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Attitudes and accommodation practices of university health professions faculty toward students with learning disabilities

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ATTITUDES AND ACCOMMODATION PRACTICES OF UNIVERSITY HEALTH
PROFESSIONS FACULTY TOWARD STUDENTS WITH LEARNING DISABILITIES








By

JOANNE JACKSON FOSS


A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE
REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY


UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA


2002














ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Despite the fact that my name appears alone on this dissertation, earning this

degree has required the mentorship, support and tolerance of my committee, my family

and my colleagues.

First, I would like to acknowledge the mentorship of my committee chair, Dr.

Arthur Sandeen. He has mastered the ideal balance of support and challenge, providing

sincere encouragement or energizing motivation as the moment required. His

willingness to share his life experiences and perspectives contributed greatly to my

personal and professional growth. I thank as well the other members of my committee,

Dr. Archer, Dr. Flowers, and Dr. Honeyman, as their viewpoints enriched my perspective

and broadened the scope of my education.

I would like to thank my colleagues in the College of Health Professions and the

Department of Occupational Therapy for their tolerance and support. In particular, I

thank Dr. Kay Walker for believing in my abilities enough to get me started on this path

and providing a personal model for education in mid-life. Also, I thank Dr. Robert Frank,

Dr. Stephanie Hanson, and Dr. William Mann for their continual interest in my progress

and for taking the risk to support my goals. I am grateful for the support and patience of

my OT faculty colleagues. They freely shared their knowledgeable perspectives, and

willingly listened in my insecure moments. The technical expertise of Carlos Camejo

and Elena Casson has made me look my best. I envy their skills and thank them for

sharing them.

It is wrong to have saved my family for last as their influence and sacrifice has

been the greatest. My husband, Robin, provides the foundation for my life, and his belief






iii


in me makes anything possible. I thank my sons, Andrew and Matt, for pretending that

studying through their soccer and baseball games and eating dinner at nine o'clock was

normal. I hope that they always have the satisfaction of pursuing their dreams. As the

years progress my admiration for my parents grows, and I hope in some small way this

dissertation makes up for the one my father never had the opportunity to write. Lastly, I

recognize the contributions of my Grandmother to my life. She left to me the conviction

that with education no one would ever underestimate me the way they did her and the

women of her generation.















TABLE OF CONTENTS

PAGE
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS........................................................................... ii

LIST OF TABLES.................................................................................... vi

A B S T R A C T ............................ .......................... ........................ .. ... .......... vii

CHAPTER

1 INTRODUCTION................................................................................. 1

Background of the Study............................................................................ 1
Statement of the Problem........................................................................... 4
Theoretical Framework.............................................................................. 5
Significance of Study.................................................................................. 8
Purpose of Study......................................................................................... 9
Research Questions.................................................................................. 9
Lim itatio ns .............................................................................................. ... 10
Definition of Terms.................................................................................... 10
Overview of the Remainder of the Study........................................................ 11

2 REVIEW OF THE RELATED LITERATURE.................................................. 12

Introduction ............................................. ................. ........... ........... ............ 12
Faculty Attitudes and Practices................................................................... 13
Academic Accommodations......................................................................... 16
Attitude and Attitude Change Theory............................................................ 16
S um m ary ......................................................................... ...................... 20

3 METHODOLOGY................................................................................... 21

S getting ................................... ............................. ............................. ....... 2 1
P a rticipa nts ..................................... .............. ................................ ........... 2 1
Instrumentation ......................................................................................... 22
D ata C collection .................................................................................. ....... 24
Research Variables.................................................................................. 24
Research Designs..................................................................... .............. 25

4 PRESENTATION AND ANALYSIS OF DATA............................................... 28

Survey Responses................................................................... ............. 28
P population P rofile ........................................................... ......................... 29
G ender & A ge ......................................................................... .................. 29









S tatus ................................................... ........................ ... ........................ 30
Years of Experience................................................................................... 31
Experience with Students with Disabilities....................................................... 31
Reliability Estimates.................................................................................... 32
Research Question 1 .................................................................................. 33
Research Question 2.................................................................................. 35
Research Question 3.................................................................................. 37
G ende r................................................ .... ................................................. 38
A g e ................................................................................................... ...... 3 8
S tatus .......................................................... .. ... ................... ..................... 39
Experience ................................................................................................. 39
Research Question 4.................................................................................. 40
Instructional Accommodations...................................................................... 41
Examination Accommodations...................................................................... 43
Research Question 5 .................................................................................. 44
Instructional Accommodations...................................................................... 46
Examination Accommodations...................................................................... 48
Time Expenditure....................................................................................... 48
Summary ............................................................................................ .... 49

5 CONCULSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS............................................... 52

Introduction .................................................. ............... ..................... .......... 52
Primary Findings ....................................................................................... 53
Secondary Findings .................................................................................... 54
Discussion of the Findings and Implications...................................................... 54
Instrumentation........................................................................................... 55
Question 1 .................................... ........................................................... 57
Q question 2 .............................. ............. ....................... ............................... 58
Question 3 ............................................................... ................................. 59
Q question 4 ........................................... ........... ... ................ .................... 59
Question 5 ............................................................................................... 60
Lim itations.................................................... ............................................. 62
Suggestions for Future Research................................................................... 63
Conclusion ................................................................................................... 64

APPENDIX

A SURVEY INSTRUMENT........................................................................... 66

B COVER LETTER AND CONSENT FOR SURVEY........................................ 76

C IRB APPROVAL LETTER.......................................................................... 78

D PERMISSION TO USE SURVEY ..............................................................79

REFERENCES........................................................................................... 80

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH............................................................................ 85















LIST OF TABLES

Table Page

4-1 Occupational Therapy Faculty: Distribution by Gender................................... 29

4-2 Occupational Therapy Faculty: Distribution by Age....................................... 30

4-3 Occupational Therapy Faculty: Distribution by Rank...................................... 30

4-4 Occupational Therapy Faculty: Distribution by Degree................................... 31

4-5 Occupational Therapy Faculty: Distribution by Teaching Experience................. 31

4-6 Occupational Therapy Faculty Perceptions of Career Preparation:
Frequency Distributions, Means and Standard Deviations.............................. 34

4-7 Occupational Therapy Faculty Attitudes Toward Accommodations:
Frequency Distributions, Means and Standard Deviations............................... 36

4-8 Occupational Therapy Faculty Perceptions of Accommodation Fairness:
Frequency Distributions, Means and Standard Deviations.............................. 37

4-9 Multivariate Analysis Results: Examination Accommodations ......................... 40

4-10 Occupational Therapy Willingness to Provide Instructional
Accommodations: Frequency Distributions, Means and Standard
D eviations ........................................ ......... .................... ...... ....... ...... 41

4-11 Occupational Therapy Faculty Willingness to Provide Examination
Accommodations: Frequency Distributions, Means and Standard
D eviations ....................................... .. ...... ................... .............. ......... 42

4-11 Occupational Therapy Faculty Actual Provision of Instructional
Accommodations: Frequency Distributions, Means and Standard
D eviations .............................................. .. ................ .... ...................... 4 5

4-12 Occupational Therapy Faculty Actual Provision of Examination
Accommodations: Frequency Distributions, Means and Standard
D eviations ......................................... .......... ........... ................... ......... 45

4-13 Occupational Therapy Faculty Actual Provision of Examination
Accommodations: Frequency Distributions, Means and Standard
D eviations ....................................... ............ .............................. ......... 46















Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree Doctor of Philosophy

ATTITUDES AND ACCOMMODATION PRACTICES OF UNIVERSITY HEALTH
PROFESSIONS FACULTY TOWARD STUDENTS WITH LEARNING DISABILITIES

By

Joanne Jackson Foss

December 2002

Chairman: Arthur Sandeen, PhD
Major Department: Educational Leadership, Policy, and Foundation

Prior research has indicated that faculty attitudes, expressed by their willingness

to make academic accommodations, enhance the academic success of students with

learning disabilities. This study examined the attitudes and accommodation practices of

faculty in a specific health professions program towards students with learning

disabilities. Invitations to participate in the survey were electronically sent to faculty of

professional occupational therapy (OT) academic programs.

According to the analysis of the resulting data, faculty were the most willing to

make the examination accommodations of additional time and alternate testing

locations, and less willing to provide alternate types or formats of exams or to allow oral

or tape recorded exams. Concerning instructional accommodations, faculty responded

they would be favorable to requests to tape record classes, and would supply copies of

lecture outlines and PowerPoint presentations. They were less willing to provide

individual assistance on written papers, and were the least willing to provide alternate

assignment formats.









The most often provided instructional accommodations reported were

supplemental copies of lecture overheads or PowerPoint presentations and allowing

students to tape record lectures or class sessions. The least often provided was that of

allowing students to complete assignments in an alternate format. The most commonly

provided examination accommodations were additional time and alternate testing

locations. Alternate exam types and formats, and the use of supportive technology were

the least common. In an average week faculty recounted spending between 10 and 30

minutes accommodating each student.

The data suggest that the faculty surveyed felt strongly that students with

learning disabilities should be admitted to OT programs and that modifications to

academic programs should be made. The respondents also felt that instructional and

examination accommodations were fair to non-disabled peers, and they were willing to

provide both types of accommodations when requested. Though they were not as

strong in their belief as to the effectiveness of those accommodations in facilitating

student success, the respondents reported experience in providing a majority of the

accommodations surveyed.














CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION

Background for the Study

The number of students with disabilities in higher education has been increasing as a

result of laws aimed at ensuring educational opportunities for all students. The number

of students with disabilities enrolled in colleges and universities has nearly tripled since

1978 (American Council on Education, 1998). During the 1999-2000 school year an

estimated 428,280 students with disabilities, or 9% of the undergraduate student

population, were enrolled in post-secondary education institutions in the United States

(National Center for Educational Statistics, 2002). In the late 1990s, 98% of the nation's

public two and four year colleges and universities enrolled students with disabilities.

Ninety-eight percent of those institutions provided at least one accommodation or

support service to students, and 95% provided at least one type of support service to

academic faculty or staff working with students with disabilities (Lewis & Farris, 1999).

As a direct result of the advocacy impact of the civil rights movement of the 1960s,

federal legislation mandated equal access to public education institutions (U.S.

Department of Education Office for Civil Rights, 1999). Many of the barriers that

prevented individuals with disabilities from choosing educational programs and

professional careers have been eliminated through the requirements of the Individuals

with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA, 1990), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act

(Rehabilitation Act, 1973), and the Americans with Disabilities Acts (ADA, 1997).

Legislation, such as Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act; the Individuals with Disabilities

Education Act (IDEA); and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), have eliminated








obstructions that previously prevented the access and participation of individuals with

disabilities in education, employment, and community opportunities. Although IDEA has

no specific mandate to higher education institutions, it was the first federal law that

required local public school systems to provide educational services to children with

disabilities (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act [IDEA], 1974). Compliance with

these laws has resulted in an increased awareness among parents and children, and

their advocates also have become more aware of the rights and opportunities available

for students with disabilities (Brinkerhoff & McGuire, 1994; Lewis & Farris, 1999).

Special education services provided through the implementation of IDEA have improved

the educational preparation of students with disabilities, contributing to successful high

school graduation. The recent re-authorization of the IDEA in 1997 placed an increased

emphasis on the educational outcomes for students with disabilities, further raising the

expectations of students for inclusion in post-secondary educational programs for

careers that had previously been unavailable.

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act was first authorized in 1973. Since that time it

has provided the foundation for the establishment of support services for students with

disabilities on higher education campuses. As amended in 1986, the act stated

No otherwise qualified individual with a disability in the United States shall,
solely by reason of their disability, be excluded from participation, be denied
benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity
federal financial assistance.(Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1986, PL 99-
506).

Further amendments clarified the Act's application to all colleges and universities

receiving federal aid (Federal Register, 1986) and to students with learning disabilities,

as well as physical and mental disabilities (Federal Register, 1997).

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), passed in 1990, expanded upon the

foundation provided by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (Americans with Disabilities

Act [ADA], 1993). The ADA is defined under five titles: Title I, Employment; Title II,









Public Services and Transportation; Title III, Public Accommodations; Title IV,

Telecommunications; and Title V, Miscellaneous provisions. The ADA defined a

disability as, "a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of

major life activities of such individual" ( 104.44). Major life activities may include

activities of daily living, walking, hearing, seeing, speaking, learning, and manual tasks,

among others.

Students with disabilities are among the increasingly diverse student populations of

today's colleges and universities, and students with learning disabilities have become

the largest group of students with disabilities. The need to accommodate these students

has become a great challenge for higher education administrators, staff, and faculty who

must oversee policies, procedures, and support services that will ensure equality of

educational opportunity for those students (Vogel, Leonard, Scales, Hayeslip,

Hermansen & Donnells, 1998). Once known to have a disability, public and private

employers, organizations, and agencies are required to make "reasonable

accommodations" for an "otherwise qualified" individual with a disability (ADA, 1993). In

general, a reasonable accommodation is an adaptation that facilitates the individual's

participation in a program or service or to perform a job (ADA, 1993). Reasonable

accommodations may consist of changes in the policies and practices of the institution

or use of auxiliary aids or services. In higher education, accommodations typically

consist of changes in instructional methods and/or classroom adaptations (Vogel,

Leyser, Wyland & Brulle, 1999).

Research indicates that faculty attitudes, expressed by their cooperation and

willingness to make accommodations, enhance the academic success of students with

learning disabilities (Baggett, 1994; Vogel & Adelman, 1992). Aksamit, Morris and

Leuenberger (1987), and others report that in general faculty were willing to make

accommodations for students with learning disabilities (Vogel et al., 1999). Nelson, Dodd









and Smith (1990) and Vogel et al. reported that faculty in Colleges of Education

appeared more willing to make accommodations for their students with learning

disabilities than their colleagues in other colleges. Researchers have concluded that a

variety of variables influenced faculty attitudes toward making accommodations in their

classrooms. Academic major (Nelson, Dodd & Smith, 1990); teaching experience with

students with disabilities (Fichten, Amsel, Bourdon & Creti, 1988; Sacher, 1992); amount

of knowledge about learning disabilities and the needs of learning disabled students

(Aksamit, et al., 1987; Minner & Prater, 1984); gender (Aksamit et al., 1987; Baggett,

1994); type of accommodation (Houck, Asselin, Troutman & Arrington, 1992; Vogel et

al., 1999); and availability of support services for students with learning disabilities

(Aksamit et al., 1987; Sacher, 1992) all play a role in the instructor's willingness to

provide accommodations. This study seeks to determine the attitudes towards and

practices of faculty in specific health professions programs in making accommodations

for college students with learning disabilities.

Statement of the Problem

Research has indicated that positive faculty attitudes and willingness to make

accommodations are important factors in the academic success and degree completion

for students with learning disabilities in higher education (Baggett, 1994; Nelson, Dodd &

Smith, 1990). During the 1996-1997 and 1997-1998 school years, almost one half of the

students with disabilities enrolled in the institutions of higher education reported having a

learning disability (National Center for Educational Statistics, 2000). Given the significant

increase in the numbers of students with learning disabilities in college student

populations, it is important to investigate faculty views and practices.

If offices of student support services, specifically those that administer services

for students with disabilities, were better informed about faculty attitudes and levels of

knowledge concerning accommodations for students with learning disabilities they would








be able to create more effective support services for this population of students.

Efficient communication with faculty members will expedite support for students in a

timely manner, as well as mediate between the teacher and the student if the

relationship warrants it. The effectiveness of continuing education, training and

professional intervention for faculty, students, and support staff may be enhanced by the

results of this study.

Theoretical Framework

Classically, attitude and attitude change theory has been expressed as a

tripartite model. Theorists in social psychology have described attitude formation as

having three categories of influence: cognitive, affective, and behavioral (e.g., Katz &

Stotland, 1959; Rosenberg & Hovland, 1960). The cognitive category contains thoughts

and memories, the affective category consists of feelings and emotions, and the

behavioral category describes the actions and the intentions of those actions. According

to this model of attitude theory these thoughts, feelings and actions are directed toward

an entity that is the target, subject or object of an attitude (Petty & Wegener, 1998).

Contemporary conceptualizations are based on this classical model and consist

of a variety of frameworks that encompass the results of many research efforts. Two of

these multi-process models, the Elaboration Likelihood Model (ELM) (Petty & Capioppo,

1986) and the Heuristic-Systematic Model (HSM) (Eagly & Chaiken, 1981), are the most

popular models of attitude and attitude change study (Petty & Wegener, 1998). These

models emphasize the affective, cognitive, and behavioral impact that independent

variables have on an individual's attitude toward or evaluation of the person, object, or

issue. For example, the discomfort or tension (affect) created by being forced to act

(behavior) in an unfamiliar situation leads one to avoid similar situations (cognition) and

form an unfavorable attitude toward all involved (Petty & Wegener, 1998). The key point

in both these models focused on the different processes that can lead to attitude








change. Some of the change processes appear to require a rather high amount of

mental effort while others succeed with relatively little mental effort.

Contemporary approaches to attitude formation and attitude change reflect

specific interests in the subject. For instance, some studies have sought to demonstrate

distinctions between the cognitive and affective aspects of attitudes, while others have

focused on attitude change or upon specific categories of attitudes, such as racism and

prejudice. Models and frameworks such as the Elaboration Likelihood Model (ELM)

(Petty & Capioppo, 1986) and the Heuristic-Systematic Model (HSM) (Eagly, Chaiken &

Wood, 1981) provide a systematic means to account for the thousands of diverse

research findings in attitude research.

An attitude is an expression of favor or disfavor toward things or people. As a

psychological state, an attitude is a tendency to evaluate an issue, person (including

one's self), or object. Because attitudes are internal to the individual they are only

known through observable responses and behaviors (Eagly & Chaiken, 1998). The

variable or stimulus that elicits a specific attitude is termed the attitude object. Direct or

indirect experiences with the attitude object form the basis for the evaluative or attitude

responses of the individual. The attitude object elicits negative or positive responses

based on that evaluation. Attitude objects that are typically studied in attitude research

can include abstract social groups (such as conservatives) or more concrete social

groups (racial or ethnic minorities), social policies (abortion or recycling), an individual (a

famous celebrity) or group of individuals (college professors), or behaviors (work habits

or lifestyles). Specific attitudes can be individually labeled as prejudices, stereotypes,

attractions, or values (Eagly & Chaiken, 1998). Individuals who possess attributes that

are viewed negatively by the community tend to be devalued by that society

(Wolfensberger, 1983). Western society tends to treat its devalued citizens poorly.

Historical reports reveal many incidences of rejection, segregation, and persecution









(Lyons, 1991). The attributes that contribute to labels such as disabled or handicapped

make the group of people that possess these labels candidates for devaluation. People

with disabilities are often viewed as inferior, incompetent, and incapable of normal

performance and function (Warren, 1985). Devaluation can cause deprivation of civil

liberties, such as the right to accommodation in work and educational environments.

Prior research indicates faculty attitudes toward making accommodation for

college students with disabilities are important in retention and degree completion (Vogel

& Adelman, 1992). Given the increased numbers of college students with learning

disabilities it is important to continue to study the attitudes and practices of faculty, and

the impact their attitudes may have on the success of this growing population of college

students. With an understanding of how attitudes impact behavior, it appears

particularly important to study how to influence or change attitudes. Attitude change

enables individuals to modify their original evaluation concerning the value of the attitude

object. A variety of factors seem to influence the willingness of faculty to provide

accommodations (Vogel et al., 1999). For example, one factor that might influence

faculty's provision of accommodations is a level of expertise that includes the

background knowledge and experience in the area of learning disabilities (Aksamit et al.,

1987).

Students with learning disabilities manifest a condition that results in significant

difficulties with oral and written communication, reading, writing or reasoning. As a

result, physical barriers are less of a problem than programmatic and instructional

issues. By its very nature a learning disability can be termed a hidden or invisible

disorder. The difficulties in processing information that often result in poor performance

are often not obvious to the casual or uninformed observer (Stage, 1996). Health

professions faculty members often have professional and clinical expertise in learning

dysfunction intervention, yet little is known about the ways in which they accommodate









their own students who have learning disabilities. Individuals who chose to become

health professionals are usually assumed to hold positive attitudes toward persons with

disabilities (Benham, 1988). However, as Chubon (1982) reported, faculty attitudes may

be more negative than might be expected. While there has been increased pressure to

provide essential services and support for educational accommodations, college faculty

are often unwilling or unable to comprehend the needs of students with learning

disabilities (Brinkerhoff & McGuire, 1994; Stage & Manning, 1992).

Significance of the Study

This study is significant for several reasons. First, as the barriers that prevented

individuals with disabilities from choosing educational programs and professional

careers have been eliminated through the requirements of federal legislation there has

been a significant increase in the numbers of students with learning disabilities on post-

secondary campuses. Second, though health professions faculty members have

professional and clinical expertise in learning dysfunction little is known about their

attitudes and practices as they accommodate their own students who have learning

disabilities. Third, research indicates faculty attitudes toward making accommodation for

college students with disabilities are important in retention and degree completion (Vogel

& Adelman, 1992), therefore; it is important to increase our understanding of the factors

that impact the formation and change of these attitudes. Lastly, based on the previous

research of Gething (1992) and others, it is important to seek to understand if the

assumptions made concerning the attitudes of health care professionals towards

persons with disabilities in general hold true for academic health professions faculty and

their students with disabilities.

Based on the apparent impact of faculty attitudes on the academic success of

students with learning disabilities, this research was conducted to increase

understanding of the theoretical constructs of attitude formation and the academic








practices that might result from professional faculty attitudes. The findings of this study

may advance this body of knowledge by testing and expanding upon the constructs

formed by Susan Vogel and her colleagues (1999) concerning faculty attitudes,

perception of fairness, and their willingness to accommodate and their actual

accommodation practices for students with learning disabilities.

Purpose of the Study

The purposes of this study were to (a) describe the attitudes of college level

faculty toward students with learning disabilities and the accommodations made for

them, (b) to describe the accommodations practices of college level faculty toward

students with learning disabilities, and (c) to examine the influences that impact the

formation of faculty attitudes toward accommodations for students with learning

disabilities. Faculty in programs that prepare students to enter the health professions

would appear to have access to more knowledge concerning methods of diagnosis and

intervention with learning disabilities; however it is not known what the attitudes and

practices of these faculty members are.

Research Questions

This study examined the attitudes and accommodation practices of faculty in

specific health professions programs towards students with learning disabilities.

Specifically, this study sought answers to the following questions:

1. What are the attitudes of faculty in health professions towards students with

learning disabilities?

2. What are the attitudes of faculty in health professions towards making

accommodations for students with learning disabilities?

3. Are there differences in faculty attitudes and practices toward accommodations

for student with learning disabilities based on faculty gender, age, status, and

experience?









4. What specific accommodations are acceptable to health professions faculty?

5. What specific accommodations are used by health professions faculty with

students with learning disabilities?

Limitations

The limitations of this study are those conditions that are beyond the control of

the researcher. These conditions may place restrictions on the conclusions of this study

and their generalization to other situations. The psychometric properties of the

instrument, participant honesty in self-report, and the personal characteristics of the

participants limited this study. Also, the sample population of this study was restricted

by the accuracy and timeliness of the department websites.

Definition of Terms

An attitude refers to an evaluative expression of favor or disfavor toward things or

people. An attitude is a psychological state that can inferred from observable responses

(Eagly & Chaiken, 1998).

Attitude Theory refers to the study of attitude formation, attitude expression, and

attitude change (Eagly & Chaiken, 1998).

Health professions refer to those professional occupations that provide health

care services to individuals with illness or disabilities related to physiological, sensory,

motor, psychological, social or cognitive dysfunction.

Learning disability refers to a heterogeneous group of disorders manifest in

significant difficulties with oral and written communication, reading, writing or reasoning.

These disorders are intrinsic to the individual and, therefore, are presumed to be due to

a central nervous system disorder that results in symptoms that occur throughout the

lifespan. They are not a result of extrinsic factors such as social or cultural differences,

or insufficient academic preparation (National Joint Committee on Learning Disabilities,

1990).









Student with a learning disability refers to an individual who has provided

documentation verifying the presence of learning disability and has requested assistance

from the appropriate university administrator or support service offices.

University student refers to an individual who is enrolled either full time or part

time at a four-year college or university.

Overview of the Remainder of the Study

An introduction to the study was presented in Chapter 1. The scope, need and

purpose of the study were presented. The theoretical framework and the methodological

rationale were also included in the initial discussion.

In Chapter 2 a review of books, journal articles, dissertations, and other sources

that are related to the subject of this study is provided.

In Chapter 3 the research methodology and details of the research process is

presented. The methodology issues discussed include the population identified,

participant selection, instrument selection, data collection procedures, and preliminary

data analysis. Included will be support and documentation for the theoretical

perspective, the research design and data measurement techniques employed.

Chapter 4 contains the findings the study, including tables and narrative that

summarize the quantitative data.

Chapter 5 will interpret and discuss the study's findings in terms of the major

implications for future research and the delivery of support services to students and

faculty. Supplemental materials will be included in appendices and references.














CHAPTER 2
REVIEW OF THE RELATED LITERATURE

Introduction

Since higher education institutions began adjusting their admission criteria and

procedures to comply with federal mandates, more students with learning disabilities

have enrolled, and graduated from post-secondary educational programs. However,

little research is available concerning the graduation and attrition rates of students with

learning disabilities as compared to their non-disabled peers. Also, there has been a

dearth of studies aimed at identifying the factors that contribute to the success or failure

(degree completion) of this population of students. Vogel and Adelman (1990, 1992)

reported that there were no significant differences in graduation rates between students

with learning disabilities when compared to non-disabled peers, although some of the

students with learning disabilities took an additional year to complete their degree. How

well the students understood the implications of their own disability, the development,

mastery, and use of individualized learning strategies, and the availability of mentors,

tutoring and counseling services were essential to their success (Vogel & Adelman,

1990, 1992; Vogel, Hruby & Adelman, 1993). Finn (1998) and Greenbaum, Grahman

and Scales (1995) concurred and found that students placed a high value on academic

accommodations, support staff and tutors, as well as peer support groups.

There are few evidence based studies that can be used to describe the learning

experiences that this group of students has had, or that identify those practices that

contribute to successful matriculation or the support services these students might need

(Houck, Asselin, Troutman & Arrington, 1992).









There is currently no research in the area of attitudes of health professions

faculty toward students with learning disabilities. However, there are studies of health

professions student attitudes toward individuals with physical disabilities (Duckworth,

1988; Paris, 1993). Also, several literature reviews and opinion essays comment

generally upon the legal issues of accommodating students with disabilities in the

classroom or in the clinic while on fieldwork experiences (Kornblau, 1995). This study

will focus on the attitudes of health profession faculty towards accommodations for their

students with learning disabilities.

Faculty Attitudes and Practices

Students with learning disabilities reported that faculty attitudes and willingness

to provide accommodations were important to their successful graduation (Baggett,

1994; Vogel et al., 1999). Researchers have reported that in general, faculty were

willing to make accommodations for students with learning disabilities (Aksamit et al.,

1987;Vogel et al., 1999). In contrast, Minner and Prater (1984) found that university

professors held negative attitudes concerning college students labeled as learning

disabled. They observed that participants who held low initial expectations for the

success of students with disabilities also had negative views about their academic

abilities. The professors in this study reported that they were not optimistic about their

own ability to work with this population of students. Minner and Prater concluded that

university professors who were susceptible to prevalent stereotypes concerning the

abilities and expectations of individuals with learning disabilities held attitudes that might

have decreased the chances of success for students. At the time of this study none of

the midwestern colleges surveyed offered any special support services or programs for

students with disabilities or for the faculty (Minner & Prater, 1984).

Teaching experience with students with disabilities influenced faculty attitudes

(Fichten et al., 1988; Sacher, 1992). Teachers who had previously taught students with









disabilities were more likely to be comfortable with providing classroom accommodations

to students with disabilities. Sacher (1992) reported a consistent theme in the written

comment section of a study with community college faculty participants. The comments

reported concerns about balancing individual student needs with the need to maintain

academic integrity. Personal experiences with individuals with learning disabilities

impacted faculty willingness to respond to individual learning needs (Vogel et al., 1999).

In fact these teachers were reportedly more willing to spend larger blocks of time

accommodating students.

Types of accommodation requested by the student, and the amount of time and

effort the faculty member perceived the accommodation required had significant

influence on faculty attitude (Houck et al., 1992; Vogel et al., 1999). Faculty reported

that large teaching loads decreased their comfort with providing some accommodations

and imposed constraints on their time (Satcher, 1992). Vogel et al. (1999) concluded

that younger junior faculty were more likely to provide accommodations that were

perceived as time consuming. They assumed that junior faculty members tend to have

(a) recent training in the legislative mandates, (b) personal experience with individuals

with learning disabilities, and (c) more actual time to devote to students. Houck et al.

(1992) found that faculty desired more information about learning disabilities in order to

assure themselves that specific accommodations did not provide students with

disabilities an unfair advantage.

The amount of knowledge about the nature of learning disabilities and the needs

of learning disabled students were also significant (Aksamit et al., 1987). For example,

although faculty and student services professionals held positive attitudes they had

limited knowledge about students with learning disabilities. Given the relationship

between attitudes and knowledge, the authors suggested that providing information

about students with disabilities was important for all institutions of higher education.









Another variable that was found to influence faculty attitudes toward making

accommodations in their classrooms was academic major (Nelson et al., 1990). When

surveyed concerning their willingness to provide students with learning disabilities with

specific instructional, assignment, examination and special assistance accommodations,

faculty located at a college in the Northwest reported that some accommodations were

more acceptable than others. College of Education faculty responded more positively

when compared to faculty in Arts and Sciences and Business. A majority of the

participants indicated their willingness to allow the instructional accommodation of tape

record lectures (98%), but reported that providing copies of lecture notes was less

acceptable (56%). Providing extended deadlines was viewed favorably by 89% of

education faculty, while only 15.8% of business faculty and 58.9% of arts and sciences

faculty indicated this would be acceptable. Seventy-four percent of education faculty

indicated a willingness to provide accommodations to allow for misspellings, incorrect

punctuation and poor grammar, while 21% of business faculty and 48% of arts and

sciences faculty agreed (Nelson, et al., 1990). Because validity and reliability studies

were not conducted on the questionnaire used in this study the results must be reviewed

tentatively.

Vogel et al. (1999) reported some evidence that faculty in education colleges

were more willing to make accommodations for their students with learning disabilities.

They also found that education faculty were more willing to make a wider variety of

examination accommodations. Vogel et al. (1999) suggested that education faculty

members were more likely to have specialized expertise and knowledge in special

education law, learning disabilities and alternate learning strategies. The authors also

suggested that since education faculty were more likely to have had more contact with

students with learning disorders, they tended to have a more positive attitude toward









accommodating students with learning disabilities when compared to faculty in other

colleges.

Given the substantial increase in the numbers of students with leaning disabilities

who have enrolled in higher education it is important to examine faculty attitudes and

practices. Vogel and colleagues (1999) suggested, after their original study concerning

faculty attitudes and students with learning disabilities, that future studies are need to

replicate these findings and compare them to contrasting populations. Findings from

these studies can be used to guide the development of support services available to

students and their teachers.

Academic Accommodations

Public colleges and universities are mandated by Section 504 and ADA to

provide program modifications and auxiliary aides to students with disabilities. College

students with learning disabilities often request both types of accommodations. Almost

98% of institutions of higher education that enrolled students with disabilities provided at

least one support service or accommodation to students (NCES, 2000). Eighty-eight

percent provided alternative exam formats or additional examination time, while 77%

provided tutors. Readers, note takers, or scribes were provided by 69%, and 55%

provided assistive technology such as talking computers or textbooks on tape. Course

substitutions or course waivers were granted by 42% (NCES, 2000).

Attitude and Attitude Change Theory

The term attitude refers to an individual's evaluation of persons, objects, and

issues. The object of a person's attitude is referred to as the attitude object. Attitudes

are how favorably or unfavorably or how positively or negatively one views or evaluates

an object of judgment (Greenwald, 1980; Petty & Wegener, 1998). These evaluations

are based on emotions, beliefs, and past experiences (Zenna & Rempel, 1988).

Attitudes influence an individual's behaviors by dictating the critical choices that are









made about relationships with others, lifestyle, health and safety, and even product

brands (Greenwald & Banaji, 1995). Because attitudes are internal to the individual they

are known only through observable responses and behaviors (Eagly & Chaiken, 1998).

Two models of attitude and attitude change, the Elaboration Likelihood Model

(ELM) and the Heuristic-Systematic Model (HSM), emphasize the affective, cognitive,

and behavioral impact independent variables have on an individual's attitude or

evaluation of the person, object, or issue. The key points in both these models focused

on the different processes that can lead to attitude change.

The ELM model places the motivation for attitude change on a continuum based

on how willing the person is to assess the central merits of attitude object (Chaiken,

1980). The more likely an individual is to carefully study object relevant information, the

greater the likelihood of changing the original attitude. However, the model suggests the

more effort required to evaluate the resources, the lower the likelihood change (Petty &

Cacioppo, 1986). Research inspired by this model seeks to determine the process

individuals use to determine how generous to be with their own cognitive resources

(Petty & Wagener, 1998).

Petty and Cacioppo (1986) proposed, using the Heuristic-Systematic Model

(HSM), that attitude change occurs due to the many sources that provide the cues or

messages the individual weighs against past experiences and observations. The

systematic processing of information compares the substance of the message with the

heuristics available in the individual memory. For example, if the message is fairly easy

(decreased effort) to comprehend the individual is more likely to respond than if the

message requires cognitive processing or (intensive effort) thinking about the content.

Research based on this model seeks to understand what encourages an individual to

reassess the available heuristics for attitude change or modification.









Chaiken, Wood and Eagly (1996) theorized that people learn, and store away in

their memory, a variety of heuristics that they use to evaluate external messages. This

can result in biased processing and lead people to engage in behaviors that are based

on an inaccurate assessment. Existing attitudes can be based on biased heuristic

processing or by selective use of these heuristics. Motivating individuals to reassess

biased attitudes counterproductive. Therefore, lowering the individual's sufficiency

threshold in order to encourage a systematic change in heuristics produces attitude

change.

The presence of a disability is a trigger idea that influences the perceptions or

attitudes of a person's abilities by others (Wright, 1980). Wright (1980) argued that the

presence of a physical disability tends to "spread" and influence judgments about

characteristics having no relationship to the disabling condition. The "spread" theory is

consistent with "personal construct" theory. These theories were originally used to refer

to the system of constructs or schemes that each person uses to understand and make

predictions about the environment (Kelly, 1955). Part of a system of constructs is the

set of beliefs about the ways in which personal characteristics or attributes tend to go

together and aid in predicting the behavior of others. Therefore, preconceived notions

about disability can influence expectations about the abilities and performance of a

person with a disability. Through socialization and experience each individual's personal

construct is molded. Thus, personal attitudes and beliefs about people with disabilities

reflect cultural values and expectations. Most western societies hold negative

stereotypes about disabilities, and these may become internalized into individual

constructs (Gething, 1992). Attitudes that imply that persons with disabilities are less

capable are often rooted in religious beliefs and perpetuated by community myths and

the mass media (Chubon, 1982; Wright, 1980).









While studying the judgments of health professionals of the characteristics of

persons with disabilities, Gething (1992) found that the presence of an observed

disability resulted in the spread or attribution of negative judgments about moral and

psychological deficiencies of an individual. He also found that the amount of information

and the level of prior contact that participants had with persons with disabilities had a

crucial influence upon the more positive attitudes. Though health professionals may

have medical knowledge about disability they rarely interact with people with disabilities

on an equal-status level. Gething found that interactions that occur in a mutual context

where people with disabilities were of equal age, social, educational and vocational level

were more effective in promoting positive attitudes. Health professionals rarely have

contact on the job with peers or colleagues with disabilities. Their contacts and

relationships with persons with disabilities are limited to professional-client relationships

in which the client's problems were the focus. As a result some researchers believe that

health professionals often acquire attitudes that may in fact be more negative than the

general population (Gething, 1992). Concern about the consequences of negative

attitudes toward individuals with disabilities has resulted in considerable health care and

rehabilitation research about the subject (Benham, 1988; Chubon, 1982; Duckworth,

1988; Gething, 1992; Paris, 1993; Wright, 1980).

In their role as teachers, health professionals hold considerable power.

Teachers provide important role models for their students, and their behaviors convey

powerful messages about disability. Though research about the student-teacher

relationships and disability attitudes concerns the impact teachers have on the attitudes

of their students towards disability, this study will address how those same attitudes

impact their provision of accommodations for students with disabilities.






20


Summary

This chapter presented a summary of studies that reviewed faculty attitudes and

practices toward students with learning disabilities. Apparent from the research

reviewed is that little is known about health care professionals' attitudes toward students

with learning disabilities or towards providing learning accommodations. Given the

substantial increase in students with learning disabilities in higher education, it is

important to study these relationships.















CHAPTER 3
METHODOLOGY

Setting

This research focuses on health profession faculty attitudes towards students

with learning disabilities and their willingness to make accommodations for students with

learning disabilities. In occupational therapy (OT), faculty often have expertise in

providing intervention to individuals with learning dysfunction, yet studies about how

faculty provide classroom accommodations for their students who have specific learning

disabilities have not be conducted. Based on the research of Gething (1992) concerning

the negative attitudes of health professionals toward persons with disabilities it is

important to clarify what the attitudes of teachers and their students with disabilities

actually are. Therefore, the results of this study may assist post-secondary educational

institutions to better understand the attitudes of professional faculty towards students

with learning disabilities, as well as understand what characteristics might influence the

formation of these attitudes. It may also provide insight about how postsecondary

institutions can provide support for the development and provision of accommodations,

and design effective student support services and professional staff and faculty

development activities.

Participants

Health professions faculty are recognized for their professional expertise, and the

type of interventions they provide for individuals that have limitations that impede their

ability to function. Programs such as, occupational or physical therapy, communication,

speech or audiology, rehabilitation services, nursing, and clinical and health psychology









are part of the health professions. A majority of these health professionals have been

exposed to information about the abilities and limitations of individuals with learning

disabilities, as well as the legislation designed to protect the rights of those with

disabilities.

For the purpose of this research an inclusive electronic mail list was constructed

through a national search of faculty e-mail addresses from the homepages of all

accredited occupational therapy programs. The list of accredited OT programs and the

list of homepage addresses were obtained from the Educational Affairs Office of the

American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA). Educators who are registered and

certified occupational therapists, teach in entry-level professional programs, and hold

faculty positions with at least 20% or greater teaching assignments were included as

participants. All participants possess a terminal entry-level degree in occupational

therapy. The list represents faculty from programs nation-wide in private and public

universities and colleges. The sample contains faculty from teaching and research

institutions of various sizes and locations.

Instrumentation

A survey of faculty attitudes and practices toward students with disabilities by

Leyser (1989) was revised and modified by Vogel et al. (1999). This revision added

items based on a review of the literature that specifically addressed students with

learning disabilities. Recently, Vogel (2002) further revised this measure and produced

the Faculty Survey on Students with Learning Disabilities. This new measure is

specifically devoted only to those faculty attitudes, knowledge and practices concerning

students with learning disabilities.

According to Portney and Watkins (1993) content validity is an especially

important characteristic of surveys and inventories. The Faculty Survey on Students

with Learning Disabilities (Vogel, 2002) evaluates a range of faculty attitudes and









practices by posing a series of selected items and questions. The content or domain

addressed by the survey instrument and used in this research was determined by input

from experts in the field, and a thorough review of the literature (Leyser, 1989; Vogel et

al., 1999). The determination of content validity is by necessity a subjective process,

therefore the development of a survey instrument with adequate content validity requires

multiple revisions (Portney & Watkins, 1993). When addressing the validity of survey

instruments Benson (1998) stated that numerous studies utilizing different approaches,

samples and populations are required to establish a strong evidence of instrument

validity. These studies may support or fail to support the validity of the data derived from

the survey. Based on Benson's observations and the work of Vogel this latest survey

was appropriate to use for this study. Vogel and colleagues (1999) have suggested that

future studies are needed to replicate these findings and compare them to contrasting

populations. Therefore, this scale was used to be able to compare the findings with the

results of the earlier study that surveyed all faculty in a single university.

The measure had 37 questions and was divided into five parts: Part I -

background information; Part II faculty classroom contact and experience with students

with learning disabilities; Part III current practices and willingness to provide specific

instruction, examination, and assignment accommodations for students with learning

disabilities; Part IV judgments of career preparation and the fairness of

accommodations, and Part V faculty interests, comments and suggestions. In Part I

participants were asked to indicate gender, age, teaching status and rank, years of

teaching experience and experience with students with disabilities, and class rank of

students taught by checking the correct bracketed answer. Participants' responses in

Parts II, III, IV and V are based on a 6-point Likert scale. In Parts III and V participants

indicated all answers that applied and were also given space for written comments and

suggestions.









Vogel et al. (1999) conducted a study that used the general revised instrument,

and a Cronbach's alpha coefficient of reliability for all items on the instrument yielded a

coefficient of .86. A Cronbach's alpha coefficient for the instructional accommodation

composite score (seven items) was .75 and the examination accommodations

composite score (10 items) was .80. Forty percent of the surveys were returned in this

study resulting in a respondent sample of 420 participants.

In this project, as an initial step a group of 20 participants reviewed the survey

instrument, and responded to the technology and web based format. Their responses

were used for fine-tuning the website design. A final version of the survey instrument

can be found in Appendix A and the cover letter that preceded it shown in Appendix B.

Data Collection

The research instrument was posted on a web page. An invitation to participate

was e-mailed to all faculty addresses obtained from the program homepages. This

population consisted of 580 individuals. The invitation message explained the purpose

of the survey, the importance of faculty input in the development of programs and

services for students with disabilities, and a contained a statement about voluntary

participation and confidentiality. The following page, activated by a link at the bottom of

the invitation message, contained an informed consent letter and the instrument. A

reminder message was posted two weeks after the original invitation. This message

contained a direct link to the consent form and copy of the survey.

Research Variables

The selection of the independent/ predictor variables was based on a review of

the literature. As measured by the Faculty Survey on Students with Learning Disabilities

(Vogel, 2002) the independent variables were:

the attitudes and beliefs of faculty toward making accommodations for
students with learning disabilities (categorical variable), and








faculty characteristics, experience, and perception of ability to accommodate
students with learning disabilities (continuous variable)

The dependent/criterion variables as measured by the survey were:

the preferences and practices of faculty regarding classroom instruction or
teaching and examination accommodations.

The specific research questions were:

1. What are the attitudes of faculty in health professions towards students with
learning disabilities?

2. What are the attitudes of faculty in health professions towards making
accommodations for students with learning disabilities?

3. Are there differences in faculty attitudes and practices toward
accommodations for student with learning disabilities based on faculty
gender, status, and experience?

4. What specific accommodations are acceptable to health professions faculty?

5. What specific accommodations are used by health professions faculty with
students with learning disabilities?

Research Design

This study explored relationships through the use of correlation coefficients, and

measured the magnitude of agreement between the variables of interest (Shavelson,

1996). The design of this study replicates the previous research protocols used by

Vogel and her colleagues (1999) in their studies of general college faculty. For the

purposes of this study, the level of significance will be set a p = .05. The research

questions were tested using a two-tailed test of significance with a medium effect size at

the .05 alpha level.

Data were analyzed with the use of the Statistical Package for the Social

Sciences (SPSS). The statistical methodologies used included means, standard

deviations, frequencies and correlations. Coefficient alpha or Cronbach's alpha, a

reliability estimate of the internal consistency of instrument scales composed of several









items, was used to measure the reliability of both the survey instrument and the

accommodation subscales (Dooley, 2001).

To answer the first two questions data were collected regarding faculty

perceptions of the professional career preparation of students with learning disabilities,

and faculty attitudes toward making instructional and examination accommodations in

general for students with learning disabilities. A descriptive item analysis was conducted

regarding the frequency of answers to each of the selected items on the survey. Means,

standard deviations, and frequencies were calculated for the survey responses to faculty

attitudes and beliefs in research questions 1 and 2. The dependent variables were

selected items from Parts I,11 and III of the survey. Similar analysis procedures were

conducted for questions 4 and 5. To answer these last questions data were collected

concerning the specific instruction and examination accommodations that health

professions faculty felt were acceptable. Faculty participants were then queried about

the extent of their actual experience with specific accommodations for students with

learning disabilities.

A profile of the faculty respondents was developed through descriptive analysis

of the data collected. This data was collected to determine if any of these characteristics

had an impact on the participant's willingness to provide accommodations (Question 3).

To determine how background variables, such as rank, age, gender, and experience,

might affect willingness a multivariate analysis of variance was conducted. A

multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) was selected because the procedure

incorporates tests for more than one dependent variable. This approach was preferred

over multiple single one-way analysis of variable (ANOVA) procedures as the use of

multiple tests of significance within a single study can increase the probability of a Type I

error. The more tests performed the more likely significance differences will be found by

chance (Portney & Watkins, 1993). According to Portney and Watkins, in most cases a








MANOVA is more powerful than multiple analyses of variance if the dependent variables

are correlated. In order to answer Question 3, an alpha level of p = .05 was used to

determine significance.

At several points in the survey respondents were given space to make

comments. The resulting comments were compiled, but as they did not address issues

directly related to the five research questions addressed in this study they were not used

in this research.

This chapter detailed the empirical process that was carried out to examine the

questions posed in this research project. The methodology included a description of the

sample, instrumentation, data collection procedures, independent and dependent

variables, and data analysis procedures. The results of these analyses were presented

in Chapter 4. Graphs and tables were used to visually depict the data. The possible

impact of these results for students with learning disabilities and institutions for higher

education were presented in Chapter 5.















CHAPTER 4
PRESENTATION AND ANALYSIS OF DATA


The purpose of this study was to investigate the attitudes and accommodation

practices of faculty in specific health professions programs towards students with

learning disabilities. Specifically, this study sought answers to the following questions:

1. What are the attitudes of faculty in health professions towards students with
learning disabilities?

2. What are the attitudes of faculty in health professions towards making
accommodations for students with learning disabilities?

3. Are there differences in faculty attitudes and practices toward
accommodations for student with learning disabilities based on faculty
gender, age, status, and experience?

4. What specific accommodations are acceptable to health professions faculty?

5. What specific accommodations are used by health professions faculty with
students with learning disabilities?

Survey Responses

A total of 580 survey instruments were electronically sent to faculty of the

occupational therapy (OT) academic programs nationally accredited by the American

Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA). One hundred and ninety-two surveys were

returned, which provided a return rate of 30.2%. The data were used to determine

specific attitudes of the faculty members toward students with learning disabilities, and

as well as the attitudes and practices of these academic health care professionals when

providing teaching and examination accommodations for this population of students. A

profile of the faculty respondents was developed through analysis of the data collected.









This data was collected to determine which of these characteristics might have had an

impact on the participant's willingness to provide accommodations.

Population Profile

The initial step of analysis examined the demographic data provided by Part I

and Part II of the survey. Respondents were asked to indicate gender, age, rank

(instructor, assistant, associate, or full professor) and years of teaching experience. This

data was used in research question three to indicate if these characteristics had an

impact on willingness to provide instructional or examination accommodations. From

these data a profile of the occupational therapy faculty that responded to the survey was

developed through descriptive and frequency analysis. This information is presented in

Tables 4-1,4-2, 4-3, 4-4 and 4-5.

Gender and Aqe

Tables 4-1 and 4-2 provide a review of the gender and age distribution for

academic occupational therapy faculty. This demographic data revealed that

approximately 84% (162) of the respondents were female and 14% (27) were male.

Almost half (49.5%) of the respondents were between the ages of 46 to 55 years, while

27.6% were between 36 and 45 years of age.


Table 4-1

Occupational Therapy Faculty: Distribution by Gender

Gender n %

Female 162 84.4
Male 27 14.1
No Response 3 1.6

Total 192 100.0








Table 4-2

Occupational Therapy Faculty: Distribution by Age


Age n %

24 years or less 0 0
25 to 35 years 13 6.8
36 to 45 years 53 27.6
46 to 55 years 95 49.5
56 years or above 28 14.6
No response 3 1.6

Total 192 100.0

Status

As seen in Table 4-3, the data revealed that 46.9% of the respondents held the

rank of Assistant Professor. Nineteen percent were at the Instructor level, and 21.4%

were Associate Professors. A majority (87.5%) of the respondents were full-time, and

55.7% were in tenure-track positions. Table 4-4 showed that 46.9% of the occupational

therapy faculty sampled had earned a Masters degree, and 41.1% held Doctorate

degrees. The remainder reported being at the Bachelor level (4.7%) and 5.7 % chose

the "Other" category. Several respondents qualified this choice by reporting they had

completed occupational therapy post-baccalaureate certificate programs.

Table 4-3

Occupational Therapy Faculty: Distribution by Rank

Rank n %

Teaching Assistant 0 0
Instructor 37 19.3
Assistant Professor 90 46.9
Associate Professor 41 21.4
Professor 19 9.9
No response 5 2.6

Total 192 100.0









Table 4-4

Occupational Therapy Faculty: Distribution by Degree


Degree n %

Bachelor 9 4.7
Master 90 46.9
Doctorate 79 41.1
Other 11 5.7
No response 3 1.6

Total 192 100.0

Years of Experience

In reviewing Table 4-5, it is noted that the respondents represented a range of

years of teaching experience. Only 2 respondents (1%) reported less than a years

experience, while 21.4% had one to five years, 28.1% had 6 to 10,18.8% had 11 to 15

years, and 28.6% of the respondents had been teaching 16 or more years.

Table 4-5

Occupational Therapy Faculty: Distribution by Teaching Experience

Years n %

Less than one 2 1.0
1 to 5 years 41 21.4
6 to 10 years 54 28.1
11 to 15 years 36 18.8
16 or more years 55 28.6
No response 4 2.1

Total 192 100.0

Experience with Students with Disabilities

In Part II of this survey, participants were queried as to the extent of their

experience with students with disabilities, and were then asked to respond to a follow-up

item concerning the types of disabilities experienced by their students. Fifty-two percent

or 100 (n = 188) reported a large or moderately large extent of classroom experience

with students with disabilities, with 21% reporting very limited or no experience. One









hundred and seventy-two or 89.6% of the respondents reported having had students

with learning disabilities in their classes. A majority of the faculty (n = 114 or 60%)

reported that one to three students had disclosed a learning disability within the last

year, and 25% (47) reported four to six students.

Reliability Estimates

Prior to conducting any further statistical analysis, an estimate of the reliability of

these data gathered during this study was conducted. A Cronbach's alpha coefficient of

reliability was calculated for all items in Parts I through IV on the on the new Faculty

Survey on Students with Learning Disabilities (Vogel, 2002) instrument. The coefficient

alpha obtained for the total items used in this study was .59 (n = 192). The correlation

coefficients ranged from .123 to .490. A Cronbach's alpha coefficient for the

instructional accommodation subscale (6 items) was .50 (n = 192). The item correlation

coefficients were not significant and ranged from .149 to .404. The two scale items that

were correlated concerned faculty willingness to provide copies of overheads or

PowerPoint presentations (.496) and willingness to provide one-to-one assistance by

clarifying or reviewing assignments (.556). These two items were, therefore, included in

the calculations for Question 3. A Cronbach's alpha coefficient for the examination

accommodations subscale (11 items) was .75. The correlation coefficients ranged from

.226 to .586. All items from this subscale had correlations at an acceptable level,

therefore all items were included for analysis of Question 3.

Based on the results of these reliability estimates, it was determined that the

instrument over all was not selectively measuring a single construct effectively.

Therefore, it was felt that the instrument as a whole could not be used in further analysis

as the scale did not measure individual differences on the specific items nor did it

successfully discriminate between high and low levels of the construct of interest. The








same determination was made for the instructional accommodations composite

subscale.

Research Question 1

The initial research question of this study sought to determine the attitudes of faculty

in health professions towards students with learning disabilities. To answer this

question, data from Part III and Part IV of the survey were analyzed. The results of

these data were presented in the form of descriptive and frequency data. Items on Part

II of the instrument asked the respondents to reflect in general upon the quality of the

career preparation of students with learning disabilities. Part IV asked the participants to

indicate the extent that they agreed with statements concerning attitudes about

admissions modifications for students with learning disabilities. These data were

presented in the form of descriptive and frequency data, and presented in Table 4-6.

Faculty were asked to rate the level of their agreement with several statements

concerning the professional career preparation of students with learning disabilities.

Other statements concerned specific modifications of the criteria for entrance into

professional OT programs. A rating of six (6) indicated the strongest agreement and a

one (1) indicated the strongest level of disagreement with the statements. Therefore,

the rating of six was interpreted to mean the very highest level of agreement to the

statement, while a rating of five indicated a moderately high level of agreement. A rating

of four was understood to mean that the respondent agreed with the statement, and a

three rating indicated that the respondent somewhat agreed with the statement. A two

rating was interpreted as disagreement with the statement, while a one was interpreted

to indicate the strongest level of disagreement.









Table 4-6


Occupational Therapy Faculty Perceptions of Career Preparation: Frequency
Distributions. Means and Standard Deviations

Ratings Means
SD Totals
6 5 4 3 2 1
Standardized
Tests
n 51 60 44 13 13 7 4.54 1.342 188
% 27.1 31.9 23.4 6.9 6.9 3.7 100
Minimum
GPA
n 8 20 37 28 52 44 2.79 1.475 189
% 4.2 10.6 19.6 14.8 27.5 23.3 100
Job
Performance
n 122 43 17 3 2 0 5.50 .812 187
% 65.2 23.0 9.1 1.6 1.1 0 100
Career
Advisement
n 4 3 12 9 48 110 1.78 1.147 186
% 2.2 1.6 6.5 4.8 25.8 50.1 100
Standardized Tests = demonstrate basic competencies in other ways than standardized tests
Minimum GPA = minimum GPA for entry into program modified
Job Performance = as effective on the job as professionals without LD
Career Advisement = should be advised to pursue other professions

Table 4-6 summarizes the perceptions that occupational therapy faculty had

regarding the career preparation of students with learning disabilities. One hundred and

sixty-five (88%) of the respondents indicated the highest level (6) or a moderately high

level (5) of agreement with a statement favorably comparing the effectiveness of the job

performance between professionals with and without learning disabilities. The mean

score on this item was 5.50. When responding to a statement indicating that students

with learning disabilities should be advised to pursue other professions 75% of the

faculty indicated disagreement with this statement. The mean score for this statement

was 1.78. These data suggest that occupational therapy faculty believe that students









with learning disabilities should enter OT professional programs where they can prepare

to be successful and effective occupational therapy professionals.

Part IV of the survey contained two items that asked faculty to respond to

statements concerning modifications common entrance criteria for professional OT

programs. The first item contained a statement about allowing students with learning

disabilities to demonstrate basic skill competencies by means other than standardized

tests. The mean rating for this question was a 4.46 (n = 188) indicating a high level of

agreement with this modification. However, when asked if the minimum grade point

average should be modified when considering students with learning disabilities for

admission the response indicated a strong disagreement with a mean rating of 2.79.

Half of the respondents (n = 96 or 50%) rated this accommodation as a one or a two. A

summary of this data also appears on Table 4-6. It appeared that the faculty surveyed

felt strongly that students with learning disabilities should be admitted to OT programs

and that modifications to admission policies could be made. They also appeared to feel

that of the specific admission policies listed adaptation or flexible policies concerning

standardized test scores was the most acceptable.

Research Question 2

The second question in this research investigated faculty attitudes toward making

instructional and examination accommodations in general for students with learning

disabilities. Two items on the survey asked to what extent faculty were willing to provide

requested accommodations, and to what extent they felt those accommodations

facilitated the students performance. Table 4-7 is a composite of the responses.

Respondents were again asked to rate their responses from six to one. Ninety-six

percent indicated that to a very high (6) or high (5) extent (mean = 5.72) they were very

willing to provide the requested accommodations, and 76% felt that the accommodations

that they provided facilitated the student's performance. However, a mean rating of 4.08









on this item indicated that that faculty did not feel quite as strongly about the

effectiveness of the accommodations.

Table 4-7

Occupational Therapy Faculty Attitudes Toward Accommodations: Frequency
Distributions. Means and Standard Deviations

Ratings Means SD Totals
6 5 4 3 2 1 NA
Accommodations
n 151 30 4 1 1 0 1 5.72 .812 188
% 80.3 16.0 2.1 .5 .5 0 .5 100
Performance
n 26 65 53 23 6 4 11 4.08 1.147 188
% 13.8 34.6 28.2 12.2 3.2 2.1 5.9 100


In two questions the respondents were asked to report their perception of the

fairness to non-disabled students when students with learning disabilities were provided

instructional and examination accommodations. With mean scores of 5.52 for both

questions, the results reveal that faculty felt very strongly that instructional and

examination accommodations were fair. Eighty-nine percent of faculty very strongly or

strongly agreed with fairness statements about instructional accommodations, and 90%

reported the same about examination accommodations. The results of these data were

presented in the form of descriptive and frequency data on Table 4-8.

The analysis of these data indicated that the respondents were very willing to

provide both types accommodations when requested by students with disabilities.

However, the OT faculty that responded were not as strong in their belief as to the

effectiveness of those accommodations and effectiveness of accommodation in

facilitating student success.









Research Question 3

The third research question examined the differences in faculty attitudes and

practices toward accommodations for student with learning disabilities based on faculty

gender, age, status, and experience. Initially these data were used to determine specific


Table 4-8

Occupational Therapy Faculty Perceptions of Accommodation Fairness: Frequency


Distributions. Means and Standard Deviations


Ratings Means SD Totals
6 5 4 3 2 1
Instructional
Accommodations
n 128 37 10 8 2 0 5.52 .867 185
% 69.2 20.0 5.4 4.3 1.1 0 100
Exam
Accommodations
n 131 37 7 7 3 1 5.52 .925 186
% 70.4 19.9 3.8 3.8 1.6 .5 100
Course
Substitutions
n 29 25 23 26 31 48 3.18 1.822 182
% 15.9 13.7 12.6 14.3 17.0 26.4 100
Priority
Registration
n 55 25 25 21 20 38 3.78 1.927 184
% 29.9 13.6 13.6 11.4 10.9 20.7 100
Special Student
Services
n 106 41 18 12 3 1 5.28 1.056 181
% 58.6 22.7 9.9 6.6 1.7 .6 100
Part-time Study
n 76 45 14 16 9 23 4.51 1.754 183
% 41.5 24.6 7.7 8.7 1.1 12.6 100
Graduation
requirements
n 30 22 28 31 25 43 3.28 1.787 179
% 16.8 12.3 15.6 17.3 14.0 24.0 100

characteristics of the respondents by asking background questions in Part I of the

survey. A profile of the faculty respondents was developed through descriptive analysis

of the data collected. These data were collected to determine if any of these

characteristics might have had an impact on the participant's willingness to provide








accommodations. For data analysis purposes the accommodations from Part III of the

survey were divided into examination and instructional accommodation subscales. The

six accommodations that required adaptations to teaching and instructional activities

were labeled as instructional accommodations, while the 11 items requiring

modifications in the examination or testing procedures were labeled as examination

accommodations. The teaching or instructional accommodation items were averaged

and became the instructional accommodation (IA) composite score. The 11 examination

accommodations were averaged and became the examination accommodation (EA)

composite score.

Multivariate analysis of variance statistics were performed for the same variables

(gender, age, rank, degree, and teaching experience) and the two instructional

accommodation items that had the highest correlation; copies of overhead and Power

Point presentations, and additional instructor assistance for clarifying assignments. A

similar analysis was performed for all the items included on the examination

accommodation subscale.

Gender

Table 4-1 provides gender distributions for occupational therapy faculty. One

hundred and eighty-nine of the 192 respondents completed the question about gender.

Of those that responded 162 (85.7%) were female and 27 (14.3) were male. It was

concluded that analysis of this distribution would not provide statistically significant

results. Therefore, the gender of the respondents was not used in the multivariate

analysis for significant differences in the willingness of faculty to provide instructional

and examination accommodations for students with learning disabilities.

Age

Multivariate analysis of variance procedures (MANOVA) were used to determine

if there were significant differences in the means for faculty age and willingness to








provide instructional and examination accommodations for students with learning

disabilities. A significance level of .726 indicated that no significant differences were

found for instructional accommodations, A = .947, F(8,164) = .726, p < .05, r2 = .124. A

significance level of .193 indicated that no significant differences were found for

examination accommodations, A = .332, F(44,182) = .193, p < .05, rfj2 = .279.

Status

The MANOVA procedure was also used to determine if there were significant

differences in the means for faculty rank and the willingness to provide instructional and

examination accommodations for students with learning disabilities. A significance level

of .744 indicated that no significant differences were found for instructional

accommodations, A = .914, F(8,164) = .744, p < .05, rj2 = .072. A significance level of

.491 indicated that no significant differences were found for examination

accommodations, A = .332, F(44,182) = .491, p < .05, r2 = .240.

This analysis, when used to determine if there were significant differences in the

means for faculty degree and willingness to provide instructional accommodations for

students with learning disabilities, found no significant differences for instructional

accommodations. A significance level of .195 indicated that no significant differences

were found for instructional accommodations, A = .433, F(8,164) = .195, p < .05, if =

.104. When the MANOVA analysis of variance procedure was used to determine if there

were significant differences in the means for faculty degree and willingness to provide

examination accommodations for students with learning disabilities a significance level

of .561 was revealed, A = .332, F(44,182) = .561, p < .05, r]2 = .232. Therefore,

indicating no significant differences were found for examination accommodations.

Experience

Multivariate analysis of variance procedures were used to determine if there were

significant differences in the means for years of teaching experience and willingness to








provide instructional and examination accommodations for students with learning

disabilities. A significance level of .708 indicated that no significant differences were

found for instructional accommodations, A = ..081, F(8,164) = .708, p < .05, r]2 = .114.

Table 4-9

Multivariate Analysis Results: Examination Accommodations

Source of Variation Sum of Squares Mean df Sig. Square Fof F
Teaching years 78.859 44 1.792 1.528 .034*
Error 136.00
*significant at co= .05

As seen in Table 4-9 a significance level of .034 indicated that a significant

difference was found for examination accommodations and age of faculty, A = .332,

F(44,1184) = .034, p < .05, rf = .326. However, because of the restricted range in the

examination accommodation subscale scores (3.58 to 6.28) post-hoc procedures were

unable to identify which age specific age range accounted for this difference.

The analysis of these data reveals that there were no significant differences for

rank, age, and degree. Though analysis revealed a statistical significant difference for

teaching experience and examination accommodations this information is of limited

value because of limited score range.

Research Question 4

This question examined the specific instruction and examination

accommodations that health professions faculty felt were acceptable and appropriate.

To gather these data faculty were asked to indicate their willingness to provide each

individual accommodation on a scale from "very willing" to "not at all willing". A rating of

six (6) indicated the highest level of willingness and a one (1) indicated the lowest level

of willingness. A rating of five (5) indicated a high degree, while a four (4) was

understood to mean the faculty member was willing to provide that accommodation. The

three (3) rating indicated that the respondent was somewhat willing to provide the









accommodation. A two (2) rating was interpreted as minimally willing and a one (1)

indicated that the faculty member was not very willing to provide that specific

accommodation. The respondents were also given an additional choice of "Not at all"

willing or NAA. These data were divided into two categories; instructional (IA) and

examination accommodations (EA). The results were presented in the form of

descriptive and frequency data. Table 4-10 indicates the degree of faculty willingness to

provide each of the six instructional accommodations for students with learning

disabilities that request them. Table 4-11 indicates the degree of willingness of faculty to

provide each of the 11 examination accommodations.

Table 4-10

Occupational Therapy Willingness to Provide Instructional Accommodations: Frequency
Distributions. Means and Standard Deviations

Ratings
6 5 4 3 2 1 NAA Means SD Totals
Lecture outline
n 134 28 10 4 4 1 6 5.59 .9529 187
% 71.7 15.0 5.3 2.1 2.1 .5 3.2 100
Overheads/Power point
n 151 20 6 3 2 0 5 5.76 .7245 187
% 80.7 10.7 3.2 1.6 1.1 0 2.7 100
Tape Record Class
n 172 11 1 1 1 0 2 5.90 .464 188
% 91.5 5.9 .5 .5 .5 0 1.1 100
Assistance Assignments
n 156 23 5 0 1 1 2 5.78 .6437 188
% 83.0 12.2 2.7 0 .5 .5 1.1 100
Assistance Papers
n 129 27 19 5 4 1 3 5.47 1.00 188
% 68.6 14.4 10.1 2.7 2.1 .5 1.6 100
Alternate Assignment Format
n 88 29 30 9 10 5 11 5.06 1.424 182
% 68.6 14.4 10.1 2.7 2.1 .5 1.6 100

Instructional Accommodations

Almost all faculty respondents (91.5%) were very willing (6) to allow students to

tape record class sessions. Over 90% of faculty responded with a very high or high (5)

degree of willingness to provide a supplementary printed copy of overheads or









PowerPoint presentations (91.4%), and to provide one to one assistance to clarify and

review assignments (95.2%). About 86% were very willing or highly willing to provide

electronic or printed copy lecture outline, but slightly less willing to provide comments on

Table 4-11

Occupational Therapy Faculty Willingness to Provide Examination Accommodations:
Frequency Distributions. Means and Standard Deviations

Ratings Means SD Totals
6 5 4 3 2 1 NAA
Assistance Exam Preparation
n 117 32 16 11 3 3 6 5.37 1.156 188
% 62.2 17.0 8.5 5.9 1.6 1.6 3.2 100
Additional Time
n 172 11 3 0 1 0 0 5.89 .4438 187
% 92.0 5.9 1.6 0 .5 0 0 100
Alternate Location
n 171 8 2 2 2 0 2 5.87 .5907 187
% 91.4 4.3 1.1 1.1 1.1 0 1.1 100
Alternative Type
n 62 24 24 27 17 14 19 4.54 1.808 188
% 70.4 19.9 3.8 3.8 1.6 .5 10.2 100
Adaptive Format
n 164 11 5 1 1 0 6 5.87 .633 188
% 87.2 5.9 2.7 .5 .5 0 3.2 100
Oral or Tape Recorded
n 112 21 13 11 6 7 12 5.30 1.422 182
% 61.5 11.5 7.1 6.0 3.3 3.8 6.6 100
One on One Oral
n 80 21 25 27 12 8 11 4.75 1622 184
% 43.5 11.4 13.6 14.7 6.5 4.3 6.0 100
Process vs Solution
n 81 22 33 21 8 6 13 4.90 1.50 184
% 44.0 12.0 17.9 11.4 4.3 3.3 7.1 100
Word Processor
n 133 20 10 4 2 2 6 5.63 .956 177
% 75.1 11.3 5.6 2.3 1.1 1.1 3.4 100
Spell Checker
n 128 17 17 3 3 10 1 5.65 .9156 178
% 71.5 9.5 9.5 1.7 1.7 5.6 .6 100
Calculator
n 129 12 11 3 2 0 24 4.92 2.067 181
% 71.3 6.6 6.1 1.7 1.1 0 13.3 100









written papers (83%) with a mean response of 5.37. Eighty-three percent were willing to

provide alternate assignment formats, however this accommodation had the lowest

mean response (4.64) of the six instructional accommodations.




Examination Accommodations

More than 90% of faculty were very willing to allow students with learning

disabilities additional exam time (92%) or an alternate supervised location for exam

taking (91%). These two accommodations rated the highest mean by the respondents;

5.89 and 5.80 respectively. Fewer respondents were inclined to provide one to one

assistance for exam preparation, with 79% indicating very highly or highly willing.

Slightly over 71% of the respondents were very willing to allow students to use a

calculator or spell checker during an exam, and 75% were very willing to allow the use of

a word processor. Eighty-seven percent were very willing to allow an adaptive exam

format (e.g. enlarged print or audio taped exams prepared by student services), but were

less favorable concerning one on one oral exams (43.5%), and tape recorded exams

(61.5%). Fewer faculty (56%) reported being willing to consider the process rather than

the solution when grading exams. The accommodation that the respondents were the

least willing to make was to provide alternate types of exam (e.g. multiple choice instead

of essay). The mean ranking for this accommodation was 3.83.

The analysis of these data appeared to indicate that faculty were willing in

general to provide instructional and examination accommodations when they are

requested, however they were more willing to provide some specific accommodations

and less willing to provide others. Faculty were the most willing to make the examination

accommodations of additional time and alternate testing locations. They were less

willing to provide alternate types or formats of exams, or to allow oral or tape recorded








exams. When considering instructional accommodations faculty responded very

favorably to the possibility of requests to tape record classes, and were very willing to

supply copies of lecture outlines and PowerPoint presentations. They were less willing

to provide one to one assistance on written papers and the least willing to provide

alternate assignment formats.

Research Question 5

The last question of this research project examined the specific instruction and

examination accommodations that health professions faculty had actually provided for

students with learning disabilities. To determine the extent of the accommodation

experiences of the faculty respondents, they were asked to return to the accommodation

questions in Part Ill. This time they were asked to indicate how often they had actually

provided each specific accommodation on a scale from "very often" to "not very often".

A rating of six (6) indicated the highest level of experience providing the accommodation.

A rating of five (5) indicated a moderate degree of experience, while a four (4) was

understood to mean the faculty member had often provided that accommodation. The

three (3) rating indicated that the respondent had some experience providing the

accommodation. A two (2) rating was interpreted as minimal experience and a one (1)

indicated that the faculty member had not often provided that specific accommodation.

The respondents were also given an additional choice of "Not at All" (NAA) to indicate

they had never provided this accommodation when requested. The response "Never" or

"NA" was used to specify that a student had never made that specific accommodation

request or the respondent did not have any experience with students with learning

disabilities requesting accommodation in their classes and therefore, the question was

not applicable.

The results of this analysis were presented in the form of descriptive and

frequency data. Table 4-12 illustrates the numbers of respondents that have actually








provided each of six instructional accommodations and Table 4-13 indicates the same

for the 11 examination accommodations.

Two items from Part II of the survey were also analyzed. These items explored

the time expenditure experienced by faculty when providing accommodations. The

purpose was to examine the possibility that time requirements might influence faculty

attitudes and willingness to provide accommodations.

Table 4-12

Occupational Therapy Faculty Actual Provision of Instructional Accommodations:
Frequency Distributions. Means and Standard Deviations

Ratings
6 5 4 3 2 1 NAA Never Means SD Totals
/NA
Lecture outline
n 69 14 12 8 8 10 16 55 5.06 1.739 192
% 50.4 10.2 8.8 5.8 5.8 7.3 11.7 100
Overheads/Power point
n 84 11 10 6 5 14 6 56 5.76 .7245 192
% 61.8 8.1 7.4 4.4 3.7 10.3 4.4 100
Tape Record Class
n 88 13 15 6 13 11 13 33 5.02 1.728 192
% 55.3 8.2 9.4 3.8 8.2 6.9 8.2 100
Assistance Assignments
n 62 21 29 18 22 7 3 30 4.43 1.641 192
% 38.3 13.0 17.9 11.1 13.6 4.3 1.9 100
Assistance Papers
n 41 19 37 18 19 12 4 42 4.14 1.675 192
% 27.3 12.7 24.7 12.0 12.7 8.0 2.7 100
Alternate Assignment Format
n 13 11 13 8 13 9 3 122 3.78 1.816 192
% 18.8 15.7 18.6 11.4 18.6 12.9 4.3 100









Table 4-13

Occupational Therapy Faculty Actual Provision of Examination Accommodations:
Frequency Distributions, Means and Standard Deviations

Ratings
6 5 4 3 2 1 NAA Never Means SD Totals
/NAA
Assistance Exam Preparation
n 37 20 25 19 15 16 2 58 4.022 1.753 192
% 27.6 14.9 18.7 14.2 11.2 11.9 1.0 100
Additional Time
n 122 8 21 6 14 5 0 16 5.10 1.479 192
% 67.5 4.8 12.7 3.6 8.4 3.0 0 100
Alternate Location
n 98 10 15 6 11 10 0 42 4.986 1.630 192
% 65.3 6.7 10.0 4.0 7.3 6.7 0 100
Alternative Type
n 11 6 8 4 3 11 11 138 4.33 2.206 192
% 20.4 11.1 14.8 7.4 5.6 20.4 20.4 100
Alternative Format
n 27 5 3 5 9 9 4 130 4.338 2.079 192
% 43.5 8.1 4.8 8.1 14.5 14.4 20.7 100
Oral or Tape Recorded
n 8 8 2 8 9 5 7 145 3.97 2.135 192
% 19.0 7.1 4.8 19.0 21.4 11.9 16.7 100
One on One Oral
n 14 6 1 9 5 7 6 144 4.25 2.088 192
% 29.2 12.5 2.1 18.8 10.4 14.6 144 100
Process vs Solution
n 36 9 17 16 14 7 5 88 4.298 1.772 192
% 34.6 8.7 16.3 15.4 13.5 6.7 4.8 100
Word Processor
n 23 6 9 6 4 4 6 134 4.75 1.760 192
% 39.7 10.3 15.5 10.3 6.9 6.9 10.3 100
Spell Checker
n 23 5 5 10 3 10 7 129 4.412 2.052 192
% 36.5 7.9 7.9 15.9 4.8 15.9 11.1 100
Calculator
n 24 1 3 6 5 3 10 140 5.72 1.056 192
% 46.2 1.9 5.8 11.5 9.6 5.8 19.2 100


Instructional Accommodations

The most often provided instructional accommodations reported by this group of

occupational therapy faculty were the provision of a copy of overheads or PowerPoint

presentations, and allowing students to tape record lectures or class sessions. A total of









130 respondents provided a copy of the visual lecture materials (overheads/PowerPoint

presentations) after the class, and 61.8% of them reported that they had very often

provided this accommodation. Two other instructional accommodations were also often

provided. A total of 146 faculty allowed tape recorders in their classrooms with 55.5%

reporting that they had very often provided this accommodation. One hundred and

twenty-one respondents stated that they had provided electronic or printed copies of a

lecture outline, and 50% reported they had very often done so.

One hundred and fifty-nine respondents reported that they had provided one to

one assistance to students by clarifying or reviewing class assignments, however only

62 (38.3%) had provided these accommodations very often and 21 (13%) reported that

they had provided them often. Though a total of 146 provided the same type of

assistance with written papers, only 27% (41) reported that they had very often provided

this accommodation. The least often provided instructional accommodation was that of

allowing students to complete assignments in an alternate format, such as an oral

presentation instead of a written project. Only 67 respondents reported actual

experience with this accommodation with less than 35% reporting that they had very

often or often allowed alternative examination formats.

The analysis of these data makes known the experiences faculty have had with

instructional accommodations. Although many respondents had experience with all of

the accommodation examples the amount of experience varied based on the specific

accommodation. The most often provided instructional accommodations reported by

this group of occupational therapy faculty were supplemental copies of lecture

overheads or PowerPoint presentations, and allowing students to tape record lectures or

class sessions. The least often provided instructional accommodation was that of

allowing students to complete assignments in an alternate format, such as an oral

presentation instead of a written project.









Examination Accommodations

The most commonly provided examination accommodations were additional time

for the completion of an exam (176 faculty) and alternative supervised exam locations

(150 faculty). One hundred and twenty-two respondents (67.5%) reported providing

additional time very often, and 98 or 65.3% stated that they had very often provided an

alternate location for exams. Though 132 faculty reported providing one to one

assistance in preparing for exams, only 42.5% of this group stated that they very often or

often provided this accommodation. A similar pattern among responses was also seen

when faculty were asked if they had considered the process as well the final solution

when grading exams. Though 99 faculty stated that they had provided this

accommodation only 43.3% had provided it very often or often.

Seven examination accommodation items were provided by less than 50% of the

respondents. For example, 58 faculty reported that they had provided alternative exam

formats and 56 faculty had permitted spell checkers during an exam. The two items that

were provided the least often were the use of a calculator during an exam and arranging

for alternative type of exam.

From the analysis of these data it appeared that it was most common for faculty

to provide additional time and alternate locations for exams taken by students with

learning disabilities. Accommodations such as alternate exam types and formats, and

the use of supportive technology were not as commonly reported.

Time Expenditure

To gather these data the respondents were asked to indicate the extent of the

extra time they spent making accommodations for students with disabilities. The mean

score for this item was 3.42 indicating that a majority of faculty reported that they had

spent a minimal to average extent of extra time. When asked to indicate a specific








average of time spent per student per week, a majority of faculty reported between 10

(62%) and 30 minutes (26.3%).

Summary

The purpose of this chapter was to present the findings obtained from this

research. It began with a review of the faculty profile data and survey reliability results,

and progressed sequentially through the results of each research question.

A total of 580 survey instruments were electronically sent to faculty of the

occupational therapy (OT) academic programs nationally accredited by the American

Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA). One hundred and ninety-two surveys were

returned, which provided a return rate of 30.2%. Initially, a profile of the faculty

respondents was developed through analysis of the data collected. As analysis of

demographic data revealed that a large majority of the respondents were female the

gender of the respondents was not used in the analysis of differences in the willingness

of faculty to provide accommodations for students with learning disabilities. The analysis

of these data did provide information regarding occupational therapy faculty attitudes

towards students with learning disabilities and faculty willingness to make

accommodations when are requested. Also collected was data about the specific

accommodation that have been made by in occupational therapy faculty in the past.

The analysis of these data suggest that the occupational therapy faculty

surveyed felt strongly that students with learning disabilities should be admitted to OT

programs and that modifications to academic programs should be made. They believed

that the specific admission policy adaptations, such as flexible policies concerning

standardized test scores, were acceptable.

The results also revealed that faculty felt very strongly that instructional and

examination accommodations were fair to non-disabled peers, and that OT faculty were

very willing to provide both types accommodations when requested by students with









disabilities. However, the OT faculty that responded were not as strong in their belief as

to the effectiveness of those accommodations, and the effectiveness of accommodations

in facilitating student success.

The analysis of these data also indicated that though faculty are willing in general

to provide instructional and examination accommodations when they are requested, they

are more highly willing to provide some specific accommodations and less willing to

provide others. Faculty were the most willing to make the examination accommodations

of additional time and alternate testing locations. They were less willing to provide

alternate types or formats of exams, or to allow oral or tape recorded exams. When

considering instructional accommodations faculty responded very favorably to the

possibility of requests to tape record classes, and were very willing to supply copies of

lecture outlines and PowerPoint presentations. They were less willing to provide one to

one assistance on written papers and the least willing to provide alternate assignment

formats.

Faculty reported that they had spent a minimal to average extent of extra time

actually providing accommodations for the students with learning disabilities in their

classrooms. In an average week this amounted to between 10 and 30 minutes per

student.

The most often provided instructional accommodations reported by this group of

occupational therapy faculty were supplemental copies of lecture overheads or

PowerPoint presentations, and allowing students to tape record lectures or class

sessions. The least often provided instructional accommodation was that of allowing

students to complete assignments in an alternate format, such as an oral presentation

instead of a written project. The most commonly provided examination accommodations

were additional time and alternate locations for exams taken by students with learning






51


disabilities. Alternate exam types and formats, and the use of supportive technology

were the least commonly reported.

Chapter 5 includes a discussion and the analysis of these data, and conclusions that

can be drawn. Also, directions for future research to better understand the relationships

and experiences of higher education faculty and their students with learning disabilities

is presented.














CHAPTER 5
CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

Introduction

This study investigated the attitudes and accommodation practices of faculty in

specific health professions programs towards students with learning disabilities.

Research has indicated that positive faculty attitudes and willingness to make

accommodations are important factors in the academic success and degree completion

for students with learning disabilities in higher education (Baggett, 1994; Nelson et al.,

1990). Given the significant increase in the number of students with learning disabilities

in college student populations it is important to investigate faculty views and practices.

The findings of this study advanced this body of knowledge by testing and expanding

upon the constructs formed by Susan Vogel and her colleagues (1999) concerning

faculty attitudes, perception of fairness, willingness to provide accommodations and

actual accommodation practices for students with learning disabilities. Studies like this

one are needed to guide the development of needed academic supports and

accommodations for students and professional development activities for faculty.

This chapter will consist of three parts. First, a review of the primary and

secondary findings is presented. The second component offers a discussion of the

implications of the findings of this study. This discussion provides potential explanations

or interpretations of the findings and then suggests implications that may impact

audiences in higher education. This discussion is then followed by a section concerning

the limitations of this specific research project. Third, a list of suggested future research

topics related to these findings is presented. As a summary this section encourages









other researchers to replicate this research, contribute to the development of the

instrument used to gather these data, and to review the assumptions on which current

faculty and student support services are based upon.

This study provides new and different knowledge of the efforts and attitudes of

health professional faculty. The majority of the prior research implied that health

professional faculty in higher education would not support their students with learning

disabilities in their quest to join the profession. It recommended that the focus of

administrative efforts to encourage compliance with federal legislation should be focused

on attitude change and disability education. These results suggest otherwise.

Primary Findings

The findings of this study suggest that the occupational therapy faculty surveyed

held positive attitudes concerning students with learning disabilities, and the student's

eventual performance as professional health care providers. Specifically, it was

revealed that faculty thought students with learning disabilities should be admitted to OT

programs, modifications to academic programs should be made, and that OT

professionals with learning disabilities could be as effective as their non-disabled peers.

The faculty respondents were very willing to provide both instructional and

examination accommodations when requested by students with disabilities. The results

also revealed that faculty felt very strongly that instructional and examination

accommodations were fair to non-disabled peers.

The analysis of these data also indicated that though faculty are willing in general

to provide instructional and examination accommodations when they are requested, they

are more willing to provide some specific accommodations. Faculty were the most

willing to make the examination accommodations of additional time and alternate testing

locations. They were less willing to provide alternate types or formats of exams, or to

allow oral or tape recorded exams. When considering instructional accommodations








faculty responded very favorably to the possibility of requests to tape record classes,

and were very willing to supply copies of lecture outlines and PowerPoint presentations.

They were less willing to provide one to one assistance on written papers and the least

willing to provide alternate assignment formats.

Secondary Findings

The analysis of these data revealed that the largest number of respondents held

the rank of Assistant Professor. A majority were full-time, and in tenure-track positions.

Forty-six percent of the sample population had earned a Masters degree, while 41.1%

held Doctorate degrees. Only two respondents reported less than one year of

experience, while 21.4% had one to five years, 28.1% had 6 to 10, 18.8% had 11 to 15

years, and 28.6% had been teaching 16 or more years. Most of the respondents

reported having had students with learning disabilities in their classes.

The data analysis indicated that the respondents were very willing to provide

both types accommodations when requested by students with disabilities, they were not

as strong in their belief as to the effectiveness of those accommodations in facilitating

student success. It appeared that the faculty surveyed felt strongly that students with

learning disabilities should be admitted to OT programs and that some modifications to

admission policies could be made.

The faculty reported a minimal to average extent of extra time actually providing

accommodations for the students with learning disabilities in their classrooms. In an

average week this amounted to between 10 and 30 minutes per student per week.

Discussion of the Findings and Implications

This discussion of findings is presented in a format that begins with a discussion

about the measurement instrument, and then separates each research question for

individual discussion. This format was used to assist the reader to in clarifying the








findings of each specific question. A summary of the findings with overall conclusions

will lead to the last section of this chapter that discusses suggestions for future research.

Instrumentation

The 192 faculty respondents were surveyed using the Faculty Survey on

Students with Learning Disabilities (Vogel, 2002). This new measure contained items to

measure faculty attitudes, knowledge and practices concerning students with learning

disabilities. In this study this scale was used to answer the specific research questions

posed, and to be able to compare the findings with the results an earlier study that

surveyed all faculty in a single university (Vogel et al, 1999).

Measuring statistical variance is the basis for reliability estimates, and

Cronbach's alpha is the appropriate reliability co-efficient for instruments that have three

or more answer options, such as the instrument and subscales used in this study. As

noted by Portney and Watkins (1993), as the true variance of instrument scores

decreases, so does the reliability coefficient. In this study the item scores across

subjects did not vary greatly, and the total variance was minimal on the composite

subscale scores. It is unfortunate that the reliability of this instrument, with this sample,

did not result in the range of variability of scores that Vogel and her colleagues (1999)

have found in the past. The solution here might be to include subjects, such as a

broader range of health professional faculty, which might generate a wider range of

scores. In previous the studies Vogel included faculty from all colleges in a single

university, rather than a faculty from one area of study (OT) across many types of higher

education institutions.

It also appears important to explore the effect that the 6-point Likert scale used in

this new scale had on the reliability of the instrument. The initial survey used a 5-point

scale with limited use of additional answers. On many items the Vogel (2002) scale

added additional answers to select, such as "not at all" and "not applicable", this caused








many items to have nine possible answers. Subject fatigue and confusion may have

contributed to missing data and lack of score variability.

A total of 580 survey instruments were electronically sent to faculty of the

occupational therapy (OT) academic programs nationally accredited by the American

Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA). One hundred and ninety-two surveys were

returned, which provided a return rate of 30.2%. This return rate is considerably lower

than traditionally accepted mail surveys response rates (over 60%), and lower than

those in the Vogel study (40%). The ability to engage in random-sampling is a clear

advantage to internet-based data collection, and along with ease and low cost, some

authors predict that internet-based data collection will be the most significant research

advance of the 21st century (Dillman, 2000; Klein, 2002). However, there is very little

scholarly research reported concerning appropriate research methodology with the

internet-based data collection, and even less has been published regarding response

rates from web-based surveys (Klein, 2002). A majority of published reports have

examined the response rate of e-mail and postal surveys. In the few studies reporting

the response results of all survey vehicles (mail, e-mail and web-based) web-based

surveys had the lowest rate at 17 to 19% (Cromley, 1996; Jones & Pitt, 1999). In

general the conclusions of these studies along with observations by web-based survey

designers (Dillman, Tortora & Bowker, 1999) have been to mix the modes of response.

For example, using e-mail for recruitment and reminders, and giving recipients the option

of responding by mail. As this project recruited subjects by e-mail and directed them to

participate through the web it might be thought of as mixed modal. However, other steps,

such as participation rewards or incentives, an initial notice by mail, and the option of

responding by mail might have increased the final return rates. The results of this

exploratory study were able to further clarify the views of health care professions faculty

toward college students with learning disabilities.








Research Question 1

The initial research question of this study examined the attitudes of faculty in

health professions towards students with learning disabilities. The faculty surveyed felt

strongly that students with learning disabilities should be admitted to OT programs and

that modification to admission policies could be made. Eighty-eight percent of the

respondents indicated the highest or moderately high level of agreement with a

statement favorably comparing the effectiveness of the job performance between

professionals with and without learning disabilities.

The analysis of these data suggested that this sample of professional health care

faculty believe that students with learning disabilities should enter programs where they

can prepare to be successful and effective occupational therapy professionals. These

findings are contrary to other researchers that assumed that health professionals might

acquire attitudes toward people with disabilities that are more negative than the general

population (Gething, 1992).

Several researchers have reported that faculty attitudes are influenced by

academic major (Nelson et al., 1990; Vogel, et al. 1999). These researchers have

suggested that as College of Education faculty were more likely to have specialized

knowledge and expertise in special education law, learning disabilities, and alternate

learning strategies, therefore they held more positive attitudes toward college students

with learning disabilities. As occupational therapists the faculty surveyed for this study

are skilled at assessing and treating clients/patients with disabilities. If not directly

involved with learning disabilities all have been trained to provide services aimed at

improving performance in life activities. Eagly and Chaiken (1998), assert that an

attitude is an expression of favor or disfavor toward an object that is influenced by

individual affective, cognitive, and behavioral variables. The expertise, knowledge and

experiences of both of these faculty groups may have influenced over all positive









attitudes. This may be especially true, as found in other studies, in comparison to higher

education faculty groups that do not have background knowledge and experience in

learning disabilities (Fichten et al., 1988; Nelson et al., 1990; Sacher, 1992 Vogel, et al.

1999).

When responding to a statement indicating that students with learning disabilities

should be advised to pursue other professions 75% of the faculty indicated

disagreement with this statement. This response may also indicate that the respondents

were knowledgeable concerning the Section 504 legislation mandates that students

cannot be advised to seek other career avenues solely on the basis of their disability.

Vogel, et al found similar responses on this item from faculty in the College of Education

faculty.

These findings suggest that support services and training programs designed to

increase knowledge about disabilities, disability law and accommodation in order to

change faculty attitudes might not need to be a high priority for this group of health

professionals.

Research Question 2

The second question in this research investigated faculty attitudes toward making

instructional and examination accommodations in general for students with learning

disabilities. The respondents were asked to report on their perception of the fairness to

non-disabled students when students with learning disabilities were provided

instructional and examination accommodations. The frequency data for OT faculty (89%

and 90%) was very similar that of general faculty in the Vogel et al (1999) original

published research study. In the original sample faculty, 91% of faculty strongly agreed

or agreed that instructional accommodations were fair, while 86.6% rated examination

accommodations at the same fairness level. These responses indicate that in both

studies the respondents were willing to provide both types accommodations when









requested by students with disabilities, and that faculty felt strongly that instructional and

examination accommodations were fair. Although Vogel, et al found a slight difference

in the respondents willingness to provide instructional accommodations as opposed to

examination accommodations (92% and 86%) this difference was not found in this study.

Earlier researchers have agreed that in general higher education faculty have

positive attitudes toward providing accommodations for students with learning disabilities

(Aksamit et al., 1987; Baggett, 1994; Vogel et al., 1999). Therefore, this research again

challenges the assumption that all faculty will have to undergo changes in their attitudes

toward learning accommodations before they will be willing to modify their classrooms

for students with learning disabilities.

Research Question 3

The third research question examined the differences in faculty attitudes and

practices toward accommodations for student with learning disabilities based on faculty

age, status, and experience. No significant differences were found for most of the

variables; age, rank, and degree. Though analysis revealed a statistical significant

difference for teaching experience and examination accommodations this information is

of limited value because of limited score range.

Vogel, et al found that in their study of university faculty that younger faculty were

more willing than older faculty to provide specific accommodations. In particular

clarifying or reviewing assignments and providing a copy of lecture outlines. This study

was unable to verify or refute the Vogel, et al conclusions.

Research Question 4

This question examined the specific instruction and examination

accommodations that health professions faculty felt were acceptable and appropriate.

To gather this data, faculty were asked to indicate their willingness to provide each

individual accommodation. These data appeared to indicate that faculty were willing in








general to provide instructional and examination accommodations when they are

requested, however they were more willing to provide some specific accommodations

and less willing to provide others. When considering instructional accommodations the

faculty responded very favorably to the possibility of requests to tape record classes

(97%), and were very willing to supply copies of lecture outlines and PowerPoint

presentations (86.7% and 91.4%). They were slightly less willing to provide one to one

assistance on written papers (83%) and to provide alternate assignment formats (83%).

In the Vogel, et al study almost all faculty indicated a high degree of willingness

to allow students to tape record lectures (98%) and to provide on-to-one assistance for

preparation of assignments (93%) and writing papers (88%). However, they were less

willing than OT faculty to provide copies of overheads (76%) or lecture outlines (69%).

The authors speculated that these accommodations might be more time consuming for

the faculty member and therefore might be viewed less favorably.

Occupational therapy faculty were the most willing to make the examination

accommodations of additional time (92%) and alternate testing locations (91.4%). They

were less willing to provide alternate types of exams (70%), or to allow oral or tape

recorded exams (61.5%). While Vogel, et al reported similar results on the same items

the respondents in their study were more willing to allow the use of technology

(calculators and spell checkers) and were also more willing to give partial credit for the

exam process rather than the solution.

Research Question 5

The last question of this research project examined the specific instruction and

examination accommodations that health professions faculty had actually provided for

students with learning disabilities. In this study health professions faculty were asked to

indicate how often they had actually provided each specific accommodation. Although

many respondents had experience with all of the of the accommodation examples the









amount of experience varied based on the specific accommodation. The most often

provided instructional accommodations reported by this group of occupational therapy

faculty were supplemental copies of lecture overheads or PowerPoint presentations, and

allowing students to tape record lectures or class sessions. The least often provided

instructional accommodation was that of allowing students to complete assignments in

an alternate format, such as an oral presentation instead of a written project.

From these data it appeared that it was most common for faculty to provide

additional time and alternate locations for exams taken by students with learning

disabilities. Accommodations such as alternate exam types and formats, and the use of

supportive technology were not as commonly reported.

Health professional faculty reported that they had spent a minimal to average

extent of extra time actually providing accommodations for the students with learning

disabilities in their classrooms. On an average this amounted to between 10 and 30

minutes per student per week. These data were very similar to those reported by Vogel,

et al. Seventy-five percent of the respondents in that study reported spending less than

30 minutes a week as compared to 88% of OT faculty. Given that some

accommodations can be perceived to require a great deal of time to provide it is still

unclear whether faculty felt that the time expenditures were not desirable or were

burdensome, and if that perception impacted their enthusiasm to provide specific

accommodations.

The items about actual experiences with accommodations were not included in

the original Vogel, et al study and cannot be compared. However, these data can be

compared to other published reports. According to the National Center for Educational

Statistics (2000) almost 98% of institutions of higher education that enrolled students

with disabilities provided at least one support service or accommodation to students.

The experiences mentioned in this report are similar to those of the respondents in this









study, as 88% of higher education institutions reported that alternative exam formats or

additional examination time had been provided. A portion of these institutions included

in the NCES report also reported providing tutors, readers, note takers, or scribes, as

well as assistive technology such as talking computers or textbooks on tape. These

types of accommodations were not included in the specific accommodations on the

survey used for this project. Therefore, it is not known how faculty feel about allowing

these more technology intensive types accommodations or if they have had experience

with them. It would appear that support for these accommodations might be provided by

university student services, such as an office of students with disabilities, and therefore,

this would be important data to gather in the future.

Given the general willingness to provide accommodations and high level of

experience with actually providing them, it appears that this sample of health professions

faculty might need logistical support and consulting type services rather than disability

education and activities based on attitude formation and change.

Limitations

It is critical to point out that the sample used for this project is drawn from just

one of the modalities of health professional faculty. Health professional roles may vary

in their level of contact and knowledge of learning disabilities. Therefore, these results

may not be applicable to other health care professional faculty. Caution also must be

taken in the application of these results to faculty populations outside of the professional

health care fields.

The psychometric properties of the instrument, and participant honesty in self-

report limited this study. Also, the sample population of this study was restricted by the

accuracy and timeliness of the department websites. Then validity of the instrument is

based upon content review; therefore, no specific statistical applications can be used for

assessment of domain adequacy. It is unknown if a panel of experts from the domains









of attitude formation and learning disabilities would agree that the content domain has

been adequately sampled. As well, the reliability of this instrument, with this sample, did

not result in the range of variability of scores of the past research of Vogel and her

colleagues (1999) therefore; the applications of the findings of this project are limited.

Suggestions for Future Research

As students with learning disabilities and their needs are a relatively new

phenomenon in higher education there is an acute need to continue research in this

area. The impact on higher education, in general, and learning support services, faculty,

and students, specifically, is little understood. It is clear, however, that the trend to admit

students with learning disabilities to university professional programs will continue or

increase thus, further substantiating the need for research efforts. The following

research suggestions are made to broaden the knowledge needed to assist and support

students with learning disabilities in higher education:

1. Further development and adaptation of the instrument, Faculty Survey on
Students with Learning Disabilities, should be undertaken to increase the
reliability and validity of future findings. Benson (1998) stated that numerous
studies utilizing different approaches, samples and populations are required to
establish a strong evidence of instrument validity. Experts in the field of learning
disabilities and instructional methods should formally review the content of this
survey for students with disabilities. Further studies with a variety of professional
faculty may clarify the information available concerning the attitudes and
practices of faculty, and increase the generalizability of those findings based on
the data from this survey.

2. Instructional methods that work in academic settings may not transfer effectively
beyond a particular curriculum or institution (Mentkowski & Loacker, 1985). The
following research suggestions are made in the interest of evaluating and
validating post-secondary educational outcomes.

a. Further studies may provide understanding concerning the effects of
specific accommodations on the eventual clinical performance of students
with learning disabilities.

b. Further studies may provide understanding concerning how well health
professional students with learning disabilities who received
accommodations during their academic careers perform on national
certification and licensure activities.








c. Further studies may provide understanding of the performance of health
professional students with learning disabilities who received
accommodations during their academic careers on clinical and fieldwork
performance evaluations.

d. Additional studies concerning specific accommodations, particularly those
that require higher levels of technology, would be helpful to determine the
level of comfort and needed training that might be required on university
campuses in the future.

3. Further studies might examine the attitudes and practices of other health
professional faculty. In particular, those health care professional faculty not
directly clinically involved in accommodation and intervention of clients/patients
with learning disabilities (i.e., dentists, physicians, etc.). Vogel et al. (1999)
suggested that experience and knowledge influenced positive faculty attitudes.
These faculty groups represent a different level of experience and are
responsible for a large number of students in the health professions.

4. The Heuristic-Systematic Model (Petty & Cacioppo, 1986) proposed parameters
for attitude modification. These parameters plus the data that could be collected
by Part V of the survey might assist in inquiry in this knowledge area.

a. Further studies might examine what support services are necessary to
impact the academic performance of health professional college students
with learning disabilities.

b. Further studies might examine what support services are necessary to
impact the comfort level and accommodation performance of higher
education faculty.

5. A limitation to the survey method of data collect is the honesty of "self-report"
(Shavelson, 1996).

a. Further studies might examine if the self-reported accommodation
practices of faculty are related to actual institutional history, such as
records of student appeals, course substitutions, waivers, and
exemptions.

b. Further studies might also examine if faculty perceptions of
accommodations practices are related to the perceptions of students with
learning disabilities, administrators or Office of Students with Disabilities
Staff.

Conclusion

The results of this study suggest that the faculty surveyed held positive attitudes

concerning students with learning disabilities, and the eventual performance of these

students as professional health care providers. It also suggested that the faculty thought

students with learning disabilities should be admitted to professional OT programs, that









modifications to academic programs should be made, and that OT professionals with

learning disabilities could be as effective as their non-disabled peers. These findings

have both supported and been in contrast to prior research, as well as concepts of

attitude theories and current practices in higher education.

Attitudes are internal, and therefore, are only known through the individual's

behaviors and responses towards others. Attitude theories often refer to a system of

constructs (Kelly, 1955) or heuristics (Chaiken, Wood & Eagly, 1996) that explain the

relationship of personal characteristics to estimates of performance and ability. Gething

(1992) found that mutual interactions between people with disabilities and others were

important for the development of positive evaluative judgments. Gething assumed that

because health care providers rarely have relationships with individuals with disabilities

in a mutual context, these health professionals would acquire attitudes that are even

more negative than the general public. The results of this research study challenge that

assumption, and the resulting supposition that all faculty will have to undergo changes in

the attitudes they hold toward students and accommodation practices before they will be

willing to modify their classrooms for students with learning disabilities. These findings

have implications for the formation of policies, support of services, and design of training

programs for faculty, administrators and staff.

The audiences that may be the most interested in this discussion are students

with learning disabilities, their families, and advocates; educational support services

professionals; university administrators and faculty; and, state and national legislators

and policy makers. This last group may want to consider amending existing legislation

to develop policies that support the academic efforts of higher education faculty and

students with disabilities.













APPENDIX A
SURVEY INSTRUMENT
Part I: Background Information
What isyour gender?
Ln Female r-1 Male
What is you age group?
r- 24 or less ] 25-35 f] 36-45 F 46-55 ] 56+
What is your rank?
R Teaching Assistant
F- Instructor
] Assistant Professor
[I Associate Professor
LI Professor

Are you a full-time or part-time faculty member?
L] Full-Time
[-] Part-Time
Are you in a tenure track or non-tenure track position?
I-] Tenure track
LI Non-tenure track

EL Other (Please specify)
What is our highest degree earned?
SBachelor's
F-] Master's

L-I Doctorate
[L Other (Please specify) | |









How many years of teaching experience do you have?
FI- Less than one year
D I 1-5
I] 6-10
I-] 11-15
LI 16+
In yourprimary teaching area, what level are your students?
I | Undergraduate Entry Level
[--] Graduate Entry Level
I] Advance Graduate
L-] Doctoral


Part II: Experience
For questions 1 to 12, check the response that most accurately reflects your
experiencelbackground in the past two years.
6 = To a very large extent NonelNot at all = NonelNot at all
1 = To a very limited extent NA = Not Applicable

To a very To a very
large limited None/Not at all Not Applicable
extent <------------------ extent
6 5 4 3 2 1 None/Not at all N/A


1. How much personal contact have you had with individuals with disabilities? (Excluding
students you have taught.)
6 -5 4 I-3 D-2 I]I1 None DE NA
If applicable, please specify with whom you have had contact. Check all that apply.
I- Immediate Family Member
I-] Extended Family Member
L-I Colleague, Co-Worker, Supervisor
I-] Friend
LI Other (Please specify)









2. During your teaching career in higher education, to what extent have you had students
with disabilities enrolled in your classes?
-- 6 F-]5 5 [ 4 [] 3 -] 2 ] 1 --] None D NA
If applIcable, what type(s) of disabilities have they had? Indicate all that apply.
Si Learning Disability
Ei] Attention Deficit Disorder
| Physical Disability
-- |Deaf or Hard of Hearing
F- Blind or Low Vision
--] Psychiatric Illness
D-] Chronic Health Impairment
E- Other (Please specify)
(Voluntary item) Do you have a disability? If Yes, check your primary disability.
LM Learning Disability
-I] Attention Deficit Disorder
--] Physical Disability
--1 Deaf or Hard of Hearing
F-] Blind or Low Vision
I-] Psychiatric Illness
-- Chronic Health Impairment
[i: Other (Please specify)
The next 10 items pertain to your experiences) at this institution.
3. How often have you included a statement in your syllabi regarding provision of
accommodations for students with learning disabilities?
[--6 D[ D14 D13 D2 D 1 D-None DNA
4. How likely are you to make a statement at the beginning of a course encouraging
students with learning disabilities to meet with you regarding their accommodation
needs?
116 D15 1-14 13 12 D 1 DNone DNA
5. To what extent have students with learning disabilities met with you to discuss their
requests for accommodations?
D16 D-5 D114 -]3 112 D 1 INone DNA








6. If students with learning disabilities in your class request accommodations, how willing
are you to provide the requested accommodations?
D6 D[]5 D 4 D]3 D]2 D-]1 D None D NA
7. To what extent do you feel that you have the necessary knowledge and skills to make
accommodations for students with learning disabilities?
D 6 D- 5 D-]4 D3 D-]2 D] D ]None D NA
8. Per term, to what extent do you spend extra time making accommodations for students
with learning disabilities in your courses?
D[]6 F- 5 -4 []3 2 D-]1 ] None D-] NA
If you spent time, what is the average amount of time you spend per student per week?
--] About 10 minutes
D- About 30 minutes
D-- About 1 hour
D-- More than 1 hour
9. To what extent do you think that the accommodations you provide seem to facilitate
student performance?
[]6 D-]5 D4 D3 D2 F-D 1 D-]None D- NA
10a. How knowledgeable are you regarding the office of support services for students with
disabilities?
D6 D]5 DE 4 D3 D[ 2 D]1 D] None D NA
10b. How frequently have you communicated with these service providers in the last academic
year?
LI I 6 D] 5 D4 D]3 D[]2 D[] D -]None D[-] NA

11. How much information about learning disabilities have you acquired through courses,
presentations, workshops, seminars, Web sites, literature, etc.?
D[]6 D 5 D]4 D-]3 D[]2 D 1 D None DF NA
12. How familiar are you with the federal laws (i.e., Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of
1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990) pertaining to students with
disabilities in higher education?
D[ 6 F-D 5 D 4 D-]3 D 2 D]1 D]None D NA
13. In the last year, approximately how many students disclosed to you that they have a
learning disability?
D 0
D 1-3
D 4-6
D] 7-9

D 10+









PART III: Accommodations

In this section, respond to items 14-25 twice
The first time, click/check the number that reflects your willingness to provide
the specific accommodations.
The second time, if you had students with disabilities in your classes, please
click/check on the number that reflects how often you made the actual
accommodations.
If you were not at all willing, or would not provide this accommodation,
click/check not at all.
If students have never requested this accommodation, click/check never.
If you did not have any students with disabilities in your class, click/check not
applicable.
6 =Very 1 = Not very NAA = Not at all
willingloften willingloften
Never = Never NA = Not applicable
requested


Very <---------------> Not Very_ Never Not

willingloften willing/often Not at all Requested Applicable
6 5 4 3 2 1 NAA Never NA

14. Provide the student with the following accommodation after the student has attended the
lecture/session.
A printed or electronic copy of the lecture outline
Willingness H6 []5 ]4 I]3 ]2 ] []NAA

Actual Accommodation -]6 115 [-]4 [-3 --]2 -]l []Never ]NAA DNA

A copy of the overheads or PowerPoint presentation
Willingness 6 []5 n4 n3 ]2 n1i [NAA

Actual Accommodation 6 [:] 5 D ]4 f13 [-] 2 []l ]Never QNAA DNA

15. Allow the student to tape record lectures/sessions.
Willingness ]6 []5 [4 n[3 n2 ] 1 NAA

Actual Accommodation []6 -]5 []4 E13 []2 D1 [ Never DNAA DNA

16. Provide one-on-one assistance to the student:
By clarifying/reviewing class assignments
Willingness [n6 i[]5 []4 e]3 n2 ] [nNAA

Actual Accommodation [:]6 [] 5 114 113 112 1 1 Never [INAA DNA







In writing papers
LiWillingness i6 5 L4 L3 n L2 L1 NAA
Actual Accommodation [6 []s5 []4 [13 []2 [11 ]Never ]NAA I-NA
In preparing for exams
Willingness n6 []5 []4 [3 I2 []i NAA
Actual Accommodation []6 [115 [-]4 [13 F]2 [ 1 []Never []NAA [NA
17. Allow the student to complete assignments in alternate formats (e.g., oral presentations
instead of written projectL.
Willingness L6 5 [~4 n3 n2 ]l 1 --NAA
Actual Accommodation [11-]6 j5 [14 [13 []2 ]1 []Never []NAA [NA
18. Allow the student additional time to complete exams.
Willingness []6 nj5 L[4 n-3 22 [ 1 l]NAA
Actual Accommodation 06 [s5 []4 [13 []2 F]1 [-]Never [NAA [NA
19. Allow exams to be taken in a supervised location other than the classroom.
Willingness Li6 Ls5e 4 i 3 L2 1 [1 NAA
Actual Accommodation []6 [s ] 4 [E3 [2 []1 [Never [NAA []NA
20. Provide an alternate type of exam (e.g., multiple choice instead of essay).
Willingness L6 L5 L4 []3 L2 L1 L]NAA
Actual Accommodation 16 5 [-] 4 13 [2 [11 [Never []NAA [NA
21. Allow the student to take an exam in an adapted format (e.g., enlarged print, audio-taped
or Braille version of an exam that has been prepared bydesinated support services staff).
Willingness L6 L5 L4 P3 2 1 ]NAA
Actual Accommodation 16 []5s [4 [3 [12 [-]1 [Never []NAA 1NA
22. Allow oral or tape-recorded, rather than written responses to exam questions in another
location.
Willingness Li6 Li5 []4 L3 i-2 L1 NAA
Actual Accommodation D6 D[5 D14 E3 D[2 D1 [1Never [NAA [ DNA
23. Provide one-on-one oral exam.
Willingness [L6 Li5 n4 Li3 Li2 L1 LNAA
Actual Accommodation D6 D5 D[4 [13 [12 [-I1 [Never DNAA D[NA







24. Consider the process as well as the final solution when grading exams (i.e. give partial
credit if the correct process was used even if the answer was incorrect).
Willingness [I6 ]5 n1 4 3 n-2 E1 i- NAA

Actual Accommodation [:]6 [-]5 []4 [:3 [02 F-I [ ]Never []NAA [E]NA
25. Allow the use of assistive technologyduring exams such as:
Willingness 6 5 4 [] [2 ]1 l j]NAA

Actual Accommodation []6 [5 [114 [E3 []2 [-] ]Never []NAA []NA
Word Processor
Willingness []6 []5 []4 []3 j]2 Eli L]NAA

Actual Accommodation [-]6 []5 [:]4 [ 3 D 2 --j1 [Never [NAA [jNA
Electronic spell checker
Willingness ]6 ]5 [L4 E]3 n2 ]il ]NAA

Actual Accommodation 06 D5 []4 E13 [j2 [- 1 ]Never []NAA []NA
Calculator
Willingness ]6 [5 [4 n3 [12 ]1 NAA

Actual Accommodation [6 [:]5 [04 E3 F]2 [-]1 ]Never []NAA [] NA
26. Please list any additional examples of instructional, examination, or policy
accommodations you think are needed by students with disabilities.








For questions 27 and 28, please check the response that reflects your views.


6 = Fair


1= Unfair


27. How fair is it to non disabled students when students with learning disabilities are provided
the following accommodations:


Fair


Unfair


Course Substitutions

Instructional accommodations

Exam accommodations

Priodrity registration

Other special student services


El6 -5 D4 D-3 E-2 DI1

E6 El5 D4 D-]3 E-2 El1

D6 El5 El4 El3 El2 Ei

El6 D5 El4 El3 El2 E1

DE6 D5 El4 El3 El2 El1


28. How fair is it to non disabled students when students with learning disabilities are provided
modifications to the following:
Fair <-------------........- --....----- > Unfair


Academic requirement for full-time study

Financial aid department

Requirement (e.g.. foreign language or math) for
graduation


DJ6 [-]5 D-14 D-13
E6 El5 D4 El3

E6 []5 4 ] 3


D2

D2
- 2


Di

EDi


Part IV. Career Preparation

For questions number 29-34, please check the number that most accurately reflects the

extent to which you agree or disagree with these statements.


6 = Strongly agree


1 = Strongly disagree


29. Regarding basic skills competencies needed for entry into your professional program,
students with learning disabilities who request an accommodation should be allowed to
demonstrate these competencies in ways other than by standardized tests.
Strongly agree < ................... > Strongly disagree
D6 D5 D4 D-3 D2 I-i 1
30. The minimum grade point average required for entry in your professional program should
be modified for students with learning disabilities with appropriate justification.
Strongly agree < ................... > Strnly disagree
D]6 D-5 D-4 D-3 2 I1


< ------------------- --- --- ------ -- -- -- P







31. During classroom, laboratory, clinical, or other learning experiences, students with learning
disabilities should be given their assignments early, if requested.
Strongly agree < ....------- > Strongly disagree
DE6 D5 D4 D3 2 D 1
32. During learning experiences outside the college classroom or laboratory, e.g., internships
or practicum, students with learning disabilities should be allowed to use assistive
technology such as a word processor or tape recorder, if required.
Strongly agree <.................... > Strongly disagree
D6 D-5 D4 DL3 D2 D[1
33. Professionals with learning disabilities may be as effective on the job as professionals
without learning disabilities in the same occupation.
Strongly agree <.................... > Strongly disagree
D6 D5 E-]4 D-3 D2 1
34. Because of their learning disabilities, students with learning disabilities should be advised
to pursue professions other than your own.
Strongly agree < .................... > Strongly disagree
D6 D5 D4 D3 tD D 1



Part V: Faculty Interests and Suggestions
35. If information regarding students with learning disabilities were to be provided to faculty,
identify the level of need to provide information on each topic on your campus.


6 = High Level of need 1 = Low Level of need


Accessible Web Site
development


High Level
of Need <--
6 [i]5


General Information about 7] 6
learning disabilities Li
Instructional assistive -] 6
technology L


Legal mandates & issues
Policies & procedures
regarding students with
learning disabilities
Testing accommodations
Technology
accommodations


Universal design for
learning


6

16

D6
D6


5

i 5
a5
5


a5
5


D6 [1-5


4

a4

n4

D4
4


E4

a4

a4


D3 D2

3 D2

3 D2

113 112

1131112
-13 -12


n3 a]2
D3 D2

3 D2


Low Level No
> of Need Need
- 1 D NN


--1




-I1
El-i

Eli'
DN1

D-1


D NN

- NN

LIINN
-NN


- NN
D NN

D NN


NN = No Need


------------------------------------------








Please indicate what other information you would like available.


36. Please rate how effective each method would be in delivering this information.


6 = Very effective


Workshops |- 6
On-Site 6
Seminars
On-site 6
speakers
Telecon- ] 6
ference
Videotapes [-] 6
Web Sites E ] 6
Distance ] 6
Learning
One-on-one -1 6
consultation [


Er
ED5

-l5
I-]5


D5

F-1 5
D-5
D-5


1 = Least effective NE = Not Effective


-- 4
14
El1


i 3
-3


El4 E3

El4 ED3
D4 D3

D-4 D3
El4 -l3

a4 El3


D2

[32

L2

- 2
C2

D2

a2


Di
Eli1

E-11

E-11
Di
Di
Eli1

El1


-] NE
NE

NE

NE

D NE
D- NE
- NE

] NE


For one-on-one consultation, please indicate the method of communication you like to use?
(check all that apply)
H Phone
E-Mail
In person
37. If professional development programs on learning disabilities were to be available to
faculty, please indicate your preferences.


6 = Most Preferred 1 = Least Preferred NP = Not Preferred









75-90 minute
programs on
selected topics


Graduate distance m 6 5 4 3 2 NP
education course Li Li L_1 []2 Li I

Monday 6 5 [4 ] 3 ]2 ] I NP
workshops

On-line/Web- H 6 H 5 4 H 3 H 2 H I H NP
based course L i -_ Li L Li

Sef-paced 6 5 4 3 2 D NP

Short course (4-6 6 5 4 3 2 1 NP
weeks) Eli Li l L i L Li"

Please specify what other types and lengths of programs on students with learning
disabilities you would like available.


Developed under the project at Northern Illinois University, "Enhancing Success for Students with
Disabilities in Higher Education", and produced online by the Office of Research, Evaluation, and
Policy Studies at NIU. No part of this survey can be reproduced without permission from Susan
A. Vogel, Project Director (svoqel@cniu.edu).


Vogel 2002


6 E5 E4 n3 02 1 NP
















APPENDIX B
COVER LETTER AND CONSENT FOR SURVEY

University of Florida
College of Education
Department of Educational Leadership, Policy, and Foundations
PO Box 117049
Gainesville, FL 32610



Dear Participant,

I am a doctoral student at the University of Florida. As part of my research, I am distributing a survey to
faculty in departments of occupational therapy. The purpose of the survey is to learn what types of
accommodations are currently being used by OT faculty and how faculty feel about the practice of
providing accommodations for college students with learning disabilities. This survey should take a
maximum of 20 minutes to complete.

Participation in this activity is voluntary. You are free to withdraw your consent to participate and may
discontinue your participation in this study at any time without consequence. You do not have to answer
any question you do not wish to answer. There are no anticipated risks, compensation or other immediate
benefits to you as a participant in this study. The confidentiality of your answers will be protected to the
extent provided by law, as your survey responses will be immediately electronically transferred to data
analysis software that will remove any individual identification information.

If you have any questions about this research protocol, please contact me at the number below or my
faculty supervisor, Dr. Arthur Sandeen, at (352) 392-2391 ext. 284. Any questions or concerns about your
rights as a participant in this research may be directed to UF IRB Office, University of Florida, PO Box
112250, Gainesville, FL 32611-2250; (352) 392-0433.

Responding to this survey constitutes your consent to participate in this project, and permission to
anonymously report your responses in the final manuscript to be submitted as a dissertation.


Joanne Jackson Foss, MS, OTR/L (352) 332-0294




APPROVED BY
University of Florida
Institutional Review Board LB 02)
Protocol* 2 12 .-N
For Use Throutgh, (













APPENDIX C
IRB APPROVAL LETTER



, UNIVERSITY OF

(FLORIDA

Institutional Review Board 98A Psychology Bldg.
PO Box 112250
Gainesville, FL 32611-2250
Phone: (352) 392-0433
Fax: (352) 392-9234
E-mail: irb2@ufl.edu
http://www.rgp.ufl.edu/irb/irb02
DATE: 23-Apr-2002


TO: Ms. Joanne Foss
10205 SW 36th Place
Gainesville, FL 32607
FROM: C. Michael Levy, Chair
University of Florida
Institutional Review Board
SUBJECT: Approval of Protocol # 2002 362
TITLE: Attitudes and Accommodation Practices of University Health Professions Faculty Toward
Students with Learning Disabilities
FUNDING: Unfunded
I am pleased to advise you that the University of Florida Institutional Review Board has recommended
approval of this protocol. Based on its review, the UFIRB determined that this research presents no more
than minimal risk to participants, and based on 45 CFR 46.117(c), authorizes you to administer the
informed consent process as specified in the protocol.
If you wish to make any changes to this protocol, including the need to increase the number of participants
authorized, you must disclose your plans before you implement them so that the Board can assess their
impact on your protocol. In addition, you must report to the Board any unexpected complications that
affect your participants.

If you have not completed this protocol by 18-Apr-2003, please telephone our office (392-0433), and we
will discuss the renewal process with you.
It is important that you keep your Department Chair informed about the status of this research protocol.

CML:dl/jw

cc: Dr. Arthur Sandeen









APPENDIX D
PERMISSION TO USE SURVEY






October 25, 2002


NORTHERN
ILLINOIS
UNIVERSITY



DEPARTMENT OF
LITERACY,
INTERCULTURAL, AND
LANGUAGE EDUCATION


DEKALB, ILLINOIS
60115-2854

(815) 753-8556
FAX
(815) 753-8563


Ms. Joanne Foss
10205 SW 36th Place
Gainesville, FL 32607



Dear Ms. Foss;

I hereby give permission to use the instrument in your dissertation that I
developed to assess faculty knowledge and practices regarding students
with learning disabilities in higher education. Permission is granted with
the understanding that you provide attribution to me, Dr. Susan A. Vogel,
Presidential Research professor, Northern Illinois University, as the
author of the survey. Attribution would appear in the dissertation and any
presentations or publications that will result from your study. In addition,
we agreed on the following:

1. We will share our raw data in a format that is mutually acceptable;
2. We will work together on publications and possibly presentations that
will emerge from your study and ours;
3. Our data will be merged and analyzed in the aggregate;
4. Data will not be identifiable by institution, but rather by
professional preparation programs such as teacher education, medical
school, law, or OT.


Sincerely yours,

L^O~44) ({. )%2^6'
Susan A. Vogel, PH.D.
Presidential Research Professor
Literacy Education Dept.
Northern Illinois University
DeKalb,IL 60115


F
r'*
A~x















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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

Joanne Jackson Foss was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She

earned her Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy from Colorado State

University, and her Masters of Science from Syracuse University in Counselor

Education. Her area of interest at that time was the support of college students

during their college experiences, and the design and delivery of professional

health care education.

Having taught undergraduate health professions students for many years

her focus has shifted to the developmental and academic experiences of

professional students during their higher education. Gaining a better

understanding of college students with disabilities has allowed for an enlightening

marriage of her interests in disability, students, and higher education.
















I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of
scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor
of Philosophy.


Arthur Sandeen, Chair
Professor of Educational Leadership, Policy
and Foundations

I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of
scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of doctor
of Philosophy.


hJames Archer. Jr. O
/ Professor of Counselor Education

I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of
scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor
of Philosophy.


Lamont Flowers
Assistant Professor of Educational
Leadership, Policy and Foundations

I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of
scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a "ssertation forhe degree of Doctor
of Philosophy.


Davklsorneyduatioa
Professor of Educational Leadership, Policy
and Foundations


This dissertation was submitted to the Graduate Faculty of the College of Education Foundations, Policy
and Leadership and to the Graduate School and was accepted as partial fulfillment for the degree of Doctor
of Philosophy.

December, 2002 ,,

D- College ofducaon


Dean, Graduate School
















I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of
scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor
of Philosophy.


Arthur Sandeen, Chair
Professor of Educational Leadership, Policy
and Foundations

I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of
scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor
of Philosophy. f


/ j&ames Archer. Jr. //
f / Professor of Counselor Education ,

I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of
scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor
of Philosophy.


Lamont Flowers
Assistant Professor of Educational
Leadership, Policy and Foundations

I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of
scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as-" issertation for te degree of Doctor
of Philosophy.

ir.: "'d/ ---
kDavid Honeym-ranT
Professor of Educational Leadership, Policy
and Foundations


This dissertation was submitted to the Graduate Faculty of the College of Education Foundations, Policy
and Leadership and to the Graduate School and was accepted as partial fulfillment for the degree of Doctor
of Philosophy.

December, 2002 Doon

D a College of Education U


Dean, Graduate School













LD
1780
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UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
3 1262 08557 2484




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