Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation (Campus Access Only)

Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Instr and Curr Leadership


Special Education

Committee Chair

Laura B Casey

Committee Member

Nicole L Thompson

Committee Member

William C Hunter

Committee Member

Robert Williamson


Since the reauthorization of IDEA (1997), educators have faced the challenges of creating access to the general curriculum and participation in statewide assessment systems for all students, including those with significant cognitive disabilities unable to participate in typical statewide assessments. The results of reviewed literature indicate that in order to improve the practices of alternate assessments, it is important to understand teachers' perspectives about alternate assessments because teachers' beliefs directly influence their implementation of alternate assessments in their classrooms. The purposes of this study were to examine (a) perspectives, self-reported classroom practices, and concerns of special education teachers who implement the alternate portfolio assessment (APA) system; (b) special education teachers perceived benefits of the APA system; and (c) special education teachers' specific suggestions for improving the APA system. In addition, (d) an analysis between Kentucky and Mississippi was performed using independent t-tests to see if any statistical difference existed between the states on four specific survey items. A survey instrument was used to gather these data from a sample of special educators who had experience with this alternate assessment system. Descriptive statistics (mean and standard deviations) were used to analyze the survey data. In addition, answers to specific open-ended questions were presented to further enrich the quantitative data provided by teachers. Lastly, independent t-tests were performed to investigate if any statistically significant differences existed between Mississippi and the state of Kentucky on four specific survey items (see Table 11). Overall results revealed that teachers hold a negative perspective of the APA system, Findings suggested that the APA is not fully meeting the complex needs of their students, and highlighted the curricular tensions between academics and functional life skills. The teachers tended to agree that students should be included in the state accountability system, but were not fully convinced of the educational benefits to their students. Results from the independent t-test revealed a statistically significant difference between means of two survey items (t = 5.0356, p < .05; t = 2.1277, p < .05). Teacher suggestions for improving the system were also included.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.