04 SES 03 E, How Inclusive Is Your School? Comparing Teachers’ and Students’ Perspectives
With the enacting of the UN-Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities (UN CRPD) in 2006, the signatory states committed themselves to establish an inclusive school system. According to Article 24 of the UN CRPD, students with special educational needs (SEN) have the right to equally access the general education system instead of being taught in special schools (Deluca & Stillings, 2008; Loreman, 2014). Therefore the states are obliged to provide “[…] reasonable accommodation of the individual’s requirements” (Art. 24, 2 c) and since it remains widely unclear to what extent provision is reasonable, many states implemented the UN CRPD with reservations in terms of provision and accordingly resources (Katzenbach & Schnell, 2013). Until today current literature only refers to terms like “adequate funding” (Loreman, 2014, p. 467) and still lacks a distinct definition of how schools must be equipped with regard to human resources, design (space, interior and structure of the schools) and teaching material. On the other hand side one can argue that a defined standard is needless since inclusive education also adheres to the principle of “each according to its needs” (OECD, 1999, p. 28). Apart from this concept, that an adequate accommodation meets the need of every single student, it is evident that not only a determined amount of resources causes (desired) effects but rather how these resources are processed (Loreman, 2014). In this context it also seems important whether the different stakeholders perceive the given resources as sufficient. A study conducted by Chiner & Cardona (2013) found that a perceived lack of resources leads to a less affirmative attitude towards inclusive education.
The initial point of this paper is the assumption that the effectively existing resources rarely predict whether stakeholders perceive the resources as sufficient, i.e. that the perception is highly subjective and variant even on the classroom-level where the accommodation with resources is the same. Hence we developed a Perception of Resources Questionnaire (PRQ) that aims at finding out whether the different dimensions of physical resources in class are viewed as sufficient. In the framework of the project Resources and Self-efficacy in inclusive education (RESE) we hope to match the perceptions with actual existing resources. The first step and primary objective of this contribution is to report on the psychometric qualities (factorial structure and, reliability) of the newly developed PRQ. In addition we test the variance of the participants’ perceptions and whether the number of students in class and the number of students with SEN in class determine the variance of perceptions via multilevel regression analysis.
The PRQ was developed using a multi-step process. After an intensive literature review we developed 12 items which focus on three main dimensions: adequate accommodation with 1) human (4 items, e.g. ‘There are enough teachers at our school.’) 2) space/ structural (4 items, e.g. ‘We need more classrooms at our school’) and 3) material resources (4 items, e.g. ‘It lacks items that are required for the lessons’). We used a four-point Likert-style scale (1 = not at all true, 2 = slightly true, 3 = very true, 4 = completely true). The same items have been used in the students’ and teachers’ questionnaire. In addition, we asked the teachers to answer questions about the effectively existing (objective) resources (e.g. the quantity of lessons per hour in which a special education teacher supports the class). Data were collected in 18 secondary schools in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, as part of the German study Resources and Self-efficacy in inclusive education (RESE). In total, N = 42 classes consisting of at least one student diagnosed with SEN participated in the paper-pencil survey at the beginning of the last school year (October – November 2017). Next to N = 701 students, two teachers of each class (N = 84) were asked to complete a questionnaire.
Since the teacher’s questionnaires are still in the process of return, all results are preliminary and can only be interpreted with caution. In a first analysis of the student’s data (N = 701) we checked correlations between each item and the total score of the PRQ. Items that had a correlation below 0.25 were removed. Five Items were deleted as they had low correlations with the total score. The results of the exploratory factor analysis with the remaining seven items showed that the items can be reduced to one factor. The reliability (Cronbach’s Alpha) for the total scale is .67. The mean of the scale is 2.97 (sd = 0.52) and indicates that the students are rather satisfied with the resources. In comparison with the preliminary teacher data (N = 55), they rated the sufficiency of the resources much lower (M = 2.14, sd = 0.49). In order to determine if any of the class size and the number of students with special educational needs were significant predictors of students’ perceptions about resources, and to determine the relation between teachers’ and students’ perspective, we conducted multilevel regression analyses. The models without predictor showed that 17.7% of the variance was explained on class-level. The model with predictors for the total scale score could explain about 5.4% of the variance on class level. The teacher rating about the resources was the only significant predictor of students’ subjective perceptions of resources. Neither the number of students with special educational needs nor the total number of students in class were a significant predictor. Implications for the use, further development and evaluation of the scale are discussed.
Chiner, E. & Cristina, C. (2013). Inclusive education in Spain: how do skills, resources, and supports affect regular education teachers’ perceptions of inclusion? International Journal of Inclusive Education, 17(5), 526-541. Deluca, M. & Stillings, C. (2008). Targeting Resources to Students with Special Educational Needs: national differences in policy and practice. European Educational Research Journal, 7(3), 371-385. Katzenbach, D. & Schnell, I. (2013). Strukturelle Voraussetzungen inklusiver Bildung, in Moser, V. (Hrsg.), Die inklusive Schule: Standards für die Umsetzung, 2. Auflage, Kohlhammer Verlag, Stuttgart, S. 23–41. Loreman, T. (2014). Measuring inclusive education outcomes in Alberta, Canada. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 18(5), 459-483. OECD. (1999). Inclusive education at work: Students with Disabilities in Mainstream. Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, OECD. Paris: OECD Publications Service.
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