Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Universal Design for Learning and Pre-Service General Education Teacher Preparation
by Vitelli, Edward M., Ed.D., The George Washington University, 2013, 214; 3592441
Abstract (Summary)

Students diagnosed with disabilities are increasingly educated in inclusive settings. Despite this shift, general education teachers typically do not receive adequate preparation for working with these populations. Such deficiencies in preparation have lasting negative consequences for students with disabilities, particularly with regard to education and employment outcomes.

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is an approach to curriculum development and instruction that is targeted toward providing all students, regardless of any distinguishing characteristic, with an opportunity to learn. As such, UDL appears particularly well suited for inclusive settings. An emerging body of research suggests that UDL-based instruction fosters improved learning outcomes for students with and without disabilities. Recent federal education policies, particularly the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008, have encouraged general education teacher preparation programs to provide instruction on UDL.

The purpose of this study is to examine the extent to which faculty members of college and university-based teacher preparation programs perceive that the instruction of UDL has been incorporated into their general education teacher preparation courses. Areas of the framework that are typically taught by faculty members, as well as barriers to the incorporation of the framework, are also examined. An online survey was administered to general education faculty of programs that were recipients of Teacher Quality Partnership Grants for Pre-Baccalaureate Preparation of Teachers (TQP grants). These grants are awarded to programs that are expected to prepare educators to understand teaching research and practices that are consistent with the UDL framework.

The data collected indicate that UDL is being taught in a wider range of programs and states than previously documented. However, the depth of this penetration appears limited; the survey results suggest that awareness and instruction of the framework were modest for programs with TQP grants. Among faculty who do teach UDL, nearly all address all three UDL principles. At least two-thirds provide instruction on seven of the nine associated guidelines. Several barriers to instruction were identified, including a lack of awareness and—among those aware of it—insufficient knowledge of the framework. Recommendations for future research are also discussed.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Leconte, Pamela J.
Commitee: Castellani, John, Dannels, Sharon A.
School: The George Washington University
Department: Special Education
School Location: United States -- District of Columbia
Source: DAI-A 74/12(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Teacher education
Keywords: Higher Education Opportunity Act, Teacher education, Teacher preparation, Universal Design for Learning
Publication Number: 3592441
ISBN: 978-1-303-33485-6
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