Date of Award

Winter 12-15-2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Special Education - General Curriculum (Ed.D)



Committee Chair/First Advisor

Dr. Harriet Bessette

Second Committee Member

Dr. Patricia McHatton

Third Committee Member

Dr. Guichon Zong


The implementation of Public Law 94-142 in 1974 guaranteed that students with disabilities had the right to be educated alongside their peers in the least restrictive environment. However, decades later, administrators, teachers, and parents continue to struggle to resolve the issue on how to include students with disabilities in general education classrooms, as well as how to recognize why students with cognitive disabilities were embodied more in self-contained classrooms than in comprehensive environments. In this study, I aimed to understand how special education teachers’ attitudes about inclusion, LRE, and students with cognitive disabilities influence placement recommendations. Through the qualitative thematic analysis performed on the interviews with the six participants, the researcher found that teachers still have a passionate attitude towards students with cognitive abilities. It was also established that teachers employ their knowledge about the condition and progress about the student as the main determinant when making placements. Finally, teachers also employ knowledge about the condition as guide to the next actions to take. With the findings, it can be inferred that teachers try their best to provide a fair process when making recommendations. Schools can then utilize this current study to determine the needs of the teachers. The responses of the participants in the study indicated the aspects that worked and did not work for the teachers when dealing with students with cognitive disabilities; therefore, schools can take the reflections of the teachers in improving their system with the records of the students to make the process easier and reasonable.


How do teachers and/or IEP teams really make placement recommendations and decisions? What data is used to make placement decisions?