential to competent assessment.

On the average, the LD specialists

-22-

correctly answered only half of a series of test questions tapping

knowledge of measurement concepts. Competencies in instruction as outlined in the DCLD statement provide general guidelines for effective instruction.

The more

effective special education teachers described by Westling et al (1981)

provided more small group and individual instruction than less effective teachers.

The more effective teachers also developed their own

curriculum.

Although few studies have examined teacher effectiveness in special education, teacher effectiveness has been widely examined in the

regular classroom.

Yuzdepski and Elliot (1985) identified 19 variables

that have been consistently related to student achievement.

Of these

variables, direct instruction characteristics, academic learning time and time on task have been investigated with LD students.

Englert (1983, 1984) examined direct instruction factors which

affected LD students* achievement in tutoring sessions conducted by teacher trainees.

LD students made greater gains when the teachers

maintained a high presentation rate with many correct student responses, were more successful in managing student behavior, prompted rather than told correct answers following student errors, stated objectives,

presented more examples, provided practice in problem areas and used pre-questioning. Thurlow, Graden et al., (1983) and Thurlow, Ysseldyke et al., (1984) found that active academic responding time (not just listening)

in reading aloud and writing were related to academic achievement gains

made by grade 3 and 4 students.

-23-

Although academic responding time represents opportunity to learn and promotes success, several studies indicate that LD students are

actively engaged in learning for a small proportion of the school day. LD students in five different service delivery models (in regular classes, in regular classes with individual help in class, in regular

class with up to half a day in resource room, more than half day in

resource room, full-time LD class placement) did not differ in

opportunities to learn:

43 minutes/day (13% of school day) constituted

academic responding time (Thurlow, Ysseldyke et al., 1984).

In other

studies, grade 3 and 4 LD students were observed to be engaged in

academic responding for 29 minutes/day in the resource room and 19

minutes/day in the regular class (Thurlow, Graden et al., 1983; Thurlow, Ysseldyke et al., 1983a), for 40 minutes of a 60 minute reading lesson (Ysseldyke et al., 1984) and for 29 minutes of a 95 minute resource room

lesson (Thurlow, Ysseldyke et al., 1983b).

Miramontes, Cheng, and

Trueber (1984) reported that LD students actually received little direct

instruction in reading:

during a one-and-one half hour reading class,

only 23% of the class time was spent directly on reading.

While knowledge of the principles of assessment and effective instruction are thought to be important for LD professionals, assessment

may not be a strength area in practice.

The important variables

contributing to effective instruction are not clear because there is a lack of research relevant to teacher effectiveness in special

education.

The available research identifies a few variables of

effective teaching which may not be widely observed in practice.

Historical-Theoretical Perspectives

-24-

.

Competency statements

included in the DCLD (1978) document involve the history of learning This

disabilities, program models, and professional organizations.

information is also common in relevant textbooks.

However, LD

professionals indicated that they had little interest in this

information and it had little relevance to practice (Newcomer, 1982). B)

Regular Class Teachers of LD Students The movement towards integration of LD students into regular

classes has increased the need for regular class teachers to acquire the knowledge, skills, and competencies to promote the effective teaching of

LD students in their classes.

As yet, very little information is

available in the literature to indicate what areas of competence are important for regular class teachers of LD students.

A limited number

of studies are noted below.

Professional concensus by Special Education State Directors in the

USA generated a list of 11 competencies (skills, knowledge, attitudes) that teachers of integrated classes should possess (Monaco & Chappetta, 1978).

The 11 competencies, ranked in order of importance from most to

least important were:

individualizes instruction, comprehends the

abilities of handicapped and exceptional students, evaluates and diagnoses student's ability and progress, provides a humanly supportive environment, uses behavioral managment strategies, works cooperatively

with adults in the school setting, utilizes the psychology of learning and instruction, evaluates the utility of various instructional

strategies, interprets task analysis, evaluates the appropriateness of

resources for program use, promotes the mainstream concept. special educators in Quebec ranked the importance of these 11

-25-

Canadian

competencies in the Canadian context (Sokolyk, 1981). ranked were:

Among the highest

provides a humanly supportive environment, individualizes

instruction, comprehends the abilities of handicapped and exceptional students, evaluates and diagnoses student's ability and progress.

Self-reports of perceived levels of competence of regular educators in California indicated a lack of background and knowledge about exceptional pupils and a particular need for inservice training to

include the development of individualized instructional programs for

exceptional pupils, to increase understanding of the social and

affective aspects of integration, and issues of behavior management (McGinty & Keogh, 1975).

Skill in classroom management has been shown to be important in the effective teaching of LD and emotionally disturbed students in

grades 3-6 regular classrooms (Borg & Ascione, 1982).

The students

taught by teachers trained in classroom management showed increased

on-task behavior and decreased deviant behavior compared with students in control classrooms.

The teacher behaviors reported to be related to

positive student outcomes were:

positive questioning techniques,

alerting cues, peer involvement, non-academic specific praise, general praise and fewer teacher interruptions.

Powers (1983) suggested important content areas for inservice programs designed to provide regular class teachers with opportunities for developing the knowledge, skills and attitudes prerequisite to the

effective integration of handicapped, including LD, students. suggested that the teachers need information on instructional

-26-

He

strategies, strategies for the individualization of instruction and how to translate contemporary research into classroom practice.

teachers in particular may need training in:

Secondary

peer tutoring strategies,

techniques for dealing with underachievers , modification of teaching strategies, questioning skills and assessment skills.

LD students may require special considerations in content area classes.

important.

Shake and Domaracki (1984) outlined several factors felt to be

Communication between content area teachers, resource room

teachers and reading teachers is essential.

Content area teachers need

to adapt instructional goals and plans and therefore need to be aware of

the readability level of materials, the LD students* base of prior

knowledge and appropriate evaluation techniques. Summary The review of the literature indicated that there is a dearth of

empirical data identifying the knowledge, skills and competencies required by teachers of LD students.

It appears that regular class

teachers may need different competencies than special education

personnel but little information is available to assist in describing

what these teachers need to know to effectively instruct LD students in their regular classes.

There are indications that regular class

teachers lack confidence in their ability to teach LD students

effectively (McGinty & Keogh, 1975).

Although much more attention has been devoted to identifying the competencies required by special education personnel, the competencies are derived from professional concensus.

The ultimate test of the

validity of specific teacher competencies is to show a relationship

-27-

between their demonstration and gains in student achievement, but such studies are rare in special education. The available data do suggest that many LD professionals lack

confidence in their competence in several areas which they consider to be important in the effective educational management of LD students (e.g., oral language, written expression, mathematics, consulting).

LD

professionals at the elementary and secondary levels may differ in areas they perceive to be important and in their training (e.g., language

remediation, reading, career/vocational)

.

Some areas are not

consistently emphasized in practice but are stressed by experts in learning disabilities, such as consulting, cognition (problem-solving,

learning strategies, metacognition)

,

behavior management,

career /vocational education at young ages, and measurement issues in assessment. The competencies explored in the review of the literature may be

used as a basis for assessing the needs of local educators in different contexts:

regular versus special education, and elementary versus

junior high versus senior high.

Self-perceived competence and

identified areas of interest will help define and differentiate the inservice priorities of various target groups.

-28-

Learning Disabilities:

Needs Assessment Survey

The feedback from participants in Learning Centre inservice

presentations, and the literature reviewed, indicated the importance of

determining local needs for inservice training in learning disabilities of regular and special education personnel at the elementary, junior

high and high school levels.

The Learning Disabilities Needs Assessment

Survey (Appendix 2) permitted differentiation of interests and of self -perceived training and competence expressed by teachers varying in

teaching roles and in experience in the area of learning disabilities.

Nineteen general information topics, 11 assessment topics and 15 instruction/remediation topics were included in the survey. These topics were derived from the DCLD (1978) statement of competencies, from topics specified in relevant textbooks, and from topics suggested by participants in Learning Centre inservice programs.

The survey of content was combined with descriptive and procedural

information to provide a basis for planning more effective inservice to meet better the needs of regular and special education personnel.

METHOD The Learning Disabilities;

major sections:

Needs Assessment Survey contained three

A) background and identification information including

position, grade level, content areas taught, sex, age range, educational

background, and training in the area of learning disabilities; B) questions on the planning and presentation of inservice training

which tapped preferences for the scheduling of inservice, the personnel to be included in planning, the presentation format, and the reasons and

incentives most likely to encourage attendance at an inservice training program;

C) a section tapping teachers* self -ratings of competence in

areas related to general information about learning disabilities,

assessment, and instruction/remediation, and questions directed at

determining the topics of most interest for an inservice program in learning disabilities.

A total of 1010 questionnaires were distributed to regular and special education class teachers across elementary, junior high and high school levels, and to selected special services personnel in two school

systems in a large urban centre as follows: A)

School System A - 10% random sample of all regular classsroom teachers generated by

selecting every tenth name from a computerized alphabetical listing of

professional staff excluding administrators and special education personnel (438 personnel); - special education personnel including all teachers of

classes for students with learning disabilities, all Resource Teachers and Program Specialists (330 personnel); B)

School System B - 10% randon sample of all regular classroom teachers generated by

selecting every tenth name from a computerized alphabetical listing of

-30-

professional staff teaching in regular classrooms (193 personnel); - Special education personnel including all Resource Room

teachers. Remedial Language Arts teachers and Guidance

Consultants (49 personnel) The data were analyzed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS).

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION The final return rate for the questionnaires was 293 for System A (38%) and 104 for System B (43%) for a total return rate of 39%.

Descriptive Infomation

A total of 180 regular class teachers comprising 45% of the total sample responded to the questionnaire.

Descriptive information for the

regular class teachers is presented in Table 5.

One hundred and six

regular class respondents were from System A (27% of the total sample) and 74 were from System B (19% of the total sample).

As can be seen

from Table 5, the respondents from the two school systems were similar in sex distribution, the age ranges represented and the years of

teaching experience reported.

The regular class teachers from

the two school systems were combined for further analyses. The

majority of these respondents were female (69%). percent taught at the elementary level 6);

Sixty-three

(kindergarten to grade

20% taught junior high (grades 7 to 9) and 15% taught senior high

school (grades 10 to 12). The majority of regular class teachers were under 50 years of age (85%) and had more than two years of teaching experience.

-31-

Table 5

Regular Class Teachers:

Descriptive Information

System A (n=106) Frequency % Category:

7-9

-

Unknown Category: 2 or

less

3 to 7 8 to 15

16 or more Unknown

Frequency %

64 22 17

60 21 16

49 14 10

66 19 14

3

3

1

1

28 74

26 70

22 51

30

4

3

23

22 39 32 4 1

113 36 27 4

63 20 15 2

11 69

50 125

28 69

5

3

28 32 27 11

44 55 54 12

24 31 30

0 1

1 4

Age Range

30 Years 40 50 60 More than 60

21 31 41 51

Frequency %

Sex

Male Female Unknown Category:

Total (n^lSO)

(n=56)

Grades Served

Kindergarten - Grade 6 Grades Grades 10 - 12 Unknown Category:

System B

41 34 4 1 3

2

21 24 20 8 0 1

6

.05 2

Years of Teaching Experience 4

4

33 36 31

31 34 40 1

2

11 22 23 28 0

5

3

30 31 38

55 59 59

31 33 33

0

2

1

Approximately equal distributions of respondents were observed across the age ranges of 21 to 30 years, 31 to 40 years and 41 to 50 years.

Approximately one-third of the regular class teachers had three to seven years of teaching experience, another third reported eight to 15 years of experience and another third over 15 years.

Thus, the characteristics of the samples of regular class teachers

who responded to the survey from the two shool systems were similar.

Elementary grade teachers and women were most highly represented in the total sample.

Respondents were fairly evenly distributed across age

ranges and years of teaching experience with few respondents in the

beginning years of their teaching career.

Descriptive information for special education personnel are presented in Table 6.

Special education services are offered in

different ways by the two school systems surveyed.

In System A,

approximately 115 special class teachers teach segregated classes for students with learning disabilities who are integrated into certain

activities within regular classes according to individual capability and program; each school has a Resource teacher to assist regular classroom

teachers to modify the curriculum for students with exceptional needs;

Program Specialists assist Resource teachers and special class teachers in a group of schools.

In System B, students with learning disabilites

may receive assistance from a Resource Room teacher for up to 50% of the school day while registered in a regular class, or from a Remedial

Language Arts teacher for 70% of the school day with integration where appropriate.

Special Services Consultants assist teachers in meeting

the needs of students with learning disabilities.

-33-

Table 6

Special Education Personnel:

Descriptive Information

System A Resource LD Class (n-=107) Freq %

Category:

More 21 31 41 51

(n-182) Freq %

6

63 29

14

4 1

7

2

72 17 11

2

0

0

7

13 87

4

49

14

0

0

0

0

22 78 0

9

23 22

2

9

41 39 16

2

4

2

11 50 22 11

0

0

1

6

7

0 4

61 34

57 32

16

9

8 3

86

20 80

0

10 52 39

49 36

4

4

2

2

3

35

3

110 53 15 4

60 29 8 2

Sex

Male Female Unknovm Category:

%

Total

Grades Served

Kindergarten - Grade Grades 7 - 9 Grades 10 - 12 Unknown Category:

56)

Freq

System B Special Class (n-19) Freq %

21

32

18

149

82

0

0

Age Range

30 Years 40 50 60 than 60

9 4

35 83 52

19 46 29

8 3

4

3 29 37 30 0

2

Unknown Category: 2

or less

3 to 7 8 to 15 16 or more

Unknown

Years of Teaching Experience 1

1

20 47 39

19 44 36

0

0

4 29 15 8

52 27 14

0

0

0

5

8

22 33 44

53 68 55

0

0

0

6

The descriptive information in Table 6 is presented for the

special class teachers of the two systems combined, i.e., the Learning

Disabilities class teachers of System A and the Resource Room and

Remedial Language Arts class teachers of System B.

Data for the

Resource teachers of System A are presented separately as their role differs from that of special class teachers. As can be seen from Table 6, the characteristics of the special

education personnel were similar to those of the regular class teachers in terms of age distribution and the years of teaching experience.

The

grade levels served reflect the administrative structures in that the

number of special classes decreases in junior high and in senior high school.

Sixty percent of the special education personnel responding to

the survey served the elementary grades,

29% served junior high and 8%

served senior high.

Thirty-five of the respondents (9%) indicated that their current position was in "Special Services". described.

A variety of special services were

Eleven of these respondents were special education

personnel, seven were counsellors, four were librarians and the

remainder were specialists in the following areas:

early childhood

services, English as a second language, physical education, adult

education, computers, work experience, vocational education and special projects.

These personnel were included in the analyses of Section B

data determining the mechanics of inservice delivery but were excluded from other analyses because their numbers were small and their diverse roles differed from those of the regular class teachers, special class

teachers and Resource teachers.

-35-

Respondents indicated previous training received in the area of learning disabilities.

As can be seen from Table 7,

few

regular class teachers at any grade level had training in the area of learning disabilities (28%).

In contrast, 83% of special

class teachers and 74% of Resource teachers reported having

received training.

Of the special education personnel. Resource

teachers at the junior high level reported the least training in The lack of training in learning

learning disabilities (62%).

disabilities reported by regular class teachers is consistent with a previous report that 66% of regular class teachers had no training in

learning disabilities (Hiebert, 1984).

Regular class teachers who had training in the area of learning disabilities had received this training in their

undergraduate university program (22%), but few had pursued graduate training (3%) or inservice training (6%). In contrast,

many special education personnel participated in inservice training in learning disabilities (54% of special class teachers and 65% of Resource teachers).

Special class teachers and

Resource teachers were similar in graduate training in learning disabilities (29% and 22%, respectively); however, more of the special class teachers reported undergraduate training (57%

versus 21% of Resource teachers). It is striking that little training in learning disabilities was

received in undergraduate university training confirming Bunch's (1984)

observations that Canadian universities offer limited courses and

opportunities in this area.

The importance of inservice programs is

-36-

Table 7

Training In the Area of Learning Disabilities

N

Regular Class Teachersl Grades K-6 113 Grades 7-9 36 Grades 10-12 27 Total 176

Have Training % Freq

31 12 6

49

27 33 22 28

Under Grad X Freq

24 10 5

39

21 28 19 22

Graduate Freq X

Inservlce X Freq

3

3

9

2

5 4

0

8 0

2

7

3

11

6

26 37 33 29

25 10

53 53 67 54

1 6

Special Education Personnel A.

Special Class Teachers2 Grades K-6 47 Grades 7-9 19 Grades 10-12 6 Total 72

Resource Teachers3 Grades K-6 63 Grades 7-9 34 Grades 10-12 9 Total 106

39 18 5 62

48 21 7

78

83 95 83 86

76 62 78 74

28 12 1

41

14 7

1

22

1 Includes regular class teachers from both System

56 63 17 57

12

22 21 11 21

15

7 2

21

7

1

23

24 21 11 22

A and B. Includes Learning Disabilities class teachers from System A and Resource Room and Remedial Language Arts teachers from System B. 3 Includes Resource teachers from System A. 2

4

39

43 19 7

69

68 55 78 65

clear.

More than half of the special education personnel extended their

knowledge of learning disabilities through inservice training pointing to the need for ongoing opportunities.

In contrast, regular class

teachers had few preservice or inservice opportunities for training in

learning disabilities.

It follows that inservice programs are an

important, but neglected, vehicle for offering regular class teachers

information about learning disabilities. Only 30 respondents specified the inservice courses which had provided training in the area of learning disabilities.

The

types of inservice included specific inservices arranged for

various special education personnel (70%), clinical reading and

learning disabilities inservice courses offered through a

university (17%), and conferences (13%).

Respondents were asked to indicate what they had found to be most helpful in preparing them to work with students with

learning difficulties (See Table 8).

As most regular class

teachers had not had specialized preservice or inservice training in learning disabilities or special class experience, the

majority (59%) indicated that regular class experience was the most helpful preparation. On the whole, special class teachers indicated that special class experience was the most helpful form of preparation for

them (65%).

However, there were differences across grade levels

with special class teachers at the high school level reporting that specialized inservice training (50%) and regular class

experience (67%) were more helpful than special class experience (17%).

-38-

Table 8 Most Helpful Preparation for Working with Students with Learning Difficulties

Specialized Inservice Training

Specialized Preservlce Training

N

Regular Class Teacher s^ Grades K-6 113 Grades 7-9 36 Grades 10-12 27 Total 176

Freq

%

Freq

10

9 6

25

2

1

14

4 8

6

%

22 17

2

7

33

19

20

43 26 50 39

Regular Special Class Class Experiences

Freq

71 17 16 104

Freq

%

63 47 59 59

12 7

11 19

2

7

21

12

30 16

64 84 17 65

Special Education Personnel A.

Special Class Teachers2 Grades K-6 47 9 Grades 7-9 19 6 Grades 10-12 6 2 Total 72 17

Resource Teachers3 Grades K-6 63 Grades 7-9 34 Grades 10-12 9 Total 106

19 32 33 24

5 3

28

10

16

3 0

9

46 21

0 12

74

13

7

73 62 78 70

1 Includes regular class teachers from both System

17 6 4

27

23 15 2

40

36 32 67 38

37 44 22 38

A and B. Includes Learning Disabilities class teachers from System A and Resource Room and Remedial Language Arts teachers from System B. 3 Includes Resource teachers from System A. 2

1

47

23 7 2

32

37 21 22 30

Resource teachers working at all grade levels indicated that the most helpful preparation for working with students with

learning difficulties was specialized inservice training (70%), followed by regular class experience (38%) and special class

experience (30%).

It is evident that inservice opportunities have been

most important in preparing Resource teachers to work effectively with

LD students and their teachers. Open-ended questions asked respondents to indicate strengths in their training which enable them to meet better the needs of

students with learning difficulties in their current teaching situations.

Fifty-one respondents noted the perceived strengths

of university training.

Twenty-five percent of these respondents

listed strength areas involving specific knowledge about the learning process and learning disabilities. a strength by 22% of the respondents.

Theory was cited as

Nineteen percent described

assessment and testing procedures as strengths of their

university training.

Other strength areas specified by the 51

respondents included reading courses (14%), practicum experience (6%), familiarity with materials (8%), and counselling (6%).

Fewer respondents (29) specified weaknesses in their

university training.

Forty-one percent of these respondents

described few opportunities to learn about learning disabilities because there was a lack of courses about learning disabilities and

few references to learning disabilities in courses for regular educators.

These criticisms are in keeping with Bunch's (1984)

observations that university training opportunities have been limited.

-40-

Other weaknesses cited were lack of specific information (24%), too much

theory (10%), lack of practical applications and experience (17%), and

unclear expectations of students (7%).

Sixty-three respondents described strengths of inservice training in preparing them to meet the needs of students with

learning difficulties.

The perceived strengths were related to the

content of the inservice programs.

Forty-six percent of the

strengths cited involved practical information about teaching

strategies important for learning disabled students.

Other strengths

were general knowledge which increased understanding of learning disabilities (40%), testing and program planning (11%), and information for parents (3%). The weaknesses in inservice training described by 23

respondents referred to both content and delivery issues.

Weaknesses in content were in the areas of specific practical teaching strategies (48%) and diagnosis/remediation (9%).

Inservice programs were also criticized for offering too much

information in too short a time (9%) and for repetition (13%).

Thirteen percent cited lack of opportunities for inservice in learning disabilities and 17% criticized the lack of follow-up and monitoring.

The data from Section A of the survey indicated that special

education teachers had more training in learning disabilities than regular class teachers and that inservice was an important source of that training.

Regular class teachers in particular had few

opportunities to access information about learning disabilities both

-41-

during preservice university training and through inservice.

Perceived

strengths and weaknesses of training indicated the need for greater access to practical information about learning disabilities and for improved

delivery of inservice.

Planning and Delivery of Inservice Prograns The seven questions of Section B dealt with the mechanical and administrative aspects of inservice programming.

Questions

and summaries of responses are presented in Tables 9 through 15. The number of responses and the percent of those ranking the

answers 1 to 4 or 1 to 5 are shown in each case. of the rank is noted for each question.

The direction

The data for the

questions of Section B were collapsed across school systems, across grade levels and across regular and special education

personnel because the order of preferences was consistent across these groups.

The few differences observed across groups will be noted

where appropriate.

Responses of the 35 Special Service personnel are also

included in these analyses. Best Time of Year As can be seen from Table 9, respondents preferred inservice

presentations to be held between September and December (65%). The period from January through March was the second preference (54%).

There was

strong agreement among respondents (83%) that the worst time of year for

inservice was after school was out in June. Best Time of Week

Four times of the week were ranked to determine the best time of week for inservice programs (see Table 10).

-42-

During the school day was clearly

Table 9 What Is the best time of year for Inservlce programs?

N

12

3

4

5

Shortly after school is out in June

347

2

4

3

8

8:

Just prior to the start of the school year

347

18

11

14

49

8

September - December

367

65

22

10

2

1

January - March

362

16

54

23

6

1

April - June

353

3

10

48

33

6

l^best time of year 5=worst time of year

Table 10 What is the best time of week for Inservice programs?

N

12

During the school day

381

72

Immediately following dismissal

372

Weekday evening Weekend

l=best time of week 4=worst time of week

3

4

10

10

8

21

59

13

7

363

6

24

65

4

361

4

6

9

81

Table 11

Which of the following presentation formats for Inservlce training In learning disabilities would you prefer?

X

N

1

2

3

4

5

One hour

365

10

8

17

35

30

Half day

377

45

24

22

9

(.26)

Full day

374

29

52

18

1

(.26)

Two full days

369

18

13

34

33

2

Weekend

361

3

2

7

21

67

Inmost preferred 5=least preferred

Table 12

Who should be Included In planning inservlce programs on learning disabilities? %

N

1

2

School Psychologist

397

10

22

18

12

10

29

Teachers & Administrators together

397

34

23

14

6

4

20

Administrator

397

0

4

8

21

25

42

Outside Consultant

397

10

16

18

13

12

30

Teachers alone

397

7

11

14

18

17

32

Combination of the above

397

34

4

2

1

4

58

Inmost preferred 5=least preferred 6=not selected

3

4

5

6

Table 13

Which of the following presentation techniques for inservice training in learning disabilities would you prefer?

X

N

1

2

3

4

5

Informal discussion with consultant

397

4

7

10

12

66

Formal presentation by consultant

397

15

11

20

11

43

Consultation on a one-to-one basis

397

5

5

8

12

70

Workshop format with information presented and followed by participant practice

397

45

21

8

8

18

Integrated series of workshops

397

19

33

16

11

21

Observation of other teachers

397

3

7

12

13

65

Sharing session with other teachers

397

4

11

18

20

47

l=first choice 2=second choice 3=third choice 4=fourth choice 5'=Not selected among 4 top choices

Table 14 What reasons would encourage you to attend an Inservlce program in learning disabilities?

Interest in theoretical issues about learning disabilities

352

5

7

9

38

18

To become acquainted with the latest developments in the field of learning disabilities

374

23

21

40

9

6

To obtain information and materials to use in present teaching

379

39

35

12

8

3

2

380

34

34

22

6

3

1

To enjoy a mentally stimulating break from routine

345

2

2

4

13

27

52

To associate with adults and exchange

348

1

3

12

26

40

18

23

(.5)

assignments To obtain information that will be used to effect change in classroom

behavior/or instruction

information with colleagues

Inmost preferred reason 6*least preferred reason

Table 15

What Incentives for Inservice training would be most likely to encourage attendance at an Inservice program?

X

N

1

2

3

4

5

Release time

389

5

1

11

14

70

Fees paid

387

3

2

16

18

61

Free material

375

6

6

26

21

43

College credit

379

7

9

24

20

40

Salary Increments

376

8

5

15

15

56

No Incentives

342

43

14

34

4

4

l^not very likely 3=50/50 chance 5=likely

the most preferred time for inservice (72%). Second preference was given to inservice held immediately after dismissal (59%).

Weekends were

viewed as the worst time for inservice (81%).

Presentation Format Preferences for inservice presentation formats varying in length are presented in Table 11.

The half day format was ranked as the most

preferred length for inservice presentations (45%).

Full day

presentations were the second most preferred format (52%).

Within both

school sytems, special class teachers preferred full day over half day

presentations.

Planning Inservice Programs:

Personnel

Teachers preferred to be involved in planning inservice programs in various combinations with other personnel (see Table 12).

Consultation among various personnel for planning inservice programs was preferred over decisions made by individual groups alone.

Presentation Techniques Seven approaches to providing inservice were ranked to determine the most preferred presentation technique (see Table 13).

Respondents

preferred a workshop format in which information is presented and

participant practice is provided (45%).

An integrated series of

workshops was the second most preferred presentation technique (33%). Formal presentation by a consultant, and sharing sessions with other teachers were also ranked among the four top choices.

Few respondents

selected consultation on a one-to-one basis, informal discussion with a consultant, or observation of other teachers as preferred presentation

techniques for inservice training.

However, special class teachers in

-50-

System B ranked consultation on a one-to-one basis as the fourth choice (29%).

The pattern of preferences also differed for junior and senior

high regular class teachers in System B.

For this group, formal

presentation by a consultant and workshop format were each ranked as first choice by 38% of respondents and the workshop format was ranked as

second choice by 38%, followed by a series of workshops as third choice (25%).

Overall, respondents preferred formal approaches to inservice.

Participant practice in workshops and opportunities for follow-up provided by an integrated series of workshops appeared to be important

aspects of inservice.

Flexible access to a variety of inservice

presentation techniques appeared to be indicated.

Teachers who have

basic knowledge may have some needs which are best served through

sharing with other teachers and consultation on a one-to-one basis.

Reasons for Attending

Respondents ranked preferred reasons which would encourage them to want to attend an inservice program in learning disabilities.

The summary of responses presented in Table 14 indicates that three

reasons tended to be given the highest preferences as reasons for attending:

to obtain information and materials to use in present

teaching assignments, to obtain information that will be used to effect change in classroom behavior or instruction, and to become acquainted

with the latest developments in the field of learning disabilities.

-51-

Incentives for Inservice Training The summary of results evaluating various incentives for attending

inservice programs presented in Table 15 suggests that the respondents

agreed that some form of incentive was necessary to encourage attendance at inservice.

Release time, fees paid, and salary increments appeared

to be the most preferred incentives.

Free material and college credit

had less value as incentives. Summary of Section B data The seven questions of Section B yielded valuable information for

planning inservice programs.

There were consistencies across school

systems, grade levels taught and regular and special education in

preferences for the delivery of inservice programs.

Teachers prefer

formal half to full day inservice programs offered during the school year and during the school day.

Provisions for teacher input into the

planning of inservice should be considered and important incentives include release time, payment of fees, and salary increments.

An

integrated well-planned inservice program using a workshop format which provides participant practice and opportunities for follow-up would

appear to best meet the needs of the majority of teachers surveyed.

The

selection of content for an inservice program should be guided by the reasons teachers attend inservice, namely, to acquire current

information which they can apply directly in their teaching assignments. Self Ratings of Knowledge: Learning Disabilities

Respondents estimated their current level of knowledge in the field of learning disabilities in the areas of general information,

assessment and instruction/remediation.

-52-

Within each area, a list of

relevant topics and skill areas was presented and respondents rated themselves on a five point scale for each item with 1 indicating that the respondent felt secure and competent to demonstrate to others, 3

indicating a feeling of competence and 5 indicating that the respondent felt insecure or not trained in this area.

Self-ratings of 1 to 3 were

combined to represent feelings of competence;

self-ratings of 4 and

were combined to represent feelings of insecurity or no training.

5

The

frequency of respondents rating themselves as competent or insecure varied across grade levels (elementary, junior high and high school) and

between regular class teachers and special education personnel.

The

self-ratings of these groups are discussed below.

Learning Disabilities;

General Information

Nineteen topics were presented and respondents indicated their current level of knowledge in terms of general information about learning disabilities. A)

Regular Class Teachers For regular class teachers, few differences were noted across the

two school systems which were combined for presentation.

regular class teachers who gave themselves ratings of 1,

The percent of 2

or 3

indicating feelings of at least average competence are presented in Table 16 for elementary, junior high and senior high school teachers. As can be seen from Table 16, regular class teachers at the elementary

and junior high levels tended to feel more competent than senior high

school teachers with regard to general information about learning

disabilities.

Over 50% of both elementary and junior high teachers felt

that they were of at least average competence in the following six

-53-

Table 16 Percent of Regular Class Teachers Reporting at Least Average Competence^ in their Current Knowledge of General Information Topics in Learning Disabilities

General Information Topic

Elementary (n=113)

Definition Characteristics Methods of Identification Intelligence Thinking and Problem-Solving Metacognition Learning Strategies Attention Problems Memory Social Skills Self-Esteem Behaviour Management Computer-Assisted Learning Study Skills Neuropsychology Career /Vocational Communicating with Parents Communicating with Other Teachers Integration of Students

1 2

46X2 39 34

Junior High (n«=36)

D^^

43

49 31 41 36 14 34 46 31

74 81 68

69 74 69

33 49

26 46 12 24

54 54

14 53 55

8 17 69

54

73 61

63 53

High School (n=27)

32Z 32 16

38 40 4

32 29 32 44 48 52

19 48 16 32 44 52

36

Includes competence ratings of 1, 2, or 3. Topics for which less than 50% of teachers reported at least average competence are presented in bold face type.

areas:

self-esteem, social skills, communicating with parents and with

other teachers, behavior management and integration of students.

Junior

high teachers also felt reasonably competent about the definition of learning disabilities while over 50% of elementary school teachers felt secure in their general knowledge about intelligence, thinking and

problem-solving, learning strategies and attention problems.

Elementary and junior high teachers indicated several areas in which they felt less confident in their training and competence with regard to general information about learning disabilities.

Over 50% of

both elementary and junior high teachers rated themselves as 4 or 5 in the following seven areas:

neuropsychology, metacognition,

career /vocational, computer-assisted learning, methods of identification, characteristics and memory.

Over half of the elementary

teachers also felt insecure about the definition of learning

disabilities and over half of the junior high teachers noted feelings of

insecurity in their knowledge about intelligence, thinking and

problem-solving and learning strategies as they apply to students with learning disabilities. In contrast to the elementary and junior high school teachers, over 50% of senior high school teachers reported feelings of insecurity or no training on all but two areas of general information about

learning disabilities, namely, behavior management and communicating

with other teachers.

Over 75% of the senior high school teachers

responding to the questionnaire reported feelings of insecurity or no training in the areas of metacognition (96%), methods of identification (84%), neuropsychology (84%), and computer-assisted learning (81%).

-55-

At

least 50% of the senior high school respondents reported feeling

insecure or not trained in the following areas:

attention problems,

definition, characteristics, learning strategies, career /vocational,

integration of students, intelligence, thinking and problem-solving, social skills, communicating with parents, study skills and self-esteem. The few differences noted between school systems follow.

At the

elementary grade levels, more System A teachers reported at least average competence in general knowledge about learning strategies

compared with System B teachers (55% versus 50%).

At the junior high

level, more System B teachers than System A teachers reported at least

average competence in general knowledge about definition (71% versus 43%), characteristics of learning disabilities (65% versus 43%), and

communicating with parents (57% versus 48%).

At the senior high school

level, more System B teachers than System A teachers reported at least

average competence in general knowledge about self-esteem (56% versus 44%), study skills (56% versus 44%), and communicating with parents (56%

versus 37%) whereas more System A teachers than System B teachers reported feelings of competence in general knowledge of behavior

management at the high school level (56% versus 44%). B)

Special Class Teachers Special class teachers from the two school systems were combined

since few differences in self-ratings of competence were noted across systems.

The special class teachers at the junior and senior high

levels were combined because the numbers were small.

The percent of

teachers at the elementary level and at the junior high/senior high

-56-

level reporting at least average competence in general information topics in the area of learning disabilities are presented in Table 17. Overall, special class teachers felt competent in their general

knowledge about learning disabilities with at least 50% of the teachers reporting competence in 16 of the 19 areas tapped by the survey.

Both

elementary and junior high/senior high teachers felt insecure or untrained in three areas, namely, neuropsychology, career/vocational and

computer-assisted learning.

The area of metacognition was also

relatively weak and may be influenced by differences across the two school systems in that more System A teachers reported knowledge of

metacognition than did System B teachers (54% versus 42% at the elementary level and 80% versus 42% at the junior/senior high level). C) Resource Teachers (System A)

The percent of Resource teachers at the elementary, junior high and senior high school levels who reported at least average competence in each of the general information topics about learning disabilities

are presented in Table 18.

At least half of the Resource teachers

reported feeling competent in 15 of the 19 general information areas.

Resource teachers consistently reported feelings of insecurity or no training in neuropsychology, computer-assisted learning and career /vocational areas.

At the junior and senior high levels,

metacognition was also an area of insecurity for many of the teachers surveyed.

Half of the Resource teachers at all levels also indicated

that they felt insecure or not trained in the area of memory.

-57-

Table 17 Percent of Special Class Teachers Reporting at Least Average Competence^ in their Current Knowledge of General Information Topics in Learning Disabilities.

General Information Topic

Elementary (n=47)

Definition Characteristics Methods of Identification Intelligence Thinking and Problem Solving Metacognition Learning Strategies Attention Problems Memory Self Esteem Behavior Management Computer-Assisted Learning Study Skills Neuropsychology Career /Vocational Comunicating with Parents Communicating with Other Teachers Integration of Students

1 2

94% 98 85 82 83 50 74 63 59 85 78 302 78 11 24 98 96 91

Junior /Senior High (n=25)

83% 79 58 71 75 50 79 79 79 88 87 42 71 29

46 75

88 93

Includes competence ratings of 1, 2, or 3. Topics for which less than 50% of teachers reported at least average competence are presented in bold face type.

Table 18

Percent of Resource Teachers Reporting at Least Average Competence! In their Current Knowledge of General Information Topics in Learning Disabilities.

General Information Topic

Elementary (n'^eO)

Definition Characteristics Methods of Identification Intelligence Thinking and Problem Solving Metacognition Learning Strategies Attention Problems Memory Social Skills Self Esteem Behavior Management Computer-Assisted Learning Study Skills Neuropsychology Career /Vocational Communicating with Parents Communicating with Other Teachers Integration of Students

81% 80 75 8A 74 56 76 53 50 70 78 66 22 59 19 25 85 90 88

Junior High (n=3A) 76% 68 55 78 64 352 68 55 50 68 82 68 26 88 15

High School (n'=9)

63% 75 63 63 50 38 88 63 50 75 75 75

13 75

33

13 38

85

88

91 65

88 63

1 Includes competence ratings of 1, 2, or 3. 2 Topics for which less than 50% of teachers reported at least average

competence are presented in bold face type.

D) Summary

Overall, special education personnel were more confident than

regular class teachers in their knowledge of general information about

learning disabilities.

The regular class teachers reported a lack of

general information about learning disabilities, particularly at the senior high school level.

Lack of confidence in basic information about

characteristics and identification of learning disabilities, as well as other specific areas, has important implications for teaching practice

because there are increasing demands put on regular class teachers to

identify and effectively manage LD students within their regular classrooms.

Regular class teachers need support and inservice

opportunities to increase their knowledge about learning disabilities and their confidence in their competence to meet the needs of LD students.

Special class teachers and resource teachers were similar in their overall confidence in their general knowledge about learning

disabilities.

Areas of insecurity involved knowledge of specialized

approaches (e.g., neuropsychology) or more current emphasis in the field of learning disabilities (e.g., metacognition, computer-assisted

learning and career/vocational education).

In contrast to the needs of

regular class teachers, general information about learning disabilities is not a critical inservice need for special education personnel.

Periodic access to the most current information in the field could benefit special education personnel and contribute to professional

growth

-60-

Learning Disabilities! A)

Assessment

Regular Class Teachers At least 50% of elementary school teachers rated themselves as of

at least average competence in six areas of assessment compared with one

area for junior high and no area for senior high school teachers (See

Table 19).

Areas of competence reported by elementary school teachers

included the assessment of spelling, mathematics, handwriting, written

expression, reading and social skills.

Fifty percent of junior high

teachers reported feelings of competence in the assessment of social skills whereas there was no assessment area in which at least 50% of senior high school teachers reported feeling competent.

Insecurity or

lack of training in screening procedures was consistently reported as an area of weakness by a majority of teachers across the three levels.

Assessment of study skills, intelligence, oral language and attention problems were also areas of insecurity across levels. B)

Special Class Teachers Special class teachers at the elementary and junior/senior high

levels reported competence in all but one area of assessment tapped by the survey, namely, the assessment of intelligence (See Table 20).

Other areas in which relatively large numbers of special class teachers

reported feelings of insecurity or no training were in the assessment of oral language and study skills at the elementary level and in the

assessment of attention problems and screening procedures at the junior /senior high level.

Differences across school systems at the elementary level were noted in five areas of assessment in which a higher percentage of

-61-

Table 19

Percent of Regular Class Teachers Reporting at Least Average Competence^ In their Current Knowledge of Assessment

Assessment Topic

Elementary (n-113)

Screening Procedures Assessment of Oral Language Assessment of Reading Assessment of Written Expression Assessment of Spelling Assessment of Handwriting Assessment of Mathematics Assessment of Attention Problems Assessment of Intelligence Assessment of Social Skills Assessment of Study Skills

1 Includes 2

21X2 49 65 69 74 71

73

45 41 60

44

Junior High (n=36)

High School (n-27)

19Z 28 34

82 16 24

34 34 38 31

32 32 8 28

34 44 50 31

36 36 40 40

competence ratings of 1, 2, or 3, Topics for which less than 50% of teachers reported at least average competence are presented in bold face type.

Table 20

Percent of Special Class Teachers Reporting at Least Average Competence^ in their Current Knowledge of Assessment

Assessment Topic

Elementary (n=47)

Screening Procedures Assessment of Oral Language Assessment of Reading Assessment of Written Expression Assessment of Spelling Assessment of Handwriting Assessment of Mathematics Assessment of Attention Problems Assessment of Intelligence Assessment of Social Skills Assessment of Study Skills

1 Includes competence ratings of 1, 2

67% 52 94 70 94 83

83 61

452 63 52

2,

Junior/Senior High (n=25)

50% 54

83 71 83 79 71 50

46 75 67

or 3.

Topics for which less than 50% of teachers reported at least average competence are presented in bold face type.

System A teachers reported feelings of insecurity or no training

compared with System B teachers: respe.ctively)

,

screening procedures (61% versus 40%,

assessment of intelligence (85% versus 40%,

respectively), assessment of study skills (69% versus 20%, respectively) and assessment of attention problems (60% versus 54%, respectively).

At

the junior/senior high level, more System B teachers reported weakness in the assessment of attention (60% versus 47%) and more System A

teachers reported weakness in the assessment of intelligence (58% versus 40%). C)

Resource Teachers (System A) Resource teachers at the elementary level reported feeling

competent in all areas of assessment with the exception of the

assessment of intelligence (See Table 21).

At the junior high

level, weaknesses were reported in the assessment of attention

problems and mathematics and screening procedures.

Senior high school

Resource teachers reported feelings of insecurity in the assessment of oral language, handwriting and attention problems. D)

Summary Similar to the finding for general information topics, special

education personnel and elementary level teachers expressed greater confidence in their training and competence in assessment compared with regular class teachers and junior and senior high personnel.

All

regular class teachers appear to need training in screening to assist in the referral and identification of students with learning difficulties.

Junior and senior high regular class teachers have general

self-perceived weaknesses in assessment skills indicating the need for

-64-

Table 21

Percent of Resource Teachers Reporting at Least Average Competence^ in their Current Knowledge of Assessment

Assessment Topic

Elementary (n=60)

Screening Procedures Assessment of Oral Language Assessment of Reading Assessment of Written Expression Assessment of Spelling Assessment of Handwriting Assessment of Mathematics Assessment of Attention Problems Assessment of Intelligence Assessment of Social Skills Assessment of Study Skills

78% 63 95

Junior High (n=34)

47Z2 91 77

High School (n=9)

63% 38 63

78 90 83 81

94 71 82

38

41

50

61

39 53 65 53

43 50 63

48 5A 56

75 75

86

1 Includes competence ratings of 1, 2, or 3. 2

Topics for which less than 50% of teachers reported at least average competence are presented in bold face type.

inservice training opportunities providing information about procedures for assessing and monitoring basic skill areas withing content area

classes.

Consistent with surveys of LD professionals in the USA (e.g.. Newcomer, 1978), elementary level special class teachers and Resource teachers were most confident in their competence in the assessment of

reading and other basic skills.

All special education personnel lacked

confidence in their competence in the assessment of intelligence, which is generally the responsibility of school psychologists and not

perceived as important to special education teaching roles of the special education personnel.

Resource teachers at the junior and senior

high school levels identified the largest number of assessment areas in

which they did not feel competent. Learning Disabilities; A)

Instruction/Remediation

Regular Class Teachers Elementary school teachers again reported feelings of competence in

ten areas pertaining to the instruction and remediation of learning

disabled students whereas over 50% of the junior high and senior high school teachers reported feelings of insecurity or of no training in all

remediation/ instruction areas (See Table 22).

The areas of competence

reported by elementary teachers included instruction/remediation in mathematics, reading, written expression, spelling, handwriting, social skills, oral language, attention, integration of students and behavior

management strategies.

Areas of weakness reported across all three

levels were problem-solving/ thinking, learning strategies,

individualization of instruction and developing individual education plans

-66-

Table 22

Percent of Regular Class Teachers Reporting at Least Average Competence^ in Instruction/Remediation of Students with Learning Disabilities.

Instruction/Remediation

Elementary (n=113)

Oral Language Reading Written Expression Spelling Handwriting Mathematics Attention Social Skills Problem Solving/Thinking Learning Strategies Behavior Management Strategies Study Skills Individualization of Instruction Developing Individual Education Plans Integration of Students

57%2

Junior High (n=36)

High School (n=27)

51 36

36Z 28 38 38 31 36 38 47 31 39 44 42

32 32 36 32

44

38

36

37 55

31 44

32 36

72 72 72 72 74 55 61

43 37

13Z 12

16 20 12 16 24 36

1 Includes competence ratings of 1, 2, or 3. 2

Topics for which less than 50% of teachers reported at least average competence are presented in bold face type.

B)

Special Class Teachers As can be seen from Table 23, when the two school sytems were

combined, over 50% of the special class teachers reported at least

average competence in all areas of instruction/remediation of learning

disabled students.

However, there were differences across school

systems at the elementary level with System A teachers reporting

feelings of insecurity or that they were not trained in

instruction/remediation in the areas of attention (85%), study skills (61%), learning strategies (69%), social skills (61%),

problem-solving/ thinking (61%), language (54%) and behavior management strategies (69%). C)

Resource Teachers (System A) The data presented in Table 24 indicate that at least half of the

Resource teachers reported at least average competence in all areas of ins true tion/remediation with three exceptions:

study skills at the

elementary level (48% felt competent), attention at the junior high level (41% reported feelings of competence) and social skills at the senior high level (38% reported feelings of competence).

Attention also

appeared to be an area of relative weakness for Resource teachers at the

elementary and senior high levels.

In addition. Resource teachers at

the senior high level reported feelings of relative insecurity in

instruction/remediation of handwriting, and problem-solving/ thinking and in the integration of students. D)

Summary Special education personnel perceived themselves to be competent

in the instruction/remediation of students with learning disabilities.

Minor areas of self-rated weakness reported by Resource teachers were in -68-

Table 23 Percent of Special Class Teachers Reporting at Least Average Competence! In Instruction/Remediation of Students with Learning Disabilities

Instruction/Remediation

Elementary (n-47)

Oral Language Reading Written Expression Spelling Handwriting Mathematics Attention Social Skills Problem Solving/Thinking Learning Strategies Behavior Management Strategies Study Skills Individualization of Instruction Developing Individual Education Plans Integration of Students

Junior/Senior High (n-25)

62* 87 85 85 89 92 50 65 57 64 76 54

63% 88 79 92 75 71 71 79 63 58 83 75

81

79

77 87

75 83

1 Includes competence ratings of 1, 2, or 3.

Table 24 Percent of Resource Teachers Reporting at Least Average Competence! in Instruction/Remediation of Students with Learning Disabilities.

Instruction/Remediation Area

Elementary (n=60)

Oral Language Reading Written Expression Spelling Handvnriting

Mathematics Attention Social Skills Problem Solving/Thinking Learning Strategies Behavior Management Strategies Study Skills Individualization of Instruction Developing Individual Education Plans Integration of Students

59% 88 80 86 80 83 50 63 56

Junior High

High School

(n«3A)

53% 82 83 88 73

(n'

88% 75 75 88 50 75 50

48

79 4l2 61 61 61 55 79

50 63 75 75

76

85

75

79

58 64

75 50

57 58

81

38

1 Includes competence ratings of 1, 2, or 3. 2

Topics for which less than 50% of teachers reported at least average competence are presented in bold face type.

study skills (elementary), attention (junior high) and social skills (senior high).

However, there were differences in the confidence of

special class teachers across school systems with System A teachers

expressing insecurity in several instructional/remediation areas which could be addressed through inservice programs.

Regular class teachers at the elementary level were confident in their competence of most basic instructional areas.

Individualization

of instruction and developing individual education plans were

self -perceived areas of weakness and are areas identified as important in the effective teaching of LD students in regular classrooms (e.g.,

Monaco & Chappetta, 1978; Sokolyk, 1981). There is a major inservice need to provide information about

instruction/remediation of LD students to regular class teachers at the junior and senior high school levels.

Whereas the general training of

elementary teachers gives them confidence across many instructional areas, junior and senior high school teachers feel generally unprepared to meet the needs of LD students in their regular classes.

Preferred Topics for Inservice Respondents' preferences for inservice topics were examined in the areas of general information, assessment and ins true tion/remediation. In each of these areas, respondents were asked to select five of the

topics that would be of most interest to them in an inservice program.

Choices were ranked from 1 to 5 with 1 being the most preferred topic. To determine which topics in an area were of most interest to

respondents, a weighting system was used.

assigning a rank of 1 to

5

The number of respondents

to a topic was determined; the ranks were

-71-

weighted as follows, rank of 1 X 5, rank of

2X4,

rank of

3X3,

rank

of 2 X 2, and rank of 1 X 1; and, a total weighted score was derived for

each topic by adding the weighted scores across the five ranked positions.

As the sum of weighted scores represented relative

preferences, the weighted scores were ranked for various groups of

respondents and the ranks of the preferred choices were compared, A)

Regular Class Teachers General information, assessment and instruction/remediation topics

which were ranked highest by the elementary, junior high and senior high school regular class teachers are presented in Tables 25 through 27. The top five choices in each area are noted.

Regular class teachers

consistently ranked three general information topics among their five top choices:

methods of identification, learning strategies and

thinking/problem-solving.

Screening procedures, assessment of attention

problems and assessment of social skills were consistently selected as

assessment topics for an inservice program in learning disabilities.

Instruction/remediation in learning strategies and problem-solving/ thinking were given high rankings by regular class teachers at all levels. Five of these eight highly ranked topics also represented areas in

which fewer than 50% of the regular class teachers at any grade level felt competent (i.e., methods of identification, screening procedures,

assessment of attention problems and instruction/remediation in learning strategies and problem-solving).

Fewer than 50% of the junior and

senior high teachers felt competent in the other three areas involving

-72-

Table 25

General Information Inservlce Topics Ranked 1 to 5 by Elementary, Junior High and High School Regular Class Teachers

General Information Topic

Regular Class Teachers* Ranking Junior High High School Elementary (n'=113)

(n=36)

(n=27)

(7)1

Characteristics

5

3

Methods of Identification

1

4

1

Problem Solving/Thinking

4

5

3

Learning Strategies

2

Attention Problems

3

(7)

4

Behavior Management Strategies

(6)

2

5

1 Numbers in brackets indicate ranks above 5.

12

Table 26

Assessment Inservice Topics Ranked 1 to School Regular Class Teachers

Assessment Topics

5 by

Elementary, Junior High and High

Regular Class Teachers* Ranking Elementary Junior High High School (n=113)

(n=36)

(n-27)

Screening Procedures

1

5

Oral Language

3

(8)1

Reading

4

Attention Problems

2

Intelligence

(6)

4

(7)

Social Skills

3

2

5

Study Skills

(7)

3

2

1 Numbers in brackets indicate ranks above 5.

1

13 (6)

(8) 4

Table 27

Instruction/Remediation Inservice Topics Ranked 1 to 5 by Elementary, Junior High and High School Regular Class Teachers

Instruction/Remediation Topics

Regular Class Teachers* Ranking Elementary Junior High High School (n=113)

(n=36)

(n=27)

Mathematics

(11)1

(9)

5

Attention

(8)

(7)

4

Social Skills

(10)

4

Problem solving/Thinking

5

5

2

Learning Strategies

1

2

1

(10)

Behavior Management Strategies

(7)

Individualization of Instructions

1

(8)

Integration of students

3

(7)

1

Numbers in brackets indicate ranks above 5.

general information about thinking/problem-solving and learning strategies and the assessment of social skills.

Although there was some

correspondence between selected priorities for inservice content and perceived areas of weakness, regular class teachers did not select the following general information topics to remediate their weakest areas:

metacognition, neuropsychology, and computer-assisted learning.

It may

be that they do not consider these topics to be critical to the

effective teaching of LD students in the regular classroom. Other preferences for inservice topics varied across grade levels taught.

Topics of interest to elementary and junior high teachers, but

not to senior high school teachers, were general information about

characteristics of learning disabilities,

individualization of

instruction and integration of students. Junior high and senior high school teachers shared interests in general information about behavior

management and assessment of study skills.

Elementary and senior high

school teachers shared interest in general information about attention problems, assessment of reading, and behavior management strategies.

Only one topic, assessment of oral language, was ranked highly only by

elementary regular class teachers.

Topics of interest only to junior

high regular class teachers were the assessment of intelligence and

instruction/remediation in social skills.

Only regular class teachers

at the senior high school level gave high rankings to

instruction/remediation of attention and mathematics. B)

Special Class Teachers The general information inservice topics ranked from 1 to 5 by

elementary and junior/senior high special class teachers for the two

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systems combined are presented in Table 28.

Rankings for assessment and

Instruction/remediation topics are presented In Tables 29 and 30. Inservice topics which were ranked among the top five choices of both

elementary and junior/senior high special class teachers were:

general

Information about learning strategies, memory, computer-assisted learning, and neuropsychology; assessment of attention problems and reading;

and Instruct ion/remediation in thinking/ problem-solving,

learning strategies, oral language and study skills.

Topics of

particular interest only to elementary special class teachers included: general Information about

attention problems and metacognition;

assessment of oral language and written expression; and

instruction/remediation in attention and social skills.

In contrast,

only junior/senior high special class teachers showed particular

interest in the following topics:

general information about self-esteem

and social skills; assessment of social skills and study skills; and, ins true tion/remedlatlon of written expression and the integration of

students.

As the majority of special class teachers felt competent in

general information, assessment and ins true tion/remedlatlon of LD students, few of the priorities for inservice were selected to remediate

self-perceived deficit areas.

The selections which may have been made

in response to perceptions of relative weakness were:

general

Information about neurospsychology, computer-assisted learning and metacogntion; assessment of oral language and Intelligence; and,

instruction in problem-solving/ thinking and learning strategies.

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Table 28

General Information Inservice Topics Ranked 1 to 5 by Elementary and Junior/Senior High Special Class Teachers

General Information Topic

Special Class Teachers* Ranking Junior /Senior High Elementary (n=A4)

(n=36)

Metacognition

5

Learning Strategies

4

Attention Problems

1

(10)

Memory

2

3**

(8)1 1

Social Skills

(10)

4

Self Esteem

(9)

2

Computer-assisted Learning

3*

3**

Neuropsycholgy

3*

5

1 Numbers in brackets indicate ranks above 5. *

Topics assigned equal weightings/ranks.

**Topics assigned equal weightings/ranks.

Table 29

Assessment Inservice Topics Ranked 1 to High Special Class Teachers

Assessment Topics

5 by

Special Class Teachers* Ranking Junior/Senior High Elementary (n=44)

Screening Procedures Oral Language

Elementary and Junior/Senior

(7)1

(n=36) 1

1

3

(8;

5

Written Expression

4

2

Attention Problems

2

(7)

Intelligence

5

4*

Social Skills

3

(6)

Reading

Study Skills

(6)

1 Numbers in brackets indicate ranks above 5. * Topics

assigned equal weightings/ranks.

**Topics assigned equal weightings/ranks.

4*

Table 30

Instruction/Remediation Inservice Topics Ranked 1 to Junior/Senior High Special Class Teachers

Instruction/Remediation Topics Oral Language

Written Expression

5 by

Special Class Teachers* Ranking Elementary Junior/Senior High (n=44) 3

(n=36) 4

(8)1

1

Attention

1*

(9)

Social Skills

4

(8)

Problem-solving/ thinking

1*

2

Learning Strategies

2

3**

Study Skills

5

5

Integration of Students

(12)

1 Numbers in brackets indicate ranks above 5. *

Elementary and

Topics assigned equal weightings/ranks.

**Topics assigned equal weightings/ranks.

3**

C)

Resource Teachers The five topics receiving the highest weightings as preferred

topics for an inservice program in learning disabilities by Resource

teachers at the elementary, junior high and high school levels are

presented in Table 31 for general information topics. Table 32 for assessment topics and Table 33 for instruction/remediation topics.

In

terms of general information topics. Resource teachers consistently

ranked learning strategies as the most preferred inservice topic, even though the majority of Resource teachers felt competent in this area.

Memory and metacognition were also among the top five inservice topic choices of Resource teachers at all levels and were self-reported areas of relative weakness.

The ranks of other topics differed for Resource

teachers consulting at different grade levels and did not correspond

consistently to self-perceived areas of weakness.

Elementary and junior

high Resource teachers ranked attention problems as their second most preferred choice, whereas attention problems were not of interest to

high school Resource teachers.

Thinking/ problem-solving was ranked as

fifth choice by elementary Resource teachers (sixth by junior high

Resource teachers).

Methods of identification were ranked third by

junior high Resource teachers (sixth by both elementary and high school

Resource teachers).

High school Resource teachers differed from the

other two groups in their selection of computer-assisted learning (third) and integration of students (fifth).

Three assessment topics were consistently among the five top

choices for an inservice program for all Resource teachers:

assessment

of attention problems, screening procedures, assessment of social skills

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Table 31 General Information Inservice Topics Ranked 1 to 5 by Elementary, Junior High and High School Resource Teachers

General Information Topic

Resource Teachers' Ranking High School Elementary Junior High (n=33)

net nods ot laentiiication

(n=8)

3

(6)

inxnK.xng ana rroD±ciD ooxving

J

(6)

(9)

Metacognit ion

/

5

4

Learning Strategies

1

1

1

Attention Problems

2

2

(not chosen)

Memory

3

A

2

Computer-Assisted Learning

(9)

(11)

3

Integration of Students

(14)

(13)

5

1 Numbers in brackets indicate ranks above 5.

Table 32

Assessment Inservice Topics Ranked 1 to School Resource Teachers

Assessment Topics

5 by

Elementary, Junior High and High

Resource Teachers* Ranking Elementary Junior High High School (n=54)

(n=33)

(n=8)

Screening Procedures

4

3

1

Language

2

4

(7)1

Reading

(9)

(8)

3*

Written Expression

(8)

5

4

Attention Problems

1

1

2

Intelligence

(7)

(7)

3*

Social Skills

3

2

5

Study Skills

5

(6)

(6)

1 Numbers in brackets indicate ranks above 5. *

Topics assigned equal weightings/ranks.

Table 33

Instruction/Remediation Inservice Topics Ranked 1 to and High School Resource Teachers

Instruction/Remediation Topics

5

by Elementary, Junior High

Resource Teachers* Ranking Elementary Junior High High School (n=54)

(n=33)

(n=8)

Oral Language

(7)1

4

(not chosen)

Reading

(12)

(10)

2

Written Expression

(6)

(11)

5*

Attention Problems

1

1

(10)

Social Skills

4

(8)

5*

Problem Solving/Thinking

2

3

Learning Strategies

3

2

1

Behavior Management Strategies

5

(7)

3

Developing Individual Education Plans

(11)

5

(8)

Integration of Students

(13)

(9)

4**

1

Numbers in brackets indicate ranks above 5.

*

Topics assigned equal weightings/ranks.

**Topics assigned equal weightings/ranks.

(See Table 32).

Resource teachers did not consistently report feelings

of insecurity in the areas chosen for inservice.

differed across grade levels.

Other rankings

Elementary Resource teachers included

assessment of oral language and study skills in their five top choices. Junior high Resource teachers selected assessment of oral language and

written expression among prefered topics.

Senior high Resource teachers

selected assessment of reading, intelligence and written expression.

Resource teachers* preferences for inservice topics in

instruction/remediation of learning difficulties are presented in Table 33.

Instruction in learning strategies and problem- solving/ thinking

were among the five top choices across grade levels.

At the elementary

and junior high levels, remediation of attention problems was the most

preferred inservice topic.

At the elementary level, social skills and

behaviour management strategies were given top rankings.

At the junior

high level, oral language and developing individual education plans were among the five top ranked topics.

At the senior high level, instruction

in reading, behavior management strategies, integration of students,

social skills and written expression were top choices. In planning inservice programs in learning disabilities for

Resource teachers one must consider the differences in preferred content for Resource teachers consulting to different grade levels.

However,

some topics were of interest across grade levels, namely, learning

strategies (general information and instruction), memory (general information), metacognition (general information),

problem-solving/ thinking (instruction), screening procedures and assessment of social skills.

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D)

Summary There were consistencies in preferences for inservice topics

observed across groups of respondents varying in their teaching context.

Learning strategies are a major area of interest to

educators.

General information about learning strategies and

instruction/remediation in learning strategies were consistently among the five top choices for inservice of regular class, special class and

Resource teachers across all grade levels.

A second major interest area was problem-solving/ thinking. Regular class teachers across all grade levels expressed interest in general information, assessment and instruction/remediation in

problem-solving/ thinking.

Interest in instruction/remediation in

problem-solving/thinking was shared by special class and Resource teachers across grade levels.

Regular class teachers and special education teachers across all grade levels selected assessment of attention problems as a priority for inservice.

Special class teachers and Resource teachers shared interest

in acquiring general information about memory.

Methods of identification and screening procedures were important topic areas.

Regular class teachers across grade levels gave high

rankings to these topics.

Resource teachers also identified screening

procedures as a topic of interest. Other topics of interest to respondents varied in terms of teaching role and grade level.

Differences in training and in the

demands of different teaching contexts appeared to contribute to

variations in the selection of inservice topics.

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Conclusions and Recommendations

The Information gathered In the present project supports the

Importance of providing effective Inservlce training programs In

learning disabilities.

The positive response to Learning Centre

Inservlce programs and the many requests for presentations provided

evidence that both regular and special education personnel perceive the need to extend their knowledge In the area of learning disabilities and

many take the Initiative to do so.

A review of the literature to

determine the knowledge, skills and competencies needed by teachers of students with learning disabilities provided further evidence that

regular and special education teachers need ongoing access to Inservlce

training In the area of learning disabilities.

Regular class teachers

may lack confidence In their ability to teach learning disabled students

effectively

.

Special education personnel perceive weakness In their

competence and training In several areas which they consider to be Important In the effective educational management of LD students.

The

feelings of Insecurity on the part of regular educators were confirmed by the self-ratings of competence by respondents to the survey

distributed In the present study.

The survey results provided evidence

that Inservlce training In learning disabilities Is essential.

The

teachers surveyed had limited opportunities for acquiring Information

about learning

disabilities in their preservice university preparation.

The majority

of regular educators surveyed had no training in learning disabilities

and more than half of the special education personnel received much of their training through inservice.

Resource teachers and senior high

special class teachers in particular reported that inservice training

was most helpful in preparing them to work with students with learning

difficulties.

Selection of the content of inservice training in learning disabilities must depend primarily upon professional concensus and

A review of the literature in an

careful assessment of local needs.

attempt to more clearly describe the knowledge, skills and competencies needed by teachers of students with learning disabilities revealed a

dearth of empirical data assessing the validity of the competencies derived from professional concensus.

There have been few studies of

effective teaching in special education.

The available information

suggests that regular and special education personnel, and elementary, junior high and- senior high teachers may differ in the knowledge

required for the effective teaching of LD students.

While the survey of local needs in the area of learning disabilities was limited to two urban school boards, the findings have

wider implications for teacher training institutions and professional development committees of school systems in Alberta.

The survey

supported the need for inservice training opportunities, provided suggestions for more effective planning and delivery, and indicated

directions for selecting content to meet the needs of teachers working

with LD students in various contexts.

-88-

Responses to the Learning Disabilities:

Needs Assessment Survey

Indicated consistencies across regular and special education and across grade levels in preferences for the planning and delivery of inservice programs.

Teachers prefer formal half to full day inservice programs

offered during the school year and during the school day.

Provisions

for teacher input into the planning and inservice and incentives were

seen as important.

An integrated well-planned inservice program using a

workshop format which provides participant practice and opportunities for follow-up would appear to best meet the needs of the majority of

teachers surveyed.

However, informal consultation may also be important

to teachers who have basic knowledge and require more specific input for

handling immediate issues.

The selection of content for an inservice

program should be guided by the reasons teachers attend inservice, namely, to acquire current information which they can apply directly in their teaching assignments.

Content must thus be appropriate to the

demands of varying teaching contexts. Survey questions tapping self-ratings of competence indicated that special education personnel were more confident than regular class teachers in their competence and training in general information,

assessment and instruction/remediation of students with learning disabilities.

For regular class teachers, feelings of competence varied

across grade levels taught.

Senior high school teachers reported an

overall lack of information across all topics related to learning disabilities.

Junior high teachers also lacked confidence in their

competence and training to meet the needs of LD students.

Although

elementary regular class teachers lacked general information about

-89-

learning disabilities, they felt competent In assessment and Instruction In most basic skill areas.

The self-ldentlf led weaknesses of regular

class teachers In knowledge about learning disabilities, particularly screening. Identification and Individualization of Instruction, have

Important implications for teaching practice as there are Increasing demands put on regular class teachers to Identify and effectively manage

LD students within their regular classrooms.

Regular class teachers

need support and Inservlce opportunities to Increase their knowledge about learning disabilities and their confidence In their competence to

meet the needs of LD students.

While special education personnel expressed overall confidence In their knowledge about learning disabilities, junior and senior high

personnel self-ldentlf led more areas of weakness than personnel teaching at the elementary level, and areas of self-percelved competence tended

to vary across school systems.

It Is Important that special education

personnel have periodic access to the most current Information In the field of learning disabilities as well as In specific areas of

self-percelved weakness. In selecting content for Inservlce programs In learning

disabilities, areas of self-ldentlf led weakness suggest Important areas of need.

However, teachers* Interest In topics must also be considered

as the teachers surveyed did not always select areas of self-percelved

weakness as priorities for Inservlce.

Preferences for Inservlce topics

varied across grade levels and regular and special education.

However,

there was consistently high Interest In learning strategies,

problem-solvlng/thlnklng and assessment of attention problems, and

-90-

considerable interest in memory, methods of identification and screening procedures.

These topics appear to be highly relevant to teachers in

many contexts and could provide a core content for inservice training programs in learning disabilities. The following recommendations are made on the basis of the

information gathered from Learning Centre inservice programs, the literature survey and the Needs Assessment Survey : 1)

University teacher training programs should offer courses in learning disabilities to regular education students and insure that information about learning disabilities is included in

regular education courses for elementary level, junior high and

secondary level Education students. 2)

Research is needed to examine effective teaching in special education and to provide empirical validation of competencies for teachers of LD students which are currently derived from

professional concensus. 3)

Validation of the relevance of the knowledge, skills and competencies targeted in inservice programs in learning

disabilities should be addressed through follow-up studies of the effects of the teacher training on classroom practice and on student outcomes.

This research could contribute to identifying

critical variables in the effective teaching of LD students in a

variety of contexts. 4)

School systems should continue to organize formal inservice in

learning disabilities for special education personnel,

particularly at the junior and senior high school levels.

-91-

School systems should initiate formal inservice in learning

disabilities for regular class teachers at all grade levels. To maximize participation in inservice training, several planning

and delivery issues must be considered: a)

Teachers should be involved in planning inservice programs,

b)

Inservice should be offered early in the school year and during the school day,

c)

Incentives for inservice participation should be offered, such as, release time and payment of fees,

d)

An inservice program should be integrated and well-planned using a workshop format which provides participants practice and opportunities for follow-up,

e)

Formal inservice presentations should be a half-day to a

full-day in length, f)

Flexibility is recommended in recognizing that teachers in some contexts may require inservice opportunities

involving one-to-one consultation. The content of inservice programs in learning disabilities must be

selected to meet the varying needs of teachers in regular and

special education, and of teachers of different grade levels.

Areas of weakness and areas of interest identified by teachers should be combined with the professional concensus of experts in

learning disabilities to develop effective inservice programs.

On

the basis of the needs identified in the present project, it is

recommended that decisions about inservice consider the following

areas of need and interests Identified for teachers in varying

teaching contexts: a)

Elementary regular class teachers expressed particular interest in several areas which they perceived as areas of

methods

weakness in terms of their competence and training:

of identification, characteristics, screening procedures,

assessment of oral language and attention problems and

instruction/remediation areas involving learning strategies, problem-solving/ thinking, individualization of instruction. b)

Junior high regular class teachers reported lack of confidence in almost all general information, assessment and

instruction/remediation areas.

Of these, they expressed

particular interest in learning strategies, problem-solving/ thinking, social skills, characteristics, methods of identification and screening; assessment of

attention problems, study skills and intelligence;

individualization of instruction and integration of students. c)

Senior high regular class teachers felt competent in only two areas related to learning disabilities namely, behavior

management and communicating with other teachers.

Primary

interest areas included methods of identification and screening, learning strategies and thinking/ problem-solving,

attention problems, behavior management, instruction in mathematics, and assessment of study skills, reading and social skills.

-93-

d)

Both elementary and junior/senior high special class teachers reported interest in three topics in which they lacked

confidence in their current knowledge:

neuropsychology,

computer-assisted learning and assessment of intelligence. Special class teachers felt competent in

instruction/remediation areas but expressed interest in further information regarding problem-solving/ thinking,

learning strategies, oral language, social skills and study skills.

Differences across grade levels and across the school

systems surveyed must be considered in identifying other topic areas. e)

Elementary resource teachers did not express interest in inservice in the few areas of self-reported weakness which they may not have perceived to be important to their role.

Areas of interest included learning strategies, attention problems, thinking/problem-solving, memory, metacognition,

social skills, study skills, behavior management, screening

procedures and oral language assessment. f)

Junior high resource teachers were interested in inservice in several areas in which they perceived weaknesses:

metacognition, screening procedures, and attention problems. Other interest areas were learning strategies, memory,

thinking/problem-solving, methods of identification, assessment and remediation of language, assessment of written

expression and social skills, and developing individual

education plans.

-94-

g)

Senior high resource teachers expressed interest in

opportunities to increase competence in the following

self-perceived areas of weakness:

metacognition,

computer-assisted learning, assessment of intelligence, and instruction in social skills.

Other interest areas included

learning strategies, memory, screening procedures; assessment and instruction of reading, written expression and social skills; assessment of intelligence; thinking/problem-solving

instruction, behavior management strategies and integration of students.

-95-

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Textbooks Adelman, H.S. and Taylor, L. (1986). An Introduction to Learning Disabilities . Glenview, Illinois: Scott, Foresman & Co. Gearhart, B.R. (1985). Learning Disabilities: Toronto: Times Mirror/Mosby.

Educational Strategies .

Gearhart, W., DeRuiter, J., & Sileo, T. (1986). Teaching Mildly and Moderately Handicapped Students . Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall. Houck, C.K. (1984). Learning Disabilities: Understanding Concepts, Characteristics and Issues . Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall.

Myers, P.I. and Hammill, D. (1982). Learning Disabilities: Basic Concepts, Assessment Practices, and Instructional Strategies . Austin, Texas : Pro-ed Reid, D.K. & Hresko, W.P. (1981). A Cognitive Approach to Learning Disabilities . Toronto: McGraw-Hill. Smith, D.D. (1981). Teaching the Learning Disabled. N . J . : Prentice-Hall Smith, T., Price, B., & Marsh, G. (1986). and Adults . NY: West Publishing Co.

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Inglewood Cliffs,

Mildly Handicapped Children

Return to: Learning Centre: 2j15 - 1st Avenue N.W. Calgary, Alberta TZH AN9 Phone: (A03;27U-3/ll C.B.E., C.C.B.E. A.C.H. - may return via Inter-departmental mall

Appendix 1

PRESENTATION EVALUATION DATE: In order to better serve the public by providing meaningful information about learning disabilities, we are asking your assistance In answering this questionnaire.

PRESENTATION PRESENTORS I.

Background Information 1.

Describe your present occupation:

2.

Number of years in current occupation:

3.

What is your educational background:

4.

What age category do you fall into: 1

31 - AO;

- 20; 21 - 30;

41 - 50; 51 - 60; 61 - 70;

5.

If applicable, what is your area of specialization

6.

Which best describes your reason for attending? If applicable:

Mbdo Chitdr»n\ ^(oipttol.

Choose several

a)

To improve my knowledge/skills in my specialty

b)

For self improvement and Interest

c)

To learn about another area

d)

It was arranged for me

Altwrto Teocher'i AMOciatian, CotgnrY AuocMitMfi

O/Ifi0;.C Italic) U' fr:.,,:l.u.. Kjnvl.CM Uci, Hi Co^jOrj, Ul.l.v

>

U-^i

fv

Oiildran wttti

LMminc

DiMbtlilKt, Col^arv Board «f tducorwn, CoUjory Bcxvt) of Haolfh. Cotgcvy

The Learning Centre Spring 1986

Appendix LEARNING DISABILITIES:

2

NEEDS ASSESSMENT SURVEY

Background information will assist in planning professional development activities relevant and meaningful to educators who differ in experience, training and teaching assignments.

Current position (please circle) a. b. c. d. e. f.

g.

2.

Regular Class Teacher Learning Disabilities Class Teacher Resource Room Teacher Resource Teacher Remedial Language Arts Teacher Corrective Learning Teacher Special Services personnel, please describe

Grade Level (s) you currently teach or provide services for (circle more than one if applicable) 7-9

a.

K-3

c.

b.

4-6

d. 10-12

Briefly describe content area(s) that you have taught in the last two years.

Sex a. b.

5.

male female

Age Range a. b. c. d. e.

Years of teaching experience a. b. c. d.

2 or less 3-7 8-15 16 or more

7.

21-30 31-40 41-50 51-60 61-70

Educational Background (circle all applicable) a. b. c. d.

e. f.

B.A., B.Sc. B.Ed. Dip. Ed. M.Ed. M.A., M.Sc. Other (specify)

8.

Please indicate previous training in the area of learning disabilities: a. b.

9.

No specific training Undergraduate courses in learning disabilities. Please indicate the number of half course equivalents

What have you found to be most helpful in preparing you to work with students with learning difficulties? a) b)

c.

d.

Graduate courses in learning disabilities. Please indicate the number of half course equivalents

c) d)

specialized preservice training specialized inservice training regular class experience special class experience

Inservice courses (please describe)

you see as strengths in your training in terms of meeting the needs of students with learning difficulties in your current teaching situation?

\lhat do

a)

strengths obtained from university training:

b)

strengths obtained from inservice training

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11. What do you see as weaknesses in your training in terms of meeting the needs of students with learning difficulties in your current

teaching situation?

B.

a)

university training weaknesses:

b)

inservice training weaknesses:

To help plan effective inservice programs to meet your needs, we are interested in your opinions about the planning and delivery of such programs: 1,

What is the best time of year for inservice programs? Please try to rank order the following choices using 1-5 so that "1" is the best time of year and "5" is the worst. Please try to use all 5 categories. shortly after school is out in June just prior to the start of the school year

_

during the school year - Sept. - Dec. during the school year - Jan. - March during the school year - April - June

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What is the best time of the week for inservice programs? Please rank 1-4 so that "1" is the best time and "4" is the worst. ^during the school day

immediately following dismissal

weekday evening weekend

Which of the following presentation formats for inservice training in learning disabilities would you prefer? Please rank 1-5 with "1" the most preferred category. one hour

half day full day two full days

weekend Who should be included in planning inservice programs on learning disabilities? Please rank 1-5 so that "1" is the most preferred category. school psychologist __teachers and administrators together

administrators outside consultant

teachers alone any combination of the above, please specify

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5.

Which of the following presentation techniques for inservice training in learning disabilities would you prefer? Please rank your four top choices from 1-4 with "1" the most preferred category. informal discussion with consultant formal presentation by consultant

consultation on a one-to-one basis

workshop format with information presented and followed by participant practice integrated series of workshops

observation of other teachers sharing session with other teachers other, please specify

6.

What reasons would encourage you to want to attend an inservice program in learning disabilities: Please rank 1-6 with "1" being the most preferred reason.

interest in theoretical issues about learning disabilities to become acquainted with the latest developments in the field of

learning disabilities to obtain information and materials to use in present teaching assignments to obtain information that will be used to effect change in classroom behavior/or instruction

to enjoy a mentally stimulating break from routine to associate with adults and exhange information with colleagues 7.

a. b. c. d.

e. f. g.

What incentives for inservice training would be attendance at an inservice program? (circle one not very likely release time fees paid free material college credit salary increments no incentives other (please specify)

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most likely to encourage for each) likely 50/50 chance

To help us determine the content of inservice programs in learning disabilities, the following sections request that you estimate your current level of knowledge in the field of learning disabilities in the areas of general information, assessment and instruction/remediation and to indicate topics of interest to you for inservice training. 1)

Learning Disabilities: General Information Please rate your current level of knowledge in the following areas by circling number from 1 to 5: competent

feel secure and competent to demonstrate to others

feel insecure or not trained in this area

Definition

1

2

3

4

5

Social Skills

1

2

3

4

5

Characteristics

1

2

3

A

5

Self Esteem

1

2

3

4

5

Methods of identif icationl

2

3

4

5

Behavior Management

1

2

3

4

5

3

4

5

Computer-Assisted Learning

3

4

5

3

4

5

Study Skills

12 12

3

4

5

3

4

5

Neuropsychology

1

2

3

4

5

3

4

5

Career/Vocational

1

2

3

4

5

3

4

5

Communicating with Parents

3

4

5

3

4

5

Communicating with other Teachers

3

4

5

3

4

5

Intelligence Thinking and Problem Solving

Metacognition Learning Strategies

Attention Problems Memory

12 12 12 12 12 12

Integration of students

12 12 1

2

Please select five of the above general information topics which would be of most interest to you in an inservice program. Please list them from 1 to 5 with 1 being the most preferred topic:

2. 3. _

4. _ 5.

Feel free to comment on special concerns or interests you would like addressed.

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2)

Learning Disabilities: Assessment Please rate your current level of knowledge in the following areas by circling a number from 1 to 5: competent

feel secure and competent to demonstrate to others

Screening procedures

Assessment of Oral Language Assessment of Reading

Assessment of Written Expression

Assessment of Spelling

Assessment of Handwriting

12 12 12 12 12 12

feel insecure or not trained in this area

3

4

5

Assessment of Mathematics

3

4

5

Assessment of Attention Problems

3

4

5

Assessment of Intelligence

3

4

5

3

4

5

3

4

5

12

3

4

5

1

3

4

5

2

3

4

5

Assessment of Social Skills

12 12

3

4

5

Assessment of Study Skills

12

3

4

5

Please select five of the above assessment areas which would be of most interest to you in an inservice program. Please list them for 1 to 5 with 1 being the most preferred topic: 1. 2.

3. 4. 5.

Please feel free to comment on special concerns or interests you would like addressed.

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3)

Learning Disabilities:

Instruction/Remediation

Please rate your current level of knowledge in the following areas by circling a number from 1 to 5:

competent

feel secure and competent to demonstrate to others

feel insecure or not trained in this area

Oral Language

1

2

3

4

5

Social Skills

1

2

3

4

5

Reading

1

2

3

4

5

Problem-solving/Thinking

1

2

3

4

5

Written Expression

1

2

3

4

5

Learning Strategies

1

2

3

4

5

Spelling

1

2

3

4

5

Behavior Management Strategiesl

Handwriting

1

2

3

4

5

Study Skills

1

2

3

4

5

Mathematics

1

2

3

4

5

Individualization of instruction

1

2

3

4

5

Attention

1

2

3

4

5

Developing individual education plans

1

2

3

4

5

Integration of students

1

2

3

4

5

4

3

2

Please select five of the above instruction/remediation areas which would be of most interest to you in an inservice program. Please list them from 1 to 5 with 1 being the most preferred topic: 1.

2. 3.

4. 5.

Please feel free to comment on special concerns or interests you would like addressed.

Thank you for your assistance. MAIL.

PLEASE RETURN IN THE ENCLOSED ENVELOPE VIA INTERSCHOOL

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1986
Teachers, Teachers of children with disabilities, Children with disabilities
English