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The impact of inclusion on the academic achievement of high school special education students

Dissertation
Author: Harold Smith Dawkins
Abstract:
This dissertation examined the impact of inclusion on the academic achievement outcome of high school special education students as measured by English 1, biology, and algebra 1 as a function of gender, ethnicity, and years of inclusion. The study also examined the generalizations with confidence that could be made about the use of inclusion methodology in high schools within an urban North Carolina school district as measured by end-of-course test scale scores. Data from three traditional high schools within the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School District were used in this study. High school special education students lagged behind several other subgroups on end-of-course tests proficiency. A quantitative study was conducted. End-of-course test data were collected from 2002-2005 for resource school years and from 2006-2009 for inclusion school years. The mean end-of-course test scale scores for special education students who experienced inclusion teaching methodology and those students who experienced resource-only teaching methodology were examined over a 6-year period of time. An analysis of variance found statistically significant differences between the three schools. The use of 95% confidence intervals helped to make inferences about mean scale scores from a sample statistic toward a population parameter. English 1 special education students did not benefit from inclusion and the years in the inclusion program did not impact students' academic achievement. Male and female students produced their highest percent proficient during resource years. Both Black and White English 1 students also produced their highest percent proficient during resource years. Biology special education students showed increases in percent proficient during inclusion years. They experienced a pattern of positive gaps when the years in the inclusion program were examined. Male and female biology students benefitted academically from inclusion. Both Black and White biology students showed academic gains during the years of inclusive practices. Algebra 1 special education students in general showed positive gaps in academic proficiency when they experienced inclusion. The years in the inclusion program did not positively impact academic gains for algebra 1 students. Male and female special education students benefitted academically from inclusive algebra 1. Black algebra 1 students showed trends of positive gaps in academic proficiency during inclusion years, but White students did not. The other minorities (Asian, Hispanic, Multi-racial, and Native Americans) did not produce sufficient data in order to see trends. Findings of this study are encouraging for the use of inclusion teaching methodology to increase academic achievement outcomes in some subject areas for high school special education students within an urban North Carolina school district.

Table of Contents

Page Chapter 1: Introduction and Problem Statement ............................................................... 1 Introduction ........................................................................................................................ 1 Statement of the Problem ................................................................................................... 1 Purpose of the Study .......................................................................................................... 3 Setting and Organizational Profile ..................................................................................... 4 Research Questions ............................................................................................................ 7 Hypothesis.......................................................................................................................... 7 Definition of Terms............................................................................................................ 7 Summary ............................................................................................................................ 8 Chapter 2: Literature Review ............................................................................................. 9 Overview ............................................................................................................................ 9 Introduction ........................................................................................................................ 9 What was Pre-Inclusion? ................................................................................................. 10 History of Inclusion in the United States ......................................................................... 10 National Scope of Inclusion ............................................................................................. 14 Adapting Curriculum ....................................................................................................... 14 High School Challenges ................................................................................................... 15 What Makes Inclusion Work? ......................................................................................... 15 Varied Instructional Settings............................................................................................ 18 Co-Teaching Effectiveness .............................................................................................. 18 Teacher Interviews ........................................................................................................... 19 Principal Interviews ......................................................................................................... 20 North Carolina School Districts of Interest ..................................................................... 22 Advantages and Disadvantages of Inclusion ................................................................... 24 Models of Inclusion ......................................................................................................... 25 Inclusion Training Model for Study ................................................................................ 26 Preparing Secondary Preservice Teachers ....................................................................... 28 Inclusion in Elementary Schools ..................................................................................... 29 Inclusion in Middle Schools ............................................................................................ 30 Promoting Inclusion in Secondary Classrooms ............................................................... 31 Secondary Corrective Reading Programs ........................................................................ 31 Response to Intervention Strategies ................................................................................. 32 Differentiation of Instruction ........................................................................................... 33 Gender-Specific Classrooms ............................................................................................ 35 Summary .......................................................................................................................... 37 Chapter 3: Methodology .................................................................................................. 40 Problem to be Addressed ................................................................................................. 40 Research Questions .......................................................................................................... 40 Research Design............................................................................................................... 41 Procedures ........................................................................................................................ 41 Sampling Methods ........................................................................................................... 42 Data Collection Procedures .............................................................................................. 43 Data Analysis Procedures ................................................................................................ 43 Instrument ........................................................................................................................ 45

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Delimitations of the Study ............................................................................................... 45 Limitations of the Study................................................................................................... 45 Timeline ........................................................................................................................... 46 Summary .......................................................................................................................... 46 Chapter 4: Results of the Study ....................................................................................... 47 Introduction ...................................................................................................................... 47 Description of the Sample ................................................................................................ 47 Analysis of Data ............................................................................................................... 48 Research Question 1 ........................................................................................................ 49 Biology ............................................................................................................................. 49 Algebra 1 .......................................................................................................................... 62 English 1 .......................................................................................................................... 75 Summary .......................................................................................................................... 88 Chapter 5: Summary and Conclusions ............................................................................. 90 Introduction ...................................................................................................................... 90 Overview of the Study ..................................................................................................... 90 Summary of Results ......................................................................................................... 91 Research Question 1 ........................................................................................................ 91 Research Question 2 ........................................................................................................ 92 Discussion of Conclusions ............................................................................................... 93 Implications of the Study ................................................................................................. 94 Recommendations for Further Research .......................................................................... 95 Conclusions ...................................................................................................................... 95 References ........................................................................................................................ 98 Appendix ........................................................................................................................ 103 Tables 1 District Results for All EOCs (Percent of Students at Achievement Levels for End-of-Course Test Results) .................................................................. 3 2 2005-2006 High School Adequate Yearly Progress Results ................................... 5 3 FOCUS High Schools Proficiency on End-of-Course Tests ................................... 6 4 Biology Scale Scores by School by Year .............................................................. 50 5 Biology Proficiency by School by Year ................................................................ 51 6 Biology Proficiency Levels by School Year .......................................................... 52 7 Biology Proficiency Levels for Resource Years .................................................... 54 8 Biology Proficiency Levels for Inclusion Years .................................................... 54 9 Analysis of Variance for Resource Years (Biology Mean Scale Score) ............... 55 10 Biology Scale Score Confidence Intervals (Resource Years)................................ 55 11 Biology Scale Score Homogeneous Subsets (Resource Years) ............................. 56 12 Analysis of Variance for Inclusion Years (Biology Mean Scale Score) ............... 56 13 Biology Scale Score Confidence Intervals (Inclusion Years) ................................ 57 14 Biology Scale Score Homogeneous Subsets (Inclusion Years) ............................. 57 15 Male Percent Proficient in Biology for All Schools .............................................. 58 16 Female Percent Proficient in Biology for All Schools........................................... 59 17 Biology Percent Proficient by Level by Ethnicity for All Schools ........................ 60 18 Algebra 1 Scale Score by School by Year ............................................................. 63 19 Algebra 1 Proficiency by School by Year ............................................................. 64 20 Algebra 1 Proficiency Levels by School Year ....................................................... 65

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21 Algebra 1 Proficiency Levels for Resource Years ................................................. 67 22 Algebra 1 Proficiency Levels for Inclusion Years ................................................. 67 23 Analysis of Variance for Resource Years (Algebra 1 Mean Scale Score) ............ 68 24 Algebra 1 Scale Score Confidence Intervals (Resource Years)............................. 68 25 Algebra 1 Scale Score Homogeneous Subsets (Resource Years) .......................... 69 26 Analysis of Variance for Inclusion Years (Algebra 1 Mean Scale Score) ............ 69 27 Algebra 1 Scale Score Confidence Intervals (Inclusion Years)............................. 70 28 Algebra 1 Scale Score Homogeneous Subsets (Inclusion Years) .......................... 70 29 Male Percent Proficient in Algebra 1 for All Schools ........................................... 71 30 Female Percent Proficient in Algebra 1 for All Schools........................................ 72 31 Algebra 1 Percent Proficient by Level by Ethnicity for All Schools ..................... 73 32 English 1 Scale Score............................................................................................. 75 33 English 1 Proficiency by School by Year .............................................................. 76 34 English 1 Proficiency Levels by School Year ....................................................... 77 35 English 1 Proficiency Levels for Resource Years ................................................. 79 36 English 1 Proficiency Levels for Inclusion Years ................................................. 79 37 Analysis of Variance for Resource Years (English 1 Mean Scale Score) ............. 80 38 English 1 Scale Score Confidence Intervals (Resource Years) ............................. 80 39 English 1 Scale Score Homogeneous Subsets (Resource Years) .......................... 81 40 Analysis of Variance for Inclusion Years (English 1 Mean Scale Score) ............. 81 41 English 1 Scale Score Confidence Intervals (Inclusion Years) ............................. 82 42 English 1 Scale Score Homogeneous Subsets (Inclusion Years) .......................... 82 43 Male Percent Proficient in English 1 for All Schools ............................................ 83 44 Female Percent Proficient in English 1 for All Schools ........................................ 84 45 English 1 Percent Proficient by Level by Ethnicity for All Schools ..................... 85

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Chapter 1: Introduction and Problem Statement Introduction Exceptional children have lagged behind other students in proficiency on end-of- course tests within an urban North Carolina school district. Pressures that emanated from the No Child Left Behind (NCLB, 2003), Judge Howard Manning, and Governor Easley proliferated relative to accountability at the high school level. Numerous studies have been conducted at the elementary school level that documented the benefits and challenges of inclusive practices (Keefe & Moore, 2004). Unfortunately, there are no well-documented studies about inclusion at the high school level (Keefe & Moore). As a result, the recommendations from this study can impact the academic achievement of high school special education students in this urban North Carolina school district. In addition, this study can influence educational practice and theory on the secondary level in school districts by adding to the knowledge base and repertoire of strategies for effectively teaching high school special education students. Statement of the Problem In recent years, the federal government played a greater role in the education of school children. This reality was evident with the emergence of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. For reliable Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) determinations, North Carolina decided that the minimum group size is the larger of 40 or 1% of students in the school (U. S. Department of Education, 2009). In addition, Adequate Yearly Progress as prescribed by NCLB must be met in order to close the achievement gap between the various subgroups. To compound the challenge faced by North Carolina schools, North Carolina Superior Court Judge Howard Manning pressured the lagging high schools to reach at least 60% proficiency on end-of-course tests under the North Carolina ABCs

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accountability standards (Judge Manning’s Report, 2005). Judge Manning also threatened to close the high schools that were not able to reach and/or sustain the 60% proficiency level. Governor Mike Easley joined Judge Manning in applying pressure to low-performing high schools. Within an urban North Carolina school district, special education students was one subgroup that lagged behind others on end-of-course tests scores. Thus, the focus of this study was to examine the impact of the inclusion methodology on the academic achievement of high school special education students as measured by end-of-course test scores. Inclusive practices were partially put into place in the high schools of this North Carolina urban school district at the beginning of the 2005-2006 school year. The researcher intends to generalize the results of this study to all high schools within the urban North Carolina school district that have a special education student population. Table 1 provides the percentages of students at varied achievement levels for end- of-course (EOC) tests that were given during 2006 and 2007school years. This table revealed that exceptional children lagged behind other students in achieving at grade level (Levels III/IV) on EOC tests within an urban North Carolina school district.

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Table 1 District Results for All EOCs (Percent of Students at Achievement Levels for End-of- Course Test Results)

Number Percent at Levels Tested I II III IV III/IV EC 3579 24.6 40.8 25.5 9 34.6 Spring 2006 Non-EC 50,757 8.8 28.1 39.7 23.4 63.1 TD 9366 0.5 4.4 26.1 69.1 95.1

EC 3073 31.5 33.9 26.9 7.7 34.6 Spring 2007 Non-EC 43,359 11.6 25.5 42.7 20.3 63.0 TD 6933 0.6 3.2 27.1 69.2 96.2

EC= Exceptional Children TD= Talent Development (Gifted & Talented Children)

Purpose of the Study The purpose of this research study was to determine the impact of inclusion on the academic achievement of high school special education students as measured by end-of- course test scores. This study examined the impact on academic achievement when using the inclusion and resource teaching models, controlling for resource teaching methodologies within three different high schools. The independent variable, instructional methodology, was generally defined as treatments that the participants received. The dependent variable was generally defined as the academic achievement caused by the treatment. The control variable was resource teaching methodology and the intervening variable was teacher content knowledge. Both the control and intervening variables were statistically controlled in the study (Holloway, 2001). By definition, the resource methodology (pull-out) provided instructions from a special education teacher to only disabled students in a separate classroom.

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Setting and Organizational Profile An urban North Carolina school district consisted of 17 traditional high schools. Only three of seventeen high schools satisfied the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) requirements under the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) federal mandate at the end of the 2005-2006 school year. The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction website, “ABCs Search Results,” displays the 2005-2006 AYP data for traditional high schools, shown in Table 2. Under NCLB, all subgroups within a school should perform at a designated proficiency percentage in English I, tenth-grade writing, and algebra I as measured by standardized North Carolina end-of-course tests. At the end of the 2005- 2006 school year, there were four Finding Opportunity, Creating Unparalleled Success (FOCUS) high schools with overall proficiencies on EOC tests that were below 60%. FOCUS high schools were characterized by a disproportionate number of students on free and reduced price lunch and were schools that had a very noticeable number of students who were below grade level as measured by EOC test scores. The FOCUS high schools displayed a pattern of repetitively not reaching the 60% proficiency level on all end-of- course tests taken by students.

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Table 2 2005-2006 High School Adequate Yearly Progress Results High School Met Expected

Met High

Performance Composite ABCs Status AYP

H.S. #1 – B No No 77.3 NR No H.S. #2 – EW Yes No 49.3 Pri Exp No H.S. #3 – E Yes No 63.6 Pro Exp No H.S. #4 – G No No 45.5 LP No H.S. #5 – HU Yes No 55.4 Pri Exp Yes H.S. #6 – H No No 64.0 NR No H.S. #7 – I Yes No 63.3 Pro Exp No H.S. #8 – M Yes No 81.6 Dst Exp No H.S. #9 – N No No 69.8 NR No H.S. #10 - NW

No No 62.8 NR No H.S. #11 – O Yes No 55.6 Pri Exp No H.S. #12 - PB Yes No 51.0 Pri Exp Yes H.S. #13 – P No No 88.1 NR Yes H.S. #14 – S Yes Yes 72.2 Pro Hgh

No H.S. #15 - WC Yes No 40.4 Pri Exp No H.S. #16 – W Yes Yes 48.0 Pri Hgh No H.S. #17 – V Yes Yes 60.8 Pro Hgh

No *See Appendix Table 3 data taken from the NCDPI website, “The ABCs Accountability Model,” delineates the proficiency level pattern of FOCUS high schools for the 2004-2005, 2005-

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2006, and 2006-2007 school years. As a result, the district and the state gave these schools special attention. Typically, exceptional (special education) children are in a subgroup that underachieves on EOC tests. The 2006-2007 school year was officially the first year that this urban North Carolina school district utilized the inclusion model in its high schools. During the 2005-2006 school year, the school district did not flag the inclusion classes with regard to EOC test results and there was only partial inclusion participation among the high schools. The focus of this inclusion model is on all courses with end-of-course tests. Not only did special education students impact the overall academic proficiency of a high school, they are a subgroup for adequate yearly progress consideration under the NCLB federal mandate. This urban North Carolina school district gave noticeable attention to increasing the academic proficiency of high school students as measured by end-of-course achievement test scores. In this district, high schools lagged behind elementary and middle schools as it related to students’ performance on standardized achievement tests. Table 3 FOCUS High Schools Proficiency on End-Of-Course Tests School 2004-2005

2005-2006

2006-2007

H.S. #1 - EEW

48.4 49.3 48.2

H.S. #2 - G 42.7 45.5 50.0

H.S. #3 - WC 37.1 40.4 46.1

H.S. #4 - WM 47.9 48.0 52.2

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Research Questions The research questions that shaped the focus of this study are as follows: 1. How does inclusion impact high school special education students’ academic achievement outcomes as measured by biology, algebra I, and English I as a function of gender, ethnicity, and years of inclusion? 2. What generalizations with confidence can be made about the use of inclusion methodology in high schools within an urban North Carolina school district as measured by end-of-course test scale scores? Hypothesis Null Hypothesis: There will be no difference in academic achievement between high school special education students who experience inclusion and comparable students who experience the resource classroom as measured by average mean scale scores on end-of-course tests. Definition of Terms ABCs. A comprehensive North Carolina plan to improve public schools by focusing on strong accountability, teaching the basics, and local control (The ABCs of Public Education, 2006). Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). Represents satisfactory improvement each year toward the proficiency of all children by 2014 (http://www.ed.gov/nclb/accountability/schools/accountability.html). Inclusion. “The collaboration between general and special education teachers for all of the teaching responsibilities of all students assigned to a classroom” (Gately & Gately, 2001, pp. 41).

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No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act. Signed by President Bush in January 2002. It required that all children be proficient in reading and math by 2014 (http://www.ed.gov./nclb/accountability/schools/accountability.html). Resource (pull-out) model. Excludes special education students from the regular classroom (http://www.wmich.edu/coe/spls/news.htm). Special education students. Students with varied disabilities that can impede their education (National Clearinghouse for Professions in Special Education). FOCUS. An acronym for Finding Opportunity, Creating Unparalleled Success. FOCUS schools have a high incidence of poverty among students as measured by free and reduced price lunch and these schools have a noticeable number of students who are below grade level. Talent Development (TD). Encompasses the gifted and talented students. Summary Special education students, as a subgroup, are very critical in helping high schools reach the goals of the federal mandate, NCLB. They are also paramount in helping North Carolina high schools reach their ABC proficiency goals. Due to their various disabilities, they also require various strategies to support them in their educational environments. Nevertheless, schools have the responsibility to educate all students and to produce productive citizens. This urban North Carolina school district employed the inclusion model in its high schools in order to enhance the academic achievement for special education students. The district utilized the content knowledge of regular education teachers and the accommodation skills of special education teachers to educate children with disabilities. Hopefully, this strategy will positively impact the academic achievement of high school special education students.

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Chapter 2: Literature Review Overview This study examined the impact of inclusion on the academic achievement of high school special education students by targeting three different high schools in an urban North Carolina school district. The study utilized archival data for three high schools that used the resource-only teaching methodology with subsequent data when inclusion methodology was used at these same three high schools. Introduction Continued pressure from the federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLBA) and the North Carolina ABCs caused the high schools in an urban North Carolina school district to focus on closing the gap among subgroups that lagged behind relative to Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). In addition, the high schools of an urban high school district focused on increasing the overall proficiency for all students who take end-of-course tests in order to satisfy state requirements. Since the special education students’ subgroup lagged behind on end-of-course tests results, this study examined the impact of inclusion methodology in three high schools in order to enhance the academic skill levels of special education students as measured by end-of-course test scores. These end-of-course test results for three urban North Carolina high schools were examined for 3 consecutive years when they utilized the resource-only model and when they subsequently used the inclusion model for 3 consecutive years. The purpose of this chapter was to provide information about factors that positively and negatively impact the use of inclusion on high school special education students’ academic skill levels. A review of the literature on this topic revealed some studies concerning inclusion at the secondary school level among special education

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students. Unfortunately, there is a critical shortage of research on inclusion of students with disabilities at the secondary school level (Mastropieri & Scruggs, 2001). What was Pre-Inclusion? During the period of separate special education, specially trained teachers taught students according to their needs in individual or small group settings outside the regular education classroom. The needs of students were assessed initially and continuously and instruction was designed to meet those needs. Special educators had responsibilities that were both specific and distinctive. These uniquely trained teachers taught what was not offered in other places (Volonino & Zigmond, 2007). In the 1980s, critics suggested that pull-out programs for special education students were ineffective and failed to satisfy students’ needs, along with being an obstacle to their successful education. Earlier comparison between the resource room and general education placements leaned toward the resource room for students with learning and/or behavior disabilities (Leinhardt & Pallay, 1982; Madden & Slavin, 1983). History of Inclusion in the United States As we moved toward 1930, the disabled in colonial North America were isolated from the mainstream (Osgood, 2005). They were housed in family homes and other facilities until the 1800s. In the early to mid 1800s, Americans utilized public and private institutions for treatment and formal education of disabled students. Americans were motivated by European success in educating the disabled. In the early 1900s, institutions for the disabled proliferated and the stigmatization of the disabled increased by the latter 19 th century. During the latter 1800s, public schools provided special education services (Osgood, 2005). With the influx of immigrant children, academic and behavioral

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challenges increased in schools. As a result, an anti-immigration initiative occurred because researchers found that a noticeable number of immigrants from certain regions of Europe scored in the moron range of intelligence on intelligence tests. In 1869, the first formal public school for exceptional children opened in Boston for deaf-mutes (Osgood, 2005). In 1877, it was renamed the Horace Mann School for the Deaf. The first class for the mentally retarded occurred in Providence, Rhode Island and these classes increased conspicuously during the early 1900s with the aid of intelligence testing to identify the mentally impaired. Education pioneers, historians, and educators thought that separate classes for students with disabilities were in the best interest of education due to the various challenges that it would bring to regular education classes (Osgood, 2005). Segregation of children with disabilities occurred well into the 20 th century in mostly urban areas because small towns and rural areas did not have the resources to do so. Segregation prevailed for decades into the 20 th century. Between 1930 and 1960, the number of special education students increased conspicuously due to sophisticated research and legal decisions (Osgood, 2005). Nevertheless, special education experienced a temporary setback during the Depression of the 1930s. Concerns about the social and academic ramifications of the segregationist approach in a democratic society proliferated between 1930 and 1963. The assumption that separate settings were best for special education continued into the 1950s, although efficacy studies since the 1930s compared the performance of special education students in both special classes and regular classes. Nevertheless, the Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka decision in 1954 impacted discussions about the appropriate settings for children with disabilities. Between 1960 and 1968, the traditions in special education were challenged

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(Osgood, 2005). The administration of President John F. Kennedy focused more on the civil rights of all citizens and adhering to the promise of public education. The increased federal government emphasis on special education persisted into the Johnson administration. In the 1960s, the quality of education and care at residential institutions was noticeably criticized. Consequently, a community-based avenue for educating students with disabilities gained favor. By 1963, children with disabilities were integrated with general education students to some extent in the United States (Osgood, 2005). In 1966, only 35% of the children that needed special education were actually receiving it. Yet, the early 1960s brought a definite structure for the placement of students with disabilities in public schools, institutions, and other settings. Burton Blatt, G. Orville Johnson, and Lloyd Dunn are three scholars who had concerns about special education (Osgood, 2005). Blatt critiqued special education in the 1960s and he thought that apparent mental retardation emanated from poverty or cultural deprivation associated with minority status. In addition, he considered the quality of special education to be of poorer quality and less imaginative. Johnson, an eminent scholar, thought special education classes were inferior and negatively impacted personal and social development. Dunn was bothered by the segregation of special education students. He also thought that the diagnosis and identification processes in special education were useless and stigmatizing with labels. Most prominent educators overtly criticized a segregated special education system by the early 1970s (Osgood, 2005). Mainstreaming became the alternative to segregation between 1968 and 1975 (Osgood, 2005). New approaches, as opposed to segregation, gained favor due to court decisions and legislative action that produced Public Law 94-142 in 1975. Many critics

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saw a direct correlation between special education and minority children and poverty- stricken children (Osgood, 2005). Due to the calls for radical education change during the late 1960s and early 1970s, the paradigm shift leaned toward integration-focused and child-centered education. Wolf Wolfensberger, a strong advocate for the mentally retarded and for institutional reform, popularized the normalization of the educational lives of children and de-institutionalization of special education in the United States (Osgood, 2005). These practices were first developed in Europe. With the passage of the Education for All Handicapped Children Act (PL 94- 142), the integration of exceptional children more fully, which is known as mainstreaming, was pervasive by the mid-1970s (Osgood, 2005). Although California in 1971 took a leadership role in integrated special education programs, the shift toward mainstreaming was unavoidable by 1976. Between 1977 and 1985, the concept of integration was refined (Osgood, 2005). During the late 1980s and early 1990s, the focus changed from mainstreaming to the Regular Education Initiative (REI). The Regular Education Initiative called for school reform regarding the education of children with disabilities. Margaret Wang, Maynard Reynolds, and Herbert Walberg proposed this initiative with the support of the Reagan administration. The Nation at Risk report of 1983 put the onus of excellence in education on the federal government as it related to coordinating both special and general education alike. In the late 1980s, the Regular Education Initiative precipitated the movement toward complete integration of students with disabilities into the mainstream. The origin of REI is credited to Madeleine Will’s call for “a shared responsibility” in an article published in Exceptional Children and a conference in 1985 and to Margaret Wang and

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colleagues’ “two-part initiative” in the early 1980s (Osgood, 2005, p. 147). During the early 1990s, inclusion became the appropriate term for integrating special and regular education and it was a controversial issue for the next decade (Osgood, 2005). In 1990, Public Law 94-142 was re-authorized as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). In 1997, IDEA was again re-authorized. National Scope of Inclusion Inclusion is used across the country in both small and large school districts that are rural, suburban, and urban. In some school districts, not all schools, not all grade levels, and not all students with disabilities experience inclusion. Students with disabilities that are designated by Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) are conspicuously involved in inclusive practices. Yet, inclusion is relatively new for implementation purposes. As a result, implementation processes and procedures are still evolving. Inclusive program evaluations are also still developing and they focus mainly on special education students. There is a need for continuing staff development in order to cope with inclusive programs. The components of inclusive Individual Education Programs (IEPs) prove still to be very elusive. In addition, inclusive educational programs are facing ambivalence relative to the desired student outcomes. The United States Department of Education strongly supports inclusion and the courts deem inclusion a right for all students. Support for implementing inclusive programs is proliferating among school staff and parents (Lipsky, 1994). Adapting Curriculum During 1997 Smith examined the perspectives of an inclusive ninth-grade team consisting of four teachers and a paraprofessional in an urban high school (Keefe & Moore, 2004). She found that teachers in the study used a variety of strategies to adapt

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the curriculum and they reported challenging demands that the high school curriculum presented for students with disabilities. Nevertheless, positive academic achievement outcomes have been reported for students with disabilities. Smith concluded that inclusion is a complex phenomenon that needs further study. High School Challenges In 2001, Mastropieri and Scruggs suggested that the high school setting presented greater hindrances for co-teaching because of the emphasis on content area knowledge, the need for independent study skills, the faster pacing of instruction, high stakes testing, high school competency exams, less positive attitudes of teachers, and the inconsistent success of strategies that were effective at the elementary level (Keefe & Moore, 2004). Smith (1997) reported that teachers were challenged by the wider gap between students with and without disabilities at high schools. Due to large class sizes, Ellett (1993) suggested that high school teachers might be less willing to accommodate students with learning disabilities. Between 1986 and 1996, the percentage of students with disabilities who were educated in regular classrooms increased by nearly 20 percentage points, whereas, the percentage in resource rooms decreased by almost 15 percentage points. (National Center for Educational Statistics, 1999). What Makes Inclusion Work? Research-based programs, practices, and strategies at the highest standards are sought by educational professionals (Strategies to Improve Access to the General Education Curriculum [Strategies to Improve Access], 2005). Although research that is characterized by high quality data and by high quantity positive outcomes is somewhat scarce, findings suggested that specific approaches are effective with particular students.

Full document contains 112 pages
Abstract: This dissertation examined the impact of inclusion on the academic achievement outcome of high school special education students as measured by English 1, biology, and algebra 1 as a function of gender, ethnicity, and years of inclusion. The study also examined the generalizations with confidence that could be made about the use of inclusion methodology in high schools within an urban North Carolina school district as measured by end-of-course test scale scores. Data from three traditional high schools within the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School District were used in this study. High school special education students lagged behind several other subgroups on end-of-course tests proficiency. A quantitative study was conducted. End-of-course test data were collected from 2002-2005 for resource school years and from 2006-2009 for inclusion school years. The mean end-of-course test scale scores for special education students who experienced inclusion teaching methodology and those students who experienced resource-only teaching methodology were examined over a 6-year period of time. An analysis of variance found statistically significant differences between the three schools. The use of 95% confidence intervals helped to make inferences about mean scale scores from a sample statistic toward a population parameter. English 1 special education students did not benefit from inclusion and the years in the inclusion program did not impact students' academic achievement. Male and female students produced their highest percent proficient during resource years. Both Black and White English 1 students also produced their highest percent proficient during resource years. Biology special education students showed increases in percent proficient during inclusion years. They experienced a pattern of positive gaps when the years in the inclusion program were examined. Male and female biology students benefitted academically from inclusion. Both Black and White biology students showed academic gains during the years of inclusive practices. Algebra 1 special education students in general showed positive gaps in academic proficiency when they experienced inclusion. The years in the inclusion program did not positively impact academic gains for algebra 1 students. Male and female special education students benefitted academically from inclusive algebra 1. Black algebra 1 students showed trends of positive gaps in academic proficiency during inclusion years, but White students did not. The other minorities (Asian, Hispanic, Multi-racial, and Native Americans) did not produce sufficient data in order to see trends. Findings of this study are encouraging for the use of inclusion teaching methodology to increase academic achievement outcomes in some subject areas for high school special education students within an urban North Carolina school district.