Defense Date


Graduation Date

Fall 12-15-2023


Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name



Educational Studies (General Education)


School of Education

Committee Chair

Gretchen Givens Generett

Committee Member

Tara Abbott

Committee Member

Reva Mathieu-Sher


belief fixation, beliefs, biases, deficit thinking, equity, free appropriate public education (FAPE), fixed mindset, growth mindset, inclusion, individualized education plan (IEP), least restrictive environment (LRE), local education agency (LEA), professional development, school system barriers, social desirability


The purpose of this study was to investigate the beliefs K-12 teachers have when working with students with disabilities in a rural Pennsylvania school district. This study aimed to identify if teachers’ personal beliefs created biases about their students and school systems; thus, forming barriers and preventing an inclusive education when working with disabled students. Instrumentation for this quantitative study is the Multidimensional Attitudes Towards Inclusive Education Scale (MATIES) survey. Findings suggest that some teachers at Sunnyside School District (pseudonym) hold personal beliefs that could create biases about their students and school system that may form barriers when working with disabled students. Future studies could expand beyond the small rural demographics of Sunnyside to include larger urban/suburban schools, gather insight into novice teachers’ personal beliefs regarding working with students with disabilities, create and implement an instrument in which scenarios regarding specific student needs are detailed, and/or explore the perceptions that parents who have children with disabilities hold about teachers’ personal beliefs when working with their disabled children.