Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ded)


Professional Studies in Education

First Advisor

Cathy C. Kaufman, Ph. D.

Second Advisor

Jennifer V. Rotigel, Ed. D.

Third Advisor

Valeri R. Helterbran, Ed. D.


With the implementation of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Legislation, Secondary Special Education Teachers have been subjected to many change initiatives resulting from high stakes testing. These teachers, as well as their students, have been scrutinized and required to implement new ideas presented by the administrators in their districts in order to raise achievement on tests. The purpose of this qualitative case study was to examine the evolution of Secondary Special Education Teachers since the inception of NCLB through analysis of data, interviews, and observations. The research examined the effects of required changes on the level of teacher commitment, compassion, connection and confidence when working with students and administrators. The research obtained indicated that even though teachers felt frustrated and betrayed by the government entities that created NCLB and its mandates, they still maintained high levels of commitment and compassion for their students and the field of Special Education. The teachers had mixed feelings about the connections they were able to form with students but did see an increase in peer connections formed by Special Education Students. The confidence they had related to helping students achieve on high stakes testing was influenced by the leaders within their buildings.