Culminating Project Title
Date of Award
Culminating Project Type
Educational Administration and Leadership, K-12: Ed.D.
Educational Administration and Higher Education
School of Education
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.
Keywords and Subject Headings
Paraprofessionals, Special Education, Inclusive, Minnesota, Special Education Students, Preparedness
The first study conducted on the use of paraprofessionals was done by a man name Cruickshank in 1957. According to Cruickshank in 1957 the classroom paraprofessional (teacher assistant) role was defined as; assisting with tasks that were of non-teaching duties to relieve the teacher, so the teacher could assist the students more in-depth (Cruickshank, [c1957], p. 9). Then in 2010 Giangreco stated that “over the past several decades, the number of special education paraprofessional’s has steadily grown and their roles have become increasingly instructional” (Giangreco, 2010, p. 2).
In examining the role of paraprofessionals Giangreco et al found that “Paraprofessionals continue to engage in a broad range of role, many of which they are under trained or insufficiently trained to perform” (Giangreco et al., 2001, p. 53). Brock and Carter (2013) found that when paraprofessionals are given the opportunity for training on evidence-based practices, they can follow through with the information and help provide positive outcomes for students with disabilities (p. 217). According to Brock and Carter (2015) a concern for the work of paraprofessionals is that, more often than not, paraprofessionals are provided with stand-alone training on special education topics, of which many paraprofessionals receiving this training have no prior training (p. 48). “Descriptive studies suggest that without strong training, paraprofessionals support does not appear to improve the learning outcomes of students with disabilities and may hinder them” (Brock & Carter, 2015, p. 40).
Many of the researchers discuss what the roles of paraprofessionals are, that they have received inadequate training, but do not have the perspective from those who are actually working in these roles. The purpose of this study is to solicit the level of preparedness, job responsibilities, training received and best practices of paraprofessionals to work in an inclusive setting with special education students. Inclusive or inclusion means that a student who qualifies for special education has a certain amount of time that is spent in the general education classroom. Paraprofessionals may be assigned to a student or a specific class to help support the needs of special education students to successfully participate in the general education classroom. Some paraprofessionals may come into their roles with some educational background, often they may only have a high school diploma. The only training, they may receive when entering the field is the training provided by the school district.
Whiteford, Lauren, "K-12 Special Education Paraprofessionals: Perceptions about Preparedness to Work with Special Education Students in an Inclusive Setting" (2021). Culminating Projects in Education Administration and Leadership. 81.