Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctorate of Education, Ed.D.


College of Education



First Advisor

Brandy Kamm, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Michael J. Hollis, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Peggy Dupey, Ed.D.


This qualitative study explored the thoughts and perceptions of 16 teachers and their experiences working with special education students. The programming options most often offered by school districts are general education inclusion or a separate resource setting, yet there is a limited amount of research showing actual academic progress to guide decision making. The following question was central to the research: Based on teacher perceptions, do students with special needs show the most academic success in general education inclusion classes or special education resource classes? Data analysis led to the identification of the following six themes: behavior interfering with teaching, student’s academic progress with content, need for socialization, district-level concerns, programming depends on individual students, and the need for both settings. The information collected suggested that providing a combination of general education inclusion together with a separate special education setting was the best way to encourage academic success. This should be done on an individual basis but all options within the continuum of services should be available. The results obtained from the present study provide a greater understanding of teacher perceptions in both general education and specialized settings and the type of educational supports that are most beneficial and necessary to the academic success of students with special needs.

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