Date of Conferral
Federal mandates ensure that each and every child regardless of race, national origins, and socioeconomic status, is entitled to a high-quality education. Reports from the Department of Education have stated that over 80% of exceptional students receive their academic instructions within general education classrooms. There is limited research on exceptional students learning outcomes in general education classrooms with general education curriculum. The purpose of this quantitative study was to test the theory of self-determination that explains the impact of teacher characteristics (N = 85 educators) on the academic outcomes of exceptional students in the special and general education classrooms. Teacher characteristics such as, experience, training, and attitude were measured by the Teacher's Attitude Towards Inclusion scale (TAIS) scores, and student learning outcomes, were reports of student performance ratings and standardized scores, of the exceptional students. Results revealed significant correlations between specific inclusive TAIS attitudes and student learning outcomes. The independent sample t test results indicated that the years of experience and student outcomes of students of general education teachers were significantly higher in comparison to special education teachers. Availability of Instructional Options was also measured; it did not moderate the relationship between teachers' characteristics and academic outcomes of exceptional students. Positive social change thus can be initiated by training teachers in the instructional practices, identified by this study, who deliver the optimal academic outcomes for the exceptional students. This will initiate positive social change for the special child, their families, and the community as a whole.