Research Spotlight

Research Spotlight either presents new COPSSE research findings or summarizes existing research on a hot topic. For further insights based on COPSSE research, Research Spotlight findings contain links to COPSSE documents. Look for Research Spotlight findings in the following topic areas:

Alternative Certification

COPSSE economists suggest that participants in step-up programs—such as paraprofessionals—are better bets for retention than mid-career changers from outside the public schools. Learn More

There is concern that some alternative route programs may not allow enough time for candidates to develop their skills and knowledge. Alternative route programs usually are shorter than traditional ones, and they are structured to allow candidates to enter the classroom immediately or soon after beginning their studies. Learn More

Differences exist between teachers who have prepared through alternative certification routes and their counterparts in traditional programs. Alternative route programs generally attract more males, individuals from ethnic and multicultural backgrounds, and individuals who are older than students in traditional programs. Learn More

COPSSE research has shown that teachers who prepared through alternative routes do not feel prepared in establishing classroom control—a variable that is positively linked to teaching satisfaction and desire to remain in teaching. Learn More

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Certification and Licensure

Differences exist in how states define and award special education licenses. Moreover, licensure changes are underway in more than half of the states. Learn More

Significant changes are afoot in licensing related service personnel. For example, entry level occupational therapists will be required to hold a master's degree by 2007, and candidates who apply for Speech and Language Pathology certification from ASHA after 2011 will be required to hold a doctoral degree. Learn More

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Related Services

The 1990s saw a 48 percent increase in the employment of instructional paraprofessionals in comparison with an 18 percent increase in teacher employment and a 13 percent increase in student enrollment. Learn More

Legislation passed in 32 states requires hospitals to conduct newborn hearing screening tests. Such screening practices may result in more students being identified as deaf or hard of hearing in the schools. Learn More

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Supply and Demand

Research suggests that teachers are most vulnerable to attrition during their first five years of teaching. Effective teacher induction programs help teachers succeed and increase their intentions to remain in special education. Learn More

Only 14 percent of special education teachers are from diverse backgrounds, compared to 38 percent of their students. COPSSE research suggests that recruitment and retention may be supported by providing incentives, improving work conditions, ensuring administrative support, and providing support to beginning teachers. Learn More

Trends indicate that a significant number of special education administrator positions will remain open in the coming years because there will not be enough qualified candidates to fill them. Learn More

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Teacher Preparation Quality

Special education preparation programs share the following features with exemplary general education programs—they have extensive, well-planned field experiences, include faculty collaboration across disciplines, focus on diversity and inclusion, provide routine assessments of candidate's learning, and have a well-articulated program orientation. Learn More

High-quality induction and mentoring programs can improve the skills of beginning special education teachers beyond their initial preparation. Learn More

Beginning special education teachers benefit from mentors who are special educators themselves. Beginning special education teachers tend to ask for more help and receive more quality assistance when the mentor has comparable job responsibilities, even if it means going outside of the beginning teacher's building. Learn More

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Teacher Quality

Comprehensive reading curriculum accompanied by intensive professional development may prove helpful to beginning special education teachers. Learn More

COPSSE research has identified a link between certain instructional practices and high student engagement during reading instruction. Learn More