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Survey on Teaching Science to K-12 Students with Disabilities: Teacher Preparedness and Attitudes

Abstract

Students with disabilities are increasingly included in general education science classrooms and are expected to demonstrate academic proficiency on standardized assessments. Teacher preparation and attitudes have been cited as major factors contributing to either the success or failure of students with disabilities in science. In order to assess the current state of what could be facilitative or inhibitory influences, a national online survey to which 1,088 K-12 science teachers responded was conducted. Mixed methods’ analyses suggest that science teachers receive little formal training and feel underprepared to teach students with disabilities. Results identify specific gaps in science teachers’ education, as well as attitudinal and institutional barriers that may inhibit students with disabilities’ success. However, science teachers remain highly receptive to training and collaboration. Implications for science teacher education are discussed.

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Acknowledgments

The authors wish to thank Jeffrey D. Kromrey, Gregory P. Stefanich, and Dana L. Zeidler for their assistance with the preparation of this manuscript. In addition, the authors are grateful to the science coordinator and teachers from the pilot district as well as all of the survey participants who made this research possible.

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Correspondence to Sami Kahn.

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Kahn, S., Lewis, A.R. Survey on Teaching Science to K-12 Students with Disabilities: Teacher Preparedness and Attitudes. J Sci Teacher Educ 25, 885–910 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10972-014-9406-z

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Keywords

  • Science teacher preparation
  • Attitudes
  • Inclusion
  • Disabilities