Knowledge and skills for teachers of students with visual impairments supervising the work of paraeducators.
Article Type: Survey
Subject: Teachers' assistants (Powers and duties)
Teachers' assistants (Surveys)
Teachers' assistants (Vocational guidance)
Blind (Printing and writing systems)
Blind (Study and teaching)
Authors: Lewis, Sandra
McKenzie, Amy R.
Pub Date: 08/01/2009
Publication: Name: Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness Publisher: American Foundation for the Blind Audience: Academic Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Health Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2009 American Foundation for the Blind ISSN: 0145-482X
Issue: Date: August, 2009 Source Volume: 103 Source Issue: 8
Geographic: Geographic Scope: United States Geographic Code: 1USA United States
Accession Number: 207944190
Full Text: Abstract: Teachers of students with visual impairments and paraeducators who work with students with visual impairments were surveyed to determine if previous research related to the competencies needed by teachers who supervise paraeducators applied to this subset of special educators. Both groups confirmed the importance of the competencies, but identified differences in their demonstration by teachers of students with visual impairments.

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The professional literature related to services for students with disabilities has included more than 100 articles on paraeducators in the past two decades. Two comprehensive reviews of this body of literature have been published, first in 1993 (Jones & Bender) and more recently in 2001 (Giangreco, Edelman, Broer, & Doyle). In their review of both data-based and non-data-based journal articles and a small number of books published between 1991 and 2000, Giangreco et al. identified six areas related to special education paraeducators that were addressed in the literature: acknowledgment, orientation and training, hiring and assigning, interactions with students and staff, roles and responsibilities, and supervision and evaluation. Of these topics, orientation and training and the roles and responsibilities of paraeducators were mentioned most frequently.

These topics have captured the interest of the field of special education in large part because of the increasing number of paraeducators who work with special educators to provide services to students. When Jones and Bender prepared their review of the literature in 1993, the number of paraeducators who were supporting students in special education was not even counted when the estimates were calculated of aides who were employed by schools (Pickett, Likins, & Wallace, 2003). Ten years later, the number of paraeducators working in schools approached 312,000 (National Center for Education Statistics, 2007).

Review of the literature

As the number of paraeducators has increased, so, too, have their roles and responsibilities. Giangreco et al. (2001) identified eight broad roles that are assigned to paraeducators, among which were performing clerical tasks, facilitating interactions among students, providing personal care, collecting data, managing behavior, and providing instruction. Drecktrah (2000) emphasized that the primary role of paraeducators is to increase the independence of the students they support by facilitating their inclusion in general education and assisting their transition from school to the community.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) of 1997 states that paraeducators must be appropriately trained, but other than to indicate that they must be trained in accordance with local law, it does not outline training requirements. Training of paraeducators was addressed in the 2001 reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, known as the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act. NCLB established minimum requirements for professionals who provide instructional support in schools that receive Title 1 funds that may be met through earning the equivalent of an Associate in Arts degree or passing a test.

Both IDEA and NCLB emphasize that paraeducators need to be supervised. NCLB requires that paraeducators "may not provide any instructional service to a student unless [they are] working under the direct supervision" [Sec. ll19(g)(3)(A)] of a teacher who is highly qualified. There is evidence that paraeducators may be providing direct instruction and making educational decisions for students without direct guidance from highly qualified teachers (Broer, Doyle, & Giangreco, 2005; French, 1998, 2001; French & Chopra, 1999; Giangreco et al., 1997; Marks, Schrader, & Levine, 1999).

Research has also supported the fact that the instructional activities provided by paraeducators are being conducted without appropriate training. Pickett et al. (2003) noted that training for paraeducators, when provided, remains sporadic and parochial, is generally not based on building specific competencies, and does not address the core skills needed by the majority of people who work in this position. Even when training is provided, it can be too general or may not directly apply to an individual's assignment (Trautman, 2OO4).

Similarly, teachers are not prepared to take on a supervisory role of paraeducators. Teacher education programs often have no formal course work with regard to the effective evaluation of paraeducators (Morrissette, Morrissette, & Julien, 2002). In a study of 212 special educators in Wisconsin in 2000, Drecktrah (2000) found that 67% of the teachers reported that they were expected to supervise paraeducators; one-third also had evaluation duties. A limited number of these teachers reported having had university preparation related to collaboration with or supervision or evaluation of paraeducators.

The management of paraeducators requires special educators to have knowledge, patience, and organizational skills (Trautman, 2004). Even when a preservice teacher is trained and prepared to supervise students, he or she is not equipped to address the balance of power and authority that exist between a teacher and a paraeducator, especially when the paraeducator is older than the teacher (Salzberg & Morgan, 1995). Other challenges associated with working with paraeducators that Drecktrah (2000) identified included not having enough time to train people without a background in education, scheduling, division of responsibilities, and maintaining consistency.

KNOWLEDGE AND SKILLS NEEDED TO SUPERVISE PARAEDUCATORS

In an effort to clarify the knowledge and skills required by teachers of students with disabilities to supervise the work of paraeducators, Wallace, Shin, Bartholomay, and Stahl (2001) conducted a study of paraeducators, administrators, and teachers in a midwestern state. Focus groups identified 16 competency statements that were then included in a mailed survey. The respondents were asked to evaluate the importance of each competency for teachers who supervise paraeducators and to rate the frequency of the teacher's demonstration of the competency. If the teachers indicated that they did not use a skill, they were asked to explain if the competency was not needed or if they were not prepared in that area.

The 16 competencies were divided into the following seven subscales: communication with paraeducators, planning and scheduling, instructional support, modeling for paraeducators, public relations training, and management of paraeducators (see Table 1). All groups reported that they considered these skill areas to be important. Differences were found in the perceptions of the three respondent groups of the teachers' demonstration of these competencies, and the teachers and administrators reported their demonstration at higher levels than the paraeducators did. The paraeducators rated the importance of two subscales, training and public relations (which included advocacy for the clarification of professional roles, involvement in decision making, and support for training), at higher levels than did the administrators and teachers (Wallace et al., 2001).

On the basis of these results, Wallace et al. (2001) recommended that special educators be prepared to work with paraeducators through preservice and in-service training that is based in specific competencies. They encouraged increased communication between teachers and paraeducators to clarify roles and expectations, and recommended that special educators become better advocates for the specialized training needs of the paraeducators who work with their students.

Wallace et al.'s (2001) study did not specifically target the competencies that are required by teachers of students with visual impairments. Although no disability-specific areas were differentiated in that study, it could be argued that there are many factors related to the work of teachers of students with visual impairments and the various conditions under which they work that may result in differences in the perceived importance of competencies and the ratings of paraeducators of the teachers of students with visual impairments' demonstration of these competencies.

EDUCATORS, PARAEDUCATORS, AND STUDENTS WITH VISUAL IMPAIRMENTS

The literature on specific issues related to the collaborative work of teachers of students with visual impairments and paraeducators is extremely limited. It is known, however, that paraeducators have long played a critical and valued role in the provision of services to these students, both in local and residential schools (P. Hatlen, personal communication, July 6, 2007). An early study by Silberman (1982) included paraeducators, along with parents and teachers of students with visual impairments, in a survey of the educational needs of students with visual impairments in New York. In 1993, Miller and Levack, at the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, conducted a statewide survey of "paraprofessionals providing direct instruction with consultation" (Miller & Levack, 1997, p. x) from a teacher of students with visual impairments, and found that the primary responsibilities of these paraeducators included reinforcing the use of assistive devices, managing behavior, facilitating inclusion, and teaching daily living and recreational and leisure skills.

Miller and Levack (1997) noted that paraeducators were more effective when they (1) had well-defined roles and responsibilities, (2) were included in team meetings, (3) had adequate time to prepare materials, (4) helped to document progress toward the goals of students' Individualized Education Programs, and (5) worked with organized teachers of students with visual impairments. Mc-Near (2006) incorporated these elements in her work with the paraeducators who were assigned to support the education of a kindergarten student who was blind and had behavioral challenges. Using an intensive hands-on training model in which frequent and ongoing dialogue and reflective inquiry were embedded, McNear found that appropriate training of support personnel required flexibility in scheduling and creative management of time, as well as effective collaboration skills.

Griffin-Shirley and Matlock (2004) used a web-based survey to examine the demographics, job titles, responsibilities, training, and training needs of 97 paraeducators from 20 states and one Canadian province who were working with students with visual impairments. These respondents reported receiving in-service training focused on their work with children with visual impairments primarily from their employers, from attending workshops, and through one-on-one sessions with a professional, but thought that more training was needed. The authors recommended further surveys of teachers of students with visual impairments and classroom teachers to clarify paraeducators' roles and responsibilities when working with students with visual impairments. This recommendation was echoed by McKenzie and Lewis (2008), who, in their replication of Griffin-Shirley and Matlock's work, found that nearly 40% of the teachers of students with visual impairments who responded to their survey reported that the paraeducators who were assigned to them provided direct instruction in the Expanded Core Curriculum.

Forster and Holbrook (2005) reviewed the literature on paraeducators and discussed the implications of the assignment of one-on-one paraeducator support persons to students with visual impairments. They cited the limited data-based research on the efficacy of using personal paraeducators to support students with disabilities and cautioned that, coupled with the common, but inaccurate, perceptions of the limitations imposed by blindness, such support could lead to poor outcomes for students. They urged that "separate and targeted research should be conducted" (p. 160) to determine the need for this level of support.

The study described here was conducted in response to these calls for targeted research on teachers and paraeducators who work with students with visual impairments (Forster & Holbrook, 2005; Griffin-Shirley & Matlock, 2004; McKenzie & Lewis, 2008). The researchers were particularly interested to know (1) whether the competencies described by Wallace et al. (2001) as being needed by special educators to supervise the work of paraeducators were equally appropriate for teachers of students with visual impairments and (2) how teachers of students with visual impairments and paraeducators who provide services to students with visual impairments rank the demonstration of those competencies in their work.

Method

INSTRUMENT

Two almost identical surveys were developed: one designed specifically for teachers of students with visual impairments and one for paraeducators who work with students with visual impairments. Each survey consisted of two parts. In Part A, the respondents were asked to rate the importance and demonstration of the 16 competencies used by Wallace et al. (2001). Part B focused on the identification of the instructional and support roles in which paraeducators are engaged and their need for training. Questions related to the collection of demographic data were also included in Part B. In all, the survey of teachers of students with visual impairments included 29 questions and the survey for paraeducators included 27 questions.

The two surveys were created using an online survey software program. In Part A, only one competency per page was displayed. Competencies were defined, and possible ratings of the competencies were highlighted; radio buttons forced a choice for the questions related to the importance and demonstration of the competencies. A free-response section was included on each page where participants could make additional comments about the competency under consideration.

Similar to the approach used by Wallace et al. (2001), all the respondents were given the opportunity to rate each competency with regard to its importance (very important, important, slightly important, not important, or undecided). The teachers of students with visual impairments were then asked to rate their demonstration of each competency (regularly; on occasion; no, it is not needed; or no, because of the lack of preparation), while the paraeducators were asked to describe how the teachers of students with visual impairments with whom they worked demonstrated the competency (often demonstrated, occasionally demonstrated, seldom demonstrated, never demonstrated, undecided).

PROCEDURE

After approval by the Institutional Review Board at the university where the authors are employed, teachers of students with visual impairments were recruited through invitations posted on electronic discussion groups that are of interest to teachers of students with visual impairments, such as those maintained by professional associations, instructional materials centers, state consultants, and schools for students who are visually impaired. Individuals who were known to have control of these electronic discussion groups were asked to include a prepared statement describing the purpose and announcing the availability of the survey. Teachers of students with visual impairments ments were invited to forward the announcement to colleagues and to the paraeducators educators with whom they worked. Links to each survey were included in the announcement. The recipients were informed that selecting the link ensured the researchers that informed consent had been received. When selected, the link opened to the survey, where brief directions were provided.

PARTICIPANTS

Because of the way the participants were recruited for this web-based survey, a response rate could not be determined. Of the 400 teachers of students with visual impairments who started the survey, 293 completed all the questions, for a 73% completion rate, and of the 138 paraeducators who started the survey, 106 completed all the questions, for a completion rate of 76.8%.

The teachers of students with visual impairments reported working in 27 states, with nearly half (46%) working in California, Florida, Georgia, and Texas. The majority of the teachers (84.6%) worked in local schools, and 15.4% worked in residential schools.

Although the paraeducators who responded worked in only 19 states, the percentage who worked in California, Florida, Georgia, and Texas (45%) was similar to that of the teachers of students with visual impairments who participated in the survey. Of the paraeducators who responded, 74.5% were employed by local education agencies, and 25.5% were employed by residential schools. The majority of paraeducators (66.1%) reported having been employed as paraeducators for 6 or more years, with 54.7% having worked with students with visual impairments for 6 or more years.

DATA ANALYSIS

The data were downloaded to Excel, incomplete surveys were removed, and the data were uploaded into SPSS, statistical analysis software, for analysis. Although Wallace et al. (2001) compared mean response rates using parametric statistical procedures, a controversy exists over the appropriateness of this analysis for use with Likert response items (Clason & Dormody, 1994; Jamieson, 2004). Similarly, the calculation of means and standard deviations provides unreliable information, in that it is assumed that the data are interval in nature when they are, in fact, ordinal. Consequently, the findings reported for our study are limited to calculated percentages.

[FIGURE 1 OMITTED]

Findings

The percentage of positive responses on the Importance subscales was computed by adding the positive responses ("important" or "very important") and dividing this total by the total number of responses for that item. Teachers of students with visual impairments and the paraeducators who work with students with visual impairments responded similarly to the special educators and paraeducators who were surveyed by Wallace et al. (2001). A chi-square test found no significant differences between the ratings of the importance of these competencies by teachers of students with visual impairments and other special educators, by teachers of students with visual impairments and paraeducators working with students with visual impairments, and between the two groups of paraeducators. These similarities are more clearly seen in Figure 1.

[FIGURE 2 OMITTED]

Figure 2 depicts the differences among the four groups with regard to their ratings of the demonstration of competencies. Again, the percentage of positive responses ("regularly" and "on occasion" for teachers of students with visual impairments and "often" and "occasionally" for paraeducators) were computed. Except in the area of training, the teachers of students with visual impairments rated their demonstration of all other competencies similarly to the self-ratings of other special educators but rated themselves as demonstrating training competencies more frequently (a difference of 23 percentage points) than did the special educators who were surveyed in the previous study. Overall, paraeducators who worked with students with visual impairments rated the demonstration of competencies by teachers of students with visual impairments higher than did the special education paraeducators who rated the special educators in Wallace et al.'s (2001) study.

In only two categories (public relations and training) did the paraeducators in this study rate the demonstration of a competency by a teacher of children with visual impairments lower than 80%. In contrast, the Wallace et al. paraeducators rated more than 80% of the special educators as demonstrating only one competency (modeling for paraeducators); in all other areas, the ratings were lower than 70%.

Although more positive than the paraeducators in the prior study, the paraeducators in this survey evaluated the demonstration of competencies by the teachers of students with visual impairments with whom they worked lower than the teachers rated themselves. The greatest differences were in the areas of training (a 20 percentage- point difference) and public relations (a 13 percentage-point difference). That paraeducators evaluated the demonstration of competencies lower than did educators was a finding of Wallace et al.'s (2001) research as well.

The differences between the perceived importance of a competency and its perceived demonstration by educators were also analyzed. As can be seen in Table 2, there were only minor discrepancies between the teachers of students with visual impairments' perceived importance of a competency and their self-reported demonstration of it; in only one area, management of paraeducators, was this difference greater than 3 percentage points. The paraeducators, when reporting on the teachers of students with visual impairments with whom they worked, noted differences of 7 to 13 percentage points in 6 of the 7 competency areas. For the area of training, these paraeducators identified a 23-point difference between their perceived importance of this competency and the teachers' demonstration of it.

These findings are in stark contrast to the findings of Wallace et al. (2001). Although in their study, the differences between perceived importance and self-reports of the demonstration of competencies of the special educators ranged from -4 to 11 percentage points in six of the areas, a 30-point difference was noted in the special educators' sense of the importance of training and their self-reports of providing training to paraeducators. Even greater differences between importance and demonstration were reported by the paraeducators. The Wallace et al. paraeducators identified differences of 28 to 40 points in all areas except public relations, for which only a 14-percentage point difference was recorded.

Finally, an analysis of the reasons the teachers of students with visual impairments selected for not using competencies ("the competency is not needed" or "I feel unprepared") was completed and compared to the findings reported by Wallace et al. (2001). The percentage of teachers of students with visual impairments who fell into this category (5%) indicated that competence in training paraeducators was not needed, while 4% reported that competencies related to the management of paraeducators and providing advocacy on behalf of paraeducators were not needed. Three percent or fewer of these teachers reported other competencies as not being needed. These results differ from those of Wallace et al., who found that 4% to 38% of special educators who reported that they did not demonstrate a competency did so because the competency was not needed. Although the special educators felt well prepared to model for paraeducators in a respectful and caring manner when interacting with students, the previous research identified large percentages (between 14% and 92%) of special educators who did not demonstrate competencies because they felt unprepared. Fewer than 2% of the teachers of students with visual impairments reported that they did not demonstrate a competency because they were unprepared to do so.

Discussion

In their study, Wallace et al. (2001) validated the skills and knowledge that special educators need for working with paraeducators and recommended that these skill areas be used when assessing the work of special educators with the paraeducators assigned to their students. Their data supported the finding that paraeducators who work with students in special education do not perceive that these competencies are demonstrated at the same level that special educators report demonstrating them. The special educators who reported that they did not demonstrate competencies indicated that they felt unprepared to do so. As a result, the authors suggested greater communication between teachers and paraeducators, greater clarity of the roles and responsibilities of teachers and paraeducators, and improved training for special educators in the skills that are necessary for working with and supervising paraeducators.

Although teachers of students with visual impairments are special educators, the instructional needs of students who are blind or have low vision differ from the needs of many other students who are receiving special education services. These students require the application of special instructional techniques and often use specialized materials. For these students, individualized services and supports are essential. Far more frequently than most other special educators, teachers of students with visual impairments work one on one with students and develop close relationships with them and other adults who work with them. It is assumed that the role of the teacher of students with visual impairments includes frequent communication with parents, administrators, and other teachers of the unique needs of these students and how those needs can be met. It is not surprising, then, that these teachers rated communicating with and modeling for paraeducators high on both the importance and demonstration subscales, nor is it surprising that the paraeducators rated the teachers' demonstration of these competencies high.

Although the paraeducators rated the teachers of students with visual impairments higher on the demonstration of competencies than the special educators were rated by paraeducators in Wallace et al.'s (2001) study, fewer than 75% of the paraeducators rated the teachers as demonstrating competencies related to public relations and on-the-job training. It is interesting that Wallace et al. identified these two areas as being rated significantly higher in importance by the paraeducators than by the teachers or administrators. Paraeducators are frequently reported in the literature as desirous of more in-depth training (French, 1998; Griffin-Shirley & Matlock, 2004; Marks et al., 1999; Pickett et al., 2003), and one component of the public relations role of the special educator is to advocate for such training for paraeducators. As Wallace et al. suggested with regard to special educators in general, it is possible that teachers of students with visual impairments are not as aware of the need for training and support experienced by paraeducators. This notion is supported by the finding that public relations and training represented two of the three competency areas that were most frequently identified as "not needed" by the small percentage of teachers of students with visual impairments who reported that they did not demonstrate the competency.

Between 80% and 83% of the paraeducators reported that teachers of students with visual impairments demonstrate competencies related to management, planning and scheduling, and instructional support. While higher than similar ratings by paraeducators for general special educators, these ratings are lower than those that the paraeducators reported for teachers of students with visual impairments with regard to communication (87%) and modeling (92%). It is likely that these lower ratings are an artifact of the itinerant nature of most of these teachers' positions. Not always on a school campus, teachers of students with visual impairments frequently are not the primary educators who are responsible for the coordination, planning, direction, and management of paraeducators, even those assigned to students with visual impairments. That paraeducators perceive that teachers of students with visual impairments demonstrate these competencies at such a high level is a further testament to the collaborative working relationship that must be established between teachers of students with visual impairments and other adults who work with students who are visually impaired. It also provides further corroboration to the finding that these teachers did not report feeling unprepared to demonstrate the competencies identified by Wallace et al. (2001).

LIMITATIONS

The study described here was conducted six or more years after the original study by Wallace et al. (2001). It is possible that these findings would have been similar to the responses of special educators and paraeducators if these groups had been surveyed again at this time. Because the ratings of the two groups were not sampled in the same time frame, there are limits to the confidence with which one can make comparisons.

Further limiting the generalizability of these findings was the use of volunteer respondents. There is no way to determine a response rate, nor is there any way to know if there was bias in the selfselection of participants. Certainly, the teachers of students with visual impairments who responded are those for whom issues related to paraeducators are of interest. As with the special educators who participated in Wallace et al.'s (2001) study, these teachers of students with visual impairments may have responded to items on the basis of their appreciation of their social desirability. In addition, it is possible that some of these teachers forwarded the survey only to paraeducators who they were confident would rate them positively. Further research, using a randomly selected sample of special educators that is large enough to capture a statistically valid subsample of teachers of students with visual impairments and a similarly large sample of randomly selected paraeducators who work with specific categories of students with special needs will be important to determine if these possible limitations affected the findings.

IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE

These limitations notwithstanding, the results of this study support the conclusion that teachers of students with visual impairments believe that the competencies identified by Wallace et al (2001) are important. In addition, they provide evidence that the paraeducators who responded to this survey who work with teachers of students with visual impairments have high regard for the teachers' demonstration of these competencies. In their work with paraeducators, teachers of students with visual impairments need to continue to use effective communication and modeling skills. They may want to attend to the finding that the paraeducators reported their demonstration of competencies related to public relations and training less positively and make greater efforts to advocate for and support paraeducators' need for information, involvement in decision making, and development of skills.

The findings reported here support the conclusion that the overall collaborative nature of the role of teachers of students with visual impairments within the educational system extends to their work with paraeducators. Consequently, it does not seem necessary to recommend extensive additional preparation for these teachers that is related to working with paraeducators. Wallace et al.'s (2001) recommendation that state licensing units and institutions of higher learning consider adding demonstration of these competencies to the requirements of training programs for all special educators could result in an additional, unnecessary burden to university programs that prepare teachers of students with visual impairments, which already struggle to ensure that students demonstrate the large number of specialized competencies that are needed by their students (Council for Exceptional Children, 1998). Teachers of students with visual impairments who work with paraeducators who think that their skills in managing these support personnel need enhancing could choose to participate in available professional development activities, such as the webbased training model described by Steckelberg et al. (2007).

Still, given the evidence that many paraeducators provide direct instruction in the Expanded Core Curriculum (McKenzie & Lewis, 2008), it may be appropriate for teachers of students with visual impairments to receive pre- or inservice instruction that focuses more intensely on the public relations competency described in this study. Teachers of students with visual impairments must be prepared to inform administrators, teachers, and parents of the different roles and responsibilities of instructional and support personnel and be committed to advocating for appropriate services to the students in their caseloads.

The results reported here are important because they support a distinction between special educators in general and teachers of students with visual impairments. All too often, the findings of research that was conducted with special educators are reported as being applicable to all educators who provide services to students with disabilities, when they may apply only to the larger group of teachers who work with students with less significant disabilities. Because the students they serve have special learning needs, teachers of students with visual impairments must develop and use different patterns of relating to and working with students, parents, and other professionals. It appears that the skills that these teachers use with students and families are also used when working with paraeducators, which results in paraeducators holding more positive views of their demonstration of these important competencies.

Additional research is needed to gain a better understanding of the effectiveness of paraeducators who work with students with visual impairments, the release and differentiation of the roles of paraeducators and teachers of students with visual impairments, and how best to meet the training and public relations needs of paraeducators. These results provide a starting point for these future lines of inquiry.

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Sandra Lewis, Ed.D., associate professor, Program in Visual Impairment, Florida State University, 205 Stone Building, Tallahassee, FL 323064459; e-mail: . Amy R. McKenzie, Ed.D., assistant professor, Program in Visual Impairment, Florida State University; email: .
Table 1
Description of Wallace et al.'s seven competency subscales.

Competency                          Description of competency

Communication with paraeducators    Share student-related information,
                                      explain role of the paraeducator
Planning and scheduling             Coordinate schedules, establish
                                      goals, set plans, establish time
                                      for planning, and consider
                                      strengths and interests of
                                      paraeducators when aligning tasks
Instructional support               Provide regular feedback regarding
                                      each paraeducaors work
                                      performance, support
                                      paraeducators in providing
                                      instruction to students, and
                                      provide support and direction to
                                      paraeducators who work in
                                      independent capacities
Modeling for paraeducators          Model for paraeducators a caring
                                      and respectful manner when
                                      interacting with students
Public relations                    Inform administrators, teachers,
                                      and parents of the
                                      responsibilities and roles of
                                      paraeducators in the educational
                                      program, advocate for the
                                      paraeducator regarding training
                                      and leave time, modification in
                                      responsibility, involvement in
                                      decision groups, and so forth
Training                            Provide on-the-job training for the
                                      development of skills
Management of paraeducators         Maintain regular positive and
                                      supportive interaction with
                                      paraeducators, contribute to the
                                      evaluation of the paraeducators'
                                      performance, support the
                                      improvement of skills

Source: Wallace et al. (2001), p. 525.

Table 2
Difference in the percentage of positive responses between ratings
of importance and ratings of demonstration.

                                               Teachers

                                    Current study    Wallace et al.
Subscale                              (n = 294)     (2001) (n = 266)

Communication with paraeducators          1                4
Planning and scheduling                   0                6
Instructional support                    (2)               9
Modeling for paraeducators                2               (4)
Public relations                         (1)               7
Training                                  3               30
Management of paraeducators              10               11

                                            Paraeducators

                                    Current study    Wallace et al.
Subscale                              (n = 106)     (2001) (n = 211)

Communication with paraeducators         7                28
Planning and scheduling                 12                28
Instructional support                    9                29
Modeling for paraeducators               5                14
Public relations                        13                29
Training                                23                40
Management of paraeducators             12                32
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