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Faculty Attitudes and Practices Regarding Students with Disabilities: Two Decades After Implementati... - page 4 / 67

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development activities.

The major purposes of this study were to examine (a) faculty reported experiences and attitudes toward making instructional accommodations (behavioral intent) and their knowledge of disabilities, disability legislation, and of programs and services for students with disabilities; (b) faculty accommodations (overt actions) for students with all types of disabilities as reported in open-ended comments; (c) the relationships among background variables such as gender, experience with individuals with disabilities, and academic discipline, with knowledge attitudes, practices, and needs; (d) faculty suggestions and input regarding services and supports needed to accommodate students with disabilities; and (e) changes in attitudes and practices over time by comparing findings from this study with data collected in a previous survey at the same university (Leyser, 1989). With the increasing numbers of students with disabilities entering postsecondary institutions and recent legislation (i.e., PL 105-17, IDEA Amendments 1997, ADA of 1990) changes could be anticipated.

Methodology

Participants

Participants consisted of 1,050 instructional faculty in a large mid-western doctoral-granting university with an enrollment of approximately 23,000 undergraduate and graduate students. Demographic information on 420 respondents (40% return rate) is presented in Table 1.

Chi square tests of goodness of fit (Siegel & Castellan, 1998) were used to determine whether the sample of respondents was representative of the population. Results from these tests revealed no significant differences for the variables of Tenure and Discipline (Education vs. all other colleges). However, on the other variables (university data on age was not available) statistically significant differences (at the .05 level) were obtained. These included (a) rank, i.e., the sample included more instructors and fewer associate professors as expected; (b) gender, i.e., more female faculty and fewer male faculty as expected; (c) years of teaching, the sample included more faculty with 16+ years and fewer faculty with 1-5 years as expected; and (d) percent time, i.e., more part-time faculty than full-time faculty were observed. Although four of the analyses were significant, it should be noted that the size of the sample was quite large and that the differences between the observed and expected counts in all tests were very small (less than 5%). While these differences were statistically significant they may be of little practical importance (Bruning & Kintz, 1977).

Survey Instrument

A survey instrument titled "A Faculty Survey of Students with Disabilities" was used in the study. The instrument was a modified and extended version (added items) from a scale used in a prior study on faculty attitudes and practices developed by Leyser (1989). It also incorporated a number of items which were adapted from several other questionnaires developed and employed in similar surveys of faculty attitudes (i.e., Houk,

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