Date of Conferral
Arcella J. Trimble
Inclusion is a philosophy and practice of educating students with and without disabilities in the same learning environment. Previous researchers have indicated that principals play a key role in implementing successful and effective inclusive programs. However, there remains a gap in the literature regarding the attitudes of principals and assistant principals toward including students with disabilities at both elementary and secondary school levels. Therefore, the purpose of this nonexperimental, quantitative study, based on transformational leadership theory, was to examine the attitudes of principals toward the inclusion of students with disabilities in general education classrooms. An electronic version of The Principals' Attitudes Toward Inclusive Education Scale was used to collect data from principals in a southeastern school district (n = 73). The predictor variables were age; gender; years of administrative; teaching; special education experience; and having a friend or relative with a disability. The criterion variable was principal attitudes toward inclusion. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and multiple linear regression. Results indicated that overall principals had positive attitudes toward inclusion. Having relatives and/ or friends with disabilities and special education experience were significant predictors of favorable attitudes toward inclusion. This study contributes to positive social change by illuminating which variables are related to principals' positive attitudes toward inclusion programs. This information will assist principals, assistant principals, and school administration preparatory programs with understanding how special education training and experience with individuals with disabilities affect their attitudes toward the inclusion of students with disabilities.