Instruction of students with specific learning disabilities presents unique challenges to school districts. Federal legislation such as No Child Left Behind has placed greater emphasis on district accountability for student achievement, particularly sub populations like special education students. Different instructional models are used by districts throughout the South Texas region and may have significant implications for student achievement. This concurrent triangulation mixed methods study sought to determine if a significant difference existed among students with specific learning disabilities educated in inclusive settings and resource settings, as measured by 9th grade State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness (STAAR) End of Course (EOC) exams in reading and math. The researcher concurrently conducted open-ended, semi-structured interviews with high school principals and lead special education personnel in 4A and larger South Texas district to gain further insight into successful and unsuccessful inclusive practices. An ANCOVA was conducted and quantitative findings indicate no significant differences in assessment scores between students with learning disabilities who received resource services and students with learning disabilities who did not receive resource services. Qualitative analysis revealed the themes of relationships, individualized programs, time, staff and training. Respondents emphasized the importance of building relationships between inclusion and general education teachers, as well as between teachers and students. They also indicated a need for individualized services to meet the unique needs of each student. Time, staff and training were identified as factors affecting the successful implementation of inclusion services. Districts need to schedule time for planning and collaboration among teachers. Districts must also have enough staff to provide the needed services, whether it be resource or inclusion. Training was recommended for all teachers.
September 28, 2015
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