Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Teaching & Learning


Problem: The purposes of this study were to evaluate the effects of an inservice training program (the "Mainstream" Connection) for regular elementary and secondary teachers in the education of the mildly handicapped and to respond to conventional practices for meeting differences in our schools.

The "Mainstream" Connection Inservice Project focused upon increasing knowledge of needs and characteristics of the mildly handicapped, specifying methods of modifying materials and curriculum and accepting handicapped children.

Procedure: The research population for this study consisted of 438 regular elementary and secondary teachers in central Minnesota who participated in a project to provide training in the education of the mildly handicapped during the 1977-78 school year. All of the participants volunteered to participate in the training program. Progress was measured by a knowledge-based multiple choice test and the Educational Service Options Instrument on a pre and post-test basis. At the end of the project, an Evaluation Questionnaire was administered and an in-depth interview of thirty of the teacher participants was conducted to explore attitudes toward the concept of "mainstreaming." An analysis of Instructional Logs that were kept by the teacher participants was also conducted.

Results: 1. Participants in the project, as a whole, gained in knowledge of needs and characteristics of the mildly handicapped according to the knowledge based test.2. Many participants felt that they learned new skills useful for regular class application according to participant self-ratings on both the Structured Interview Questionnaire and on the Project Evaluation Questionnaire and by analysis of their instructional logs.3. According to the principal instrument used to analyze teachers' acceptance of the handicapped in the regular classroom, there were no significant attitude changes measurable for the participant population as a whole.4. Chapter V of this study includes the author's personal response to the "Mainstream" Connection and, in a more general sense to conventional practices of our schools in meeting differences in children. The assumptions of the "Mainstream" Connection are questioned and suggestions are provided that future inservice programs might consider to get at underlying issues that were not dealt with in this inservice project.