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Academic and social outcomes of general education students in inclusion versus non -inclusion classrooms: A case study

Barbara J Senecal, University of Massachusetts Amherst


Over the past six years, efforts at integrating students with disabilities in general education classrooms, otherwise known as “inclusion,” have occurred in varying degrees in response to legislative requirements; national, state, and local school district initiatives; and advocacy groups vocalizing their inclusionary philosophies and beliefs. Subsequently, the number of students with mild to severe disabilities who are placed and educated in general education classrooms has increased, yet the inclusion movement has been tremendously challenging for educators. Massachusetts Education Reform, the Title I Reauthorization, and a district-wide Inclusion Plan are compatible in several ways and have influenced inclusive efforts in the district studied. They all promote collaborative efforts in delivering services to students, as well as require that high expectations in content and performance standards be set for all students. Given special education's least restrictive environment mandate, Title I regulations encouraging inclusion as a primary service delivery model, and a mandated inclusion plan, the stage was set for this district to implement inclusion. This study examines inclusion service delivery models in second and fourth grade with particular emphasis on general education students' academic and social outcomes in inclusion versus non-inclusion classrooms. Several questions guided the study: (1) What are the effects of inclusion classrooms on the academic progress of general education students compared to the academic progress of general education students in non-inclusion classrooms? (2) What are the social benefits of inclusion to general education students? (3) Regarding general education students' success in inclusion classrooms, what are the perceptions and experiences of the teachers, the principal, the parents, and the students? A two-part literature review, an analysis of in-depth interviews, a Student Assessment Inventory, curriculum-based and norm-referenced test scores in reading and mathematics, report card grades, and attendance records are presented. Implications for this school, district, and other districts are addressed. This study documents five general findings regarding the implementation of inclusion, variables for successful inclusion, a continuum of placements for all students, the use of multiple teaching strategies, curriculum modifcations, and alternative assessment measures to address all students' needs, and the outcomes of inclusion academically and socially for general education students.

Subject Area

School administration|Elementary education|Special education

Recommended Citation

Senecal, Barbara J, "Academic and social outcomes of general education students in inclusion versus non -inclusion classrooms: A case study" (2001). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI3000344.