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The Knowledge and Relevance of Specific Teaching Competencies When Working with Learning Disabled Students as Perceived ...

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0041779/00001

Material Information

Title: The Knowledge and Relevance of Specific Teaching Competencies When Working with Learning Disabled Students as Perceived by College of Agricultural and Life Sciences Teaching Faculty
Physical Description: 1 online resource (140 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Sims, Sallie
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2010

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: differentated, disability, instruction, learning, teaching
Agricultural Education and Communication -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: Agricultural Education and Communication thesis, M.S.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract: The primary purpose of this study was to assess instructors perceived knowledge of learning disabilities when using specific instructional methods. Also the study measured the degree to which instructors find specific instructional methods important when working with students with learning disabilities. This study will aid in comparing instructors perceived knowledge level and the degree to which they find the specific instructional method important when working with students with learning disabilities. The data was collected and analyzed in order to find a set of best practices when working with students with learning disabilities. The study was designed to utilize the Borich Needs Assessment Model to analyze the competencies of instructors and prior knowledge of teaching methods to utilize when working with learning disabled students in higher education. The independent variables in this study were the instructonal competiences that instructors use when working with students with learning disabilites. The dependent variables were instructors knowledge and its relevance to their job. This study was administered to instructors (n = 385) who taught classes through the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences at the University of Florida in the spring semester of 2010. There are 19 departments in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences with 13.5% of instructors ranked as lecturer, 29.2% as assistant professor s, 24% as associate professors and 33% as professors. The instrument was an anonymous web - based Borich Needs Assessment Model hosted by SurveyMonkey for data collection. The questionnaire was designed to measure instructors attitudes, knowledge, and forms of differentiated instruction used in the classroom and their perceived relevance of it to their specific job. The questionnaire was divided into four parts, (a) the current knowledge level of the instructor based upon teaching methods, (b) the perception of instructors of the relevance to the job in relation to the teaching methods, (c) demographic information, and (d) open-ended questions. The survey was composed of ranking questions, multiple choice items, and open-ended questions. The Borich Needs Assessment Model was used to measure participants perceptions of twelve teaching competencies. Participants used a five-point scale (1= Low Knowledge/Relevance; 5= High Knowledge/Relevance) to rate their level of current knowledge for each competency and the degree to which the competency was or was not relevant to their job. The data were analyzed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS). The researcher utilized descriptive statistics to gain a better insight into the data set. The first type of analysis conducted was means, standard deviations, and frequencies. The researcher utilized a one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) in order to assess the relationship between the independent and dependent variables. The topics from the Borich Needs Assessment Model were ranked according to the mean rating obtained from the survey. A discrepancy score was obtained for each participant by subtracting the instructor s perceived level of knowledge from the perceived level of relevance for a specific teaching competency. Each discrepancy score was then multiplied by the mean importance level for that specific topic, resulting in a mean-weighted discrepancy score for each participant. It was expected that the majority of participants in this study would have a concrete knowledge level of the Americans with Disability Act of 1990. Given the laws and regulations to provide accommodations to students, participants were knowledgeable that learning disabled students registered through the University Of Florida Office Of Disability were expected to receive the recommended approved accommodations. Many participants were knowledgeable about the Americans with Disability Act of 1990, but did not know the implications and requirements that students with learning disabilities were entitled to. Section 504 of the Americans with Disability Act requires all federally funded programs, including educational programs such as state universities, to provide accommodations to all 'otherwise qualified' persons who self-identify as having any disability that 'substantially limits one or more major life activities. It is critical that instructors become familiar with the Americans with Disability Act of 1990 and the appropriate accommodations that students should receive.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by Sallie Sims.
Thesis: Thesis (M.S.)--University of Florida, 2010.
Local: Adviser: Stedman, Nicole LaMee Perez.

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2010
System ID: UFE0041779:00001

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0041779/00001

Material Information

Title: The Knowledge and Relevance of Specific Teaching Competencies When Working with Learning Disabled Students as Perceived by College of Agricultural and Life Sciences Teaching Faculty
Physical Description: 1 online resource (140 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Sims, Sallie
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2010

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: differentated, disability, instruction, learning, teaching
Agricultural Education and Communication -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: Agricultural Education and Communication thesis, M.S.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract: The primary purpose of this study was to assess instructors perceived knowledge of learning disabilities when using specific instructional methods. Also the study measured the degree to which instructors find specific instructional methods important when working with students with learning disabilities. This study will aid in comparing instructors perceived knowledge level and the degree to which they find the specific instructional method important when working with students with learning disabilities. The data was collected and analyzed in order to find a set of best practices when working with students with learning disabilities. The study was designed to utilize the Borich Needs Assessment Model to analyze the competencies of instructors and prior knowledge of teaching methods to utilize when working with learning disabled students in higher education. The independent variables in this study were the instructonal competiences that instructors use when working with students with learning disabilites. The dependent variables were instructors knowledge and its relevance to their job. This study was administered to instructors (n = 385) who taught classes through the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences at the University of Florida in the spring semester of 2010. There are 19 departments in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences with 13.5% of instructors ranked as lecturer, 29.2% as assistant professor s, 24% as associate professors and 33% as professors. The instrument was an anonymous web - based Borich Needs Assessment Model hosted by SurveyMonkey for data collection. The questionnaire was designed to measure instructors attitudes, knowledge, and forms of differentiated instruction used in the classroom and their perceived relevance of it to their specific job. The questionnaire was divided into four parts, (a) the current knowledge level of the instructor based upon teaching methods, (b) the perception of instructors of the relevance to the job in relation to the teaching methods, (c) demographic information, and (d) open-ended questions. The survey was composed of ranking questions, multiple choice items, and open-ended questions. The Borich Needs Assessment Model was used to measure participants perceptions of twelve teaching competencies. Participants used a five-point scale (1= Low Knowledge/Relevance; 5= High Knowledge/Relevance) to rate their level of current knowledge for each competency and the degree to which the competency was or was not relevant to their job. The data were analyzed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS). The researcher utilized descriptive statistics to gain a better insight into the data set. The first type of analysis conducted was means, standard deviations, and frequencies. The researcher utilized a one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) in order to assess the relationship between the independent and dependent variables. The topics from the Borich Needs Assessment Model were ranked according to the mean rating obtained from the survey. A discrepancy score was obtained for each participant by subtracting the instructor s perceived level of knowledge from the perceived level of relevance for a specific teaching competency. Each discrepancy score was then multiplied by the mean importance level for that specific topic, resulting in a mean-weighted discrepancy score for each participant. It was expected that the majority of participants in this study would have a concrete knowledge level of the Americans with Disability Act of 1990. Given the laws and regulations to provide accommodations to students, participants were knowledgeable that learning disabled students registered through the University Of Florida Office Of Disability were expected to receive the recommended approved accommodations. Many participants were knowledgeable about the Americans with Disability Act of 1990, but did not know the implications and requirements that students with learning disabilities were entitled to. Section 504 of the Americans with Disability Act requires all federally funded programs, including educational programs such as state universities, to provide accommodations to all 'otherwise qualified' persons who self-identify as having any disability that 'substantially limits one or more major life activities. It is critical that instructors become familiar with the Americans with Disability Act of 1990 and the appropriate accommodations that students should receive.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by Sallie Sims.
Thesis: Thesis (M.S.)--University of Florida, 2010.
Local: Adviser: Stedman, Nicole LaMee Perez.

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2010
System ID: UFE0041779:00001


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1 THE KNOWLEDGE AND RELEVANCE OF SPECIFIC TEACHING COMPETENCIES WHEN WORKING WITH LEARNING DISABLED STUDENTS AS PERCEIVED BY COLLEGE OF AGRICULT U RAL AND LIFE SCIENCES TEACHING FACULTY By SALLIE ANN SIMS A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF SCIENCE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2010

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2 2010 Sallie Ann Sims

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3 This document is dedicated to my parents Linda and Buford and my brother Beau for their significant support, sacrifices and unconditional love that enabled me to pursue my dreams

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4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Completing my master s would not have been possible without the assistance of many people. I thank my major professor, Dr. Nicole Stedman, for her continuous support, mentoring, and advice throughout my graduate work. With Dr. Stedmans guidance I have had the opportunity to produce a thesis on a topic that has personal meaning to me. I also thank Drs. T. Grady Roberts and Kate Fogarty for serving on my committee. Their advice opinions and support have greatly improved my res earch skills, as I move onto the next chapter of my career. I especially thank my parents, Linda and Buford Sims Over the years, w ithout the countless hours of pushing me to the next level I would never have had the opportunity to achieve my goals. Mom you are the one person who never let anyone tell me I could not complete a task, and for this I thank you for making me the person I am. No two people have sacrificed more to help me reach my goals. And I thank my brother Beau, who has supported and encouraged me thr oughout this process. Additionally a note of thanks to my puppy Annie, who sat by my side every day and was understanding when we couldnt play at the bark park. I also thank Amanda Brumby, Lauren Conover, Rachel Devine, Katelyn Crow Landrumn, Kristina Kessler, Jenna Greene, Crystal Mathews and Kerri Matson for their support good times and friendship through the years. Finally, I thank all the faculty members and colleagues who have helped and influenced me through the years especially the Department of Agricultural Education and Communication at the University of Florida.

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5 TABLE OF CONTENTS P age ACKNOWLEDGMENTS .................................................................................................. 4 LIST OF TABLES ............................................................................................................ 7 LIST OF FIGURES ........................................................................................................ 10 ABSTRACT ................................................................................................................... 11 CHAPTER 1 LEARNING DISABILITIES IN HIGHER EDUCATION ............................................ 14 Introduction ............................................................................................................. 14 Common Learning Disabilities .......................................................................... 17 Identification of Learning Disabilities ................................................................ 21 Higher Education .............................................................................................. 21 Purpose of the Study .............................................................................................. 24 Objectives ............................................................................................................... 24 Definition of Terms .................................................................................................. 25 Significance of the Problem .................................................................................... 25 Limitations of the Study ........................................................................................... 26 Assumptions ........................................................................................................... 27 Conclusion .............................................................................................................. 27 2 REVIEW OF LITERATURE .................................................................................... 28 Theoretical Framework ........................................................................................... 28 Vygotsky's Sociocultural Theory of Learning .................................................... 28 Teaching and Learning Theory ......................................................................... 31 Differentiated learning in classrooms for students with learning disabilities ............................................................................................... 33 Brain research ............................................................................................ 33 Learning styles ........................................................................................... 34 Teachers attitudes on inclusive teaching .................................................. 35 Higher education and learning disabilities .................................................. 35 Success in college ..................................................................................... 38 Grading and grouping ................................................................................ 3 9 Concept Map Explanation ....................................................................................... 39 3 METHODS .............................................................................................................. 45 Research Design .................................................................................................... 46 Population ............................................................................................................... 48 Data Collection ....................................................................................................... 48 Instrumentation ....................................................................................................... 49

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6 Data Analysis .......................................................................................................... 51 Summary ................................................................................................................ 52 4 RESULTS AND DISCUSSION ............................................................................... 53 Teaching Competencies ......................................................................................... 54 Instructors Academic Ranking ................................................................................ 55 Number of years teaching ....................................................................................... 56 Objectives ............................................................................................................... 56 Summary ................................................................................................................ 85 5 SUMMARY, CONCLUSIONS, AND RECOMMENDATIONS ................................ 107 Purpose of the Study ............................................................................................ 107 Objectives ............................................................................................................. 107 Methods ................................................................................................................ 107 Objectives ............................................................................................................. 109 Conclusion ............................................................................................................ 117 Discussion and Implications .................................................................................. 118 Recommendations for Practitioners ...................................................................... 122 Recommendations for Further Research .............................................................. 122 APPENDIX A DATA COLLECTION INSTRUMENT .................................................................... 124 B CORRESPONDENCE .......................................................................................... 130 Email Reminder 1 ................................................................................................. 130 Email Reminder 2 ................................................................................................. 131 Email Reminder 3 ................................................................................................. 132 Email Reminder 4 ................................................................................................. 133 C IRB APPROVAL ................................................................................................... 134 LIST OF REFERENCES ............................................................................................. 135 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH .......................................................................................... 140

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7 LIST OF TABLES Table page 4 1 Providing opportunities for auditory learners to listen and speak within the classroom ........................................................................................................... 89 4 2 Providing opportunities for auditory learners to listen and speak within the classroom compared to demographics ............................................................... 89 4 3 Visual learners to gain information from reading, observing, and viewing curriculum ........................................................................................................... 90 4 4 Mean scores of the statement allowing learners to get information from reading, observing, and viewing curriculum compared to demographics .......... 90 4 5 Providing opportunities for tactile learners to examine, manipulate, and handle materials that references the curriculum ................................................. 91 4 6 Mean scores for the statement providing opportunities for tactile learners to examine, manipulate, and handle materials that references the curriculum compared to demographics ............................................................................... 91 4 7 Communicating expectations that are clearly stated and understood by the learner can enhance the learning environment .................................................. 92 4 8 Mean score of the statement communicating expectations that are clearly stated and understood by the learner can enhance the learning environment compared to demographics ................................................................................ 92 4 9 Providing students with learning disabilities accommodation can enhance learning ............................................................................................................... 93 4 10 Mean scores of the statement providing students with learning disabilities accommodations compared to demographics ................................................... 93 4 11 Using a variety of motivational strategies in the classroom to engage students with learning disabilities ....................................................................... 94 4 12 Mean score of the statement using a variety of motivational strategies in the classroom to engage students with learning disabilities compared to demographics ..................................................................................................... 94 4 13 Providing opportunities to discuss personal needs ............................................. 95 4 14 Mean scores of the statement providing opportunities for students with learning disabilities to discuss personal needs compared to demographics ..... 95

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8 4 15 Discussing the legal requirements for students with learning disabilities in class or on course syllabus ................................................................................ 96 4 16 Mean discussing the legal requirements for students with learning disabilities in class or on course syllabus ............................................................................. 96 4 17 Providing opportunities for auditory learners to listen and speak within classroom relevance to instructors job .............................................................. 97 4 18 Mean score of the statement providing opportunities for auditory learners to listen and speak within classroom relevance to instructors job compared to demographics ..................................................................................................... 97 4 19 Providing opportunities for auditory learners to listen and speak within classroom relevance to instructors job .............................................................. 98 4 20 Mean score of the statement providing opportunities for auditory learners to listen and speak within classroom relevance to instructors job compared to demographics ..................................................................................................... 98 4 21 Providing opportunities for tactile learners to examine, manipulate, and handle materials that reference the cu rriculum, relevance level ....................... 99 4 22 Means score of the statement providing opportunities for tactile learners to examine, manipulate, and handle materials that reference the curriculum, re levance level compared to demographics ...................................................... 99 4 23 Providing opportunities for tactile learners to examine, manipulate, and handle mat erials that reference the curriculum relevance level compared to demographics ................................................................................................... 100 4 24 Mean score of the statement providing opportunities for tactile learners to examine, manipulate, and handle materials that reference the curriculum, relevance level compared to demographics .................................................... 100 4 25 Using a variety of motivational strategies in the classroom to engage students with learning disabilities relevance to job ........................................... 101 4 26 Mean score of the statement providing using a variety of motivational strategies in the classroom to engage students with learning disabilities relevance to job compared to demographics ................................................... 101 4 27 Providing opportunities for students with learning disabilities to discuss personal needs relevance to job ...................................................................... 102 4 28 Mean score for the statement providing opportunities for students with learning disabilities to discuss personal needs relevance to job compared to demographics ............................................................................................... 102

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9 4 29 Discussing the legal requirements for students with learning disabilities in class or on course syllabus relevance to job .................................................... 103 4 30 Mean score for the statement discussing the legal requirements for students with learnin g disabilities in class or on course syllabus compared to demographics ................................................................................................... 103 4 31 Instructional competency of instructors knowledge level vs. relevance to job 104 4 32 College of Agricultural and Life Sciences instructors differences in knowledge and relevance ................................................................................................... 105

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10 LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 2 1 Instructional competencies regarding learning disabilities. ................................. 44 4 1 Instructors academic ranking .............................................................................. 86 4 2 Class size teaching for ....................................................................................... 86 4 3 Type of course of teaching for ............................................................................ 87 4 4 Number of years in the teaching profession ....................................................... 87 4 4 Knowledge level of the Americans with Disability Act ......................................... 88

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11 Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science THE KNOWLEDGE AND RELEVANCE OF SPECIFIC TEACHING COMPETENCIES WHEN WORKING WIT H LEARNING DISABLED STUDENTS AS PERCEIVED BY COLLEGE OF AGRICULTURAL AND LIFE SCIENCES TEACHING FACULTY By Sallie Ann Sims May 2010 Chair: Nicole Stedman Major: Agricultural Education and Communications The primary purpose of this study was to assess instructor s perceived knowledge of learning disabilities when using specific instructional methods. Also the study measured the degree to which instructors find specific instructional methods important when wor king with students with learning disabilities. This study will aid in comparing instructors perceived knowledge level and the degree to which they find the specific instructional method important when working with students with learning disabilities. The data was collected and analyzed in order to find a set of best practices when working with students with learning disabilities. The study was designed to utilize the Borich Needs Assessment Model to analyze the competencies of instructors and prior knowledge of teaching methods to utilize when working with learning disabled students in higher education. The independent variables in this study were the instructonal competiences that instructors use when working with students with learning disabilites. The dependent variables were instructors knowledge and its relevance to their job.

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12 This study was administered to instructors ( n = 385) who taught classes through the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences at the University of Florida in the spring semester of 2010. There are 19 departments in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences with 13.5% of instructors ranked as lecturer, 29.2% as assistant professor s 24% as associate professor s and 33% as professors. The instrument was an anonymous web bas ed Borich Needs Assessment Model hosted by SurveyMonkey for data collection. The questionnaire was designed to measure instructors attitudes, knowledge, and forms of differentiated instruction used in the classroom and their perceived relevance of it to th eir specific job. The questionnaire was divided into four parts (a) the current knowledge level of the instructor based upon teaching methods, (b) the perception of instructors of the relevance to the job in relation to the teaching methods, (c) demographic information and (d) openended questions. The survey was composed of ranking questions, multiple choice items and open ended questions. The Borich Needs Assessment Model was used to measure participant s perceptions of twelve teaching competencies. P articipants used a five point scale (1= Low Knowledge/ Relevanc e; 5= High Knowledge/ Relevance) to rate their level of current knowledge for each competency and the degree to which the competency was or was not relevant to their job. The data were analyzed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS). The researcher utilized descriptive statistics to gain a better insight into the data set. The first ty pe of analysis conducted was means, standard deviations and frequencies. The researcher utilized a oneway analysis of variance (ANOVA) in order to assess the relationship between the independent and dependent variables. The

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13 topics from the Borich Needs Assessment Model were ranked according to the mean rating obtained from the surve y. A discrepancy score was obtained for each participant by subtracting the instructor s perceived level of knowledge from the perceived level of relevance for a specific teaching competency. Each discrepancy score was then multiplied by the mean importance level for that specific topic resulting in a meanweighted discrepancy score for each participant. It was expected that the majority of participants in this study would have a concrete knowledge level of the Americans with Disability Act of 1990. Give n the laws and regulations to provide accommodations to students, participants were knowledgeable that learning disabled students registered through the University Of Florida Office Of Disability were expected to receive the recommended approved accommodat ions. Man y participants were knowledgeable about the Americans with Disability Act of 1990, but did not know the implications and requirements that students with learning disabilities were entitled to. Section 504 of the Americans with Disability Act re quires all federally funded programs, including educational programs such as state universities, to provide accommodations to all "otherwise qualified" persons who self identify as having any disability that "substantially limits one or more major life act ivities. It is critical t hat instructors become familiar with the Americans with Disability Act of 1990 and the appropri a te accom m odations that students should receive.

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14 CHAPTER 1 LEARNI NG DISABILITIES IN HIGHER EDUCATION Introduction An instructors ability to manipul ate a students performance in an educational setting is an evident factor when working students with learning disabilit ies. Three major factors play leading roles in the achievement of students with learning disabilities: learning styles, teaching techniques, and the curriculum presented to the student (Simmons Kameenui, & Chard 1998) Examining inst ructors efficacy is a key factor i n determining the success of the education of students with a learning disability (Simmons et al., 1998) Instructor efficacy is defined as the belief about the judgment of the instructor to bring about desired outcomes of student engagement and learning, even among those students who may be difficult or unmotivated (Moran & Hoy, 2001, p.783). Instruc tor efficacy is pivotal to the per formance of students based on teachers me thods of teaching for assessments, and differenation of material to students with learning disabilities (Simmons et al., 1998). April 16, 1963, was the defining day in categorizing and recognizing the phrase learning disabilities by a group of concerned parents advocating for their children in dire need of support and services that did not exist in the United States (Learning Disability Association of America [LDAA] 2006) The Children with Specific Learning Disabilities Act passed in 1969 was a federal law acknowledging learning disabilities as a medical condition ( LDAA, 2006) Twenty one y ears later, the Americans with Disabilit ies Act of 1990 (ADA) provided students with advocacy regarding their individual diagnoses of a learning disability, giving them the same rights as every other American ( LDAA, 2006) Section 504 of the Americans with Disability Act requires all

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15 federally funded programs, including educational programs such as state universities, to provide accommodations to all "otherwise qualified" persons who self identify as having any disability that "substantially limits one or more major life activities ( LDAA, 2006). ADA is defined in the same terms as S ection 504, but expands the mandate to include both public and private education, employment, transportation, and telecommunications ( LDAA, 2006) Both Section 504 and ADA are intended to insure that persons with disabilities of any type are not discriminated against in such a way as to exclude them from participating in mainstream society (University of Florida, Dean of Students Office, n.d) An individual diagnosed with a learning disability is significantly impaired when compared to the average person. The accommodations that are offered on a case by case basis through the Office of Student Disability can be as follows: Extra time for assessments Low distraction testing environment Test scribes and readers Use of technology for assessments Permissio n to audio record lectures Note taking services, access to professor s PowerPoint presentations, visuals and education assistants Course materials in alterative formats Textbooks in alterative formats Interpreting / captioning services Use of an assisti ve learning device Reduced course loads and math or foreign language course substitutions Priority registration (University of Florida, Dean of Students Office, n.d.).

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16 The U S. Department of Educations Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Administration defines learning disabilities as: A disorder in one or more of the central nervous system processes involved in perceiving, understanding, and/or using concepts through verbal (spoken or written) language or nonverbal means (U.S. Department of Education, 2008). This disorder manifests itself with a deficit in one or more of the following areas: attention, reasoning, processing, memory, communication, reading, writing, spelling, calculation, coordination, social competence, and emotional maturity (U.S. Department of Education, 2008). According to a report by the American Council on Education (n.d) About 9 percent of all undergraduates in higher education report having a disability, a percentage that has tripled in the last two decades This amounts to about 1.3 million students (American Council on Education New Report Focuses on Helping Disabled Students Succeed in College, n.d). Educating oneself on how to manage a learning disability can be a lifelong effort and can be the key to success in order to prosper in the endeavors one will take. Learning disabilit ies affects children and adults. Research has shown that a person does not naturally grow out of a learning disability (LD Online, 2005). Achieving success can be accomplished by encouraging ones strengths, acknowledging the weaknesses of learning, understanding the educational system, working with professionals and learning about strategies for dealing with specific difficulties (LD Online 2005). According to the National Institute of Health, 15 percent of the U.S. population, or one in seven Americans have some form of learning disability (LD Online, 2008). Many highly regarded leaders and educators have been diagnosed with a learning disability including Albert Einstein, Walt Disney, General George Patton, Charles Schwab, and

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17 Vice President Nelson Rockefeller all had trouble learning, but ultimately their learning disa bilities did not deter them from success (LD Online, 2008). Common Learning Disabilities Learning disabilities should not be confused with other disabilities, such as mental retardation, autism, deafness, blin dness, and behavioral disorders; none of these conditions are considered to be learning disabilities. In addition, they should not be confused with lack of educational opportunities, such as frequent changes of schools or attendance problems. Further, children who are learning English do not necessari ly have a learning disability (LD Online, 2008). There are five common learning disabilities that are pr evalent in school systems today: dyslexia dyscalculia, dysgraphia, visual and audio processing disorder and nonverbal learning disorder. Not all le arning disabilities have the same symptoms or impede a student s l earning process in the same way (LD Online, 2008). Approximately 80 percent of students with learning disabilities have reading disabilities Dyslexia is a languagebased learning disabili ty that refer s to a collection of indicator and result s in people having difficulties with specific language skills, reading, spelling, writing and pronouncing words (International Dyslexia Association, 2007). There are many common areas that can be challenging for a person with dyslexia, such as: Learning to speak Learning letters and sounds Organizing written and spoken language Memorizing number facts Reading quickly enough to comprehend Persisting with and comprehending longer reading assignments Spe lling

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18 Learning a foreign language Correctly doing math operations (Int ernational Dyslexia Association 2007) Dyslexia is a lifelong issue, but it can impact a persons life at different rates. As many as 20 percent of the population may have symptoms of dyslexia, but may not qualify to receive accommodations (LD Online, 2008). Dyslexia is likely to run in families and be carried on to future generations (International Dyslexia Association, 2007). Formal evaluation and testing is the only way to diagnose if a student has dyslexia (International Dyslexia Association, 2007). Dyscalculia is a math based learning disability involving problem with counting; distinguishing spatial relationships; sorting shapes, sizes and colors; and dealing with multistep procedures (National Center for Learning Disabilities, 2006). Each person has a variety of different symptoms that would categorize him or her as having dyscalculia. These may: Be good at speaking, reading, and writing, but slow to develop counting and math problem solving skills Have a good memory for printed words, but have difficulty reading numbers or recalling numbers in sequence Be good with general math concepts but frustrated when specific computation and organization skills need to be used Have trouble with the concept of time chronically late, have difficulty remembering schedules, and have trouble approximating how long something will take Have a poor sense of direction and be disoriented and easily confused by changes in routine Have poor longterm memory of concepts; able to perform math functions one day but unable to repeat them the next day Have poor mental math ability, such as trouble estimating grocery costs or counting the number of days unti l vacation

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19 Have difficulty playing strategy games like chess, bridge, or roleplaying video games Have difficulty keeping score when playing board and card games (National Center for Learning Disabilities, 2006) Dysgraphia is a learning disability that affects writing, motor skills and processing skills, thus causing poor handwriting, difficulty in spelling, and an inability to gather and apply ones thoughts (National Center for Learning Disabilities, 2006). Some common symptoms of dysgraphia include: Illegible handwriting Tight, awkward pencil grip and body position Avoiding writing or drawing tasks Tiring quickly while writing Saying words out loud while writing Unfinished or omitted words in sentences Difficulty organizing thoughts on paper Difficulty with syntax structure and grammar Large gap between written ideas and understanding demonstrated through speech (National Center for Learning Disabilities, 2006). Technology can play an immense role to help to improve dysgrap hia by allowing students to use computers to complete assignments (National Center for Learning Disabilities, 2006). Assistiv e technology, such as languagebased software, allow s students to speak into a microphone with a processor transcribing the words to paper. These t ypes of software can help with the writing process. Visual and audio processing disorder impairs the ability to recognize and interpret information taken in through the senses of sight and sound. The two most common

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20 forms of visual and audio processing disorder are problems with visual and auditory perception (National Center for Learning Disabilities, 1999). Visual processing disorder affects the ability to take in information through the eyes and is affected by the way the person interprets the informat ion and how the brain processes the task Many people who suffer from visual processing disorder have difficulty relating objects and their position in space Spatial relations can affect both reading and math because the two subjects rely heavily on per ceptual accuracy Confusion of similar letter shapes, numbers and objects can deter a person from effectively reading what is on a page. For example, the letters b/d/p/q can turn out to be tricky for a person to conceptualize (National Center for Learni ng Disabilities, 1999). Nonverbal learning disorders cause an individual to have an impaired ability to organize visual spatial fields, adapt to new or novel situations, and accurately read nonverbal signs and cues Only about 10 percent of the U.S. population suffers from nonverbal learning disorders Frequently these disorders go undiagnosed, and individuals are labeled as behavioral problems or emotionally disturbed. Many individuals who suffer from nonverbal learning disorder have had previous head trauma or a lack of development within their brain (Thompson, 1996). Some signs of nonverbal disorders include: Lack of coordination Lack of image and poor visual recall Difficulty transitioning to a new environment Inability to social ly interact Lack of common sense Lack of ability to comprehend nonverbal communication (Thompson, 1996)

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21 Identification of Learning Disabilities There are 2.7 million individuals within the United States who re ceive help within public school systems K 12 and universities because of specific learning disabilities (LD Online, 2008) A professional diagnosis of a learning disability allows a psychologist to diagnose the disability and make appropriate accommodations for learning (LD Online, 2005) The indiv idual will be assessed using numerous IQ and aptitude tests in order to identify the specific learning disability (LD Online, 2008) The individual will be provided with documentation that will be submitted to the school system that has the ability to prov ide specific accommodations Each school system must then create an Individual Educational Plan ( K 12 ) or a 504 plan ( universities ) to create a comprehensive diagnostic and educational plan, including specific accommodations that are provided (LD Online, 2005) Effectively teaching a classroom of students with different learning styles and disabilities can be very challenging. Learning disabilities do not prevent students from learning to use varied teaching techniques that have been found to be very effective when teaching learning disabled students (LD Online, 2008) One step in helping students with learning disabilities in higher education would be to evaluate different teaching methods that are facilitated in the classroom setting in order to see how they can impede or enhance the environment of learning. Higher Education College and university students have a wide variation in learning styles and disabilities. There is a need for consistency in the way that higher education institutions teach student s with learning disabilities With appropriate accommodations it is more likely that students with learning disabilities will experience a successful college career

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22 (National Joint Committee on Learning Disabilities, 1999). Successful individuals with lea rning disabilities tend to be goal oriented, determined, persistent, and creative (Reiff et al., 1993). Adult learning is a process that must be facilitated in a manner that allows the individual to be self directed while the instructor involves the adult participants in an active learning environment (Lieb, 1991;Moats,2001). Motivating an adult learner is the most important process in breaking down the barriers to education, because creating a successful learning environment will enhance and encourage par ticipants to involve themselves in the process (Lieb, 1991;Moats, 2001). Learning is a continual process through life, and people learn at different speeds, which can be increased by stimulation of the senses (Lieb, 1991;Moats, 2001). Enhancing the learni ng environment in order to present information in a stimulating manner can reach all levels of learners (Lieb, 1991). Positive reinforcement is essential in the learning process, as it encourages students to participate and creates an environment that is conducive to learning (Lieb, 1991;Moats, 2001). An instructors job is not complete until students have learned and retained the target ideas and concepts. This is vital so that students will be to able to transfer their knowledge to outside situations and use this knowledge in daily life (Lieb, 1991). Differentiated learning is the process of teaching students who learn at different rates but are in the same classroom setting. Using differentiation instruction in classrooms is essential for maximizing the diversity of the classroom and students academic levels (Hall, 2002). In a differentiated classroom the teacher proactively plans and carries out varied approaches to content, process, and product in anticipation of and responses to student differenc es in readiness, interest and learning needs In

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23 order to help students in a differentiated classroom, students must have choices in the way they learn ( Tomlinson, 2001). The curriculum should be varied in three areas: Content: mutiple outlets for students to take in information Process: multiple options for interpreting information Product: multiple options for expressing what they k now about the information (Sacra mento City Unified School District, 1995). When instructors are structuring their curricula it is necessary for the content to match the students readiness to read and comprehend the material The course material should challenge students while not dis couraging the learning process. Since a classroom is diverse it is a challenge to appeal to everyones interest but by varying the classroom materials it may peak the curiosity of others Varying the visual and auditory elements of teaching appeals to all students and creates a more effective learning environment. Approaching the way lecture s are conducted may enhance the learning process by using overhead projectors, movies and auditory materials for all types of learners (Tomlinson, 2001). Process is usually looked upon in a school setting as an activity that helps students make sense of the material Any effective activity is essentially a sense making process designed to help a student progress from a current point of understanding to a more complex level of understanding (Tomlinson, 2001). It is important for an instructor to realize that each student in the classroom approaches the learning process differently. Product is the process of evaluating and assessing student s knowledge, understanding, and skills after they have been taught basic material The student has the ability to replicate what they have learned from the curriculum that has been taught

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24 by complet ing a project or an assignment. Allowing students options on their approach to projects or assignments gives students with different learning backgrounds the ability to demonstrate their knowledge (Tomlinson, 2001). Differentiated instruction methods allow mixed ability classrooms to appeal to all learning backgrounds. An instructor that has the knowledge to create a curriculum that appeals to adult learningdisabled students will have a higher success rate of students demonstrating the knowledge that they have learned (Tomlinson, 2001). Purpose of the Study The primary purpose of this study is to assess an instructors perceived knowledge of learning disabilities when using specific instructional methods. Also the study will measure the degree to which instructors find specific instructional methods important when working with students with learning disabilities. This study will aid in comparing instructors perceived knowl edge level and the degree to which they find the specific instructional method important when working with students with learning disabilities. The data will be collected and collated in order to find a set of best practices when working with students with learning disabilities. Objectives The objectives of this study were: 1. To describe College of Agricultural and Life Sciences instructors self reported knowledge of learning disability instructional competencies. 2. To describe College of Agricultural and Life Sciences instructors opinions concerning importance of instructional competencies when working with learning disabled students. 3. To compare the knowledge and importance of instructional competencies when working with students with learning disabilities.

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25 4. To compare the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences instructors differences in knowledge and relevance. Definition of Terms Learning disabled student is a student with a learning disability who has filed appropriate documentation with The Disability Resource Center and has been granted the option to participate in ac commodations that will enhance learning and understanding of specific subject manner. Teaching resources are interactive and supplemental information that is given to students in order to enhance the learning process such as PowerPoint, Web Ct, study guides, and recording lectures An instructor the person responsible for facilitating the learning process within the classroom. Differentiated Instruction is a classroom that appeals to the needs of all students within a classroom by varying instructional strategies and activities. IEP ( Individual Educational Plan) or 504 Plan an individualized plan that sets goals and outlines a student s speci fic disability. Americans with Disability Act of 1990 is a law that requires instructions to abide by when making accommodations for students with disabilities Significance of the Problem The problem that this study address es is significant because it will evaluates teaching methods and resources that are useful within the classroom setting. The research can be beneficial for students and teachers alike in order to help accommodate to specific learning environments and disabil ities. By performing this study it allows researchers to gain insight on specific learning disabilities and environments or methods that can advance learning or become detrimental. Not only do teachers have a legal obligation to provide accommodations for students with learning disabilities but a moral obligation to provide student s enrolled in the class with the resources and knowledge to perform at their optimal level. The results of this study allow the researcher to discover the areas within the t eaching environment that are

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26 weak and perhaps allow teac hers to tailor t heir methods of teaching toward students with learning disabilities and disseminate this information to others. This study is needed to create a better learning atmosphere for student s with learning disabilities. If teachers recognize teaching tools and s tyles that are supportive to that environment they can adjust their teaching styles to accommodate all students. This study will provide insight on how to better design class lectures to complement the needs of students with learning disabilities. It is anticipated that this study will add to the body of knowledge of enhancing the instruction on learning disabled students in higher education. The research will provide data for instruc tors to study when developing a curriculum in their specific area of teaching so to encompass all learners. There are many resources available to instructors regarding differentiated instruction strategies, and it is necessary for students to understand the subject that instructors teach It is anticipated that this study will identify a need for professional development for faculty in order to increase awareness and use of specific teaching competencies when working with learning disabled students. Limita tions of the Study This study involves a purposive sample of the University of Florida instructors in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. Therefore, the results cannot be generalized outside of the college, the institution, or beyond the state. The questionnaire was electronic ally distributed using webbased software which may limit the way the way individuals answer the questions or completed the questionnaire. Self reported scores from the questionnaire are based upon truthful and accurate res ponses

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27 from the survey population. The questionnaire was researcher developed, which may yield error or bias to the recipients of the questionnaire. Assumptions The basic assumptions that the researcher believes remai ned consistent through this study is the manner in which the study was conducted, that the respondents will answer each question in a truthful manner and accurately. The research survey remained unbiased against the disability and the facts that were collect ed. Also this research will be conducted for the sole purpose of determining the effects that teaching methods have on students with learning disabilities. Students learn differently and some accommodations are more beneficial to a select group. An instru ctor s teaching style may impact the learning of the students. Also instructors may not have been trained in or know much about learning disabilities. Conclusion Appealing to many learning styles within a classroom is a challenge that an instructor must address on a daily basis. By using differentiated instructional methods within the classroom, teachers can appeal to learners at all levels. The building blocks of a successful educational setting is first understanding the students needs, then appealing to their senses by creating a classroom setting that is conducive to learning, and finally allowing students to demonstrate their knowledge. Understanding learning disabilities and creating a curriculum conducive to learning disabled or not makes the exper ience of learning a process that all students benefit from.

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28 CHAPTER 2 REVIEW OF LITERATURE This chapter presents a summary of the pertinent literature related to working with students diagnosed with learning disabilities in higher education. It will con centrate on literature that synthesizes the essence of the model of differential learning for students with learning disabilities, along with a theoretical and conceptual framework for this research. Previous investigations in this area of study have analy zed learning styles, brain research, and multiple intelligence s in regard to differentiated instruction. The purpose of this study is to examine how teaching methods in classrooms can enhance learning for students with learning disabilities in higher educ ation. This study addressed the following objectives: 1. To describe College of Agricultural and Life Sciences instructors self reported knowledge of learning disability instructional competencies. 2. To describe College of Agricultural and Life Sciences instructors opinions of the importance of instructional competencies when working with learning disabled students. 3. To compare the knowledge and importance of instructional competencies when working with students with learning disabilities. 4. To compare the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences instructors differences in knowledge and relevance. Theoretical Framework Vygotsky's Sociocultural Theory of Learning Differentiated instruction has been closely associated with the Russian psychologist, Lev Vygotskys (18961934) social constructivist learning theory (Crain, 2000) Vygotsky believed that each individual should be looked upon as a single entity in a learning facility (Dahmns, Geonnotti, Passalacqua, Schilk, Wetzel, & Zulkowsky, 2007) Vygotsky stated that learning is a necessary and universal aspect of the process

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29 of developing culturally organized, specifically human, psychological functions Learning occurs when individuals are able to execute a higher order of thinking According to Vygotsky, individual learning occurs through social interactions and language (Vygotsky, 1935; cited in Dahmns et al., 2007) Vygotsky used psychological tools to trace how a human thinks and behaves He believed that speech serves as the centerpiece of development, allowing individuals to culturally relate thei r development to past experiences (Crain, 2000) Speech and social interaction are fundamental to an individuals cognitive development (Berk & Winsler, 1995) Berk and Wins ler (1995) quoted Vygotsky stating that language plays a crucial role in a socially formed mind because it is our primary avenue of communication and mental contact with others, serves as the major means by which social experience is represented psycholo gically, and is an indispensable tool for thought (Vygotsky, 1934; 1987, p.12). According to Vygotsky, individuals with a disability, either physical or psychological, are hindered not because of the disability itself, but by how the defect changes the way an individual partake in activities or their culture (Vygotsky, 1934; Berk & Winsler, 1995) Vygotsky believed that a deficit in interaction in social activities needed for learning, which is likely to occur with students with a learning disability, deters the development of an individuals higher mental function (Vygotsky, 1934; Berk & Winsler, 1995) One of the most important aspects of learning is allowing students to have the needed social interaction between peers and instructors (Vygotsky, 1934; Berk & Winsler, 1995) Individuals with learning disabilities should participate regularly in activities and communicate with others in order to progress (Berk & Winsler, 1995)

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30 The zone of proximal development Vygotsky believed instructors must prompt the minds of students by directly teaching new concepts and not wait for students to learn on their own (Crain, 2000). He created the concept of the Zone of Proximal Development and defined it as The distance between the actual developmental level as determined by independent problem solving and the level of potential development as determined through problem solving under adult guidance or in collaboration with more capable peers (Vygotsky, 1935, p.86). The Zone of Proximal Development allows instructors to have a cohesive ability to measure a student's true potential (Crain, 2000, p 234). Vygotsky believed that in order for an individual to advance, educative environments for children must uti lize the zone of proximal development (Berk & Winsler, 1995, p. 104) Consequently, students can only advance through the zone of proximal development if they are guided by an instructor (Vygotsky, 1934; Crain, 2000). Students learn effective ly when ins tructors structure cognitive activities to fit a students level of potential development, thus advancing actual development (Berk & Winsler, 1995; Wertsch & Rogoff, 1984). Effective instructors who educat e with in the zone of proximal development must continually evaluate students for evidence of spontaneous interest about the subject matter The zone of proximal development is dependent upon both students and instructors First, the student mu st be ready to learn; Vygotsky believed that instructors cannot focus on the student working alone, but instead visualize how far they can go when offered assistance by an instructor (Vygotsky, 1934; Crain, 2000). The instructors role as educator becomes purposeful; instrctors become mediators for students by guiding them through activities and allowing learners to experience and accomplish their own zone of proximal development (Crain, 2000). Vygotsky believed

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31 that education is most effective when it is geared to the students own interest and inclination, not t he teachers goals for the future (Crain, 2000, p 242). According to Vygotsky, individuals seldom stop to reflect on the activities that are present ed. Rather, they become goal oriented. W hen instructor s facilitate an activity they can break down the task and allow students to evaluate each step (Berk & Winsler, 1995) The Vygotskian view is learning is a necessary and universal aspect of the learning process of developing culturally organized, specifically human psychological functions [T]he developmental process lags behind the learning process (Berk & Winsler, 1995, p. 108) According to Berk & Winsler (1995), The Vygotskian approach to education is one of assisted discovery. In the educational literature, this way of teaching has been refer red to in diverse ways as guided performance, responsive teaching, assisted performance and socratic dialogue, among others (Berk & Winsler, 1995, p. 108) Differentiated instruction, guided by Vygotsky's theory, creates an alternative to conventional teaching strategies. Students may all reach the same destination but take different paths in order to master the essential skills and content. Tomlinson (1995, 1999) explained that differentiated instruction requires a change in teaching practices and an ev olution of classroom culture. Differentiated instruction has the ability to be cohesive if both instructors and learners work together. Instructors can create alternative curriculum strategies that go beyond the text or design activities that students enj oy (Tomlinson, 1999). Teaching and Learning Theory When working with students in undergraduate classrooms Chickering and Gamson (1987) defined a set of best practices entitled Seven Principl e s of Good

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32 Practices in Undergraduate Education. The seven principals outline methods for instructors to institute into a classroom in order to enhance the experience that undergraduate students receive. In the bulletin that was produced by the authors they described the following seven principles of good practice s for teaching for students in higher education: Encourage student faculty contact Encourage cooperation among students Encourage active learning Give prompt feedback Emphasize time on task Communicate high expectations Respect diverse talents and ways of learning The set of best practices that Chickering and Gamson expressed allow s instructors to acknowledge specific behaviors they can adopt to create a better learning environment for undergraduate students. Just as instructors learn from their own pers onal experiences, working with students and participating in career enhancement programs, these three distinct categories are useful when working with students with learning disabilities (Bransford, Brown & Cocking 2000) Instructors gain the most knowl edge of others though their own personal experiences. Instructors have the ability to utilize the experience that they have gained from students and can use practical experiment ation to determine how these experiences can enhance the learning environment Instructors gain a vast amount of knowledge by participating in career enhancement programs that can be considered formal in service education. Professional development program s can enhance instructors knowledge level s by allowing them to gain knowledge on up to date methods of teaching (Bransford et al., 2000). Professional development programs

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33 are designed to cover a wide variety of topical learning areas and are created to meet the needs of faculty. Allowing instructors to sharpen their teaching skills provides them with the ability to foster academic achievement in their classroom setting. The amount of teacher prepared ne ss and the ability to foster inserv ic e training gives instructors the ability to reach a wide array of students with different learning styles. Differentiated learning in classrooms for students with learning disabilities Over the years, research supports the notation that not all individuals learn in the same manner Educators have been forced to reevaluate instructional practices, assessments and curricula in order to accommodate different learners needs Yet not all educators have responded to the diverse learning style needs and learning disabilities occurring in the student population at large (Tomlinson, 1999). As educators, their sole responsibility is to present each student the opportunity to strive to meet his/her potential. Tomlinson (1999) states, Developing academically responsive classrooms is important for a country built on twin values of equality and ex cellence. Silver (2005) writes teachers can most effectively engage each and every learner by adapting differentiated approaches (p. 117) Brain r esearch Scientist s and researchers have made exciting discoveries related to how the brain processes and stores information (Sousa, 1998). Learning differences and attention deficit disorders have been linked to the brain's anatomy and can dictate performance within the classroom (SemrudClikerman et al., 2000). Hardiman (2001) e xplains that A basic prece pt of brainbased research states that learning is best achieved when linked with the learner's previous knowledge and experience or

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34 understanding of a given subject or concept (p.52). Brainbased research is most effective when used in unison with previous knowledge (Brandt, 1999). Tomlinson and Kalb fleisch (1998) stated, Brain research suggests three broad and interrelated principles that point clearly to the need for differentiated classrooms, that is, classrooms responsive to students' varying readiness levels, varying interes t and varying learning profiles (p.53). Students respond best if they feel their learning environment is emotionally safe for learning to take place A student that experienc es rejection or failure, or is intimated will not ex perience an emotionally safe learning environment F or learning to take place, a student must experience an appropriate level of challenge; also, s tudents must be able to associate the meaning, ideas, and skills in their own manner (Tomlinson & Kalbfleisch 1998). Learning styles Tomlinson (2000) states The goals of learningprofile differentiation are to help individual learners understand modes of learning that work best for them and to offer those options so that each learner finds a good learning fit in the classroom. Learning style can be closely linked to environmental and emotional factors. Although instructors do not have the ability to manipulate all factors, they are present to offer learning choices ( p. 26). Identification of student learning styles and assisting students with accommodations to reach their full potential enables instructors to reach a wide array of learners (Green, 1999). McCarthy (1990) believed that learning style issues lead directly to instructional issues, whi ch lead directly to curriculum issues and their attendant ambiguities about the nature of evaluation (p.36).

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35 Teacher s attitudes on inclusive t eaching Fuchs and Fuchs (1995) believed that a longstanding assumption in educational psychology has been that responsive instructional adaptation is related to students learning. Studies have shown that adjusting curriculum and assessments has allowed students to reach their potential by creating a learning profile (Fuchs & Fuchs, 1995). Teachers report one of the reasons they have a hard time differentiating their classroom is because they do not feel they have enough time to work with students individually (Tomlinson, 2003). Tomlinson (1994; 1999) wrote that differentiated instruction requires a change in teaching practices and an evolution of classroom culture. Students master skills and have a great er readiness to learn when their instructors accommodate learning differences (Tomlinson, 2000). In a differentiated classroom, instructors proactively plan and carry out varied approaches to content, process, and product in anticipation of and response to student differences in readiness, interest, and learning needs (Tomlinson, 2001). Higher education and learning disabilities Sharon Lockley stated, the number of students with dyslexia entering higher education has increased during recent years from 0.74% of all students entering higher education in 1994 to 1.00% in 1996 (Dearing, 1997;Lockley, n.d). Many learning disabilities are identified by students after they have been accepted to the university. As a whole, dyslexic students in higher education account for the largest population of disabilities on cam pus (Lockley, n.d. ). Although c olleges are admitt i ng more students with learning disabilit i es welldeveloped programs to assist these students with professional help are lacking (College Planning for Students with Learning Disabilities, n.d. ). Although the college experience

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36 is often difficult for students with learning disabilities, pacing of a cours e of study has proved to be an effective programming variable ( Norlander, Shaw, McGuire, Bloomer, & Czajkowski, 1986). A lightened course load of about 3 classes for students with disabilities may help a student be successful in higher education (College Planning for Students with Learning Disabilities, n.d. ) The University of Washington conducted a study of students with disabilities and the challenges they faced when transitioning from a twoyear university to a four year university. Over one hundred ( 119) students from 19 twoyear colleges participated in the study titled Do It (Burgstahler, Crawford, & Acosta, 2001).The top concerns that students with disabilities had were the ability of university student services to meet the needs of diverse typ es of disabilities inadequate financial support, housing and transportation, personal and family issues and differences in academic requirements (Burgstahler et al., 2001). Professionals who guide d postsecondary students with disabilities believed that o bstacles to successfully transitioning to a four year university were affected by D ifferences in academic requirements P oor study skills I nadequate self advocacy skills I nadequate academic preparation F inancial support L ack of mentors with disabilities D i fferences in disabled student services (Burgstahler et al., 2001). Forty six faculty and staff from twoand four year institutions of higher education from twenty four states who participated in focused discussions of these issues ( Burgstahle et al. 2 001) also reported that transfer students face challenges in the following:

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37 M oving away from home U nderstanding and working through the transfer process S ecuring financial support M eeting the admissions requirements of the four year institution and specific degree programs A djusting to differences in disability documentation requirements A djusting to differences in the disabled student services offered A djusting to a larger, less personal environment where it is more difficult to make friends and get to know faculty meeting the academic standards of the four year school ( Burgstahl er et al., 2001). The article entitled College Freshman with Disabilities: A Triennial Statistical Profile (Henderson, 1995) shared perceptions of how students coming to coll ege straight from high school felt when they were prepared themselves to be thrown into a large institution. The article discussed how students fared after their freshm a n year in college with a lack of assistance in getting the help need for their specific disability. The study compared students with learning disabilities and thei r achievement in relation to a two year college versus a four year institution. Heiman and Precel (2003) analyzed unusual strategies and devices that professors use to teach to st udents with learning disabilities. The article compared students without learning disabilities to students with learning disabilities in the way information is presented, as well as written, oral and/ or group activities or assignments The article also discussed the abilities that students utilized when performing on test s They discussed the way the tests were administered and the ability for the prof essor to create a low stress testing environment. This article also relates W e rners Theory of Microgenesis (Crain, 2000) to the learning environment

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38 as the development framework that ones brain must go through in order to a ccomplish certain task s(Crain, 2000) Success in college Some college admissions officers try to predict how well an individual will perform using GPA s, SAT scores and records from high school (Hallahan, Lloyd, Weiss, & Martinez, 2005). Other admission officers state that there is no way these scores can have a positive or negative influence on how well a student will do in college. Some who have excelled in high school have not been able to do the same in college. Some who barely scraped by in high school suddenly find their niche in college. College and university officials have developed a relati vely uniform set of criteria based on predictive studies involving large numbers of applicant s (p.25). There is little research on predicting students with learning disabilities success in higher education (Hallahan et al., 2005). Vogel and Adelman (1992) state One team of researchers found that, although far from perfect, such things as high school GPA and number of mainstream English courses completed with a grade of C or better were better predictors than standardized test scores ( cited in Hallahan et al., 2005). Other indicators that affect student s success in higher education are strong grade point averages in college preparatory courses, well developed reading and mathematical skills, above average intelligence, and extracurricular involvement in high school [which] correlate highly with success in college. Indeed, college admissions counselors, often working with support services coordinators, tend to look at these factors when determining whether to accept a student with a learning disability (Shapiro & Rich, 1999, p. 128; Hallahan, Lloyd, Weiss, & Martinez, 2005)

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39 Grading and grouping An inevitable part of the classroom procedure is assessing students learning and assigning numeric grades. Classrooms that are academically diverse can make it difficult for instructors to assign grades to students who are not to the same level as everyone else. Tomlinson (2001) believes g rading comes from the viewpoint of. what a teacher believes about teaching and learning. An answer to grading effectively is to let students have many choices and alternatives among which to assess their knowledge of a particular subject matter (Tomlinson, 2001). Tomlinson (2001) believes, Who I teach should shape how I teach because who the students are shapes how they learn (p.20). A concrete standard cannot be set from one semester to another; instructors should be flexible in the way they present the material and assess student s knowledge. Grading has become a competitive benchmark for students to determine where they stand in relation to other students (Tomlinson, 2001). Tomlinson (2001) stated, I need to grade for success in the same way that I teach and assess for success. That doesn't mean students can't be unsuccessful. It means their degree of success must r eflect the degrees of their own growth( p.2) Concept Map Explanation Learning can be affected by many factors within the classroom. The conceptual mo del examines the factors that many students with learning disabilities encounter in higher education. The more teachers can involve all modalities and learning styles, the more chances they have of engaging learners in using their whole brains (Gregory & Chapman, 2007, p.24). Understanding learning styles and incorporating alternative options into the cur riculum can reach students at all intellectual levels. Instructors who have the

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40 knowledge and ability to observe students and assess their work gain knowledge on the individual learning profile. Dunn and Dunn (1987) classified learning styles into five ca tegories auditory, visual, tactile, kinesthetic and tactile/kinesthetic. Auditory learners absorb spoken and heard materials easily and like to be involved in oral questioning rather than reading. They prefer listening to lectures, stories and songs and work well with other students in groups or oneonone activities (Gregory & Chapman, 2007). Visual learners learn best from information that is seen or read. They prefer illustrations, pictures and diagrams and graph organizers to help them construct m eaning visually, and color has an impact on learning (Gregory & Chapman, 2007). Tactile learners learn best from handling materials, writing, and drawing and being involved in experiments and experiences (Gregory & Chapman, 2007). Kinesthetic learners learn best by doing and moving. Physical activity helps them absorb information and makes it more relevant (Gregory & Chapman, 2007). Tactile/kinesthetic learners learn best by being physically involved in the learning process. They prefer to role play or hav e a simulation activity that is relevant to the curriculum (Gregory & Chapman, 2007). The ability of an instructor to use a variety of methods in a classroom satisfies more learners and allows the information to be transferred to a greater portion of the brain (Gregory & Chapman, 2007). The design structure of a classroom can affect the learning of all students. In order for the student to engage in the learning process, they must have an environment that is conducive to learning and taking risks Close ly related to teachers' behavior is the development of a classroom climate conducive to good thinking (Gregory & Chapman, 2007, p.10). Gregory and Chapman (2007) state, Classrooms everywhere must foster

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41 an inclusionary climate, it is essential that students bond with one another and with the teacher to for m a positive learning community (p.26). Instructors must be cognizant of the room layout, the room temperature and the noise level, as all of these can threaten students learning. The time of day that s tudents attend class can also affect their learning ability (Gregory & Chapman, 2007). Instructors knowledge about learning disabilities can affect the manner in which they teach students within the classroom. The sole responsibility of an instructor is to be assured that all students have the ability to reach their full potential within the classroom setting. Instructors may have the ability to differentiate their classroom s if they have attended workshops, taken classes, or had prior experiences with s tudents with learning disabilities Instructor preparedness is essential for students to advance academically because they play a pivotal role in the learning process for students. Instructors instill problem solving skills, self management skills and social skills that allow students to progress in the learning environment. In order for instructors to effectively engage students and support learning they must be able to apply sound principl e s of educating to a student with a learning disability (Gregory & Chapman, 2007). Tomlinson (2007) states In a differentiated classroom, the teacher proactively plans and carries out varied approaches to content, process and product in anticipation of and response to students differences in readiness, interest a nd learning needs (p.4). The ability of instructors to facilitate flexible teach ing routines allows students to enhance their academic success because they are reaching their readiness levels, interest s, and preferred modes of learning (Tomlinson, 2007).

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42 Because individuals learn from one another, having flexible grouping allows students to trade knowledge with their peers and build confidence when working in groups. Flexible grouping is defined as allowing students to communicate and interact with oth er groups based on the students readines s, interest, and learning style. Students who may be challenged within a group setting have a lesser chance of being left out because they are in need of more help. Flexible grouping allows for students who may be above average or struggling to not be pegged by their peers (Tomlinson, 2007). Coordinating the learning goals of both students and instructors in the beginning of the school year allows both parties to orchestrate how they would like to appr oach the c ontent of the course. Creating an atmosphere where both students and faculty are held accountable for learning goals allows the learning process to become easier and more coherent (Tomlinson, 2007). The conceptual model lays out deterrents that student s and instructors may encounter in a classroom setting. This framework depicts the importance of creating differentiated classrooms when working with students with special learning needs. Vygotsky's sociocultural theory of learning and differentiated lear ning come together in the model to depict the essence of creating a classroom atmosphere that is learning conducive for students with learning disabilities. The framework begins with the instructors decision to utilize differentiated instruction within the classroom. This process of differentiated learning is not always carried out by instructors because of lack of time, resources or the knowledge of how to cater to all learners. After instructor s commit to utilizing differentiated instruction in the

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43 cla ssroom, they focuses on the content that they would like the student s to learn. The content portion of the framework lays out the basis for what instructor is teaching students and how the student is able to apply it. The process portion of the framework is the ability of a student to make sense of the content that has been presented. The student is then encouraged to analyze the information, apply it, ask questions, or solve problems. The product portion of the framework is the ability of the instructor to utilize activities, test or lecture to apply the curriculum so that every student has the tools to understand. Last all these steps to differentiated instruction must be carried out effectively in order for students to reach their goals for learning.

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44 Decision for Instructor to Differentiate Instruction Student Needs for Learning Figure 21. Instructional competencies regarding learning disabilities.

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45 CHAPTER 3 METHODS Chapter 1 described learning disabilities in higher education and the importance of creating a classroom that is conducive to all learners. In addition, it provided the background for studying the perceived knowledge and understanding of teaching methods that are used in a classroom setting when working with students with learning disabilities. The first chapter gave further information about the significance of the study and identified its purpose. The chapter concluded by defining key terms and stating the assumptions and limitations of the study. Chapter 2 presented a summary of the theoretical foundations and the conceptual framework on which this study was based. The specific areas that C hapter 2 discussed i ncluded higher education, brainbased research, grading and differentiated instruction. Chapter 3 outlines the research methodology developed to answer the research questions on which the study was based. Additionally, this chapter concentrates on the research design, procedure, sample population, instrumentation, data collection, and data analysis. The primary purpose of this study is to determine the perceptions of college instructors about the use of teaching methods to enhance learning for students with learning disabilities. In order to do so, it w as essential to evaluate instructors perceptions of the effectiveness of selected teaching methods and resource s, the frequency of use of accommodations for students with learning disabilities as perceived by instructors, and instructor s awareness of the accommodation strategies recommended for learning disabled students.

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46 Research Design The research design was a descriptive survey utilizing the Borich Needs Assessment Model. The Borich Needs Assessment Model is used to analyze teaching methods by examining what are the measured behaviors, skills, and the competencies of the trainee and what they should be as the goals of the program (Borich, 1980; Barrick, Ladewig, & Hedges, 1983). The researcher can use the discrepancies between two poles of interest as an index of the importance of differentiated instruction. As part of the process, t he researcher will rank the specific discrepancies prioritizing which methods of teaching are valuable for students with learning disabilities (Borich, 1980). To guarantee that the instrument considered the construct properly, validity and reliabilit y were two issues the researcher addressed. Ary, Jacobs, Razavieh, & Sorensen (2006) described validity as the most important consideration in developing and evaluating measuring instruments (p. 243). In addition, prior research has suggested that there are two categories of validity: internal validity and external validity (Campbell & Stanley, 1963, cited by Ary et al., 2006). Campbell and Stanley (1966) stated that there are eight relevant variables that have been known pose a threat to the internal v alidity of the study and overall research design. The eight variables are: history, maturation, testing, instrumentation, statistical regression, differential selection, mortality and the interaction of all of these threats (Campbell & Stanley, 1966). The instrument that was used to conduct the study was researcher developed, thus cause a threat to internal validity. The internal threats of history, maturation, testing, and mortality were controlled through the selection of a census of instructors in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. A panel of experts consisting of faculty members at the University of Florida located with in the

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47 College of Agricultural and Life Sciences assessed the instrument to ensure face validity. The researcher also examined the instrument for content validity to determine if there were threats prior to mass distribution. Content validity is the amount to which the data from an instrument are representative of some defined domain (Ary et al., 2006). In this study, co ntent validity threats were controlled through the expert panels examination of the instrument prior to the surveys distribution. The researcher conducted a pilot test of the Borich Needs Assessment Model with a small group of 20 instructors from the Co llege of Agricultural and Life Sciences Teachers College to identify vague questions or wording that was unclear prior to disseminating the survey instrument. After the pilot test was conducted, a panel of experts analyzed the results and made necessary c hanges to the survey. Criterion validity was the second threat to validity; it was examined to correctly understand the answers to the instruments questions and refereed to correc tly measure the construct (Ary et al., 2006). To guarantee that this validit y error would not negatively impact the survey, the panel of experts considered empirical evidence from the literature to ensure the criterionrelated and content validity of the instrument. Ary et al., (2006) stated that there are six threats to external validity that could pose a threat to a s tudy. The six variables were (1) selection, which was controlled by providing everyone with the same questionnaire,(2) setting, which was controlled by providing participants with an online survey and every participant took it in a different setting, (3) the researcher did not conduct a pretest, (4) subject effects was controlled by using a census,(5) experimenter effects was controlled by conducting a pilot study

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48 and (6) the novelty effect (Ary, et al., 2006). Select ion was explained by Ary et al., (2006) : An effect found with certain kinds of subjects might not apply if other kinds of subjects were used. Researchers should use a large, random sample of participants ( p 318) A s ubject effect could occur beca use the specific subject matter may affect the way that participants respond to the questionnaire. Population This study was administered to instructors who taught classes at the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences University of Florida, in the spr ing semester of 2010. There were 19 departments in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences represented with 13.5% of instructors ranked as lecturer, 29.2% as assistant professor, 24% as associate professor and 33% as professor. Of the instructors that participated in the study 18.8% taught graduate level courses, 18.7% taught undergraduate courses and 60% taught both graduate and undergraduate courses. There was a sample population of 385 instructors who were eligible to participate in the survey regarding the effectiveness of teaching methods when working with students with learning disabilities. Data Collection The initial step in instituting this study was to be granted approval from the University of Floridas Institutional Review Board IRB 02 for nonmedical Projects. After the proposal was approved ( UFIRB Protocol number 2009U 1059) the researcher was allowed to proceed with the study ( see Appendix A ). After completing the pilot test, instructors contact information was gathered through the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences teaching faculty and listserv. A web questionnaire was utilized in order to gain data from the selected population. The

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49 researcher utilized Dillmans Tailored Design ( Dillman 2007) methods for circulation of the survey which is described as follow s. A n e mail correspondence was sent to each instructor through the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences at the University of Florida on January 14, 2010. The primary purpose of the correspondence was to inform the recipients they were requested to help with an important survey (Dillman, 2007). The second contact was made on January 19, 2010. In the second email, the webbased questionnaires were distributed to the s ample population by means of electronic mail. Subsequent to sending out the second correspondence, it was noted that there a number of participants in the study had yet to take part in the questionnaire. Consequently, another e mail was sent to the partic ipants on January 25, 2010. On February 1, 2010, email was sent express ing gratitude to the participants who completed the survey. Potential participants who did not complete the survey were sent a reminder. The process yielded a response rate of 30 percent ( n = 120 out of 385 possible participants) Instrumentation The questionnaire instrument was an anonymous webbased Borich Needs Assessment Model hosted by SurveyMonkey for data collection. The questionnaire was designed to measure instructor s attitudes, knowledge, and forms of differentiated instruction used in the classroom and their perceived relevance of the methods. The questionnaire w as divided into four parts (a) The current knowledge level of the instructor based upon teaching methods, (b) the perception by the instructors of the relevance to the job in relation to their current teaching methods, (c) demographic information, and (d) openended questions. The survey was com posed of ranking questions (Likert), multiple choice items and openended questions (see Appendix B ).

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50 The Borich (1980) model of needs assessment was used to measure participants perceptions of 12 teaching competencies. Participants used a five point scale (1 = Low Knowledge/ Relevance to 5 = High Knowledge/ Relevance ) to rate their level of current knowledge for each competency and the degree to which the competency was or was not relevant to their job. The teaching competencies were adapted from Differentiated Instructional Strategies for Student Success Gregory a nd Chapman (2007). To ensure internal instrument consistency and reliability within the web based survey the researcher grouped questions together that measured the same concept. In order for the researcher to ensure that external validity was maximized, th e questions were designed to be universal to other subjects and populations. The instruments yielded alpha values of r = .822 and r = .839, respectively. Ary et al. (2006) explained internal validity a s a matter of whether the changes that occur in the dependent variable are a direct consequence of manipulation of the independent variable and not by any other variable. There was a nonresponse of 265 individuals who did not complete the survey making it essential t o gauge for whether nonresponders possibly bias ed the data results (Ary et al., 2006). The researcher analyzed the nonresponse error calculated by dividing the sample in half comparing early to late responders. Ary et al. (2006) assert that nonrespon dents are often similar to late respondents; meaning that by examining the responses of nonresponders, the researcher should be able to estimate the responses of late respondents. The researcher looked at the two groups to determine if there was a signif icant difference in the rate of response. Ar y et al. (2006) stated:

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51 If no significant differences appear between early and late respondents, and late respondents are believed to be typical of non respondents, then [it] can be assumed the respondents are an unbiased sample of the recipients and can thus generalize to the total group (p. 439). Data Analysis The data was analyzed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS). The researcher utilized descriptive statistics to gain a better ins ight into the data set and respondents The first analyses conducted were means, standard deviations and frequencies. The researcher utilized a oneway analysis of variance (ANOVA) in order to assess the relationship between the independent and dependent variables. The topics from the Borich Needs Assessment Model were ranked according to the mean rating obtained from the survey (Barrick Ladewig,& Hedges ., 1983.) A discrepancy score was obtained for each participant by subtracting participants perceived level of knowledge from the perceived level of relevance for a specific teaching competency. Each discrepancy score was then multiplied by the mean importance level for that specific topic resulting in a weighted discrepancy score for each par ticipant. The survey produced two relative weight scores determined from the following formulas: Weighted Knowledge Score = (Importance Mean Knowledge Mean) multiplied by Importance Mean; Weighted Application Score= (Importance Mean Application Mean) multiplied by Importance Mean.

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52 The two relative weight scores were ranked in order with the topic with the greatest positive relative weight scores being assigned the highest priority (Barrick et al. 1983). Summary This chapter outlined the methods us ed to institute the study in order to observe the objectives It described the studys research design, population, procedures, instrumentation, and data analysis. This study was quantitative nonexperimental, and crosssectional, and utilized descriptiv e census survey methodology. The independent variables consisted of age, gender, and number of years teaching.

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53 CHAPTER 4 RESULTS AND DISCUSSI ON Chapter 1 outlined the basis for conducting this study. The purpose of this research study was presented, al ong with specific research questions and hypotheses. Key terms were defined, assumptions were outlined, and limitations were stated. Chapter 2 provided a theoretical and conceptual framework for studying this topic. A background on Vygotskys theory, higher education, brainbased research, grading and differentiated instruction was provided. Relevant literature and research were consulted to support the research for this thesis. Chapter 3 outlined the research methodology employed in this study. The resear ch design, procedures, population and sample, instrumentation, data collection, and data analysis were presented. The independent variables in this study were students learning disabilities, instructors knowledge regarding learning disabilities and ins tructional competencies of instructors. The depende nt variables were instructors self reported scores in regard to their competencies. The design of this study was identified as casual comparative. The attributes of this design and threats to validity were outlined previously in Chapter 3 This chapter presents the findings obtained by this study. The results address the objectives of this study in determining the knowledge and importance of instructional competencies when working with learning disabled s tudents. The total possible targeted sample in this study consisted of undergraduate instructors who taught classes in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences at the University of Florida in the spring semester of 2010 ( n = 385). As outlined in Chapter 3, data for this study w ere collected at one time point. The survey consisted of a Borich

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54 Needs Assessment Model that measured attitudes, knowledge, and forms of differentiated instruction used in the classroom and their perceived relevance of the methods. This instrument was administered online using a webbased form to collect the data. The response rate for this study was 30 % ( n = 119) Previous studies have yield a similar response rate as low as this study (Wadsworth, 2001). Prior to dat a analysis, post hoc reliability analysis was established for each instrument that was created or modified by the researcher. Instruments measuring constructs through Likert type items were tested for internal consistency using split half reporting coefficients This instrument analyzed the reliability using SPSS. The instruments yielded alpha values of r = 0 .822 and r = 0 .839 respectively. Teaching Competencies The ten teaching competences that were used to assess an instructors knowledge level were based on a variety of differentiated learning processes. The first teaching competence was providing opportunities for auditory learners to listen and speak within the classroom which encompassed the ability for instr uctors to allow students to listen and speak within the classroom setting. The second teaching competence that was used was providing opportunities for visual learners to gain information from reading, observing, and viewing the curriculum Instructors w ho utilize this effectively provide students with handouts, PowerPoint print outs, and notes. The third teaching competence was providing opportunities for tactile learners to examine, manipulate, and handle materials that reference the curriculum The premise for this is that students have the ability to be hands on with materials that are relevant to the specific subject matter. The fourth teaching competency was communicating expectations that are clearly understood by the learner The premise for this competency is that students

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55 are provided with detailed rubrics or a syllabus that provide guidelines for students to reach their goals. The fifth teaching competency was providing students with learning disabilities accommodations which can enha nce the learning atmosphere. The premise for this competency was to gauge instructors knowledge level of the importance of carrying out this process. The sixth teaching competency was providing appropriate printed notes and resource to students in adv ance Allowing students time to review the information prior to lecture which can facilitate better classroom discussion. The seventh teaching competency was providing students the ability to collaborate with peers The premise of this teaching competency was that students learn from one another. The eighth teaching competency was using motivational strategies in the classroom to engage students with learning disabilities The premise of this t eaching competency was to use positive affirmations, provide extra credit and make the learning process a positive experience. The ninth teaching competency was providing students with learning disabilities the ability to discuss personal needs The premise behind this competency was instructors will ha ve a better insight on what works for students and what does not. The last teaching competency was discussing the legal requirements for students with learning disabilities in class and on course syllabus The premise behind this competency was to understand the instructors knowledge level and relevance of the importance of providing accommonions Instructors Academic Ranking Of the 119 participants in the study, 33% ( n = 32) were ranked as professor 13.5% ( n = 13) were ranked as lecturer. Twenty three participants (24%) were ranked as associate professors and 29 % ( n = 28) as assistant professors (see Figure 41).

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56 Of the 119 participants in the study, 32.3% ( n = 29) taught classes of 520 students (small), 34 ( 37.8 % ) participants stated they taught a medium size d class with 2140 students 27 (30%) participants stated that they taught a large class of 71+ students (see Figure 4 2). Of the 119 participants in the study, 88.9% ( n = 80) stated they taught a labbas ed class, 10 (11.1%) participants stated that they taught a labbased class (see Figure 43). Number of years teaching Twenty two participants in this study stated that they have been teaching for 05 years (See Figure 4 5), 20 participants stated they had been teaching for 610 years, 17 participants stated that they had been teaching for 1115 years, 6 participants stated that they had been teaching for 1621 years 18 participants in this study stated that they had been teaching for 2230 years, and 9 participants had been teaching for 3 1 years or more. The average years of teaching for the participants was 14.83 ( n = 93, SD = 10.53). Objectives Objective One. To describe College of Agricultural and Life Sciences instructors self reported knowledge of learning disability instructional competencies. Knowledge level of the Americans with Disability Act Of the 119 participants in the study, 2.6% of the population ( n = 3 ) had never heard of the Americans with Disability Act (ADA), 40 participants (34.5%) had little knowledge of the ADA, 62 participants (53.4%) were somewhat familiar with the ADA, and 11 participants (9.5%) were very familiar with the ADA (see Figure 4 6 ). The mean score for participants knowledge level of the ADA was 2.70 ( SD = 0.68) on a scale of 1 to 4.

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57 Responsibility of providing accommodations to students with learning disabilities Of the 1 19 participants in this study, 93.9% of instructors ( n = 107 SD = 0.21) believed that it was their responsibility to provide accommodations to students with learning disabilities through the American with Disabilities Act of 1990. Seven participants (6.1%) did not agree with the statement and five participants did not respond to this question. The mean score for participants w as 1.06 ( SD = 0.24). Sixteen participants (16.8%) in this study self reported a high knowledge level of the statement that providing accommodations to students with learning disabilities can enhance learning (see Table 41), 26 participants (27.4%) believed they had average knowledge, 19 participants (20%) had little knowledge, and 11 participants (11.6%) stated they had no knowledge that providing accommodations to students with learning disabilities can enhance the learning pr ocess. Twenty three participants (20%) did not respond to this question. The mean score was 3.14 ( SD = 1.25) on a scale of 1 to 5. Providing opportunities for auditory learners to listen and speak within the classroom Six participants (6.3%) in this study had a self reported high knowledge level about providing opportunities for auditory learners to listen and speak within the classroom to enhance the learnin g environment (see Table 41), 18 participants (18.8%) believed they had an average knowledge leve l 32 (33.3%) had little knowledge, and 19 participants (19.8%) stated they had no knowledge about providing opportunities for auditory learners to listen and speak within the classroom to enhance the learning environment. Twenty three participants (20%) did not respond to this question. The mean score was 2.61 ( SD =1.19) on a scale of 1 to 5.

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58 Comparing t he mean scores for the statement providing opportunities for auditory learners to listen and speak within the classroom enhances the learning environment by academic ranking revealed 12 participants were lecturers ( = 3.16, SD =1.02), 28 were assistant professors ( = 3.03, SD = 1.10), 23 were associate professors ( = 2.43, SD = 1.16) and 32 were professors ( = 2.40, SD = 1.24) (see Table 42). Comparing t he mean scores for the statement providing opportunities for auditory learners to listen and speak within the classroom enhances the learning environment by classsize taught, found that 28 ( = 2.42, SD = 1.16) stated they taught a small co urse (520 students), 34 ( = 2.67, SD = 1.17) stated that they taught a medium size course (2170 students) and 27 ( = 2.85, SD = 1.29) taught a large course (71 plus students) (see Table 42). Comparing t he mean scores for the statement providing opportunities for auditory learners to listen and speak within the classroom enhances the learning environment by the number of years that an instructor had been in the teaching revealed that 22 participants ( = 2.95, SD = 1.09) stated they had been teac hing for 0 to 5 years (see Table 42), 20 participants ( = 2.60, SD = 1.19) stated that they had been teaching for 6 to 10 years, 17 participants ( = 2.52, SD = 1.23) stated that they had been teaching for 11 to 15 years, while 6 participants ( = 1.83, SD = 0.98) stated that they had been teaching for 16 to 21 years. Eighteen participants ( = 2.61, SD = 1.28) stated that they had been teaching for 22 to 30 years, and 9 participants ( = 2.66, SD = 1.15) had been teaching 31 years or more. By academic ranking, partial Eta squared was 0.57, indicating a large effect, showing that academic ranking accounted for 57 % of the variance in self perceived

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59 knowledge level. By class size t he partial Eta squared was 0. 48, indicating a large effect, showing that cl ass size accounted for 4 8 % of the variance in self perceived knowledge level. Providing opportunities for visual learners to get information from reading, observing, and viewing curriculum Twelve participants (12.5%) in this study had a self reported high knowledge level that providing opportunities for visual learners to read, observe and view the curriculum within the classroom enhances the learning environment (see Table 43 ), 22 participants (22.9%) believed they had an average knowledge level 32 (33.3%) had little knowledge, 14 participants (14.6%) stated they had no knowledge, 23 participants (20%) did not respond to this question. The mean score was 3.00 ( SD =1.24) on a scale of 1 to 5. The mean scores for the statement providing opportunities for visual learners to read, observe and view the curriculum within the classroom enhances the learning environment compared by academic ranking was 12 participants were lecturers ( = 3.58, SD =1.24), 28 were assistant professors ( = 3.21, SD =1.16), 23 were associate professors ( = 2.86, SD =1.25) and 32 were professors ( = 2.68, SD =1.28) (see Table 44). The mean scores for the statement providing opportunities for visual learners to read, observe and view the curriculum within the classroom enhances the learning environment compared t o class size was 28 ( = 2.75, SD =1.26) stated they taught a small course (520 students), 34 ( = 3.05, SD =1.22) stated that they taught a medium size course (2170 students) and 27 ( = 3.18, SD = 1. 33) taught a large course (71 plus students) (see Table 44).

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60 The mean scores for the statement providing opportunities for visual learners to read, observe and view the curriculum within the classroom enhances the learning environment c ompared to the number of years an instructor had been teaching was 22 participants ( = 3.18, SD =1.12) stated that have been teaching for 0 to 5 years (see Table 44), 20 participants ( = 3.0, SD =1.25) stated that they have been teaching for 6 to 10 years. 17 participants ( = 3.0, SD =1.41) stated that they have been teaching for 11 to 15 years, while 6 participants ( = 2.16, SD =0.98) stated that they have been teaching for 16 to 21 years. Eighteen participants ( = 2.88, SD =1.27) stated that they have been teaching for 22 to 30 years and 9 participants ( = 3.11, SD =1.53) have been teaching 31 or more years. By academic ranking, the partial Eta squared was 0.63, indicating a large effect, showing that academic ranking accounted for 63 % of the variance in self perceived knowledge level. By class size, the partial Eta squared was 0.65, indicating a large effect, showing that class size accounted for 65 % of the variance in self perceived knowledge level. Providing opportunities for tactile learners to examine, manipulate, and handle materials that reference the curriculum Eight participants (8.4%) in this study had a self reported high knowledge level that p roviding opportunities for tactile learners to examine, manipulate, and handle materials that reference the curriculum can enhance the learning environment (see Table 45). Four participants (4.2%) believed they had an average knowledge level 25 (26.3%) had little knowledge, and 26 participants (27.4%) stated they had no knowledge that providing opportunities for tactile learners to examine, manipulate, and handle materials that reference the

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61 curriculum can enhance the learning environment. Thirty two participants (20%) did not respond to this question. The mean score was 2.26 ( SD =1.21) on a scale of 1 to 5. The mean scores for the statement providing opportunities for tactile learners to examine, manipulate, and handle materials that reference the curriculum can enhance the learning environment compared by academic r anking was twelve participants were lecturers ( = 2.75, SD =1.42) 27 were assistant professors ( = 2.51, SD =1.08), 23 were associate professors ( = 2.13, SD = 1.25) and 32 were professors ( = 2.0, SD =1.16) (see Table 46). The mean score for the s tatement, p roviding opportunities for tactile learners to examine, manipulate, and handle materials that reference the curriculum can enhance the learning environment compared to class size was 27 participants ( = 1.88, SD =1.01) stated they taught a sm all course (520 students), 34 participants ( = 2.35, SD = 1.22) stated that they taught a medium size course (2170 students) and 27participants ( = 2.48, SD = 1.31) taught a large course (71 plus students)(see Table 46). The mean scores for the statement p roviding opportunities for tactile learners to examine, manipulate, and handle materials that reference the curriculum can enhance the learning environment compared to the number of years that an instructor had been teaching was 21 participant s ( = 2.38, SD =1.20) stated that have been teaching for 0 to 5 years, 20 participants ( = 2.5, SD =1.23) stated that they have been teaching for 6 to 10 years, 17 participants ( = 2.23, SD =1.30) stated that they have been teaching for 11 to 15 years and 6 participants ( = 1.66, SD =1.03) stated they have been teaching for 16 to 21 years. Eighteen participants ( = 2.22, SD = 1.26) stated that they have

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62 been teaching for 22 to 30 years 9 participants ( = 2.00, SD = 1.32) have been teaching 30 years or more (see Table 46). By academic ranking, the partial Eta squared was 0.70, indicating a large effect, showing that academic ranking accounted for 70 % of the variance in self perceived knowledge level. By class size, the partial Eta squared was 0.14, indicating a small effect, showing that class size accounted for 14% of the variance in self perceived knowledge level. Communicating expectations that are clearly stated and are understood by the learner can enhance the learning environment Thirty five (35.4%) participants in this study had a self reported high knowledge level that communicating expectations that are clearly stated and are understood by the learner can enhance the learning environment (see Table 47). Forty five participants (46.9%) believed they had an average knowledge level ,11 (11.5%) had little knowledge, 5 participants (5.2%) stated they had no knowledge that communicating expectations that are clearly stated and are understood by the learner can enhance the learning env ironment. Thirty two participants (20%) did not respond to this question. The mean score was 4.06 ( SD =1.0) on a scale of 1 to 5. The mean scores for the statement communicating expectations that are clearly stated and are understood by the learner can enhance the learning environment compared to academic ranking was 12 participants were lecturers ( = 4.41, SD = 0.66) 27 were assistant professors ( = 4.07, SD = 0.78), 23 were associate professors ( = 4.21, SD = 0.90) and 32 were professors ( = 3.81, SD =1.28) (see Table 48).

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63 The mean score for the statement communicating expectations that are clearly stated and are understood by the learner can enhance the learning environment compared to instructors class size was 28 participants ( = 3.89, SD =1.19) stated they taught a small course (520 students), 33 participants ( = 3.90, SD = 0.84) stated that they taught a medium size course (2170 students) and 27 participants ( = 4.40, SD = 0.97) taught a large course (71 plus students) (see Tabl e 48). The mean scores for the statement communicating expectations that are clearly stated and are understood by the learner can enhance the learning environment compared to the number of years that an instructor had been teaching was 21 participants ( = 4.19, SD = 0.81) stated that have been teaching for 0 to 5 years (see Table 48), 20 participants ( = 4.25, SD = 0.71) stated they have been teaching for 6 to 10 years .,17 participants ( = 3.78, SD =1.43) stated they have been teaching for 11 to 15 years, six participants ( = 3.66, SD =1.36) stated that they have been teaching for 16 to 21 years. Eighteen participants ( = 4.11, SD =0.67) stated that they have been teaching for 22 to 30 years, w hile 9 participants ( = 4.00, SD =1.32) have been teaching for 30 years or more. Sixteen participants (16.8%) in this study had a self reported high knowledge level that providing students with learning disabilities accommodation can enhance learning (see Table 49 ), 26 participants (27.4%) bel ieved they had an average knowledge level ,19 participants (20%) had little knowledge, and 11 participants (11.6%) stated they had no knowledge that providing accommodations can enhance the learning process for students with learning disabilities. Twenty three participants (20%) did not respond to this question. The mean score was 3.14 ( SD =1.25) on a scale of 1 to 5.

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64 The mean scores for the knowledge level of providing students with learning disabilities accommodation can enhance learning compared to the academic ranking was twelve participants were lecturers ( = 3.16, SD = 1.19), 27 were assistant professors ( = 3.11, SD = 1.31), 23 were associate professors ( = 3.09, SD = 1.30) and 32 were professors ( = 3.81, SD = 1.28) (see Table 410). The mean score for the statement providing students with learning disabilities accommodation can enhanc e learning compared to the class size was 28 participants ( = 2.75, SD = 1.17) stated they taught a small course (520 students), 33 participants ( = 2.75, SD = 1.17) stated that they taught a medium size d course (2170 students) and 27 participants ( = 3.51, SD = 1.34) taught a large course (71 plus students) (see T able 410). The mean scores for the statement communicating expectations that are clearly stated and are understood by the learner can enhance the learning environment compared by the num ber of years that an instructor has been teaching was 21 participants ( = 2.66, SD = 1.15) stated they had been teaching for 0 to 5 years (see Table 410) 20 participants ( = 3.2, SD = 1.36) stated that they have been teaching for 6 to 10 years 17 part icipants ( = 3.29, SD = 1.59) stated that they have been teaching for 11 to 15 years and 6 participants ( = 2.66, SD = 1.63) stated that they have been teaching for 16 to 21 years. Eighteen participants ( = 3.55, SD = 1.14) stated that they have been teaching for 22 to 30 years, 9 participants ( = 3.11, SD = 1.36) have been teaching 3 1years or more. By academic ranking, the partial Eta squared was 0.59, indicating a medium effect, showing that academic ranking accounted for 5 9% of the variance in self -

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65 perceived knowledge level. By class size, the partial Eta squared was 0.58, indicating a medium effect, showing that class size accounted for 5 8% of the variance in self perceived knowledge level. Motivational strategies. Seven participants (7.4%) sel f reported that they were knowledgeable that using motivational strategies in the classroom to engage students with learning disabilities can enhance learning (See Table 411), 13 participants (13.7%) were somewhat familiar with motivational strategies and 24 participants (25.3%) had little knowledge. Twenty three participants (24.2%) had no knowledge level about motivational strategies enhancing the learning process T wenty three participants (20%) did not respond to this question. The mean score was 2.54 ( SD =1.20) on a scale of 1 to 5. T he mean score for the statement using motivational strategies in the classroom to engage students with learning disabilities can enhance learning compared by the academic ranking of participants, was 12 participants were lecturers ( = 3.00, SD =1.41), 27 participants were assistant professors ( = 3.41, SD = 1.0), 23 participants were associate professors ( = 2.39, SD = 1.07) and 32 were professors ( = 3.09, SD = 1.30) (see Table 412). The mean sco re for the statement using motivational strategies in the classroom to engage students with learning disabilities can enhance learning compared by class size was 28 participants ( = 2.53, SD = 1.20) stated they taught a small course (520 students), 23 participants ( = 2.35, SD = 1.04) stated that they taught a medium size course (2170 students) and 27 participants ( = 3.66, SD = 1.41) taught a large course (71 plus students) (see Table 412).

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66 The mean scores for the statement using motivational strategies in the classroom to engage students with learning disabilities can enhance learning compared by the number of years that an instructor has been teaching was 21 participants ( = 2.28, SD = 1.89) stated that have been teaching for 0 to 5 years) (see Table 412), 20 participants ( = 2.45, SD = 0.99) stated that they have been teaching for 6 to 10 years, 17 participants ( = 2.35, SD = 1.27) stated that they have been teaching for 11 to 15 years, while 6 participants ( = 2.16, SD = 1.47) stated that they have been teaching for 16 to 21 years. Eighteen participants ( = 4.83, SD = 1.20) stated that they have been teaching for 22 to 30 years, while 9 participants ( = 2.88, SD = 1.36) have been teaching for 3 1 years or more. By academic ranking, the partial Eta squared was 0.15, indicating a small effect, showing that academic ranking accounted for 15 % of the variance in self perceived knowledge level. By class size, the partial Eta squared was 0.07, indicating a small effec t, showing that class size accounted for 7 % of the variance in self perceived knowledge level. Providing opportunities to discuss personal needs. Twenty five participants (26.3%) stated that they were highly knowledgeable in regard to how important to b oth instructor and student to providing opportunities for students with learning disabilities to discuss personal needs (See Table 41 3), 25 participants (26.3%) were somewhat familiar with its importance and 18 participants (18.9 %) had an average knowledge level of the importance of discussing personal needs. Twelve (12.6%) participants had little knowledge of the importance of discussing personal needs with learning disabled students and 15 participants (15.8%) had no knowledge of its importance Tw ent ythree

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67 participants (20%) did not respond to this question. The mean score was 3.34 ( SD =1.40) on a scale of 1 to 5. The mean score for the statement providing opportunities for students with learning disabilities to discuss personal needs is important to both instructor and students compared by the academic ranking was twelve participants were lecturers ( = 3.58, SD = 1.56), 27 participants were assistant professors ( = 3.48, SD = 1.22), 23 were associate professors ( = 3.43, SD = 1.44) and 32 were professors ( = 3.21, SD =1.46) (see Table 414). The mean score for the statement providing opportunities for students with learning disabilities to discuss personal needs is important to both instructor and student compared by class size was 28 particip ants ( = 2.64, SD = 1.36) stated they taught a small course (520 students), 33 participants ( = 3.5, SD = 1.35) stated that they taught a medium size course (2170 students) and 27 participants ( = 3.77, SD = 1.36) taught a large course (71 plus students) (see Table 414). The mean scores for the statement providing opportunities for students with learning disabilities to discuss personal needs is important to both instructor and student compared to the number of years that an instructor has been teaching was 21 participants ( = 3.28, SD = 1.33) stated that have been teaching for 0 to 5 years (see Table 414), 20 participants ( = 3.40, SD = 1.35) stated that they have been teaching for 6 to 10 years ,17 participants ( = 3.176, SD = 1.70) stat ed that they have been teaching for 11 to 15 years while 6 participants ( = 3.50, SD = 1.97) stated that they have been teaching for 16 to 21 years. Eighteen participants ( = 3.44, SD = 1.33)

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68 stated that they have been teaching for 22 to 30 years, while 9 participants ( = 3.22, SD = 1.21) have been teaching 31 or more years. By academic ranking, the partial Eta squared was 0. 07, indicating a small effect, showing that academic ranking accounted for 7 % of the variance in self perceived knowledge level. By class size,the partial Eta squared was 0.06, indicating a small effect, showing that class size accounted for 6 % of the variance in self perceived knowledge level. Discussing the legal requirements for learning disabled students. Fifteen participant s ( 15.6%) had a self reported score that they were knowledgeable of the importance of discussing the legal requirements for students with learning disabilities in class or in a course syllabus can be beneficial for students (See Table 415), 15 participants (15.6%) were somewhat familiar and 24 participants (24%) had an average knowledge level of the importance of discussing the legal requirements for learning disabled students 15 participants (15.6%) had little knowledge level and 28 (29.2%) participant s had no knowledge of the importance of discussing the legal requirements for learning disabled students. Twenty three participants (20%) did not respond to this question. The mean score was 2.79 ( SD =1.43) on a scale of 1 to 5. The mean score of the statem ent the importance of discussing the legal requirements for students with learning disabilities in class or on a course syllabus can be beneficial for students compared by academic ranking was 12 participants were lecturers ( = 3.00, SD = 1.20), 2 7 were assistant professors ( = 3.10, SD = 1.37), 23 were associate professors ( = 2.78, SD = 1.65) and 32 were professors ( = 2.21, SD = 1.31) (see Table 416).

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69 T he mean score for the statement providing opportunities for students with learning disabilities to discuss personal needs is important to both instructor and student compared by class size was 28 participants ( = 2.46, SD = 1.47) stated they taught a small course (520 students), 33 participants ( = 2.88, SD = 1.38) stated that they taught a medium size course (2170 students) and 27 participants ( = 2.74, SD = 1.53) taught a large course (71 plus students) (see Table 416). The mean scores for the statement providing opportunities for students with learnin g disabilities to discuss personal needs is important to both instructor and student compared by the number of years that an instructor had been teaching was 21 participants ( = 2.90, SD = 1.34) stated that have been teaching for 0 to 5 years (see Table 4 16), 21 participants ( = 3.05, SD = 1.67) stated they had been teaching for 6 to 10 years, 17 participants ( = 2.33, SD = 1.75) stated they had been teaching for 11 to 15 years, while 6 participants ( = 3.50, SD = 1.97) stated they had been teaching for 16 to 21 years 18 participants ( = 1.95, SD = 0.99) stated they had been teaching for 22 to 30 years and 9 participants ( = 2.55, SD = 1.50) had been teaching 30 years or more. By academic ranking, the partial Eta squared was 0.12, indicating a small effect, showing that academic ranking accounted for 12% of the variance in self perceived knowledge level. By class size, partial Eta squared was 0.05, indicating a small effect, showing that class size accounted for 5% of the variance in self perceiv ed knowledge level.

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70 Objective Two To describe how College of Agricultural and Life Sciences instructors perceived importance of instructional competencies when working with learning disabled the students. Providing opportunities for auditory learners to listen and speak within classroom and its relevance to the instructors job Twenty three ( 24%) self reported that providing opportunities for auditory learners to listen and speak within the classroom was relevant to their job (see Table 417), 24 participants ( 25%) stated that they have average knowledge level while 23 participants ( 24%) had little knowledge that providing auditory learners the ability to speak and listen within the classroom to enhance learning. Fifteen participants ( 15.6%) sta ted that providing auditory learners the ability to speak and listen within the classroom enhance s learning had any relevance to their job. Twenty three participants (20% ) did not respond to this question. The mean score was 3.30 ( SD = 1.36) on a scale of 1 to 5. The mean score of participants on providing opportunities for auditory learners to listen and speak within the classroom as relevant to their job compared by academic ranking was twelve participants were lecturers ( = 3.25, SD = 1.28), twenty sev en were assistant professors ( = 3.71, SD = 1.18), twenty three were associate professors ( = 3.52, SD = 1.34) and thirty two were professors ( = 3.81, SD = 1.49). The mean score for the statement providing opportunities for auditory learners to liste n and speak within the classroom i s relevant to my job compared by class size was 28 participants ( = 3.25, SD = 1.20) stated they taught a small course (520 students), 33 participants ( = 3.76, SD = 1.39) stated that they taught a medium size course (2170 students) and 27 participants ( = 3.07, SD = 1.26) taught a large course (71 plus students) (see Table 418).

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71 The mean scores for the statement providing students with learning disability accommodations can enhance learning is relevant to my job compared by number of years that an instructor had been teaching was twenty one participants ( = 3.63, SD = 1.09) stated that had been teaching for 0 to 5 years (see Table 417). Twenty participants ( = 3.35, SD = 1.08) stated they had been teaching for 6 to 10 years, 17 participants ( = 3.88, SD = 1.21) stated they had been teaching for 11 to 15 years, while six participants ( = 3.33, SD = 1.36) stated they had been teaching for 16 to 21 years. Eighteen participants ( = 2.94, SD = 1.62) stated they had been teaching for 22 to 30 years, and 9 participants ( = 2.77, SD = 1.39) had been teaching for 3 1 years or more. By academic ranking ,the partial Eta squared was 0. 06, indicating a small effect, showing that academic ranking accounted for 6 % of the variance in self perceived relevance level. By class size, the partial Eta squared was 0.08 indicating a small effect, showing that class size accounted for 8 % of the variance in self perceived relevance level. Providing opportunities for visual learners to gain information from reading, observing, and viewing curriculum Twenty five ( 26%) respondents self reported that providing opportunities for visual learners to gain information from reading, observing, and viewing curriculum was releva nt to their job (see Table 419). Thirty participants ( 31.1%) stated that they have average knowledge in regard to providing opportunities for visual learners to gain information from reading, observing, and viewing curriculum to enhance learning, while 2 3 participants ( 24%) had little knowledge that these activities can enhance learning. Eleven participants ( 11.5%) stated that providing these

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72 opportunities had no relevance to their job. Twenty three participants (20% ) did not respond to this question. The mean score was 3.53 ( SD = 1.27) on a scale of 1 to 5. The mean score for the statement providing opportunities for visual learners to gain information from reading, observing, and viewing curriculum as being relevant to their job compared by academic ranking was 12 participants were lecturers ( = 3.58, SD = 1.08), 27 were assistant professors ( = 3.89, SD = 1.10), 23 were associate professors ( = 3.76, SD = 1.24), and 32 were professors ( = 3.03, SD = 1.40) (see Table4 20 ). The mean score for the statement providing opportunities for visual learners to gain information from reading, observing, and viewing curriculum as being relevant to their job compared by class size was 28 participants ( = 3.60, SD = 1.10) stated they taught a small course (520 students), 33 participants ( = 3.91, SD = 1.31) stated that they taught a medium size course (2170 students) and 27 participants ( = 3.22, SD = 1.21) taught a large course (71 plus students) (see Table 420). The mean scores for the statement providing opportunities for visual learners to gain information from reading, observing, and viewing curriculum as relevant t o their job compared by the number of years that an instructor had been teaching was 21 participants ( = 4.0, SD = 1.12) stated they had been teaching for 0 to 5 years (see Table 420), 20 participants ( = 3.5, SD = 1.0) stated they had been teaching for 6 to 10 years ,17 participants ( = 4.05, SD = 1.44) stated they had been teaching for 11 to 15 years, while 6 particip ants ( = 3.33, SD = 1.36) stated that they had been teaching for 16 to 21 years. Eighteen participants ( = 3.16, SD = 1.42) stated that they had been

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73 teaching for 22 to 30 years while 9 participants ( = 2.88, SD = 1.53) had been teaching for 31 years or more By academic ranking, the partial Eta squared was 0.04, indicating a small effect, showing that academic ranking accounted for 4% of the variance in self perceived relevance level. By class size, the partial Eta squared was 0.03, indicating a small effect, showing that class size accounted for 3% of the variance in self perceived relevance level. Providing opportunities for tactile learners to examine, manipulate, and handle materials that reference the curriculum relevance level Fifteen ( 15.8%) of the respondents self reported that providing opportunities for tactile learners to examine, manipulate, and handle materials that reference the curriculum was relevant to their job (see Table 421). Thirty participants ( 13.7%) stated that they had a n average knowledge level whereas 20 participants ( 21.1%) had little knowledge that providing opportunities for tactile learners to examine, manipulate, and handle materials that reference the curriculum was relevant to their job and 29 participants ( 30.5 % ) stated this had no relevance to their job. Twenty three participants (20% ) did not respond to this question. The mean score was 2.64 ( SD =1.44) on a scale of 1 to 5. The mean score for the statement providing opportunities for tactile learners to examine, manipulate, and handle materials that reference the curriculum as relevant to their job compared by academic ranking was 12 participants were lecturers ( = 2.74, SD = 1.05), 27 were assistant professors ( = 2.96, SD = 1.37), 23 were associate profess ors ( = 2.86 SD = 1.63) and 32 were professors ( = 2.18, SD = 1.44) (see Table 422).

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74 The mean score for the statement providing opportunities for tactile learners to examine, manipulate, and handle materials that reference the curriculum as relevant to ones job compared by class size was 28 participants ( = 2.55, SD = 1.42) stated they taught a small course (520 students), 33 participants ( = 3.05, SD = 1.43) stated that they taught a medium size d course (2170 students), and 27 parti cipants ( = 2.44, SD = 1.36) taught a large course (71 plus students) (see Table 422). The mean scores for participants providing opportunities for tactile learners to examine, manipulate, and handle materials that reference the curriculum compared by the number of years that an instructor had been teaching was twenty one participants ( = 2.66, SD = 1.12) stated they had been teaching for 0 to 5 years 20 participants ( = 2.90, SD = 1.33) stated they had been teaching for 6 to 10 years 17 participa nts ( = 3.17, SD = 1.59) stated they had been teaching for 11 to 15 years 6 participants ( = 2.66, SD = 1.63) stated they had been teaching for 16 to 21 years, 18 participants ( = 2.55, SD = 1.46) stated they had been teaching for 22 to 30 years and 9 participants ( = 1.77, SD = 1.39) had been teaching for 31 years or more By academic ranking, the partial Eta squared was 0.03, indicating a small effect, showing that academic ranking accounted for 3% of the variance in self perceived relevance level. By class size, the partial Eta squared was 0.08, indicating a small effect, showing that class size accounted for 8% of the variance in self perceived relevance level. Providing students with learning disabilities accommodation can enhance learning. Thirty six participants (37.9%) self reported that knowledge of providing students with learning disabilities accommodation to enhance learning was relevant to

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75 their job (see Table 423), 24 participants (25.3%) stated that they have an average knowledge lev el whereas 16 participants (16.8%) had little knowledge. Eight participants (8.4%) stated that providing accommodations to enhance the learning process for students with learning disabilities had no relevance to their job. Twenty three participants (20% ) did not respond to this question. The mean score was 3.72 ( SD =1.30) on a scale of 1 to 5. The mean score for the statement providing accommodations to students with learning disabilities can enhance learning as relevant to their job compared by academic ranking was twelve participants were lecturers ( = 3.16, SD = 1.11), 27 participants were assistant professors ( = 4.03, SD = 1.22), 23 participants were associate professors ( = 3.86, SD = 1.35) and 32 w ere professors ( = 3.53, SD = 1.36) (see Table 424). The mean score for the statement providing accommodations to students with learning disabilities can enhance learning as relevant to their job compared by class size was 28 participants ( = 3.57, SD = 1.35) stated they taught a small course (520 students), 33 participants ( = 4.02, SD = 1.11) stated that they taught a medium size course (2170 students), and 27participants ( = 3.81, SD = 1.24) taught a large course (71 plus students) (see Table 4 24 ). The mean scores for the statement providing accommodations to students with learning disabilities can enhance learning as relevant to their job compared by number of years that an instructor had been teaching was 21 participants ( = 3.57, SD = 1.32) stated that had been teaching for 0 to 5 years (see Table 424), 20 participants ( = 3.55, SD = 1.23) stated they had been teaching for 6 to 10 years 17 participants ( =

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76 4.47, SD = 0.87) stated they had been teaching for 11 to 15 years 6 particip ants ( = 3.38, SD = 1.47) stated they had b een teaching for 16 to 21 years, 18 participants ( = 3.72, SD = 1.27) stated they had been teaching for 22 to 30 years and 9 participants ( = 3.55, SD = 1.23) had been teaching for 31 years or more By academic ranking, the partial Eta squared was 0.08, indicating a small effect, showing that academic ranking accounted for 8% of the variance in self perceived relevance level. By class size, the partial Eta squared was 0.03, indicating a small effect, showing that class size accounted for 3% of the variance in self perceived relevance level. Using a V ariety of Motivational Strategies within the C lassroom Relevance to Job. Nineteen participants ( 20%) believed that using motivational strategies in t he classroom to engage students with learning disabilities to enhance learning was relevant to their job (See Table 424), 23 participants ( 24.2%) were somewhat familiar and 23 participants (24.2%) had an a verage knowledge level in regard to motivational strategies. Twelve participants (12.6%) believed that providing motivational strategies within the classroom was relevant to their job and 19 participants ( 20%) believed that it had no relevance to their job. Twenty three participants (20% ) did not respond to this question. The mean score was 3.11 ( SD = 1.40) on a scale of 1 to 5. The mean score for th e statement using motivational strategies in the classroom to engage students with learning disabilities is relevant to my job compared by academic ranking was 12 participants were lecturers ( = 3.16, SD = 1.52), 27 were assistant professors ( = 3.03, SD = 1.22), 23 were associate professors ( = 3.39, SD = 1.40) and 32 were professors ( = 2.93, SD = 1.54) (see Table 424)

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77 T he mean score for the statement using motivational strategies in the classroom to engage students with learning disabilities is relevant to my job compared by class size was 28 participants ( = 2.96, SD = 1.42) stated they taught a small course (520 students), 33 participants ( = 3.08, SD = 1.37) stated they taught a medium size course (2170 students), and 27 participants ( = 3.47, SD = 1.39) taught a large course (71 plus students) (see Table 424). The mean scores for the statement using motivational strategies in the classroom to engage students with learning disabilities is relevant to my job compared by number of years that an instructor had been teaching was 21 participants ( = 2.90, SD = 1.41) stated they had been teaching for 0 to 5 years (see Table 423). Twenty participants ( = 3.90, SD = 1.16) stated they had been teaching for 6 to 10 years, 17participants ( = 3.76, SD = 1.52) stated they had been teaching for 11 to 15 years 6 participants ( = 3.16, SD = 1.72) stated they had been te aching for 16 to 21 years, 18 participants ( = 2.88, SD = 1.40) stated they had been teaching for 22 to 30 years and 9 participants ( = 3.22, SD = 1.39) had been teaching for 31 years or more By academic ranking, the partial Eta squared was 0.06, indicating a small effect, showing that academic ranking accounted for 6% of the variance in self perceived relevance level. By class size, the partial Eta squared was 0.03, indicating a small effect, showing that class size accounted for 3% of the variance in self perceived relevance level. Providing opportunities to discuss personal needsrelevance to job. Thirty three participants (34.7%) believed that providing opportunities for students with learning disabilities to di scuss personal needs was relevant to their job (See Table 4-

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78 25), 26 participants ( 27.4%) believed that providing opportunities was somewhat relevant to their jobs, while 11 participants (11.6%) believed that the relevance was ranked at an average level Thirteen participants ( 13.7 %) had little knowledge level that providing opportunities to discuss personal needs was relevant their job, 12 participants (12.6%) believed that providing opportunities for individuals to discuss personal needs was not relevant t o their job, and 23 participants (20%) did not respond to this question. The mean score was 3.58 ( SD = 1.41) on a scale of 1 to 5 The mean score for the statement providing opportunities for students with learning disabilities to discuss personal needs as relevant to their job compared by academic ranking was 12 participants were lecturers ( = 3.10, SD = 1.44), 27 participants were assistant professors ( = 4.02, SD = 1.16), 33 participants were associate professors ( = 3.70, SD = 1.43) and 32 partic ipants were professors ( = 2.64, SD = 1.38) (see Table 426). The mean score of participants who believed that providing opportunities for students with learning disabilities to discuss personal needs was relevant to their job compared by class size was 28 participants ( = 2.10, SD = 1.44) stated they taught a small course (520 students), 33 participants ( = 4.02, SD = 1.16) stated that they taught a medium size d course (2170 students) and 27 participants ( = 3.70, SD = 1.43) taught a large course (71 plus students). The mean for the statement providing opportunities for students with learning disabilities to discuss personal needs as relevant to their job compared by number of years that an instructor had been teac hing was 21 participants ( = 3.66, SD = 1.35) stated they had been teaching for 0 to 5 years (see Table 426) 20participants ( =

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79 3.40, SD = 1.31) stated they had been teaching for 6 to 10 years, 17 participants ( = 3.88, SD = 1.57) stated they had been teaching for 11 to 15 years, 6 participants ( = 3.83, SD = 1.60) stated they had been teaching for 16 to 21 years, 18 participants ( = 3.66, SD = 1.41) stated they had been teaching for 22 to 30 years and 9 participants ( = 3.11, SD =1.36) had been teaching for 31 years or more By academic ranking, the partial Eta squared was 0.07, indicating a small effect, showing that academic ranking accounted for 7% of the variance in self perceived relevance level. By class size, the partial Eta squared was 0.04, indicating a small effect, showing that class size accounted for 4% of the variance in self perceived relevance level. Discussing the legal requirements for students with learning disabilities in class or on course syllabusr elevance to job. Twenty five participants (26.3%) believed that discussing the legal requirements for students with learning disabilities in class or in a course syllabus to be beneficial for students and was relevant to their job ( see Table 426). Ten participants (10.5%) believed that discussi on was somewhat relevant to their job, whereas 25 participants (26.3%) believed that it had an average relevance to their jobs Ten participant s (10.5%) believed that had little relevance to their jobs, and 20 participants (21.1%) believed that it had no relevance to their job. Twenty three participants (20%) did not respond to this question. The mean score was 3.15 ( SD = 1.47) on a scale of 1 to 5. The mean score for the statement discussing the legal requirements for student s with lear ning disabilities in class or in a course syllabus to be relevant to their job compared by academic ranking was 12 participants were lecturers ( = 3.16, SD =

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80 1.46), 27 participants were assistant professors ( = 3.46, SD = 1.34), 23 participants were associate professors ( = 3.39, SD = 1.58) and 32 participants were professors ( = 2.64, SD = 1.40) (see Table 430 ). The mean score for the statement discussing the legal requirements for students with learning disabilities in class or on a course syllabus w as relevant to their job compared by class size was 28 participants ( = 2.85, SD = 1.43) stated they taught a small course (520 students), 33 participants ( = 3.44, SD = 1.52) stated that they taught a medium size course (217 0 student s), and 27participants ( = 3.30, SD = 1.34) taught a large course (71 plus students) (see Table 430 ). The mean scores for the statement providing opportunities for students with learning disabilities to discuss personal needs to be relevant to their job compared by the number of years that an instructor had been teaching was 21 participants ( = 3.22, SD = 1.47) stated they had been teaching for 0 to 5 years (see Table 430). Twenty participants ( = 3.35, SD = 1.22) stated they had been teaching for 6 to 10 years, 17 participants ( = 3.82, SD = 1.59) stated they had been teaching for 11 to 15 years,6 participants ( = 3.33, SD = 1.86) stated they had been teaching for 16 to 21 years. Eighteen participants ( = 2.33, SD = 1.18) stated they had been teaching for 22 to 30 years and 9 participants ( = 3.25, SD = 1.48) have been teaching for 31 years or more By academic ranking, the partial Eta squared was 0.04, indicating a small effect, showing that academic ranking accounted for 4% of the variance in self perceived relevance level. By class size, the partial Eta squared was 0.06, indicating a small

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81 effect, showing that class size accounted for 6% of the variance in self perceived relevance level. Objective Three. To compare the knowledge and importance of instructional competencies when working with students with learning disabilities. Providing opportunities for auditory learners to listen and speak within the classroom Mean weighted discrepancy scores were used to compare instructors self perceived knowledge and relevance to their job on specific teaching competencies. Instructors rated their knowledge regarding the chance to provide opportunities for auditory learners to listen and speak within the classroom at just belo w the average ( = 2.67, SD = 1.19) Instructors rated the relevance to their job in accordance with providing opportunities for auditory learners to listen and speak within the classroom just above the average relevance level ( = 3.30, SD = 1.37) The mean weighted knowledgerelevance discrepancy score was 0.25 f or providing opportunities for auditory learners (see Table 431 ). Providing opportunities for visual learners to get information from reading, observing, and viewing the curriculum Inst ructors rated their knowledge regarding providing opportunities for visual learners to gather information from reading, observing, and viewing the curriculum within the classroom at just above average ( = 3.35, SD = 1.24) Instructors rated the relevance to their job in accordance with providing opportunities for visual learners to gather information from reading, observing, and viewing the curriculum at just below average ( = 2.63, SD = 1.27) The mean weighted knowledgerelevance discrepancy score was 1.10 for providing opportunities for visual learners (see Table 431).

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82 Providing opportunities for tactile learners to examine, manipulate, and handle materials that reference the curriculum Instructors rated their knowledge regarding to providing opportunities for tactile learners to examine, manipulate, and handle materials that reference the curriculum within the classroom at just below average ( = 2.63, SD = 1.21) Instructors rated the relevance to their job in accordance with providing opportunities for tactile learners to examine, manipulate, and handle materials that reference the curriculum within the classroom at just below the average ( = 2.65, SD = 1.41) The mean weighted knowledgerelevance discrepancy score was 1.09 for providi ng opportunities for tactile learners (see Table 431). Communicating expectations that are clearly stated and understood by the learner Instructors rated their knowledge of c ommunicating expectations that are clearly stated and understood by the learner at above average ( = 4.06, SD = 0.99) Instructors rated the relevance to their job of communicating expectations that are clearly stated and understood by the learner at above average ( = 4.39, SD = 1.05) The mean weighted knowledgerelevance discrepancy score was 0.07 for communicating clear expectations (see Table 431). Providing students with learning disabilities accommodations that can enhance the learning atmosphere. Instructors rated their knowledge of providing students with learning disabilities accommodations that can enhance the learning atmosphere at average ( = 3.14, SD = 1.25). Instructors rated the relevance to their job of providing students with learning di sabilities accommodations at above average ( = 3.72, SD = 1.30). The mean weighted knowledgerelevance discrepancy score for

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83 providing accommodations to students with learning disabilities was 0.21 (see Table 428). Providing appropriate printed notes and resources to students in advance. Instructors rated their knowledge of providing students with appropriate printed notes and resources in advance at below average ( = 2.83, SD = 1.28) Instructors rated the relevance to their job of providing students with appropriate printed notes and resources in advance at above average ( = 3.56, SD = 1.42) The mean weighted knowledge discrepancy score for providing resources to students in advance was 0.03 (see Table 4 31). Using a variety of motivational strategies in the classroom to engage students with learning disabilities. Instructors rated their knowledge of using a variety of motivational strategies in the classroom to engage students with learning disabilities at below average ( = 2.54, SD = 1.20) Instructors rated using a variety of motivational strategies in the classroom to engage students with learning disabilities at an above average ( = 3.11, SD = 1.40) The mean weighted knowledgerelevance discrepancy score for using motivational strategies to engage a student with learning disabilities was 0.20 (see Table 431). Providing opportunities for students with learning disabilities to discuss personal needs. Instructors rated their knowledge of providing opportunities for students with learning disabilities to discuss personal needs at above average ( = 3.34, SD = 1.40) Instructors rated the relevance to their job of p roviding opportunities for students with learning disabilities to discuss personal needs at above average ( = 3.5 7, SD = 1.41) The mean weighted knowledgerelevance discrepancy score for providing

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84 opportunities for students with learning disabilities to discuss personal needs was 0.03 (see Table 431). Discussing the legal requirements for students with learning disabilities in class and on course syllabus. Instructors rated their knowledge of the importance of d iscussing the legal requirements for students with learning disabilities in class and on a course syllabus at below average ( = 2.72, SD = 1.43) Instructors rated the relevance to their job of discussing the legal requirements for students with learning disabilities in class and on a course syllabus at above average ( = 3.15, SD = 1.46) The mean weighted knowledgerelevance discrepancy score f or discussing legal requirements with students with disabilities was 0.10 (see Table 432). Objective 4. To compare the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences instructors differences in knowledge and relevance. An Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) was used t o determine if a statistically significant difference existed in mean instructional competencies (see Table 42 9). The statistical analysis indicated that a statistically significant difference existed in the mean when providing opportunities for visual learners to get information from reading, observing, and viewing curriculum when comparing the academic ranking to the relevance of the instructors job level (F(13.14,140.47) = 2.83, p<0.042). Also, there was a statistically significant difference between the knowledge level of applying the concept of providing students with the ability to discuss personal needs and the academic ranking of instructors F(20.17,164.70) = 5.77, p<0.05). Another statistical ly significant difference that was found was the relev ance level to an instructors job of providing opportunities for students with learning disabilities to discuss personal needs compared

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85 to the class size F(14.88,166.31) 4.07, p<0.02). There were no other statistical ly significant differences to report. Summary This chapter presents the findings of this study. The findings were structured around the objectives. The objectives were: 1. To describe College of Agricultural and Life Sciences instructors self reported knowledge of learning disability instructional competencies. 2. To describe College of Agricultural and Life Sciences instructors self reported sense of the importance of instructional competencies when working with learning disabled students. 3. To compare i nstructors, knowledge and sense of the importa nce of instructional competencies when working with students with learning disabilities. 4. To compare the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences instructors differences in knowledge and sense of relevance. The findings offered in this chapter will be dis cussed in greater detail in Chapter 5. In addition, implications conclusions, and recommendations will also be presented.

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86 Figure 41. Instructor s academic ranking Figure 42 Class size teaching for

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87 Figure 43 Type of course of teaching for Figure 44 Number of years in the teaching profession

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88 Figure 44 Knowledge level of the Americans with Disability Act

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89 Table 4 1. Providing opportunities for auditory learners to listen and speak within the classroom Knowledge level n % Cumulative % No knowledge level 6 6 6 Little knowledge 18 18.8 24.8 Average knowledge level 32 33.3 58.1 Somewhat familiar 19 19.8 77.9 Very familiar 21 21.9 100 Table 42. Providing opportunities for auditory learners to listen and speak within the classroom compared by demographic s Academic ranking Class size Number of years in the teaching profession Lecturer Assistant professor Associate professor Professor Small 5 20 Medium 2170 Large 70+ 0 5 6 10 1115 1621 2230 30+ 3.166 3.03 2.43 2.40 2.42 2.67 2.85 2.95 2.80 2.52 1.93 2.61 2.66 SD .02 1.10 1.16 1.24 1.16 1.73 1.20 1.09 1.96 1.23 0.98 1.28 1.50

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90 Table 43 Visual l earners to gain information from r eading, observing, and viewing curriculum Knowledge level N % Cumulative % No knowledge level 12 12.5 12.5 Little knowledge 22 22.9 35.4 Average knowledge level 32 33.3 58.7 Somewhat familiar 14 14.6 83.3 Very familiar 16 16.7 100 Table 44 Mean scores of the statement allowing learners to get information from reading, observing, and viewing curriculum compared to demographics Academic ranking class size Number of years in the teaching profession Lecturer Assistant professor Associate professor Professor Small 5 20 Medium 21 70 Large 70+ 0 5 6 10 1115 1621 2230 30+ 3.58 3.21 2.86 2.68 2.75 3.05 3.18 3.31 3.20 3.0 2.16 2.88 3.11 SD 1.24 1.16 1.25 1.28 1.26 1.22 1.33 1.29 1.25 1.41 0.98 1.27 1.53

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91 Table 45 Providing o pportunities for tactile learners to examine, manipulate, and handle materials that r eference s the curriculum Knowledge level N % Cumulative % No knowledge level 32 33.7 33.7 Little knowledge 26 27.4 61.1 Average knowledge level 25 26.3 87.4 Somewhat familiar 4 4.2 91.6 Very familiar 4 8.4 100 Table 46. Mean scores for the statement providing opportunities for tactile learners to examine, manipulate, and handle materials that references the curriculum compared to demographics Academic ranking Class size Number of years in the teaching profession Lecturer Assistant professor Associate professor Professor Small 5 20 Medium 2170 Large 70+ 0 5 6 10 11 15 16 21 22 30 30+ 2.75 2.51 2.13 2.00 1.88 2.32 2.23 2.38 2.50 2.23 1.66 2.22 2.00 SD 1.42 1.08 1.25 1.16 1.01 1.22 1.20 1.12 1.23 1.30 1.03 1.26 1.32

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92 Table 47. Communicating expectations that are clearly stated and understood by the learner c an e nhance the learning e nvironment Knowledge level N % Cumulative % No knowledge level 5 5.2 5.2 Little knowledge 1 1 6.2 Average knowledge level 11 11.5 17.7 Somewhat familiar 45 46.9 64.6 Very familiar 34 35.4 100 Table 48. Mean score of the statement communicating expectations that are clearly stated and understood by the learner c an e nhance the learning environment compared to demographics Academic ranking Class size Number o f years in the teaching profession Lecturer Assistant professor Associate professor Professor Small 5 20 Medium 2170 Large 70+ 0 5 6 10 11 15 16 21 22 30 30+ 4.41 3.11 4.07 4.21 3.89 3.90 4.40 4.19 4.25 3.76 3.66 4.11 4.00 SD 0.66 1.31 0.78 0.90 1.19 0.84 0.97 0.81 0.71 1.43 1.33 0.67 1.32

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93 Table 49 Providing students with learning disabilities accommodation can enhance l earning Knowledge level N % Cumulative % No Knowledge level 11 11.6 11.6 Little knowledge 19 20 31.6 Average knowledge level 26 27.4 59 Somewhat familiar 23 24.2 83.2 Very familiar 16 16.8 100 Table 410. Mean scores of the statement providing students with learning disabilities accommodations compared to demographics Academic ranking Class size Number of years in the teaching profession Lecturer Assistant professor Associate professor Professor Small 5 20 Medium 2170 Large 70+ 0 5 6 10 11 15 16 21 22 30 30+ 3.166 3.11 3.26 3.09 2.75 3.14 3.51 2.66 3.20 3.30 2.66 3.55 3.11 SD 1.19 1.31 1.25 1.30 1.17 1.18 1.34 1.54 1.36 1.60 1.63 1.49 1.23

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94 Table 411. Using a variety of motivational strategies in the classroom to engage students with learning disabilities Knowledge level n % Cumulative % No knowledge level 23 24.2 24.2 Little knowledge 24 25.3 49.5 Average knowledge level 28 29.5 79 Somewhat familiar 13 13.7 92.7 Very familiar 7 7.3 100 Table 412. Mean score of the statement using a variety of motivational strategies in the classroom to engage students with learning disabilities compared to demographics Academic ranking Class size Number of years in the teaching profession Lecturer Assistant professor Associate professor Professor Small 5 20 Medium 2170 Large 70+ 0 5 6 10 11 15 16 21 22 30 30+ 3.00 2.40 2.39 2.62 2.53 3.44 2.66 2.28 2.45 2.35 2.16 2.83 2.80 SD 1.41 1.00 1.07 1.38 1.20 1.39 1.41 1.89 1.00 1.27 1.47 1.20 1.36

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95 Table 413. Providing opportunities to discuss personal needs Knowledge level N % Cumulative % No knowledge level 15 15.8 15.8 Little knowledge 12 12.6 28.4 Average knowledge level 18 18.9 47.3 Somewhat familiar 25 26.3 73.6 Very familiar 25 26.3 100 Table 414. Mean scores of the statement providing opportunities for students with l earning d isabilities to d iscuss p ersonal n eeds compared to demographics Academic ranking Class size Number of years in the teaching profession Lecturer Assistant professor Associate professor Professor Small 5 20 Medium 2170 Large 70+ 0 5 6 10 11 15 16 21 22 30 30+ 3.58 3.48 3.43 3.03 2.64 3.50 3.77 3.23 3.45 3.17 3.50 3.44 3.22 SD 1.56 1.22 1.44 1.46 1.37 1.35 1.36 1.33 1.35 1.74 2.0 1.38 1.20

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96 Table 415. Discussing the l egal r equirements for s tudents with l earning d isabilities in class or o n course syllabus Knowledge level N % Cumulative % No knowledge level 28 29.2 29.2 Little knowledge 15 15.6 44.8 Average knowledge level 23 24.0 68.8 Somewhat familiar 15 15.6 84.4 Very familiar 15 15.6 100 Table 416. Mean discussing the l egal r equirements for students with l earning d isabilities in class or on c ourse syllabus Academic ranking Class size Number of years in the teaching profession Lecturer Assistant professor Associate professor Professor Small 5 20 Medium 2170 Large 70+ 0 5 6 10 11 15 16 21 22 30 30+ 3.00 3.10 2.78 2.21 2.46 2.88 2.74 2.90 3.10 3.05 2.33 1.94 2.55 SD 1.20 1.37 1.65 1.31 1.47 1.38 1.53[ 1.35 1.48 1.67 1.75 100 1.50

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97 Table 41 7 Providing opportunities for auditory learners to listen and speak within classroom relevance to instructors j ob Relevance level N % Cumulative % Not relevant 15 15.6 15.6 Little relevance 11 11.5 27. 0 Average relevance level 23 24 51.1 Somewhat relevant 24 25 76 Very relevant 23 24 100 Table 41 8 Mean score of the statement providing opportunities for auditory learners to listen and speak within classroom relevance to instructors job compared to demographics Academic ranking Class size Number of years in the teaching profession Lecturer Assistant professor Associate professor Professor Small 5 20 Medium 2170 Large 70+ 0 5 6 10 11 15 16 21 22 30 30+ 3.25 3.71 3.52 2.81 3.25 3.76 3.07 3.63 3.35 3.88 3.33 2.94 2.77 SD 1.28 1.18 1.34 1.49 1.20 1.39 1.26 1.25 1.08 1.21 1.36 1.62 1.39

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98 Table 41 9 Providing opportunities for auditory learners to listen and speak within classroom relevance to instructors job Relevance level N % Cumulative % Not relevant 11 11.5 11.5 Little relevance 7 7.3 18.8 Average relevance level 23 24 42.8 Somewhat relevant 30 31.3 74.1 Very relevant 25 26 100 Table 420. Mean score of the statement providing opportunities for auditory learners to listen and speak within classroom relevance to instructors job compared to demographics Academic ranking Class size Number of years in the teaching profession Lecturer Assistant professor Associate professor Professor Small 5 20 Medium 2170 Large 70+ 0 5 6 10 11 15 16 21 22 30 30+ 3.58 3.89 3.78 3.03 3.60 3.91 3.22 4.0 3.50 4.08 3.33 3.16 2.88 SD 1.08 1.10 1.24 1.40 1.10 1.31 1.21 1.12 1.0 1.14 1.36 1.42 1.53

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99 Table 42 1 Providing opportunities for tactile l earners to e xamine, manipulate, and h andle m aterials that r eference the curriculum, relevance level Relevance level N % Cumulative % Not relevant 29 30.5 30.5 Little relevance 18 18.9 49.4 Average relevance level 20 21.1 70.5 Somewhat relevant 13 13.7 84.2 Very relevant 15 15.8 100 Table 42 2 Means score of the statement providing opportunities for tactile l earners to e xamine, manipulate, and h andle m aterials that r eference the curriculum, relevance level compared to demographics Academic ranking Class size Number of years in the teaching profession Lecturer Assistant professor Associate professor Professor Small 5 20 Medium 2170 Large 70+ 0 5 6 10 11 15 16 21 22 30 30+ 2.75 2.96 2.86 2.18 2.55 3.05 2.44 2.66 2.90 3.17 2.66 2.55 1.77 SD 1.05 1.37 1.63 1.44 1.42 1.43 1.36 1.31 1.33 1.59 1.63 1.46 1.39

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100 Table 42 3 Providing opportunities for tactile l earners to e xamine, manipulate, and h andle m aterials that reference the curriculum relevance level compared to demographics Relevance level N % Cumulative % Not relevant 8 8.4 8.4 Little relevance 11 11.6 20 Average relevance level 16 16.8 36.8 Somewhat relevant 24 25.3 62.1 Very relevant 36 37.9 100 Table 42 4 Mean s core of the statement providing opportunities for tactile l earners to e xamine, manipulate, and h andle m aterials that reference the curriculum, relevance level compared to demographics Academic ranking Class size Number of years in the teaching profession Lecturer Assistant professor Associate professor Professor Small 5 20 Medium 2170 Large 70+ 0 5 6 10 11 15 16 21 22 30 30+ 3.16 4.03 3.86 3.53 3.57 4.02 3.81 3.57 3.55 4.47 3.38 3.72 3.55 SD 1.11 1.22 1.35 1.36 1.35 1.11 1.24 1.32 1.23 0.87 1.47 1.27 1.23

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101 Table 42 5 Using a variety of motivational strategies in the classroom to e ngage students with learning disabilities relevance to job Relevance level N % Cumulative % Not relevant 19 20 20 Little relevance 23 24.2 44.2 Average relevance level 22 23.2 67.4 Somewhat relevant 12 12.6 80 Very relevant 19 2 0.0 100 Table 42 6 Mean score of the statement providing using a variety of motivational strategies in the classroom to e ngage students with learning disabilities relevance to job compared to demographics Academic ranking Class size Number of years in the teaching profession Lecturer Assistant professor Associate professor Professor Small 5 20 Medium 2170 Large 70+ 0 5 6 10Y 11 15 16 21 22 30 30+ 3.16 4.03 3.86 3.53 3.57 4.02 3.81 2.90 2.90 3.76 3.16 2.88 3.22 SD 1.11 1.22 1.35 1.36 1.35 1.11 1.24 1.41 1.16 1.52 1.72 1.40 1.39

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102 Table 42 7 Providing opportunities for students with learning disabilities to discuss personal needs relevance to job Relevance level N % Cumulative % Not relevant 12 12.6 12.6 Little relevance 13 13.7 26.3 Average relevance level 11 11.6 37.9 Somewhat relevant 26 27.4 65.3 Very relevant 33 34.7 100 Table 42 8 Mean score for the statement providing opportunities for students with learning disabilities to discuss personal needs relevance to job compared to demographics Academic ranking class size Number of years in the teaching profession Lecturer Assistant professor Associate professor Professor Small 5 20 Medium 2170 Large 70+ 0 5 6 10 11 15 16 21 22 30 30+ 3.50 3.77 3.82 3.21 3.10 4.02 3.70 3.66 3.40 3.83 3.66 3.11 3.60 SD 1.31 1.21 1.52 1.49 1.47 1.16 1.43 1.35 1.31 1.60 1.41 1.36 1.39

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103 Table 42 9 Discussing the l egal r equirements for s tudents with l earning d isabilities in class or on course syllabus relevance to job Relevance level N % Cumulative % Not relevant 20 21.1 21.1 Little relevance 10 10.5 31.6 Average relevance level 25 26.3 57.9 Somewhat relevant 15 15.8 73.7 Very relevant 25 26.3 100 Table 430. Mean score for the statement discussing the l egal r equirements for students with l earning d isabilities in class or on course syllabus compared to demographics Academic ranking Class size Number of years in the teaching profession Lecturer Assistant professor Associate professor Professor Small 5 20 Medium 21 70 Large 70+ 0 5 6 10 11 15 16 21 22 30 30+ 3.16 3.46 3.39 2.64 2.85 3.44 3.30 3.22 3.35 3.82 3.33 2.33 3.25 SD 1.46 1.34 1.58 1.40 1.43 1.52 1.34 1.47 1.22 1.59 1.86 1.18 1.48

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104 Table 431. Instructional competency of instructors knowledge level vs. relevance to job Instructional competency Knowledge level mean Relevance to job mean Mean weighted discrepancy score (MWDS) Visual learners to get information from reading, observing, and viewing the curriculum 3.35( SD = 1.24) 2.63( SD = 1.27) 1.10 Auditory learners to listen and speak within the classroom 2.67 ( SD = 1.19) 3.30( SD = 1.37) 0.25 Providing accommodations that can enhance the learning atmosphere 3.14( SD = 1.25) 3.72( SD = 1.30) 0.21 Using motivational strategies in the classroom to engage students with learning disabilities 2.54( SD = 1.20) 3.11( SD = 1.40) 0.20 Discussing the legal requirements for students with learning disabilities in class and on course syllabus 2.72( SD = 1.43) 3.15( SD = 1.46) 0.10 Tactile learners to examine, manipulate, and handle materials that reference the curriculum 2.63( SD = 1.21) 2.65( SD = 1.41) 0.09 Communicating expectations that are clearly stated and understood by the learner 4.06( SD = 0.99) 4.39( SD = 1.05) 0.07 Providing opportunities for students with learning disabilities to discuss personal needs 3.34 ( SD = 1.40) 3.57 ( SD = 1.41) 0.03 Providing students with learning disabilities opportunities to collaborate with peers 2.83( SD = 1.28) 3.06( SD = 1.42) 0.03 Providing appropriate printed notes and resources to students in advance 3.69( SD = 1.18) 3.56( SD = 1.38) 0.01

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105 Table 432. College of agricultural and life science s instructors differences in knowledge and relevance Instructional competencies Academic ranking knowledge level Academic ranking relevance level Class size knowledge level Class size relevance level F df p f df p f df p f df p Auditory learners to listen and speak within the classroom 2.52 3 0.63 2.50 3 0.64 0.85 2 0.42 0.86 2 0.42 Visual learners to get information from reading, observing, and viewing the curriculum 1.93 3 0.12 2.83 3 0.04 1.36 2 0.26 1.69 2 0.19 Tactile learners to examine, manipulate, and handle materials that reference the curriculum 1.66 3 0.179 1.74 3 0.16 1.35 2 0.26 0.91 2 0.4 Communicating expectations that are clearly stated and understood by the learner 1.37 3 0.20 2.45 3 0.06 2.23 2 0.11 2.70 2 0.07 Providing accommodations which can enhance the learning atmosphere 0.08 3 0.96 1.59 3 0.20 0.43 2 0.65 2.64 2 0.70 Providing printed notes and resources to students in advance 0.42 3 0.73 2.38 3 0.07 0.84 2 0.43 2.70 2 0.07 Providing opportunities to collaborate with peers 0.75 3 0.52 1.78 3 0.15 0.55 2 0.57 3.48 2 0.03 Using a variety of motivational strategies in the classroom to engage students 0.84 3 0.47 0.487 3 0.69 0.75 3 0.52 1.12 3 0.34

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106 Table 4 3 2 Continued Providing opportunities for students to discuss personal needs 5.77 2 0.05 6.18 2 0.03 1.53 0.21 4.07 2 0.02 Discussing the legal requirements for students with learning disabilities in class and on course syllabus 2.23 3 0.09 1.92 3 0.13 0.99 2 0.37 2.54 2 0.84

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107 CHAPTER 5 SUMMARY, CONCLUSIONS, AND RECOMMENDATIONS Purpose of the Study The purpose of this study was to measure how teaching methods in college classrooms can enhance learning for students with learning disabilities The study assessed instructor s perceived knowledge of learning disabilities when using specific instructional methods. Also, the study measured the degree to which instructors found specific instructional methods important when working with students with learning disabilities. This study aided in compar ed instructors perceived knowledge level and the degree to which they find a specific instructional method important when working with learning disabled students. Objectives This study was guided by four objectives: To describe College of Agricultural and Life Sciences instructors self reported knowledge of learning disability instructional competencies. To describe College of Agricultural and Life Sciences instructors self reported sense of the importance of instructional competencies when working with learning disabled students. To compare instructors knowledge and sense of the importance of instructional competencies when working with students with learning disabilities. To compare the College of Agricult ural and Life Sciences instructors differences in knowledge and sense of relevance. Methods The study was designed to utilize the Borich Needs Assessment Model to analyze the competencies of instructors and prior knowledge of teaching methods to utilize w hen working with learning disabled students in higher education (Barrick, Ladewig, & Hedges, n.d.). The independent variables in this study were the instructonal

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108 competiences that instructors use when working with students with learning disabilites. The dependent varibales were instructors knowledge and the relevance to their job. This study was administered to instructors ( n = 385) that taught classes through the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences at the University of Florida in the spring semester of 2010. There are 19 departments in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences with 13.5% of instructors ranked as lecturer, 29.2% as assistant professor s 24% as associate professor s, and 33% as a professors. The instrument was an anonymous webbas ed Borich Needs Assessment Model hosted by SurveyMonkey for data collection. The questionnaire was designed to measure instructors attitudes, knowledge, and forms of differentiated instruction used in the classroom and their perceived of these relevance t o their specific job. The questionnaire was divided into four parts : (a) the current knowledge level of the instructor based upon teaching methods, (b) the perception of instructors relevance to the job in relation to the teaching methods, (c) demographic information, and (d) openended questions. The survey was composed of ranking questions, multiple choice items and openended questions. The Borich (1980) model of needs assessment was used to measure participant s perceptions of twelve teaching competencies. Participants used a five point scale (1= Low knowledge/ relevanc e ; 5= High knowledge/ relevance ) to rate their current level of knowledge for each competency and the degree to which the competency was or was not relevant to their job. The data was analyzed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS). The researcher utilized descriptive statistics to gain a better insight of the data set. The first analysis conducted w as means, standard deviations and frequencies of

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109 the variables The researcher utilized a one way analysis of variance (ANOVA) in order to assess the relationship between the independent and dependent variables. The topics from the Borich Needs Assessment Model were ranked according to the mean rating obtained from the survey (Barrick, Ladewig, & Hedges, n.d.) A discrepancy score was obtained for each participant by subtracting the instructor s perceived level of knowledge from the perceived level of relevance for a specific teaching competency. Each discrepancy score was then multiplied by the mean importance level for that specific topic resulting in a meanweighted discrepancy score for each participant. The survey produced two relative weight scor es determined from the following formulas: Weighted Knowledge Scores= (Importance Mean Knowledge Mean) x Importance Mean (Barrick, Ladewig, & Hedges, n.d.) Weighted Application Score= (Importance Mean Application Mean) x Importance Mean (Barrick, Ladew ig, & Hedges, n.d.) The two relative weight scores were ranked in order with the topic with the greatest positive relative weight scores with highest priority (Barrick, Ladewig, & Hedges, n.d.) Summary of Findings The findings of this study are summar ized using the objective s presented in Chapter 1. Objectives Objective 1: To describe College of Agricultural and Life Sciences instructors self reported knowledge of learning disability instructional competencies. The first objective was to be able to describe the sample populations self reported knowledge of learning disability instructional competencies. The sample consisted of

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110 faculty member who taught class through the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences at the University of Florida in the spring semester of 2010 ( n = 385). NINETYTHREE percent of participants ( n = 107) were familiar with the Americans with Disability Act of 1990, stating that they were familiar that it was their responsibility to provide students with learning disabiliti es accommodations. Only six percent ( n = 7) were not familiar with the Americans with Disability Act of 1990, stating that it was their responsibilit y to accommodat e students with learning disabilities The greatest percentage of the participants stat ed that they taught medium size d class with approximately 21 to 70 students ( n = 34, 37.8%). Parti cipants also reported that 88.9% ( n = 80) taught a lecturebased course, while 11.1% ( n = 10) taught a labbased course. The average number of years of college teaching experience was 14.84. Participants were asked to rate their knowledge level in regard to the Americans with Disability Act on a scale of 1 to 4; the mean was 2.70 ( SD =0.68). Participants in this study were also asked to indicate thei r self perceived knowledge level on a scale of 1 to 5 in regard to the statement accommodating to students with learning disabilities can enhance learning The mean score was 3.14 ( SD = 1.25). The mean score for the statement accommodating to students with learning disabilities can enhance learning compared to class size was 3.13 ( SD = 1.25). The mean score for the statement accommodating to students with learning disabilities can enhance learning compared to academic ranking was 3.14 ( SD = 1.26). The mean score for the statement accommodati ng to students with learning disabilities can enhance learning compared to the number of years that an instructor had been teaching was 3.12 ( SD = 1.26).

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111 Also, participants were asked to indica te their self perceived knowledge level on a scale of 1 to 5 in regard to the statement using motivational strategies in the classroom to engage students with learning disabilities can enhance learning The mean score was 2.54 ( SD =1.20). The mean score for the statement using motivational strategies in the classroom to engage students with learning disabilities can enhance learning compared to class size was 2.50( SD = 1.20). The mean score for the statement using motivational strategies in the clas sroom to engage students with learning disabilities can enhance learning compared to academic ranking was 2.55 ( SD = 1.21). The mean score for the statement using motivational strategies in the classroom to engage students with learning disabilities can enhance learning compared to the number of years that an instructor has been teaching was 2.94 ( SD = 1.96). Participants were asked to rate their knowledge level in regard to the teaching competency that providing opportunities for auditory learners to listen and speak within the classroom enhances the learning environment was rated on s scale of 1 to 5 with a mean of 2.61 ( SD =1.19). The mean score for providing opportunities for auditory learner s to listen and speak within the classroom compared to the class size was 2.65 ( SD = 1.20). The mean score for providing opportunities for auditory learner to listen and speak within the classroom compared to academic ranking was 2.69 ( SD = 1.18). The mean score for providing opportunities for an auditory l earner to listen and speak within classroom compared the number of years that an instructor has been teaching was 2.67 ( SD = 1.21). Participants in this study were also asked to indicate their self perceived knowledge level on a scale of 1 to 5 in regar d to the statement providing opportunities

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112 for students with learning disabilities to discuss personal needs is important to both instructor and student The mean score was 3.34 ( SD =1.40). The mean score for the statement providing opportunities for students with learning disabilities to discuss personal needs is important to both instructor and student compared to the class size was 3.31 ( SD = 1.42). The mean score for the statement providing opportunities for students with learning disabilities to discuss personal needs is important to both instructor and student compared to academic ranking was 2.03 ( SD = 1.46). The mean score for the statement providing opportunities for students with learning disabilities to discuss personal needs is important to both instructor and student compared to the number of years that an instructor has been teaching was 3.23 ( SD = 1.42). Participants in this study were also asked to indicate their self perceived knowledge level on a scale of 1 to 5 in regard t o the statement the importance of discussing the legal requirements for students with learning disabilities in class or i n the course syllabus can be beneficial for students The mean score was 2.79 ( SD =1.43). The mean score for the statement the importance of discussing the legal requirements for students with learning disabilities in class or in the course syllabus can be beneficial for students compared to the class size was 2.70 ( SD = 1.45). The mean score for the statement the impor tance of discussing the legal requirements for students with learning disabilities in class or in the course syllabus can be beneficial for students compared to academic ranking was 2.21 ( SD = 1.31). The mean score for the statement the importance of d iscussing the legal requirements for students with learning disabilities in class or on course syllabus can be beneficial for students

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113 compared to the number of ye ars that an instructor has been teaching was 2.71 ( SD = 1.45). Objective Two: Describe h ow College of Agricultural and Life Sciences instructors perceived the importance of instructional competencies when working with learning disabled students. This objective sought to describe College of Agricultural and Life Sciences instructors self reported perceived importance of instructional competencies when working with learning disabled students. Participants in this study were asked to indicate their self perceived relevance level to their jobs on a scale of 1 to 5 in regard to the statement acc ommodating to students with learning disabilities can enhance learning. T he mean score was 3.72 ( SD =1.30). The mean score for the statement accommodating to students with learning disabilities can enhance learning compared to the class size was 3.82 ( SD = 1.22 ). The mean score for the statement, accommodating to students with learning disabilities can enhance learning compared to academic ranking was 3.53 ( SD = 1.36). The mean score for the statement, accommodating to students with learning disa bilities can enhance learning compared the number of years that an instructor has been teaching was 3.76 ( SD = 1.26). Participants in this study were asked to indicate their self perceived relevance level to their jobs on a scale of 1 to 5 in regard to the statement using motivational strategies in the classroom to engage students with learning disabilities can enhance l earning. The mean score was 3.14 ( SD = 1.39). The mean score for the statement using motivational strategies in the classroom to engage students with learning disabilities can enhance learning compared to the class size was 3.10 ( SD = 1.41). The mean score for the statement using motivational strategies in the classroom to engage students with learning disabilities can enhance learning compared to academic

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114 ranking was 3.53 ( SD = 1.36). The mean score for the statement using motivational strategies in the classroom to engage students with learning disabilities can enhance learning compared the number of years that an instructor has been teaching was 3.10 ( SD = 1.40). Also, participants in this study were asked to indicate their self perceived relevance level to their jobs on a scale of 1 to 5 in regard to the statement providing opportunities for students with learning disabilities to discuss personal needs The mean score was 3.58 ( SD = 1.41). The mean score for the statement providing opportunities for students with learning disabilities to discuss personal needs compared to class size was 3.6 ( SD = 1.38). The mean score for the statement providing opportunities for students with learning disabilities to discuss personal needs compared to academic ranking was 3.56 ( SD = 1.41). The mean score for the statement using motivational strategies in the classroom to engage students with learning disabilities can enhance learning compared the number of years that an instructor has been teaching was 3.60 ( SD = 1.39). Finally participants in this study were asked to indicate their self perceived rel evance lev el to their jobs on a scale of 1 to 5 in regard to the statement discussing the legal requirements for students with learning disabiliti es in class or in the course syllabus can be beneficial for students The mean score was 3.15 ( SD = 1.47). Objective Three: T o compare the knowledge and importance of instructional competencies when working with students with learning disabilities. This objective sought to compare the knowledge and importance of instructional competencies when working with students with learning disabilities. Mean weighted

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115 discrepancy scores were used to compare instructors self perceived knowledge and relevance to their job of specific teaching competencies. Instructors rated their knowledge level ( = 2.63, SD = 1.21) and relevance level ( = 2.65, SD = 1.41) in regard to providing opportunities for visual learners to gather information from reading, observing, and viewing the curriculum within the classroom with a meanweighted discrepancy score of 1.10. In structors had a self reported knowledge level ( = 2.63, SD = 1.21 and relevance level ( = 2.65, SD = 1.41) of the importance of providing opportunities for tactile learners to examine, manipulate, and handle materials that reference the curriculum within the classroom with a meanweighted discrepancy score of 1.09. Instructors rated their knowledge level ( = 2.67, SD = 1.19) and relevance level ( = 3.30, SD = 1.37) in regard to providing opportunities for auditory learners to listen and speak wi thin the classroom, their meanweighted discrepancy score was 0.25. Instructors had a self reported knowledge level ( = 3.14, SD = 1.25) and relevance level ( m =3.72, SD = 1.30) of the importance of the teaching competencies that accommodati ng to learning disabled students can enhance the learning atmosphere; the meanweighted discrepancy score was 0.21. Instructors had a self reported knowledge level ( m =2.72, SD = 1.43) and relevance level ( m =3.15, SD = 1.46) of the importance of discussing the legal requirem ents for students with learning disabilities in class and in the course syllabus The meanweighted discrepancy score was 0.10. Instructors had a self reported knowledge level ( m =2.63, SD = 1.21) and relevance level ( m =2.65, SD = 1.41) of allowing tactile learners to examine,

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116 manipulate, and handle materials that reference the curriculum The meanweighted discrepancy score was 0.09. Instructors had a self reported knowledge level ( = 4.06, SD = 0.99) and relevance level ( = 4.39, SD = 1.05) of communicating expectations that are clearly stated and understood by the learner The meanweighted discrepancy score was 0.07. Instructors had a self reported knowledge level ( m =2.83, SD = 1.40) and relevance level ( = 3.57, SD = 1.41) of providing opportunities for students with learning disabilities to discuss personal needs The meanweighted discrepancy score was 0.03. Instructors had a self reported knowledge level ( = 2.83, SD = 1.28) and relevance level ( = 3.06, SD = 1.42) that providing students with learning disabilities opportunities to collaborate with peers can enhance the learning environment The meanweighted discrepancy score was 0.03. Instructors had a self reported knowledge level ( = 3.69, SD = 1.18) and relevance level ( = 3.56, SD = 1.38) of providing appropriate printed notes and resources to students in advance can enhance the learning environment the meanweighted discrepancy score was 0.01. Objective Four : To compare the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences instructors differences in knowledge and relevance. An Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) was used to determine if a statistically significant difference existed in the instructional competencies. The statistical test indicated that a statistically sig nificant difference existed in the mean when providing opportunities for visual learners to gain information from reading, observing, and viewing curriculum when comparing the academic ranking to the relevance of the

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117 instructors job level (F(13.14,140.47) = 2.83, p<0.042). Also there was a statistically significant difference between the knowledge level of applying the concept of providing students with the ability to discuss personal needs and the academic ranking of instructors ( F(20.17,164.70) = 5.77, p<0.05). Another statistical significant difference that was the relevance level o f an instructors job of providing opportunities for students with learning disabilities to discuss personal needs compared to the class size F(14.88,166.31) 4.07, p<0.02). There were no other statistical ly significant differences to report. Conclusion The sample used in this study was self selected, not randomly drawn from the population. With this limitation in mind, and based on the findings of this study, the following conclusions were drawn: 1. Participants in this study were concrete in the idea that it was their responsibility to provide students with learning disabilities accommodation through the Americans with Disability Act of 1990. They also expressed a weak degree of self perceived knowledge that providing students with accommodations based on certain learning competencies can enhance the learning environment. Over the years the percentage of learningdisabled students has tripled as have the amount of accommodations that students are receiving within universities The belief behind this notation is that individuals have become more knowledgeable about seeking help because of th eir specific learning disabilities 2. Participants in this study were mainly concrete w hen asked about the importance of applying specific teaching competencies in their job when working with learning disabled students. They also expressed a degree of high self perceived knowledge when communicating expectations that are clearly stated and understood by the learner, providing accommodations can enhance the learning atmosphere, and visual learner gain information by viewing and applying the material. 3. Participants in t his study had a discrepancy in self reported knowledge level and relevance to their particular job that providing opportunities for visual learners to get information from reading, observing, and viewing the curriculum Allowing auditory learners to listen and speak within the classroom is important when working with learning disabled students. Also there was a discrepancy in the self reported knowledge level and relevance to those providing accommodations that they can enhance the learning atmosphere and use motivational strategies

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1 18 in the classroom to engage students with learning disabilities can enhance the learning environment. 4. Participants in this study self reported knowledge level and relevance level were co mpared to three demographics. Class size, academic rank and the length of time teaching played pivotal role s in the explanation of the use of the teaching competencies. Many individuals who reported that they taught large course s did not use differential learning within their curriculum. The amount of time an individual been in the teaching profession also hindered the use of differential learning within their curriculum. Discussion and Implications Objective One: To describe College of Agricultural and Life Sciences instructors self reported knowledge of learning disability instructional competencies. Conclusion: P articipants in this study were concrete in the idea that it was their responsibility to provide students with learning disabilities accommodation through the Americans with Disability Act of 1990. They also expressed a weak degree of self perceived knowledge that providing students with accommodations based on certain learning competencies can enhance the learning environment. It was expected that the majority of participants in this study would have concrete knowledge of the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) of 1990. Given the laws and regulations to accommodate learning disabled students participants were knowledgeable that learning disabled students who registered with the UF Office of Disability were expected to receive the approved accommodations recommended. Many participants knew about the ADA, but did not know the implications and the requirements and benefits that students with learning disabilities were entitled to. Section 504 of the ADA requires all federally funded programs, including educational programs such as state universities, to provide accomm odations to all otherwise qualified persons who self identify as having any disability that "substantially limits one or more major life activities. (Learning Disability Association of Am erica, 2006) It is

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119 critical that instructors become familiarize with the ADA and the approprate accomodations that students should receive. Encouraging students with learning disabilities to communicat e their needs in regard to their specific learning dis ability is imperative Instructors who provide students with the required accomodations and use specific teaching competiencies within their classroom allow students to have the best chance for success. One of the most important aspects in education is al lowing students to have needed social interaction between peers and instructors (Berk & Winsler, 1995) Individuals with learning disabilities should participate regularly in activities and communicate with others in order to progress (Berk & Winsler, 1995) The findings of this current study are consistent with the studies that found using Vygotskys Learning Theory. Instru ctors knowedge level s in regard to specfic teaching competencies fit a wide array of spectr a in the importance of providing learning disabiled students with specific acc omodations It was expected that the majority of participants in this study would have a concret understanding of learning styles, because visual learners grasp information through reading, observing, and viewing the curriculum, auditory learners grasp information by speaking and listening within the classroom and tactile learners excel when they have the ability to examine, manipulate, and handle materials that reference the curriculum. Given the wide array of participants who teach cours es through the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, it is reasonable to expect that there would be a varied response rate on the ability of instructor s to cater to specific learning styles McCarthy (1990) believed that learning style issues lead directly to instructional issues, which lead directly to curriculum issues and their attendant

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120 ambiguities about the nature of evaluation. The findings of this current study are consistent with the studies that found using differentiated learning can enhance the learning process (McCarthy,1990). Objective Two: To describe College of Agricultural and Life Sciences instructors self reported sense of the importan ce of instructional competencies when working with learning disabled students. Conclusion: Participants in this study were mainly concrete when asked about the importance of applying specific teaching competencies in their job when working with learning di sabled students. They also expressed a degree of high self perceived relevance when communicating expectations that are clearly stated and understood by the learner, providing accommodation can enhance the learning atmosphere, visual learner s gain information by viewing and applying the material. It was reasonable to assume that instructors who educate students at the University of Florida would have a high level of self perceived relevance when asked about specific teaching competencies. The findings of this study support the premise that instructors had a low knowledge level in regard to specific competencies but believed that the competencies were particularly relevant when working with learning disabled students. That catering to specific learning st yle is imperative when working with a large student population, many instructors found a great deal of relevance to their specific job, participants of the study had a high level of self perceived relevance that communicating expectations to students with learning disabilities can enhance the learning atmosphere. This premise, as indicated by the self reported knowledge level of instructors was supported throughout the study. Educators have been forced to reevaluate instructional practices, assessments and curriculum in order to accommodate different learners needs (Tomlinson, 1999). It is possible that some instructors do not deviate from their traditional teaching methods to differentiate with in the classroom

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121 because of lack of time and the effort i nvolved in revis ing curriculum. This research is consistent with a study done at the University of Hong Kong (Mantak, Peter, & Gunter). Objective Three: To compare the knowledge and importance of instructional competencies when working with students with learning disabilities. Conclusion: Participants in this study showed a discrepancy in self reported knowledge level and relevance to their particular job that providing opportunities visual learners to get information from reading, observing, and viewing the curriculum, allowing auditory learners to listen and speak within the classroom is important when working with learning disabled students. Also there was a discrepancy in the self reported knowledge level and relevance to those who provide accommodations that can enhance the learning environment by motivational strategies in the classroom to engage students with learning disabilities There was a large discrepancy in many knowledge level s and self reported relevance level s of particular teaching competences. With a lack of knowledge in regard to specific teaching competencies and the high self reported relevance level it is imperative to create a workshop for instructors to familiarize themselves with specific teaching co mpetencies. The link between relevance level and knowledge level seems to be severed, and in order to enhance the instruction within the classroom instructors must familiarize themselves with the specific teaching competencies. It is interesting that inst ructors rated their knowledge of providing visual, auditory and tactile learners with the tools to get information from reading, observing, listening, and viewing the curriculum as high, while rating its relevance level as low. This would imply that instr uctors recognize that using a wide array of teaching methods is necessary but they do not feel that it is important to incorporate them into the lecture. Instructors had a moderate knowledge level that providing accommodations for learning disabled stud ents can enhance learning, rating their relevance level as high. This would imply that instructors recognized the importance of providing

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122 accommodations but were not necessary knowledgeable about how to provide for students. Recommendations for Practitioners Based on the finding of this study, the following recommendations are made for practitioners: 1. Providing instructors with professional development cour ses that allow them to learn the fundamental of teaching techniques when working with learning disable d students: (a) learn to engage in classroom activities, (b) the basic s of teaching critical thinking to learning disabled students, (c) effective lecturing, (d) demonstrating appropriate questioning and examination techniques. 2. Because students learning styles and achievement levels vary in many ways, instructors should continue to use differentiated instruction and a varied approach of instructional competencies when working with learning disabled students. 3. Because an increase in motivation to use specific teaching competencies relates to an increase in student achievement, instructors who use differentiated instruction reach a widearray of learners thus leading to higher achievement and student success. Recommendations for Further Research Ba sed upon the findings of this study, the following recommendations for further research are made: 1. It would be valuable to replicate this study in other colleges of a gricultur e at other landgrant universities. 2. It would also be useful to evaluate the inst ructors written curriculum along with the syllabus in order to gather information on how instructors are using the specific competencies. 3. Since faulty members were address ed within this study it would be useful to evaluate belief of students with learning disabilities on instructional competencies. 4. Us ing qualitative data and observing classroom activities would allow the researcher to observe specific teaching competencies in use. 5. It would be valuable to analyze instructor s ability to differentiate learning through distance learning and varied sizes of classes.

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123 6. It would be valuable to analyze specific disciplines and majors to gather more information on instructor s ability to differentiate instruction and compare the data by majors. Upon completion of t his study, the researcher reflected on the process. As such, if replicating this process, several things would have been done differently. First, a single questionnaire was us ed to assess instructors self perceived knowledge and relevance of specific teac hing competencies. This instrument provided valuable data, but it be deemed more useful if the researcher w ere to ask what course instructors taught and to provide a copy of their course syllabus. By evaluating the course syllabus the research could have evaluated the curriculum and the methods that students were evaluated on.

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124 APPENDIX A DATA COLLECTION INST RUMENT

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130 APPENDIX B CORRESPONDENCE Email Reminder 1 January 14, 2010 Dear IFAS Faculty Members, A few days from now you will receive an email with a request to fill out a brief questionnaire via Survey Monkey for an important research project being conducted by Sallie Ann Sims a graduate student in the Department of Agricultural Education and Communication at the U niversity of Florida. The primary purpose of this study is to measure how teaching methods in college classrooms can enhance learning for students with learning disabilities in higher education. I am writing you in advance because we have found many people like to know ahead of time that they will be contacted. The study is an important one that will help gain a better insight on the knowledge educators have of learning disabilities within the classroom setting. Thank you for your time and consideration. Its only with the generous help of people like you that our research can be successful. Sincerely, Sallie Ann Sims Graduate Student

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131 Email Reminder 2 Colleagues, Last week I sent you a prenotice about this research project being conducted by Sallie Ann Sims, a graduate student in Agricultural Education and Communication. She is now in the data collection phase of her project. Please take a few minutes and complete Sallie Anns survey at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/BJJ5B7J Thank you in advance for helping with this important project. Grady

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132 Email Reminder 3 Colleagues, From Sallie Ann Sims, a graduate student in Agricultural Education and Communication: Last week a questionnaire seeking your opinions about knowledge of learning disabilities within the classroom setting was sent to you via email. We are asking that all IFAS Faulty Members t ake a few minutes to complete the questionnaire. If you have already completed and returned the questionnaire to us, please accept our sincere thanks. If not, please do so today. We are especially grateful for your help because it is only by asking people like you to share your experiences that we can understand how faculty instructs students with learning disabilities. If you did not receive a questionnaire you may use the link below to complete the questionnaire. https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/BJJ5B7J Sallie Ann Sims Graduate Student Department of College of Agricultural and Life Sciences Univers ity of Florida

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133 Email Reminder 4 Colleagues, From Sallie Ann Sims: During the last few weeks we have sent you several emails seeking your opinions about knowledge of learning disabilities within the classroom setting. The study is drawing to a close, and this is the last contact that will be made with the IFAS Faulty Members. We are sending this final contact because of our concern that people who have not responded may have had different experiences then those who have. Hearing from everyone in this sm all sample helps assure that the survey results are as accurate as possible. We also want to assure you that your response to this study is voluntary, and if you prefer not respond thats fine. Finally, we appreciate your willingness to consider our reques t as we conclude this effort to better understand your job. Thank you very much. Link to Survey: https:/ /www.surveymonkey.com/s/BJJ5B7J Sincerely, Sallie Ann Sims Graduate Student

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134 APPENDIX C IRB APPROVAL

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135 LIST OF REFERENCES Abrams, J., Ferguson, J., & Laud, L. (2001). Assessing ESOL students. Educational Leadership 59(3), 62 65. Acrey, C., Johnstone, C., & Milligan, C. (2005). Using universal design to unlock the potential for academic achievement of at risk learners, Teaching Exceptional Children 38 (2), 22 31. Agresti, A. & Finlay, B. (1997). Statistical methods for the social sciences (3rd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall. American Council on Education, New Report Focuses on Helping Disabilied Students Succeed in College. (n.d.). Retrieved May 29, 2009, from American Council on Education: http:/ /www.acenet.edu/AM/Tem plate.cfm/ Sectio n = Search&CONTENTID=28671&TEMPLATE=/CM/ContentDisplay.cfm Berk, E., & Winsler, A. (1995). Scaffolding Children's Learning: Vyotsky and Early Childhood Education. Washington, DC: National Association for the Education of Young Children. Burgstahler, S., Crawford, L., & Acosta, J. (2001). Transition from twoyear to four year institutions for students with disabilities, Disability Studies Quarterly 21(1), 25 38. Callahan, C.M. (2001). Beyond the gifted stereotype. Educational Leadershi 59(3 ), 4246. Chapman, C., & King, R. (2005). 11 practical ways to guide teachers towards differentiation. Journal of Staff Developmen 26(4), 2025. College Planning for Students with Learning Disabilities. (n.d.). Retrieved from Educational Resource Information Center (U.S. Department of Education): http://www.education.com/reference/article/Ref_College_Students/ Crain, W. (1999). Theories of DevelopmentL Concepts and Applications (4 ed.). Alexandria, VA: Prentice Hall. Crain, W. (2000). Theories of Devel opment Concepts and Applications. Englewood Cliffs New Jersey: Prentice Hall Inc. Curry, C. (2003). Universal design: Accessibility for all learners, Educational Leadershi 61(2), 55 60. Dahmns, M., Geonnotti, D., Passalacqua, N. J., Schilk, A., Wetzel, A., & Zulkowsky, M. (2007). The Educational Theory of Lev Vygotsky: A n analysis. Retrieved July 10, 2009, from New Foundations: http://www.newfoundations.com/GALLERY/Vygotsky.html

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136 Dearing, R. (1997). Higher Education in the Learning Society. Report of the Committee of Inquiry into Higher Education. London: Department for Education and Employment. Dillman, D. A. (2006). Mail and Internet Surveys: The Tailored Design Method 2007 with New Internet, Visual, and MixedMode Guide. New York: Wiley. Fitzgerald, J. & Graves, M.F. (2004/2005). Reading supports for all. Educational Leadership 62(4), 68 71. Fuchs, L., & Fuchs, D. (1998). General educators instructional adaptations for students with learning disabilities, Learning Disabilities Quarterly 21, 2333. Gi angreco, M., Dennis, R., Cloninger, C., Edelman, S., & Schattman, R. (1993). Ive counted Jon: Transformational experiences of teachers educating students with disabilities. Exceptional Children 59, 359372. Goldfarb, M. E. (2000). The educational theory of Lev Semenovich Vygotsky (18961934). Retrieved July 10, 2009, from New Foundations: http://www.newfoundations.com/GALLERY/Vygotsky.html Hallahan, D ., Llyod, J., Weiss, L. & Martinez, E. (2005). How Can Students with Learning Disabilities Succeed i n College? Retrieved July 12, 2009, from Education: http://www.education.com/reference/article/students learningdisabilities college/?page=2 Hardiman, M.M. (2001). Connecting brain research with dimensions of learning. Educational Leadership 59(3), 52 55. Hedrick, K.A. (2005). Staff development for differentiation must be made to measure. Journal of Staff Development 26(4), 3237. Heiman, T., & Precel, K. (2003). Students with Learning Dsiablities in Higher Education: Academic Strategies Profile. Journal of Learning Disabilites 36(3), 248258. Henderson, C. (1995). College Freshmen with Disabilities: A Triennial Statistical Profile. American Council On Education, 47. Heuser, D. (2001). Reworking the workshop for math and science. Educational Leadership 58(1),3437. Hitchcock, C., Meyer, A., Rose, D., & Jackson, R. (2002). Providing access to the general curriculum, Teaching Exceptional Children 35(2), 8 17. Hoover, J.J., & Patton, J.R. (2004). Differentiating standards based education for students with s pecial needs. Remedial and Special Education 25(2), 74 78.

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137 Int ernational Dyslexia Association (2007). LD Online Retrieved May 28, 2009, from Dyslexia Basics: http://www.ldonline.org/article/Dyslexia_Basics Ivey, G. (2001). Redesigning reading instruction. Educational Leadershi 58(1), 4245. Jacobs, L. C., Ary, A., Razavieh, A., & Sorenson, C. (2005). Introduction to Research in Education. New Orleans: Thom p son Wadsworth. Jensen, E. (2001). Fragile brains. Educational Leadership 58(6), 32 36. Joyce, B. Hrycauk, M., & Calhoun, E. (2001). A second chance for struggling readers, Educational Leadership 58(6), 42 45. King Friedrichs, J. (2001). Brain friendly techniques for improving memory. Educational Leadership 59(3), 76 79. LD Online. (2005). Retrieved May 24, 2009, from Guidelines for Documentation of a Learning Disability in Adolescents and Adults : http://www.ldonline.org/article/Guidelines_for_Documentation_of_a_Learning_Disa bility_in_Adolescents_and_Adults LD Online (2008). Retri eved May 28, 2009, from What is a learning disablity?: http://www.ldonline.org/ldbasics/whatisld LDAA. (2006). Learning Disability Association of America Retrieved May 29, 2009, from LDA: http://www .ldanatl.org/about/history.asp Learning Disabilities (n.d.). Retrieved April 2, 2009, from Understanding Learning Disabilities: www.understanding learningdisabilities.com/support files/chapteri rev.pdf Levine, M. (2003). Celebrating diverse minds. Educat ional Leadership 61(2), 12 18. Lewis, S.L., & Batts, K. (2005). How to implement differentiated instruction? Adjust, adjust, adjust. Journal of Staff Development 26(4), 26 31. Lockley, S. ( n.d. ). Dyslexia and higher education: accessibility issues. Highe r Education Academy. McCarthy, B. (1990). Using the 4MAT system to bring learning styles to schools. Educational Leadership 48(2), 31 37. Moats, L.C. (2001). When older students cant read, Educational Leadership 58(6), 36 40. National C enter for Learning Disabilities. (2006). LD Online Retrieved May 30, 2009, from Dyscalculia: http://www.ldonline.org/article/Dyscalculia

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138 National Center for Learning Disabilities. (1999). LD Online Retrieved May 30, 2009, from Visual and Audio Processing Disorder: http://www.ldonline.org/article/Visual_and_Auditory_Processing_Disorders National Joint Committee on Learning Disabilities. (1999). LD Online. Retrieved June 1, 2009, from Learning Disabilities: Issues in Higher: http://www.ldonline.org/cse?cx=0182138663402340832 21%3Ahh6qnz0cy2u&cof= FORID%3A11%3BNB%3A1&ie=UTF8&q=higher+education#1020 Page, S.W. (2001). When changes for the gifted spur differentiation for all. Educational Leadership 58(1), 62 65. Pettig, K.L. (2000). On the road to differentiated practice. Educa tional Leadership 58(1), 14 18. Popham, W.J. (2001). Teaching to the test? Educational Leadership, 58( 6), 1620. Reiff, H. B., Gerber, P. J., & Ginsberg, R. (1993). Definitions of learning disabilities from adults with learning disabilities: The insiders' perspectives. Learning Disability Quarterly 16 114125. Reis, S., & Renzulli, J. (1992). Using curriculum compacting to challenge the above average. Educational Leadership 50(2), 51 57. Schneider, E. (2001). Shifting into high gear. Educational Leadership 58(1), 57 60. Schumm, J., & Vaughn, S. (1991). Making adaptations for mainstreamed students: General classroom teachers perspectives. Remedial and Special Education 12 (4), 1827. Shelton, C.M. (2000). Portraits in emotional awareness. Educational Leadership, 58(1), 3032. Silver, D. (2005). Drumming to the Beat of Different Marchers. Nashville : Incentive Publications, Inc. Stigler, J., & Hiebert, J. (1997, September). Understanding and improving classroom mathematics instruction. Phi Delta Kappan, 79(1), 14 21. Strenberg, R.J. (1997). What does it mean to be smart? Educational Leadership 54(6), 2024. Strenberg, R.J., Grigorenko, E.L., Jarvin, L. (2001). Improving reading instruction: The triarchic model, Educat ional Leadership 58(6), 4 8 51. Strong, R.W., Silver, H.F., & Perini, M.J. (2001). Making students as important as standards. Educational Leadership 59(3), 56 61.

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139 Students with Learning Disabilities : Preparing for Postsecondary Education. (n.d.). Retrieved April 2, 2009, from http: //www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/transition.html A Dean of Students Office (n.d.). Retrieved April 2, 2009, from the University of Florida: http://www.dso.ufl.edu/drc/laws.php Thompson, S. (1996). LD Online Retrieved May 29, 2009, from Nonverbal Learning Disorders: http://www.ldonline.org/article/Nonverbal_Learning_Disorders Tomlinson, C.A. (1999). Mapping a route toward differentiated instruction. Educational Leadership 57(1), 12 16. Tomlinson, C.A. (2000). Reconcilable differences? Standards based t eaching and differentiation. Educational Leadership 58(1 ) 6 11. Tomlinson, C.A. (2003). Deciding to teach them all. Educational Leadership 61(2), 6 11. Tomlinson, C.A., & Kalbfleisch, M.L. (1998). Teach me, teach my brain: A call for differentiated clas srooms. Educational Leadership 56(3), 52 55. Towle, W. (2001). The art of the reading workshop. Educational Leadership, 58 (1), 38 40. U.S. Department of Education. (2008, August 14). U.S. Department of Education. Retrieved May 29, 2009, from Office of Vocational and Adult Education: http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ovae/pi/AdultEd/dislearning.html Vogel, S., Leyser, Y., Wyland, S., & Brulle, A. (1999). Learning Disabilities in Higher Education Faculty Attitudes and Practices. Learning Disabilities Res earch and Practice 14 (3), 17386. Wadsworth, J (2001). Strategic Planning in Farming Cooperatives. USDA, 1643. Wehrmann, K.S. (2001). Baby steps: A beginners guide. Educational Leadership 58(1), 20 23. Wertsch, J. V., & Rogoff, B. (1984). Editor's Notes. In Children's learning in th e "zone of proximal development San Fransciso: Jossey Bass. Westby, C., & Altencio, D. (2002). Computers, Culture and Learning. Topics in Language Disorders 22 (4), 70 87. Willard Holt, C. (2001). Raising expectations for the gifted. Educational Leadership 61(2), 72 75. Winebrenner, S. (2001). Gifted students need an education, too. Educational Leadership 58(1), 52 56.

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140 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Sallie Ann Sims was born in Roanoke, Virginia. She grew up in Annapolis Maryland and moved to Vero Beach, Florida in 1999 with her family. Ms. Sims graduated from Saint Edward High School in 2003. Ms. Sims received her Bachelor of Science degree in agriculture from the University of Florida in 2007, with a major in Food and Resource Economics. Upon graduation she was employed with the Pepsi Bottling Group in the Management Training program. Ms. Sims returned to the University of Florida to complete a Master of Agriculture degree, with a specialization in leadership development. She enjoyed the research on learning disabilities because she was diagnosed with a dyslexia and ADHD as child. While completing her master s, she served as a graduate teaching and research assistant.