Special Education Teachers’ Perspectives of Alternate Assessments



Griffin, Jodi

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Attrition of special education teachers who are specially trained to teach students who are the most severely disabled is of great concern. This thesis examines special education teachers’ perceptions of alternate assessments, specifically with the Virginia Alternate Assessment Program (VAAP). Issues surrounding difficulties special education teachers faced, the ongoing debate about which type of curriculum should be primary in classrooms, functional or academic skills curriculums, and data from previous studies were discussed. Teachers who left the field, “goers”, and those who have remained, “stayers”, were interviewed about their personal experiences with the VAAP based on common themes from past research. The two groups were bounded to be examined as a multiple case study and results indicated that there were both similarities and differences between the two cases. Uncovered from the interviews were positive attitudes, student focused strategies, and collaborative supports in place by those who remained in the field. Discussion, implications and recommendations are also presented.



Special education, Teachers' perceptions, Alternate assessments, VAAP