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We Asked, You Answered: Results from the CIDDL Needs Assessment Part 1

Authors: Samantha Goldman and Cheryl Lemke;

CIDDL’s mission is to increase the capacity of higher education faculty to use state-of-the-art technologies coupled with sound instructional design in personnel preparation programs for special education, early intervention, and related services. But, what supports do stakeholders need? In order to determine the needs of the populations we serve, CIDDL recently conducted a Needs Assessment. 

CIDDL’s needs assessment focused on three key questions:

  1. Are recent graduates from IHE preparation programs entering PreK-12 classrooms ready to use technology effectively with students with special needs?
  2. To what extent are IHE faculty (and their institutions) engaging their students in learning environments that are optimized through pedagogically sound technology use. Are they and their institutions digitally ready? 
  3. How can CIDDL be most responsive to their needs?

To answer these questions, CIDDL created an electronic survey to disseminate to faculty, PreK12 professionals, graduate students, and other stakeholders. These surveys were distributed via emails from CIDDL and related partners (i.e. various Higher Education online groups and listservs), through a social media campaign, in person at related conferences (i.e. CEC, TED, DEC), and in the CIDDL online community. 

One hundred and eighteen stakeholders completed the survey. These included professionals in both the higher education environment (74%) and the pre-k through 12th environment (27%). 

Higher Education Respondents. 

Of those in higher education who completed the survey, 31% worked in Minority serving institutions. Additionally, the faculty represented preparation programs for: special education (74.4%), general education (48.7%), early intervention/ early childhood (32.1%), related services (speech pathology, occupational therapy, physical therapy; 32.1%), k-12 district/ leadership preparation (16.7%), and doctoral preparation (15.4%). The remaining 5.1% did not fit into any of the above categories. 

Table: Role of higher education respondents

Table: Percentage of respondents from minority serving institutions

PreK-12 Respondents

The respondents from PreK-12 schools represented regular, special education, and early childhood professionals and administrators. 

Table: Role(s) of the PreK-12 Respondents

In the following three blogs, we will analyze and discuss the results of each of the questions that guided our needs assessment. Additionally, we will share the implications of these findings. 

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