Toward Inclusion of Special Education Students in General Education: A Program Evaluation of Eight Schools

Today, many students with disabilities still face the problem of their integration into the classroom environment and school setting because many schools are still unprepared for their integration. At the same time, there are schools with well-developed educational programs for students with disabilities which facilitate their integration in the classroom environment and school setting to the extent that students with disabilities study along with other students and prove to be quite successful in their learning, cognitive development and socialization. In this respect, it is possible to refer to the study “Toward Inclusion of Special Education Students in General Education: A Program Evaluation of Eight Schools” conducted by Lorna Idol (2006), who has revealed the fact that students with disabilities can learn successfully in the conventional classroom environment in schools with extensive and effective educational programs for students with disabilities, while educators have a positive attitude to the integration of students with disabilities into the conventional classroom environment but they feel the need of the  educational assistant, who could help with teaching students with disabilities.

The study focused on the analysis of educational programs implemented in several schools. The researcher focused attention on the elementary education and respective classes. The researcher compared similar classes, i.e. classes of the same grade which belonged to the elementary school. At the same time, all schools involved in the study have well-developed educational programs for students with disabilities which aimed specifically on the integration of students with disabilities into the classroom environment to facilitate their education and to prevent the risk of their exclusion from the classroom and school setting at large.

The demographics of the schools involved in the study was ethnically and socially diverse but there were criteria which were common for all schools. First, students were approximately of the same age and studied at the elementary school level. Second, the study involved classrooms with the integration of students with disabilities. Therefore, the presence of students with disabilities in the classroom was an essential condition of the study conducted by Lorna Idol. At the same time, the researcher involved educators mainly as participants of the study, whereas students, including students with disabilities were subjects, who were observed by the researcher, while educators provided the information about students with disabilities, their integration in the classroom environment, their academic performance and the attitude of educators to the integration of children with disabilities into conventional classroom environment in terms of educational programs implemented in the schools involved in the study.

The program was evaluated on the ground of the information collected in the course of the study but the main criteria for the assessment of the effectiveness of the educational program in each school was the assessment of the attitude of educators to the program. In fact, the researcher points out that educators basically agree and insist on the importance of the implementation of educational programs for students with disabilities but they also argue that the involvement of educational assistants could be helpful to facilitate teaching students with disabilities and their further integration into the classroom environment.

The researcher collected data from educators interviewing them to collect the information about their attitude to the educational program in their school and their overall opinion about the integration of students with disabilities into the conventional classroom environment. As the researcher collected the data, they were compared since the researcher involved several schools with educational programs for students with disabilities. The researcher compared responses of educators from different schools and singled out similarities in their responses concerning the effectiveness of educational programs, their impact on both students with disabilities and their peers, and the general attitude of educators toward the integration of students with disabilities into the classroom environment.

In fact, the methods used by the researcher were quite effective. Lorna Idol used quantitative methods of analysis collecting the information about the effectiveness of educational programs for students with disabilities in the course of interviews of educators. Educators apparently knew their students well and the attitude of educators to the educational program applied in their classrooms was also very important because, if educators oppose such programs or are not satisfied with them, such educational programs are likely to fail.

On the other hand, the current study confronts certain challenges in terms of the data collection. Even though the researcher has collected extensive and detailed information on educational programs and integration of students with disabilities, the information was collected from educators mainly. However, the researcher failed to involve students, especially students with disabilities, as well as their peers into the data collection, while students could also provide the researcher with valuable information that could influence outcomes of the study and conclusions made by the researcher.

Thus, in spite of the positive effects revealed by the researcher in educational programs for children with disabilities, there is still room for improvements in contemporary schools to facilitate the inclusion of students with disabilities into the classroom environment and school setting.

References:

Idol, L. (2006). “Toward Inclusion of Special Education Students in General Education: A Program Evaluation of Eight Schools,” Remedial and Special Education, 27(2), 77-94.

The terms offer and acceptance. (2016, May 17). Retrieved from

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"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016.

[Accessed: January 20, 2022]

freeessays.club (2016) The terms offer and acceptance [Online].
Available at:

[Accessed: January 20, 2022]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

[Accessed: January 20, 2022]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

[Accessed: January 20, 2022]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

[Accessed: January 20, 2022]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

[Accessed: January 20, 2022]
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