198278 Relationship between school organizational health and teacher efficacy: Implications for minority disparities in special education services

Wednesday, November 11, 2009: 11:15 AM

Courtney Peasant, BS , Department of Psychology, University of Memphis, Memphis, TN
Elise Pas, PhD , Bllomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins Univerisity, Baltimore, MD
Katrina J. Debnam, MPH, CHES , Mental Health, Johns Hopkins University, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD
Catherine Bradshaw, PhD , Mental Health, Johns Hopkins University, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD
Background/Purpose: Problem behavior and academic underachievement, particularly in minority populations, is ever growing problem in United States' schools. These factors, coupled together, can lead an educator to perceive a student as learning disabled. The effect of several teacher level factors, including teacher efficacy, on classroom management and special education referrals has been thoroughly documented. However, there is a dearth of knowledge about how to strengthen teacher efficacy in order to reduce the number of special education referrals. Using an ecological framework this study evaluates the complex relationship between teachers' perception of school organizational health and their efficacy to handle problem behaviors. Methodology: Data for this study was taken from the Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports Plus (PBISplus), a randomized controlled project, which aims to reduce disruptive behavior and enhance academic achievement in Maryland schools. Three measures were utilized: 1) Organizational Health Inventory, 2) Teacher Observations of Classroom Adaptation, and 3) Staff Information Form. Results: Multilevel analyses on data from 31 elementary schools indicate that there is a bidirectional relationship between the organizational health of the school and teacher efficacy. Also, a strong relationship between teachers' qualifications, experience, and efficacy was revealed. Conclusions/Recommendations: Findings suggest that the relationship between the overall organizational health of a school and efficacy of its teachers is interdependent. In addition to organizational health, teacher qualifications (formal and experiential) contribute to educators' sense of effectiveness. These findings have implications for interventions aiming to improve teacher efficacy and eliminate the disparity of minority students receiving special education services.

Learning Objectives:
Identify factors that influence special education referrals among teachers in order to eliminate the disparity of minorities receiving special education services

Keywords: Education, Special Needs

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the main investigator for the work and research included in this abstract. This abstract is the product of a student program in which I developed this question and conducted the necessary research with the assistance of the co-authors listed. I am currently a doctoral student in clinical psychology at the University of Memphis.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.