Date of Award

5-2017

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Education

Major Professor

Sherry M. Bell

Committee Members

David F. Cihak, Karee E. Dunn, Yujeong Park

Abstract

Increasing diversity and growing achievement gaps among diverse groups in U.S. public schools has resulted in increased pressure on teacher education programs to prepare teachers effectively to meet the needs of contemporary students. Research is needed to establish best practices of teacher education that carry forward into future practice. Universal Design for Learning (UDL) has been proposed as a framework to help address the need for more flexible learning environments, but limited research has been conducted to determine best practices for supporting preservice teachers in learning this complex framework. In this dissertation study, I examine the notion that education research develops in ecological context before presenting a case for the current period of education research being one of “innovation.”

After recognizing the barriers to researching UDL and faculty modeling, solutions are presented and tested through the study. In the study, itself, I present the results of a group, time series design in which participants were exposed to an intervention in which UDL is explicitly modeled in contrast to a control condition which focused on traditional methods of lecture and textbook reading. Effect on efficacy in practicing UDL and attitudes toward inclusion are reported. A two-way repeated measures ANOVA suggested no statistically significant difference (p > .05) in preservice teacher attitudes toward inclusion as assessed by the Multidimensional Attitudes toward Inclusion Scale (Mahat, 2008). Likewise, a two-way repeated measures ANOVA suggested no statistically significant difference (p > .05) in preservice teacher sense efficacy in practicing Universal Design for Learning, as assessed by an adapted version of the Teacher Sense of Efficacy Scale (Tschannen-Moran & Hoy, 2001). Discussion, implications, and calls for further research follow.

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