A Mixed Methods Study Assessing Special Education Preservice Candidates' Preparedness for Their First Year of Teaching
This study employed a Likert-type survey, Praxis/Pathwise written observations, as well a guided and open-ended reflections to assess the perceptions of preparedness for the first year of teaching for special education student teaching candidates. Cooperating teachers completed the survey and Praxis/Pathwise observations. University supervisors completed Praxis/Pathwise observations and responded to and analyzed guided and open-ended reflections. The survey instrument was based on the research literature and included responsibilities typically required of special educators (e.g., completing paperwork, planning, assessment, etc.). Results indicated general congruence among the three data sources, but also indicated that two cooperating teachers were reluctant to provide negative feedback, indicating to university supervisors a need to provide guidance and assurance of the value of providing less positive assessments of their student teachers’ preparedness. This ongoing research study supports efforts toward accreditation and program improvement. The methods may be generalized to other programs, even when the actual data collection instruments may differ.