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This report evaluates a program developed to address the shortage of qualified special education teachers in rural school districts in Maine. The goal of the program is to offer accessible special education training at the baccalaureate degree level to transitionally and conditionally certified special education teachers and to educational technicians who assist in special education clssrooms. Course work is based on the curriculum of the special education degree at the University of Maine at Farmington and includes on-campus summer classes and distance education classes offered through the interactive television system, a two-way audio, one-way video system that broadcasts to approximately 90 sites throughout the state. In addition, teacher-mentors in participating schools received training in the supervision of student practica and on current issues in special education. Trained mentors evaluated the program positively and disclosed that training helped clarify their function and provided skills necessary for their roles as mentors. Student evaluations of the program viewed the use of distance learning favorably. Additionally, students responded positively to questions evaluating planning, the learning environment, tests, and assignments. Students indicated they believed that courses were of comparable difficulty to others they had taken. More than 77 percent of students received a grade of B or better, and no one received a grade lower than C plus. Included are tables summarizing responses to mentor training workshops and student evaluations; descriptive information on course participants; reported grades from courses; student profile questionnaire; student course evaluation; and program questionnaire. (LP)

Descriptors: Distance Education, Elementary Secondary Education, Higher Education, Mentors, Program Evaluation, Questionnaires, Rural Education, Special Education, Special Education Teachers, Student Attitudes, Teacher Aides, Teacher Attitudes, Teacher Education Programs, Teacher Shortage

Autor: King, Joel; And Others


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