Correlates of successful adaptive behavior in the mainstreamed adolescent as perceived by teachers, parents and students

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Cortez, Suzanne E.
Fischer, Wyman E.
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Thesis (D. Ed.)
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The purpose of this study was to identify correlates of successful social adaptation in secondary schools, as perceived by students, teachers and parents. A description of behaviors important for mainstreaming mildly exceptional students into grade levels six through twelve was sought.The long term significance of the study was to begin development of an adaptive behavior scale for adolescents which would discriminate normal from mildly handicapped students. The literature contains substantial agreement that no reliable method or measure exists for the evaluation of adaptive behavior in the mildly handicapped secondary student, although the Education for Handicapped Children Act CPL 94-142) requires such an evaluation.Subjects of this study were middle and senior high school classes selected at random from three middle and three senior high schools in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Teachers and parents were also participants, as were secondary special education teachers throughout the system.An eighty item checklist was composed from the literature. It described personal or behavioral characteristics and was distributed to all subjects, who were asked to select ten items from the list which, in their opinions, described the most important requirements for successful adaptation in their respective middle and senior high schools.Responses from participating groups were tabulated and compared on the bases of grade placement, sex, and adult status (regular teacher, parent, special educator). One question asked about previous special placement and located a number of mainstreamed survey participants. Data revealed notable similarity in checklist selections by age group. Selections of mainstreamed students at all grade levels resembled those of middle school students. Adult participants concurred in many of their selections; in terms of the total survey, there was some overlap in the item choices but sufficient difference to demonstrate varying priorities between students and adults. Some aspects of the returns suggest possibly new considerations regarding expectations for mainstreamed students, and contain data for future factor analytic studies toward eventual development of a measurement instrument.