Skousen, Jacob D.
School of Special Education
University of Northern Colorado
Type of Resources
Place of Publication
University of Northern Colorado
The purpose of the study was to examine the perspectives of Saudi Arabian principals regarding their instructional leadership behaviors regarding special education programs in their schools. The researcher developed the Instructional Leadership Behaviors in Special Education Programs Survey (ILBSEP) to measure principals’ instructional leadership behaviors in the delivery of special education programs. The ILBSEP was developed based upon Weber’s instructional leadership model and was refined through expert review and a pilot study. The sample for the study was comprised of 122 elementary and middle public school principals over the 2018-2019 academic year whose schools have inclusion programs, in three major cities in Saudi Arabia: Riyadh, Jeddah, and Dammam. The results for the first research question were that most of the respondents indicated they had obtained no college credits in the field of special education while pursuing their college educations, and that they had acquired no professional development training in the area of special education in the last three years. The results of the second research question revealed that the subject principals reported they had a moderate level of practice of instructional leadership in special education programs in two areas: (a) assessing instructional programs and creating a shared mission; and, (b) promoting a positive learning climate. However, the principals reported they had low levels of practice in instructional leadership behaviors in special education programs in two areas: (a) observing and improving instruction; and, (b) managing curriculum and instruction. The results of the MANOVA analysis of the third research hypothesis indicated no significant differences in the linear combination of the four dependent variables based on gender between the male and female principals. The results of the MANOVA analysis for the fourth research hypothesis found there were significant differences in the linear combination of the four dependent variables related to type of program in terms of the perceptions of elementary school principals and those of middle school principals. The significant MANOVA was followed up with Discriminant Function Analysis, which revealed one discriminant function and significantly differentiated middle school principals. The correlation between outcomes and discriminant function revealed that, in all four variables, elementary school principals practice instructional leadership in special education programs more than their middle school principal peers. This study has implications in the areas of practice, policy, and principal preparation. In terms of implications regarding practice, the study recommends: (a) the provision of ongoing professional development in special education for school leaders; and, (b) that principals spend more time observing special education classrooms in order to better ensure high-quality instruction in this setting. The study also recommends a major revision of Saudi Arabia’s Regulations of Special Education Programs and Institutes (RSEPI). Given that this research found that most respondents reported, among other issues, having obtained no college credits in the field of special education, and given similar findings by other studies, it is also recommended that principal preparation programs be reworked to better prepare future principals to support all students, including those with disabilities. Keywords: principals, school leaders, special education, instructional leadership, inclusion, Saudi Arabia, school leadership, students with disabilities
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