Measuring teachers' attitudes towards inclusion
With the ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in 2014, Switzerland also committed itself to establish an inclusive education system at all levels. Teachers play a key role in this development towards an inclusive school, but they are also faced with new and special challenges.
How they experience these challenges and with what attitudes they meet them is the subject of a major part of research on inclusion. Accordingly, there is a great need for suitable and valid instruments that reliably capture psychological constructs such as attitudes and self-efficacy towards inclusion among teachers. Thus, many questionnaires of such kind have been developed in recent years. All too often, however, these scales are theoretically unsound, terminologically imprecise, poorly differentiated from related constructs, tested only on small samples, or insufficiently validated. This circumstance is problematic for the comparability of studies, especially when it comes to international study results. If a scale is used to compare the attitudes of different groups of people (e.g., teachers from different countries or with different specializations), it is necessary that the scale used measures the same constructs in all groups - a circumstance that is generally insufficiently addressed in research on inclusion.
Validation of internationally established scales
The present project does not aim to develop new scales, but to validate and further develop three existing and internationally established scales on attitudes and self-efficacy towards inclusion for Swiss teachers. Moreover, the presented project aims to test their suitability for groups of teachers with variations in experience, specialization, and backgrounds. For the planned implementation, a large data set can be accessed, which has been obtained from a collaboration with Monash University (Melbourne, AUS) of more than 1700 Swiss and Australian, pre-service and in-service teachers as well as special education teachers. This will advance not only national but also international standards in attitude research in the field of inclusion.