General Education Students' Changing Perceptions of Students with Special Needs


  • Ashley D Novak Boulder Valley School District
  • Frederick J Bartelheim University of Northern Colorado




Schools are becoming more inclusive and more students with special needs are accessing general education classrooms than ever.  This action research study investigated general education students changing perceptions of students with special needs through the use of various interventions (e.g., classroom discussions, organized games, buddy reads, peer tutoring, etc.) over a four week period of time.  This study was conducted in a second grade classroom setting.  Two questionnaires were designed and administered to collect data about the participants’ perceptions of students with special needs during the four weeks of the study. The questionnaire responses were analyzed to determine if a shift toward more positive perceptions of students with special needs occurred.  Results of the data analysis indicate that the general education students’ perceptions of students with special needs did improve, or evolve, as a result of the inventions employed in this study.         

Author Biographies

Ashley D Novak, Boulder Valley School District

Ashley D. Novak is currently a second grade teacher in the Boulder Valley School District in Boulder, Colorado.

Frederick J Bartelheim, University of Northern Colorado

Frederick J. Bartelheim is a Professor of Educational Foundations and Curriculum Studies in the School of Teacher Education at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, Colorado.  He is also the Coordinator of the Master of Arts in Teaching: Curriculum Studies Program.




How to Cite

Novak, A. D., & Bartelheim, F. J. (2012). General Education Students’ Changing Perceptions of Students with Special Needs. Current Issues in Education, 15(2). Retrieved from