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Effects of enrollment in co-teaching classes on the academic performance of high school students without disabilities

Dissertation
Author: Linda Elaine Buerck
Abstract:
This study examined the impact of enrollment in co-teaching classes on the grades earned by high school students without disabilities. The study also included analyses of teacher responses to a survey regarding their experience with the co-teaching model at the school. The study sought to examine (1) the extent to which enrollment in co-teaching classes affects academic achievement of regular education students; (2) the attributes of co-teaching classrooms that may have an effect on the academic performance of all students; and (3) the similarities and differences in opinion of regular education teachers and special education teachers regarding the co-teaching model. Student grades were analyzed using descriptive statistical procedures. Thirty-eight classes were eligible for the study. A total of 719 semester grades were recorded, representing 441 students. Two hundred thirteen of the students were enrolled in more than one of the classes in the study concurrently. A subset of data was produced using only the grades earned by the 124 students who were enrolled in at least one regular education class and at least one co-teaching class in the same semester. The dependent variable was course grades. The primary independent variable was the type of class--regular education or co-teaching. Other independent variables included course content (Communication Arts, Mathematics, Science or Social Studies), grade in school (9 th , 10th , 11th , or 12th ), and achievement level. Student achievement levels were classified as low (0.00-4.99), average (5.0-7.99), or high (8.0-11.0) based on overall grade point averages. Paired samples t-tests (α = .05) demonstrated significant difference between grades earned in co-teaching classes and grades earned in regular classes. Student grades in all three achievement levels were higher in co-teaching classes than in regular education classes. A Cohen's d coefficient was generated to determine the effect size of the differences between teaching models. A medium effect size was detected for grades earned in co-teaching classes for students in the high and average achievement levels. There was a large effect size for grades earned in co-teaching classes for students in the low achievement category. Teacher responses to a survey constructed solely for use in this study were analyzed using inductive analysis. Ten regular education teachers and seven special educators responded to the survey (response rate of 77% for all teachers.) The three themes that emerged from all teachers were the need for common planning time, the need for quality professional development and training activities, and the need to clearly define the roles of each co-teacher in the pair. Responses to selected questions were also analyzed by directly comparing the responses given by the 13 pairs of teachers who were assigned to the same co-teaching class. There were significant differences in perceived roles between the pairs of teachers.

v TABLE OF CONTENTS

CHAPTER PAGE

ABSTRACT……………………………………………………………………………….i

DEDICATION……………………………………………………………………………iv

LIST OF TABLES…….…………………………………………………..…………….vii

CHAPTERS

CHAPTER 1 – THE PROBLEM………………………………..................................1

Introduction to the Study...................................................................................1

Creating Co-Teaching Classrooms………………….…………………………….4

Co-Teaching as a Service Delivery Model………………………...….………….6

Brief Description of the Study…………………….………………………………..8

CHAPTER 2 – REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE…………………………....11

Overview………………………………………………………………………........11

Legal Basis for Inclusion………………………………………...........................11

Review of Related Studies………………………………………………………..13

Summary……………………………………………………………………………27

CHAPTER 3 – METHODOLOGY…………………………………………………....29

Introduction…………………………………………………………………………29

Selection of Subjects………………………………………….…………….…….30

Data Collection and Analysis……………………………………………..………34

Possible Limitations of the Study……………………………………….……….39

Operational Hypothesis…………………..……………………….………………41

CHAPTER 4 – FINDINGS………………..............................................................43

vi

Introduction...……………………………………………………………………….43

Statistical Analyses of Student Data ……………………………………….…...44

Teacher Survey Analysis Procedures….……..………………….………….….52

Perspective One: Common Responses from All Teachers…….…………..…55

Perspective Two: Regular Education and Special Education Responses.....58

Perspective Three: Matched Pair Responses………….…………………..….71

CHAPTER 5 – SUMMARY, CONCLUSIONS, AND RECOMMENDATIONS......86

Summary of the Findings ……………………………………………….……......86

Conclusions and Recommendations for Practice………………………………89

Recommendations for Further Research……................................................91

Final Thoughts……………………………………………………………………..92

REFERENCES…………………………………………………………………….…..93

APPENDICES

Appendix A – Survey Sent to Regular and Special Educators............................97

Appendix B – Letter of Permission from Superintendent………………………….99

Appendix C – Teacher Assignment and Years of Teaching Experience………100

Appendix D – Teacher Matched Pairs…………………….…………………….....101

VITA……………………………………………………………………………………102

vii LIST OF TABLES

TABLE PAGE

Table 1 – Summary of Classes in Study………..………………….……………….33

Table 2 – Numerical Equivalent of Letter Grades on 11.0 Scale……….…….….35

Table 3 – Student Achievement Data Coding Procedure…………………………36

Table 4 – Sample View of Data Sheet for All Observations….……….…………..45

Table 5 – Sample View of Small Group Data Sheet……………………………….46

Table 6 – Tests of Between Subjects Effects………………………………….…...47

Table 7 – Post Hoc Tests of Multiple Comparisons………………………………..48

Table 8 – Course Means for Regular and Co-Teaching Classes by Achievement Level…………………………………………………….49

Table 9 – Paired Samples T-Test by Achievement Group…………….………….50

Table 10 – Effect Size of Class Type on Course Grades By Achievement Group………………………………………………………51

Table 11 – Years of Teaching Experience…………………………….……………54

1 CHAPTER 1

THE PROBLEM

Introduction to the Study Since the fall of 1998, the high school in this study has been including students with mild to moderate disabilities in the regular education classroom using the co-teaching model. Beginning with the fall semester of 2008, the school completely eliminated all content resource classes and included students with mild to moderate disabilities in the general education classroom. The time to completely implement the co-teaching model school-wide was lengthened by administrative turnover and the need to take this transition slowly for public relations purposes. The only exceptions at this school were a few students (less than 10) categorized as Mentally Retarded or Severely Autistic placed in a self- contained, special education classroom most of the day. All of these students, however, were placed outside the special education classroom at least one period each day. Physical education, art and choir classes were usual regular education placements made for these students. At the time of this study, the school district had a very high rate of students identified as having speech or language concerns, mild to moderate disabilities such as learning disabilities, or other health impairments such as Attention Deficit Disorder. Seventeen percent of the district’s student population met these criteria—much higher than the national rate of less than 12 percent. The extensive use of co-teaching classes was an administrative response to the large numbers of students in need of instructional modifications at the school. Co-

2 teaching was viewed as an avenue to provide services to large numbers of students without the undue budgetary strain of adding faculty and staff. The co-teaching model used at this high school was ‘lead and support.’ This is the least sophisticated co-teaching model to implement. Generally speaking, the lead teacher is the content specialist (regular education teacher) and the support teacher is the special educator, however, these roles can be reversed to fit the teaching situation. The lead teacher delivers the content and the support teacher assists individuals or small groups in whatever manner necessary to help them successfully obtain the information presented. Ideally, the teachers work as a co-teaching team to manage classroom behavior, determine grades earned in the class and plan instruction and assessment. Increasingly, parents and guardians of students without disabilities questioned why their child was placed in a classroom with a special educator and with students identified as having special needs. They were concerned about any negative implications this could have for their child. These parents were concerned that the curriculum may have been ‘watered down’ and that their children were placed in classes with students that exhibited behaviors that were detrimental to the learning environment. My answers to these queries were supportive of the co-teaching classroom situation. This was in support of the administrative decision rather than a thoroughly educated response. This research was intended to analyze student achievement data and teacher perspectives related to co-teaching classes. Hopefully, these analyses have provided information that will enable the administration and teachers to make

3 decisions regarding the co-teaching impetus at the high school and across the district that will positively affect student achievement. It is reasonable to assume that the instructional strategies used in co- teaching classrooms intended to accommodate students with disabilities can be beneficial to all learners. These strategies could include changing the pace of instruction, more frequent formative assessments, the use of teaching aids not used in the regular classroom, using closed notes, and many more. Additionally, the presence of two teachers in the classroom may be advantageous for providing individual attention to all students. This study examined the academic performance of students without disabilities in co-teaching classes as compared to students without disabilities enrolled in the same regular education class. (For example, I looked at the grades earned in Mr. Jones’ regular English II class and the grades in Mr. Jones’ co-teaching section of English II.) In addition, this study investigated the different instructional strategies and classroom management techniques used in co- teaching classrooms. There is much discussion regarding students with disabilities and the advantages of using the co-teaching model as it evolved from the special education perspective. This discussion is necessary to help the reader understand the development of co-teaching classrooms and highlight the possible differences between a regular education class with one teacher and a co-teaching classroom with two teachers.

4 Creating Co-Teaching Classrooms Providing students with special needs a well-rounded educational experience requires utilizing effective educational methods for all students. Murawski and Hughes (2009) say that, “When schools begin to establish, embrace, enhance, and emphasize collaborative practices between educators, research-based strategies can more easily make their way into the general education classroom” (page 271). Voltz, Brazil and Ford (2001) view inclusion as the creation of an instructional environment that promotes success and a sense of belonging for all students as opposed to merely physically placing special education students in a general education classroom. Saxon (2005) recommends that implementation of the co-teaching model should be gradual, seriously consider teacher input and include support from the administration. According to Saxon, sustaining such a program will require strong commitment by the teachers and continued support from the administration. Differences among students should be celebrated and all students should be recognized for their unique perspectives and contributions to the classroom. According to Dieker (2001), studies have shown that students with disabilities may derive benefits from the co-teaching classroom in the form of increased self- concept as well as increased academic achievement. Exposure to the general education curriculum in the co-teaching classroom may help students with disabilities perform at higher levels on local and state assessments.

5 Kohler-Evans (2006) reports that, even though The Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) has been in effect for over 30 years, regular education teachers are still struggling to meet the needs of students with disabilities. General education teachers may be reluctant to make suggested modifications in the classroom for students with disabilities because they view this as unfair. Teachers may use the issue of fairness as an excuse to resist making the necessary instructional changes under the guise of holding all students to the same standards regardless of need (Welch, 2000). Welch defines fairness in three different ways. Equality is when it is fair to treat everyone the same. Equality can be achieved in schools only if every child has safe housing, competent parents and nourishing food. Equity is when it is fair to make rewards based on input. Equity is employed when everyone has an equal opportunity to participate and those who perform the best are rewarded. Need is the third definition of fairness. “Wheelchair ramps, free lunches, and special education are provided, not to everyone (equality) or to the best (equity), but to those who need them the most” (Welch, p. 36). Voltz et al. (2001) advise that “the words and actions of teachers must reinforce the notion that fair does not necessarily mean that everyone gets the same thing but rather that everyone gets what they need” (p. 26). Making appropriate accommodations for handicapped students in the classroom is a collaborative effort driven by the Individualized Education Plan (I.E.P.) process. The I.E.P. team determines accommodations based on what is best for the student rather than suggesting the modifications that are ‘easiest’ to

6 make. The classroom teacher(s) must be able to create a community within the classroom that fosters understanding and respect for individual differences; otherwise the regular education students may lack the higher-level reasoning necessary to accept that some students need extra help to be successful (Welch, 2000). According to Welch, “Educators are legally and morally obliged to ensure that they provide necessary accommodations whether or not other students approve” (p. 39).

Co-Teaching as a Service Delivery Model Co-teaching is the most popular model for implementing inclusion in the secondary school (Magiera & Zigmond, 2005; Dieker & Murawski, 2003). Co- teaching models usually include a general education teacher and a special education teacher together in the same classroom. The general education teacher is the content specialist and the special education teacher is the expert in instructional delivery. The ultimate goal of co-teaching is to make all students— regular education students and those with disabilities—successful in the general education setting (Dieker, 2001). Murawski and Dieker (2008) maintain that “for true co-teaching to occur, both professionals must co-plan, co-instruct, and co-assess a diverse group of students in the same general education classroom” (p. 40). The link between instruction and assessment is important. All students need to be assessed based on their strengths. Measures of academic performance can include authentic performance-based assessment, portfolios, and observations (Salend,

7 2000). Salend also said that behavioral development can be measured in a variety of ways; interviews and questionnaires, adjective checklists, written and oral narratives or pictures. Instructional strategies used in the co-teaching classroom can include putting content into themes, using graphic organizers and the use of problem-based learning (Tomlinson & Eidson, 2003). Voltz et al. (2001) suggest that instruction should be organized around big ideas that are central to the concepts being taught. The central themes should be introduced to the students before the lessons begin. Since some students have issues with behavior, the teachers need to discuss class rules and consequences for noncompliance before instruction begins and review the rules frequently throughout the school year (Voltz et al.). In co-taught classes, both teachers need to consistently enforce class rules and agree on academic goals in order to have an effective co-teaching partnership. Secondary teachers may encounter challenges such as large class sizes, large case loads, wide ranges of learning needs, and varying proportions of students with disabilities in individual classes (Dieker & Murawski, 2003). Additionally, these teachers may work with more than one co-teacher each day and may be asked to teach in several different content areas. Administrative support and a whole-school approach to inclusion will help decrease the degree to which teachers must deal with these difficulties. The co-teaching model becomes especially important given the fact that students with disabilities are now included in high-stakes testing. All students are

8 being assessed on the same local, state, and national tests. Students in need of special services must be exposed to the general education curriculum in order to ensure that everyone can have ample opportunity to pass some level of standardized testing.

Brief Description of the Study The purpose of this study was to determine whether enrollment in co- teaching classes affects the academic achievement of regular education students. Semester grades earned by regular education students were examined post-hoc. The grades earned in co-teaching classes were compared to grades earned in regular classes. Course content and regular classroom teacher(s) were consistent—meaning that all regular education teachers in the study provided instruction for identical courses in the co-teaching and regular education format. The courses in the study were from the core curriculum. Enrollment in core courses was not elective. All students were enrolled for the purpose of fulfilling required graduation credits. Teachers in the study were asked to describe the instructional and classroom management strategies they used in co-teaching classes via an electronic survey. The surveys also included questions regarding professional development, common planning time, and suggestions for implementation. The specific questions posed in this study included: 1. Does enrollment in co-teaching classes affect academic achievement of regular education students?

9 2. What are the attributes of co-teaching classrooms that may have an effect on the academic performance of all students?

3. What are the similarities and differences in opinion of regular education teachers and special education teachers regarding the co- teaching model?

Co-teaching was defined in this project as “when two or more professionals deliver substantive instruction to a diverse or blended group of students in a single physical space” (Magiera & Zigmond, 2005, p.1). Specifically, the ‘lead and assist’ (also called ‘one teach, one assist’) model was used at this high school. In much of the available literature, the word inclusion is a general term used to describe any number of situations in which students with disabilities are included in regular education classrooms. Co-teaching is a means to including students with disabilities in the regular classroom. The regular education classroom is a traditional classroom where a general educator instructs students using the curriculum outlined by the school with minimal differentiation in content, instructional delivery or classroom management. Students with disabilities enrolled in co-teaching classes have mild to moderate disabilities that may be categorized as learning disabilities, speech/language impairments, emotional disturbances or other health-related impairments that make it difficult to function in the regular classroom without additional supports. Modifications made in the co-teaching classroom include techniques and materials used to effectively teach students with disabilities and actual changes in instructional delivery that make information more accessible for students with disabilities. Possible modifications include slowing the pace of instruction, giving

10 alternative assignments, reading directions and assignments to students, allowing students to give answers verbally, and giving directions in a variety of ways. Some students with disabilities may need accommodations such as preferential seating, assistive devices, a personal aide, or other supports necessary to function in an academic setting. Services provided for students with disabilities could include speech therapy, occupational therapy or social skills classes. The regular education teacher is the content specialist and the special education teacher is the expert in instructional delivery. In secondary classrooms, the regular educator is certificated in the specific content area taught in the course. The special educator is certificated in special education according to the state of Missouri certification guidelines.

11 CHAPTER 2 REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE

Overview This chapter is divided into three parts. The first section is a brief description of significant legislation that has influenced the way students with disabilities have been and continue to be educated in schools. The second portion of the chapter is a recapitulation of studies relevant to the co-teaching model. The chapter concludes with a summary of the literature and its significance to the questions posed in this study.

Legal Basis for Inclusion

The concept of including students with disabilities in the regular education classroom in the public school system in the United States began as a civil rights argument. The premise of this argument was that all children—disabled and non-disabled—should have access to the same academic and social opportunities within the school (Sailor, 2002). The Education for All Handicapped Children Act (PL 94-142) was passed in 1975 and became the first piece of legislation to address including students with disabilities in the regular education setting. Smith (1998) summarized the major features of PL 94-142 as: • A free, appropriate, public education must be provided for all students with disabilities regardless of the nature or severity of their disabilities. • Students with disabilities must be educated with non-disabled children to the maximum extent appropriate. • An Individualized Educational Program (I.E.P.) must be developed and implemented for each student found eligible for special education.

12 • Parents of students with disabilities are to be given an active role in the process of making any educational decisions about their children. • States meeting the requirements of PL 94-142 must receive federal funds to help offset the additional costs associated with special education services. (p. 13)

PL 94-142 was reauthorized in 1991 and renamed the Individuals with Disabilities Act (I.D.E.A.). This reauthorization introduced the concept of “least restrictive environment” (Karten, 2005; Magiera & Zigmond, 2005). Reauthorization of I.D.E.A. in 1997 further emphasized the importance of including students with disabilities in the regular education setting to the maximum extent possible. Lipsky and Gartner (1997) indicate that during the legislative reviews of I.D.E.A. the spirit of the law is summarized by the statement, “Integration in school was seen as key to the ultimate goal of integration in society” (page 303). The regular education classroom is the starting point for determining the best placement for handicapped students and any exceptions to that placement must be justified in the I.E.P. (Dieker, 2001; Karten, 2005; Lipsky & Gartner, 1997; Magiera & Zigmond, 2005; McLeskey, Hoppey, Williamson, & Rentz, 2004). McLeskey et al. maintain that, while there is research evidence to support the placement of students with mild to moderate disabilities in the regular education classroom with appropriate supports, there is little data available regarding the extent to which the states are actually including students with disabilities in less restrictive settings. Studies of the effects of including students with disabilities in the regular education classroom do not consistently favor its implementation. Lewis and

13 Doorlag (1999) report that, “The data on the merits of educating retarded children with their non-retarded peers are simply inconclusive” (pp. 467-68). Lewis and Doorlag did, however, report that instructional factors such as small class size, effective classroom management, increased instructional time and others have the potential to promote the achievement of students with disabilities placed in regular education classrooms. In order for these instructional factors to be effective, there must be adequate teacher training, appropriate selection of students, sufficient continuum of services and time for collaboration between the special educators and the regular educators.

Review of Related Studies Teacher Attitudes on Including Students with Disabilities in the Regular Classroom

Treder, Morse and Ferron (2000) examined whether the most effective classroom teachers were more or less willing to work with special needs students. This study used an identified group of exceptionally effective teachers and a randomly selected group of typical teachers from Florida. The “S.B.S. Inventory of Teacher Social Behavior Standards and Expectations” (Walker & Rankin, 1980) was used to assess teacher attitudes regarding appropriate student behavior. Previous studies indicated that the most effective teachers may not work well with special needs students because those teachers may be less tolerant of and more resistant to behaviors that could impede classroom management. This study, however, indicates that effective teachers may be superior at identifying

14 and correcting behaviors that have the potential to negatively affect the instructional environment. According to this study, the most effective teachers can work with students with disabilities in the regular education classroom with a high level of success. This research also indicated that additional study in the form of interviews and observation may be necessary to make a generalized conclusion. Snyder, Garriott and Aylor (2001) interviewed 28 teachers from Michigan who were, at the time of the study, teachers in regular education classrooms that included special education students. These teachers were asked questions about their perceptions, beliefs, and attitudes regarding including special education students in the regular education classroom. The researchers used analytic induction of the responses to determine that there were three broad categories in which to place the answers. Sixty-four percent of the teachers said that it is more difficult to teach in an inclusive classroom because of increased time, paperwork, and the challenges of working with a cooperative teacher. Ninety-six percent of the teachers agreed that there were benefits to teaching this type of class—mostly for the special education students in the form of increased academic and social opportunities. Avramidis, Bayliss and Burden (2000) surveyed 81 primary and secondary teachers in England. United Nations policies are similar to federal legislation in the United States in that the policies are put into place to make sure that all students are treated equally and provided similar educational experiences within the regular education classroom. The working definition of an inclusive

15 classroom in this study supports the widespread placement of students with special needs in the regular education classroom with the support services and personnel necessary for successful placement. Avramidis et al. (2000) found high-quality professional development is essential to raising teacher confidence in working with special education students in the mainstream classroom. The teachers were more apprehensive about meeting the needs of students with emotional and behavioral difficulties than meeting the needs of students identified with learning disabilities. The study also found that professional development opportunities were especially important in determining teacher attitudes. Teachers with substantial training in meeting the needs of students with disabilities held the most positive regard for inclusion practices. Teachers also indicated that university-based professional development was more valuable than school-based training. One of the earliest studies to attempt to link teacher attitude to instructional strategies in inclusive schools was conducted by Bender, Vail, and Scott (1995). The researchers asked 127 regular education teachers from three different school districts in Georgia to describe their specific attitudes toward mainstreaming and the instructional strategies used in their classrooms. The teachers were then grouped as to whether they had a positive or less positive attitude toward mainstreaming. The use of effective instructional strategies used in the teachers’ classrooms was then compared between the two groups. Inclusion was defined in this study as “full-term placement into mainstream general education classes, with appropriate special education support” (p. 87).

16 Nearly 40% of the teachers in the study did not support or felt no strong commitment to the concept of inclusion. Bender et al. (1995) indicated that with over one-third of the teachers lacking support, there may be some problems successfully implementing inclusion in these teachers’ classrooms. More than half of the teachers indicated that they frequently made instructional modifications to some degree. Peer tutoring, alternative assessment and cooperative learning were used most frequently. Classroom management interventions such as the use of assertive discipline plans and frequent review of class rules were also used frequently. Specialized grading systems, behavioral contracts and direct instruction were rarely used. Bender et al. (1995) examined correlations among mainstreaming attitudes, demographic variables and the use of instructional strategies. Teachers who had taken more courses on teaching children with disabilities, teachers in lower grade levels and teachers with smaller class sizes had more positive attitudes. Teachers who had less positive attitudes toward mainstreaming used fewer instructional strategies in their classroom. Teachers with the most positive attitude used far more individualization strategies than those teachers with a less positive attitude. The data suggests that teachers with the most positive attitude toward inclusion are willing to make relatively major adaptations for children with disabilities in their classroom. Each of these studies indicated that there was a need for more research on teacher attitudes and inclusion. Bender et al. (1995) wrote, “to our knowledge, this is the first time in the special education literature in which negative attitudes

17 toward mainstreaming have been directly linked to less frequent use of effective instructional strategies to facilitate mainstreaming” (p. 93). A few of the elements necessary for successful inclusion may include high-quality professional development, administrative support and commitment from the teaching staff. In a more recent study, Fuchs (2008) examined the beliefs and attitudes of regular education teachers toward current mainstreaming practices. The teachers reported a lack of support from the administration at the school. The administration did not fund proper pre-service and in-service training, did not limit class size and did not arrange for common planning time. The teachers in the Fuchs (2008) study reported feeling confident that they had good teaching abilities, but were not given the support and training necessary to effectively teach students with disabilities. The teachers felt overwhelmed by the everyday duties placed upon them as educators. The additional responsibilities resulting from the inclusion of students with disabilities in their classrooms resulted in frustration and a general feeling that they were given disproportionately more work than the special education teachers. Fuchs writes that, “The regular education teachers felt that they were responsible for teaching, grading, planning, and making accommodations for all students, while the special education teacher had far fewer responsibilities” (p. 109).

Full document contains 113 pages
Abstract: This study examined the impact of enrollment in co-teaching classes on the grades earned by high school students without disabilities. The study also included analyses of teacher responses to a survey regarding their experience with the co-teaching model at the school. The study sought to examine (1) the extent to which enrollment in co-teaching classes affects academic achievement of regular education students; (2) the attributes of co-teaching classrooms that may have an effect on the academic performance of all students; and (3) the similarities and differences in opinion of regular education teachers and special education teachers regarding the co-teaching model. Student grades were analyzed using descriptive statistical procedures. Thirty-eight classes were eligible for the study. A total of 719 semester grades were recorded, representing 441 students. Two hundred thirteen of the students were enrolled in more than one of the classes in the study concurrently. A subset of data was produced using only the grades earned by the 124 students who were enrolled in at least one regular education class and at least one co-teaching class in the same semester. The dependent variable was course grades. The primary independent variable was the type of class--regular education or co-teaching. Other independent variables included course content (Communication Arts, Mathematics, Science or Social Studies), grade in school (9 th , 10th , 11th , or 12th ), and achievement level. Student achievement levels were classified as low (0.00-4.99), average (5.0-7.99), or high (8.0-11.0) based on overall grade point averages. Paired samples t-tests (α = .05) demonstrated significant difference between grades earned in co-teaching classes and grades earned in regular classes. Student grades in all three achievement levels were higher in co-teaching classes than in regular education classes. A Cohen's d coefficient was generated to determine the effect size of the differences between teaching models. A medium effect size was detected for grades earned in co-teaching classes for students in the high and average achievement levels. There was a large effect size for grades earned in co-teaching classes for students in the low achievement category. Teacher responses to a survey constructed solely for use in this study were analyzed using inductive analysis. Ten regular education teachers and seven special educators responded to the survey (response rate of 77% for all teachers.) The three themes that emerged from all teachers were the need for common planning time, the need for quality professional development and training activities, and the need to clearly define the roles of each co-teacher in the pair. Responses to selected questions were also analyzed by directly comparing the responses given by the 13 pairs of teachers who were assigned to the same co-teaching class. There were significant differences in perceived roles between the pairs of teachers.