Teachers' and team members' perceptions of effective instructional support teams
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The purpose of this study was to investigate the perceptions of teachers and those who serve on prereferral teams about the practices that contribute to the creation of strategies that assist difficult-to-teach students to learn in a regular education setting. Prereferral team practices, identified from a review of the research literature, were Team Membership, Team Process, Team Procedure, and Organizational Support. Lastly, the study examined if there were differences between the IST practices of a suburban and rural school. The methodology of the study included administering the Instructional Support Team Survey (Myers, 2001) to teachers and IST members in one suburban and one rural high school. The response rate of teachers was 56% in the suburban district and 34% in the rural district. IST data of those students who were referred to the IST team and later classified as being eligible for Special Education programs were also analyzed for both schools over a three-year period. A Multivariate Analysis of Variance (MANOVA) was used to analyze survey results to determine if there were significant differences between teachers' and IST members' views on prereferral team practices and between effective practices in the rural and suburban school. Only 54% of the individuals surveyed viewed the IST team in their school as effective in reducing referrals to the Committee on Special Education and providing teachers with strategies to instruct difficult-to-teach students. Prereferral team practices that were identified by teachers and IST members as being effective were Team Procedures and Team Process. Teachers and IST members viewed Team Membership, Team Process, and Organizational Support differently. Team Procedures and Team Process were viewed differently in the suburban and rural school district. Implications and recommendations for further research on the topic of Instructional Support Teams for local team implementation were identified.