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Attitudes of public school administrators toward gifted, gifted-handicapped, handicapped and normal students and relationship to administrator belief system
The major purposes of this research were to examine the attitudes and belief systems of public school administrators. These areas were investigated: administrators' attitudes toward the gifted, gifted-handicapped, handicapped, and normal students; personal and professional beliefs; and dogmatic thinking. Relationships among attitudes and belief system also were examined. To accomplish the purposes, 225 administrators were contacted through a mail-out questionnaire. They were asked to read eight vignettes, to complete an adjective checklist, to indicate whether they agreed or disagreed with a set of 120 statements designed to measure their beliefs system, and to provide demographic data. Data anaysis indicated that administrators held more positive attitudes toward the gifted-handicapped and normal students than they did toward the gifted and handicapped students. The gifted student was seen more positively than the handicapped students. Significantly more negative attitudes were directed toward the learning disabled student. When giftedness was linked with a handicapping condition more positive attitudes toward both types of exceptionalities existed. It appeared that these administrators held many similar attitudes toward the students. The results indicated that neither the size of the district in which the administrator was employed nor special gifted education at the university level affected administrator attitudes. Superintendents, principals, and directors of special education had significantly different belief systems. Superintendents had the highest levels of irrational personal and professional beliefs as well as dogmatic thinking. Directors of special education were the most rational and open-minded. Principals' ratings in personal and professional beliefs fell between superintendents' and directors' of special education. Significant relationships among the components of the belief system as well as attitudes toward students appeared to exist. As dogmatic thinking increased, irrational personal and professional beliefs increased as well. Administrators with more irrational personal beliefs also tended to have more irrational professional beliefs. Administrators who exhibited more dogmatic thinking tended to have less positive attitudes toward certain students. Implications for training of administrators was discussed. Finally, suggestions for further examination of administrative attitudes toward the gifted, gifted-handicapped, and handicapped as well as belief system were presented.
Griffin, Loysann (1984). Attitudes of public school administrators toward gifted, gifted-handicapped, handicapped and normal students and relationship to administrator belief system. Texas A&M University. Texas A&M University. Libraries. Available electronically from
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