The Impact of Paralympic School Day on Student Attitudes Toward Inclusion in Physical Education

McKay, Catherine, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Block, Martin, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia

Adviser: Martin Block, Ph.D. Paralympic School Day (PSD) is a disability awareness program that provides a platform for attitude change by raising awareness about disability and disability sport. The purpose of this study was to determine if PSD would have a positive impact on the attitudes of students without disabilities toward the inclusion of students with disabilities in physical education classes, including an exploration of the theoretical underpinnings of the PSD curriculum. The sample comprised of 143 sixth grade students at an Independent school located in New York City. The students were divided into two groups (experimental n = 71, control n = 72), with the experimental group receiving the half-day PSD treatment. All students responded three times to Siperstein's (2006) Adjective Checklist and Block's (1995) Children's Attitudes toward Integrated Physical EducationRevised (CAIPE-R) Questionnaire, which was used as a complete scale and then was divided into two subscales. Four ANCOVA tests were conducted, with the posttest score as the dependent variable, and the pretest score as the covariate. Independent variables were gender and PSD treatment, both including two levels: gender (male/female) and treatment (PSD/No PSD). Results indicated a significant PSD treatment effect across all four measures: Adjective Checklist (p = .046, Partial .03); CAIPE-R (p = .002, Partial 07); Inclusion subscale (p = .001, Partial  = .08); and Sport Modification subscale (p = .027, Partial  = .04). These results should be viewed with caution, as the effect sizes were low or moderate and the mean differences were slight. Results did not indicate a gender effect. Forward stepwise regression analyses indicated that  competitiveness at the very high level (p = .026, Partial  = .04), contact at home (p = .017, Partial  = .04), and contact in general education (p = .022, Partial  = .04) were significant variables that impacted attitudes negatively, but should be viewed with caution, as effect sizes were low and mean differences were slight. A Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA) with a one-factor solution indicated that the fidelity criteria created for this study measured a single construct: Allport's (1954) contact theory.

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PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
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