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RESEARCH
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  • National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM) is a research and development facility dedicated to the issues of media and information technology for people with disabilities.  NCAM explores how existing access technologies may benefit other populations and provides access to educational and media technologies for students with special needs.
  • The National Dissemination Center For Children With Disabilities - Educators, administrators, and families want to know what research has to say about "what works" with children and students with disabilities. The Center provides information in the form of an email service, research-based publications, and links to research materials, projects, and Web sites.

Research on Inclusion

  • The following are summaries of various research studies about the impact of inclusive Education for Students with Severe Disabilities in the United States.  Each item below was taken from http://www.isec2005.org.uk/isec/abstracts/papers_r/ryndak_d.shtml.

    **  Dr. Lewis Jackson states in the paper, Issues in Severe Disabilities, that “neither the research data nor the day-to-day experiences of persons who know the field support the educational benefits argument for segregation. Only when such reasoning is set aside can significant access concerns be resolved, and only at this point can equity and quality concerns assume their rightful place as important determinants of the critical issues in the discourse of our profession.http://nclid.unco.edu/joomla/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=559&Itemid=2

    ** When looking at learning that occurred over time, students with severe disabilities in inclusive general education contexts learned more than students with similar diagnoses who were served in segregated settings (Fisher & Meyer, 2002). In addition, initial data has begun to indicate that students with severe disabilities who receive services in inclusive general education contexts have better life outcomes than similar students who received services in segregated special education settings (Ryndak, Ward, Frenchman, Montgomery, & Billingsley, in preparation)

    ** In studies comparing student performance between inclusive and segregated settings, students with severe disabilities in general education classrooms have shown similar or even better achievement in skill development and curriculum content than those in special education settings (Fisher & Meyer, 2002; Hunt, Staub, et al., 1994; Miles, Cole, Jenkins, & Dale, 1998; Ryndak, et al., 1999).

    ** Being included in general education contexts has led to improved quality of instruction for students with severe disabilities

    ** Gilbert, Agran, Hughes, and Wehmeyer (2001) found that peer-delivered self-monitoring instruction for five middle school students with severe disabilities enhanced those students’ academic survival skills. In inclusive classrooms, instructional approaches that encouraged classmates without disabilities to help enhance the academic achievement of their classmates with severe disabilities increased the students’ acquisition of basic skills, self-regulatory skills, and general education curriculum content.

    ** Students with severe disabilities who were included in general education contexts showed higher levels of engagement in those classroom activities. Moreover, both students with severe disabilities and their classmates without disabilities in general education contexts showed a high percentage of intervals engaged in academic activities (Logan & Malone, 1998).

    ** Hunt and Farron-Davis (1992) and Hunt, Farron-Davis, Beckstead, Curtis, & Goetz (1994) evaluated the effects of educational placement while measuring the IEP quality, overall program quality, and student outcomes. They found that when compared with the IEPs of students with severe disabilities receiving instruction in segregated special education classes, students with severe disabilities receiving services in inclusive general education contexts had more opportunities for instruction on age-appropriate goals and more goals related to basic skills. In addition, Logan and Malone (1998) found that students with severe disabilities who were included in general education contexts (a) had higher amounts of time engaged in classroom activities, (b) participated more in a variety of types of activities with students who did not have disabilities, (c) interacted more socially with their classmates, and (d) participated more in activities throughout the school and in community environments. In addition, students with severe disabilities who were included in general education contexts showed more social and task-related reciprocal interactions with their peers. Finally, in their case study describing the use of literacy before and after inclusion, Ryndak, Morrison, and Sommerstein (1999) found that when the services for a student with moderate to severe disabilities were changed from segregated special education classes to inclusive general education contexts, the student’s IEPs were designed better, her curriculum content was more consistent with the curriculum content of her peers without disabilities, and her instructional activities were more meaningful to her. Concomitantly, changes were observed in the student’s (a) behaviors related to learning (e.g., time-in-instruction, time-on-task during instruction, motivation to acquire new skills), and (b) rate of learning over time.

    ** Brian A. Boyd, Seonjin Seo, Diane Lea Ryndak from the University of Florida and Doug Fisher from San Diego State University researched The Inclusive Education for Students with Severe Disabilities in the United States: Effects on Selected Areas of Outcomes. http://www.isec2005.org.uk/isec/abstracts/papers_r/ryndak_d.shtml

  • A series of magazine articles that provide information on students with severe disabilities.  Each of the articles may be obtained from the local library or higher-education library.

    ** Increasing Peer Interactions for Students with Severe Disabilities via Paraprofessional Training (authors:  Julie N. Causton-Theoharis and Kimber W. Malmgren) found in Exceptional Children, v71 n4 p431 Sum 2005. This study investigated the effectiveness of a training program aimed at teaching four paraprofessionals to facilitate interactions between students with severe disabilities and their peers. A multiple baseline, single-subject design across four paraprofessional/student pairs was utilized. Observational data were collected over the baseline and post-intervention phases. Rates of paraprofessional facilitative behavior increased following the intervention. Additionally, rates of student interaction increased immediately and dramatically and were maintained through the maintenance probe.

    ** Creating Learning Opportunities for Students With Severe Disabilities in Inclusive Classrooms (authors:  June E. Downing, Joanne Eichinger) found in  TEACHING Exceptional Children, v36 n1 p26-31 Sep-Oct 2003. This article discusses how professionals can recognize learning opportunities for students with severe disabilities within general education activities. It also includes examples of additional learning opportunities that provide ways for students to work on their individualized objectives in various settings. Recommendations are provided for dealing with materials and grouping students.

  • National Center On Educational Outcomes - (NCEO) provides national leadership and resources on how to support the participation of students with disabilities in national and state assessments. Its Web site contains publications as well as an online compilation of research studies on the effects of various testing accommodations for students with disabilities. Additionally, NCEO participates in a number of assessment projects that collect data on the participation and performance of students with disabilities, and examines accommodations and alternate approaches that facilitate the participation of all students in statewide assessment programs.

Research on Educational Technology