Closing the achievement gap: Impact of inclusion upon achievement rates of students with special needs
The purpose of this research study was to examine the relationship between the amount of time a student with special needs spends in the inclusive classroom and their achievement passing rates in mathematics and reading. TAKS passing rates for mathematics and reading for third graders in 2007-2008, and the same cohort of fourth graders in 2008-2009 were analyzed to determine the strength of relationship between the predictor variable of TAKS achievement passing rates, and the independent variables of amount of time included (PEIMS Instructional Setting) and socioeconomic status. Logistic regression was utilized to analyze the relationship between amount of time included and TAKS achievement passing rates in reading and mathematics. Correlations and crosstabulations were also employed to provide deeper insight into the data analysis. Logistic regression in mathematics demonstrated a strong correlation between the amount of time student with special needs was included in the general education setting and their TAKS achievement passing rates in both years of the study. Correlations and crosstabulations further enhanced these findings with higher passing rates correlated with greater amounts of time included. Logistic regression in reading demonstrated correlation between the amount of time a student with special needs was included in the general education setting for greater than half of their school day and their TAKS achievement passing rates in reading for both years of the study. Correlations and crosstabulations showed increased passing rates in TAKS reading for those students included for more than fifty percent of the day, and decreased passing rates in TAKS reading for those students included for less than fifty percent of the day. One interesting discovery was the link between socioeconomic status and student achievement passing rates on TAKS. Statistical analyses showed no correlation between SES and mathematics in 2007-2008 or 2008-2009. The same analyses showed no correlation between SES and reading in 2007-2008, but found correlation between SES and reading in 2008-2009. It is possible that student disability eclipses socioeconomic status, and the appropriate type of TAKS test may alleviate some of the effects of socioeconomic status generally reported in the research on student achievement. A lengthy discussion of the development and implementation of culturally responsive systems, instruction, and achievement testing followed the statistical analysis of the data. Systemic reform measures involving the changing of mindsets toward culturally responsive instruction is foundational to addressing the issues of equity and diversity at the heart of the differentials in achievement among typically developing students and students with special needs. Finally, recommendations were made regarding systems change as well as future research in the area of inclusion and student achievement. Research which examines the impact of inclusion upon students, parents, teachers, schools, and communities will provide data which paves the way for change in the hearts and minds of society.
Black, Kathleen, "Closing the achievement gap: Impact of inclusion upon achievement rates of students with special needs" (2010). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI3426841.