The Study of Personnel Needs in Special Education (SPeNSE) was designed to address concerns about nationwide shortages in the number of personnel serving students with disabilities and the need for improvement in the qualifications of those employed. Part of a national assessment of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act mandated by Congress, SPeNSE examined (1) the extent to which personnel are adequately prepared to serve students with disabilities, (2) variation in personnel preparation, and (3) factors that explain that variation.SPeNSE included personnel from a nationally representative sample of districts, intermediate education agencies, and state schools for students with vision and hearing impairments. Over 8000 local administrators, preschool teachers, general and special education teachers, speech-language pathologists, and paraprofessionals participated in telephone interviews during the 1999-2000 school year.SPeNSE provides information on the quality of the workforce nationally, within each geographic region, and within and across personnel categories. In addition, researchers are using this information to explain the quality of the workforce based on state and local policies, preservice education, continuing professional development, and working conditions.
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