Teacher acceptance of and utilization of functional assessment techniques

Jeannie Ruth Musselwhite Lockley

Abstract

Teachers' initial knowledge, acceptance, and utilization of functional assessment techniques were investigated in relation to two groups of teachers, private and public. The Intervention Rating Profile (IRP-15) was utilized to obtain acceptability scores before a presentation (pretest), after a presentation (posttest), and six to eight weeks after a presentation (follow-up) concerning the concept of functional assessment. Immediately after the presentation and at follow-up, teachers were also provided qualitative questionnaires which allowed them an avenue to further express their thoughts about functional assessment. Chi-square analysis was utilized to examine if teachers had previous knowledge of functional assessment and a t test was utilized to examine differences in pre-test acceptability scores for public and private school teachers' responses. Analysis of variance was utilized to examine statistically significant differences in acceptability scores between the two groups and for differences across time. It was found that most teachers did not have previous knowledge of functional assessment. There were no statistically significant differences found in acceptability scores for the two groups for each research question and acceptability scores were high each time they were taken. Mezirow's Transformation Theory was the theoretical basis for this study; however, no clear conclusions could be drawn concerning transformation because the acceptability ratings for the concept of functional assessment were high from the beginning and so little data were obtained concerning teachers actually using the concept. The main concern mentioned by teachers about the process was their perceptions of the time component potentially necessary to utilize functional assessment. It was encouraging that teachers reported high acceptability of the concept; yet, there still needs to be further research to explore the transformation component for teachers who are known to either have utilized functional assessment or are in the process of utilizing functional assessment.