Mother/teacher locus of control: impact on preschool handicapped child change

Montgomery, John
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In 1975 the federal government legislated equality of educational opportunity to all children in the Education of Handicapped Act, Public Law 94-142. This mandate directed child development specialists to evaluate how preschool handicapped children, among others, could best be served. The two primary delivery systems, center-based and home-based, had progressively utilized the mother in roles as learner, observer, aide and teacher for the intervention process. However, neither intervention model stressed or assessed the importance of mother or teacher attitude as a variable in effecting child change;The purpose of the study was to examine the possible effects that mother and teacher attitudes had on the developmental and intellectual progress made by preschool handicapped children in a prescriptive intervention program. Specifically, did the degree to which parent/teachers perceived they were able to influence outcomes of situations (locus of control) have any impact on child change?;The study involved 80 preschool children and their mothers residing within the Area Education Agency 6 catchment area of approximately 2400 square miles in central Iowa. Fifteen home teachers employed by the Marshalltown Project, a preschool division of AEA 6, served the project families and were also considered part of the treatment in exploring child change. Children ranged in age from six months to six years with significant variation in degree and kind of handicap;Statistical data for evaluating the study were gathered from survey and observational developmental profiles; i.e., the Alpern-Boll Developmental Profile (A-B) and the Marshalltown Behavioral Developmental Profile (MBDP). Data utilized to assess intellectual status and change were obtained from the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale Form L-M (S-B) and the Slosson Intelligence Test for Children and Adults (SIT). Mother/teacher attitude (perception of control over outcomes) was assessed by the Rotter Internal-External Control Scale (I-E);Statistical procedures used were (a) Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient to explore the relationship between mother/teacher locus of control and developmental/intellectual child change; (b) the student's t test to examine whether within-group mean attitudes of teachers about locus of control had any effect on child change; (c) one-way analyses of variance to investigate whether mother degree of locus of control had any effect on child change; and (d) multiple regression to determine whether the combinations of several independent variables would improve the prediction of the dependent variable;No significant relationship was found to exist between mother attitude (locus of control) and child intellectual or developmental change. Pretest mother and teacher-child assessments were found to be significantly discrepant whereas posttest measures were not. No significant relationship was found to exist between teacher attitude and child intellectual change. However, teacher attitude and developmental change appeared to be significantly related.