Graduation Year

2011

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Ph.D.

Degree Granting Department

Special Education

Major Professor

Ann Cranston-Gingras

Keywords

Autism Spectrum Disorders, Ecological Systems, Special Education, Teacher Retention

Abstract

Glenda E. Koshy

ABSTRACT

This study examined factors related to the intent of special education teachers of students with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) to remain in the profession. A modified Working in Schools: the Life of a Special Educator (WSLSE) survey, developed by Miller, Brownell, and Smith (1999), was utilized to explore the relationships between factors associated with Bronfenbrenner's Ecological Systems Model (1977) and the special education teachers' intention to remain in the field of teaching students with ASD. Bronfenbrenner's Ecological Systems Model (1977) includes the Microsystem, Mesosystem, Exosystem, Macrosystem, and the Individual domain.

Multiple regressions conducted as the method of data analysis revealed that factors associated with the Exosystem, Macrosystem, and lastly, the Individual domain all had statistically significant relationships with the outcome of teachers' intent to remain in the field of teaching students with ASD. Additionally, it was found that there were individual predictor variables that had statistically significant relationships with teachers' intentions to remain in the profession. Specifically, the significant predictor variables were married, recognition, and relationships. Therefore, special educators who were married had a greater intent to remain in the field of teaching students with ASD. In addition, special education teachers who receive recognition more often as well as educators who have relationships with the parents of their students and with community agencies have greater intentions of remaining in the field of teaching students with ASD.

Recommendations for policy makers as well as larger organizations and systems, including state and local education agencies, universities with teacher preparation programs, and K-12 public school systems are provided to assist in the development and implementation of programs designed to prepare and retain quality special education teachers of students with ASD

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