Professional standards for special education teachers

Date of Completion

January 1998


Education, Administration|Education, Educational Psychology|Education, Special




This study, conducted in cooperation with the Connecticut State Department of Education, examined content and construct validity of the standards and performance statements that define the role of the special education teacher in Connecticut. These standards and performance statements are intended as the basis for certification of beginning special education teachers and as the basis for planning evaluation and professional growth of special education teachers in the State.^ The study was conducted in two phases. First, the Special Education Professional Standards Committee, formed by the Connecticut State Department of Education, was successful in reaching consensus on the Standards for Special Education teachers which included knowledge, disposition and performance statements regarding each standard. The performance statements identified for each standard were then used to conduct a Likert-type questionnaire. In the second phase of the study, this questionnaire was used to survey a simple random sample of all Connecticut special education teachers and a stratified random sample of school district administrators. Respondents were asked whether these performance statements were important measures of special education teacher effectiveness.^ The study was successful at determining both content and construct validity of the standards and performance indicator statements surveyed. The factor analysis of the survey results suggested grouping performances under ten standards rather than the eight standards proposed by the Special Education Professional Standards Committee: Collaboration, Consultation, Students and Their Needs, Remedial Direct Instruction, Modifying Instruction, Vocation Instruction, Environment for Learning, Assessment, Community Beyond the School, and Continued Professional Development. All performances under these standards were rated as highly or very highly important to the effectiveness of the special education teacher. ^