Special Education ETDs

Publication Date



The main questions dealt with in this thesis revolve around the attitudes of undergraduates and graduates in Special Education towards exceptional children, as well as their knowledge of instructional techniques. Special emphasis was placed on the determination of the role of Special Education 450 (Adaptive Instructional Techniques) in the acquisition of attitudes towards these children. Five groups of students were tested in order to ascertain whether differences of attitude existed between them and to test for the types of attitudes acquired in Special Education 450. Two of the groups consisted of graduate level students, the third of beginning students, the fourth of students at the beginning of their Special Education 450 class, and the last group of students nearing the end of the 450 course.

Using instruments designed to evaluate the attitudes and knowledge of these groups of students, six hypotheses were tested, all related to the possible differences between them.

The test of the effectiveness of Special Education 450 resulted in the finding that the course seems to accomplish its objectives. Significant gains in knowledge were found between pre and post testing of students taking the course. In addition, no significant difference was found between the knowledge scores of graduates and undergraduates in Special Education 450.

The differences between the knowledge scores of beginning and terminating Special Education students were found to be significant. In addition, beginning students were found to hold significantly more negative attitudes towards exceptional children than do the terminating students in the program.

Comparisons of attitudes between the terminating students and graduates suggest that there is no substitute for personal experience with exceptional children. Graduate students, who tend to be older and more experienced, seemed to have had more positive attitudes than those of terminating students. Knowledge tempered with exposure to exceptional children tends to increase positive attitudes towards them.

Document Type




Degree Name

Special Education

Level of Degree


Department Name

Special Education

First Committee Member (Chair)

Glenn Van Etten

Second Committee Member

Roger Lee Kroth

Third Committee Member

Gary Wayne Adamson