Teacher Preparation, Students with Disabilities, Inclusion, Program Evaluation


Providing a meaningful education to all learners, including those with disabilities, is the responsibility of all educators. This study utilized a multi-method survey design to examine and compare general and special education teachers’ perceived preparedness to teach students with disabilities as well as the experiences each group believes contributed to that preparedness. Special education teachers’ rated themselves as more prepared for both instruction and social inclusion of students with disabilities than general education teachers, both after completing their undergraduate programs and after gaining teaching experience. While teachers across both groups valued similar experiences during their undergraduate programs, such as clinical placements and the ability to interact with students with disabilities during their program, the nature and frequency of those experiences across programs differed. Reported post-undergraduate experiences contributing to preparedness also differed between the groups. Across both teaching groups, few post-undergraduate professional learning opportunities (e.g., graduate school, professional development workshops) to teach students with disabilities were identified. Implications and recommendations for teacher education programs are described.