An examination of the perception of special education teachers in the Mississippi Delta toward their transition competencies
Transition from high school to post-school activities is recognized as a serious challenge for students with disabilities (Shandra & Hogan, 2008; Wehman, 2006). The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) (2006) outlines the development of the IEP and transition plan as an essential task. However, the preponderance of secondary special educators lacks self-assurance in the ability to address students' transition desires (Prater, Sileo, & Black, 2000). Little is known about how special education teachers proffer transition services to students with disabilities and the scope to which teachers are equipped and pleased with the services they provide. This quantitative descriptive study explored perceptions special education teachers have of their training and ability to apply this training in conducting transition activities. A sample of 191 elementary, middle, and high school teachers in rural and urban settings participated. Data analyzed from a six-category, 46-item survey for three research questions examining the self-efficacy of special education teachers toward their transition competencies and capability to develop and deliver transition services, revealed respondents were somewhat prepared to plan and deliver transition services; somewhat unsatisfied with training received in instructional planning, assessment, and collaboration, and somewhat satisfied in their training for curriculum and instruction, transition planning, and additional competencies; they implemented activities associated with transition planning sometimes . Statistically significant relationships were found between the perceptions of teacher transitioning preparedness and the level of training satisfaction; between the perceptions of teacher transitioning preparedness and the frequency of performing transition activities; and between the perceptions of teacher training satisfaction and the frequency of performing transition activities. The perceptions of respondents' capabilities mirror findings of other studies and reveal that when confidence in the ability to perform a transition task is lacking, the task is either not completed or completed with less effectiveness. Findings imply the continuous need for attention to the transitioning training of special educators through teacher training, alternate route, and local school district programs. Concluded is that training in how the teacher can develop a positive stance on the ability to perform effectively may be just as important as training in the what, how, and when to deliver transition activities.