Effects of differing levels of inclusion on preschoolers with disabilities.
The practice of inclusion (i.e., educating children with and without disabilities together) derives from the principle of least restrictive environment As part of the U.S. Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the least restrictive environment is identified as one of the six principles that govern the education of students with disabilities. and the civil rights movement. Although some parents and professionals call for universal full inclusion (Peck peck: see English units of measurement. , 1995), others advocate For the maintenance of a continuum Continuum (pl. -tinua or -tinuums) can refer to:
German-born physicist who worked on the development of the atomic bomb in Britain and the United States and was imprisoned (1950-1959) for passing scientific secrets to the Soviet Union.
Noun 1. & Fuchs, 1994). However, most current research on service delivery has shifted from questions about the relative efficacy of inclusion to questions about effective inclusion models (Guralnick, 1990; Salisbury Salisbury, town and district, England
Salisbury (sôlz`bərē) or New Sarum (sâr`əm), town (1991 pop. 36,890) and district, Wiltshire, S England. & Vincent, 1990). The present study represents a return to the earlier concern, the efficacy of varying degrees of inclusion.
The key issue in this debate is whether the individual needs of some children may be lost when a single approach is applied universally. Because children with disabilities form all extraordinarily heterogeneous Not the same. Contrast with homogeneous.
heterogeneous - Composed of unrelated parts, different in kind.
Often used in the context of distributed systems that may be running different operating systems or network protocols (a heterogeneous network). population, there are risks in adopting a "one size fits all" philosophy across different subgroups of this population. For example, in a multisite study of inclusion models for elementary-age children with learning disabilities, approximately half of the children showed little or no growth in reading achievement (Zigmond, Jenkins, Fuchs, Deno, & Fuchs, 1995; Zigmond, Jenkins, Fuchs, Deno, Fuchs, Baker, et al., 1995). In contrast, children with more severe disabilities were found to generally benefit from inclusion (Buysse & Bailey, 1993), although the generality gen·er·al·i·ty
n. pl. gen·er·al·i·ties
1. The state or quality of being general.
2. An observation or principle having general application; a generalization.
3. of this conclusion has been challenged by MacMillan Macmillan, river, c.200 mi (320 km) long, rising in two main forks in the Selwyn Mts., E Yukon Territory, Canada, and flowing generally W to the Pelly River. It was an important route to the gold fields from c.1890 to 1900. , Gresham, and Forness (1996). Because preschool children with disabilities also constitute a diverse population, varying broadly in social, linguistic, cognitive, and motor skills as well as in other factors, individual children may respond differently to different educational environments. Thus, studies seeking to uncover best practices must take into account the characteristics of the research participants.
Most research on special education preschool programs has concentrated on group effects, providing information about the average benefit of a practice such as inclusion (Buysse & Bailey, 1993; Lamorey & Bricker, 1993; Odom & McEvoy, 1988). However, there is evidence that subgroups of children may not respond similarly to the same approach. In a previous study involving random assignment to either special education-only classes or integrated classes (i.e., four children developing typically and eight children who qualified for special education services), Cole, Mills, Dale, and Jenkins (1991) found no main effect differences for children in either model, but significant Aptitude X Treatment interactions (ATIs). Specifically, children with disabilities who performed relatively higher on pretest pre·test
a. A preliminary test administered to determine a student's baseline knowledge or preparedness for an educational experience or course of study.
b. A test taken for practice.
2. measures benefited more from integrated special education classrooms, while children who performed lower on pretest measures benefited more from special education-only classrooms. These findings suggest that service delivery models may relate to developmental outcomes in more complicated ways than first thought (i.e., interactions between the type of service delivery arrangements and child characteristics). It is possible that the findings of no differences in developmental measures in earlier studies of mainstreaming may have masked A state of being disabled or cut off. ATIs.
If some young children are better served academically in special education-only settings and others are better served in integrated special education settings, then a continuum of service delivery options is preferable to any single approach. Given our earlier findings, we felt it important to seek replication In database management, the ability to keep distributed databases synchronized by routinely copying the entire database or subsets of the database to other servers in the network.
There are various replication methods. . We also wanted to examine the relative effects of a third, even more inclusive model of integration, one in which typically developing children are in the majority. Thus, the present study examined the effects of three different levels of integration--special education-only (classrooms which enroll only children with disabilities), integrated special education (more children with disabilities than typically developing children), and mainstreamed (more typically developing children than children with disabilities)--on developmental outcomes of young children with disabilities.
A total of 66 children, enrolled in a laboratory school in the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. , participated in this study. These children, ages 31 months to 75 months (SD = 11.23), qualified for special education under the state's noncategorical system of funding for preschool children. Children qualify for special education if they exhibit a delay of at least 1.5 standard deviations on a normed test in two or more developmental areas (gross motor, fine motor, language, cognition cognition
Act or process of knowing. Cognition includes every mental process that may be described as an experience of knowing (including perceiving, recognizing, conceiving, and reasoning), as distinguished from an experience of feeling or of willing. , or social-emotional development) or if they exhibit a delay of 2 or more standard deviations in one of these areas. Forty-six of the students exhibited a significant delay in gross motor (70%), 55 in fine motor (83%), 55 in language (83%), 36 in cognition (55%), and 56 in social-emotional development (85%). One-way ANOVAs on each area of delay by level of integration revealed no significant differences. The sample contained 49 boys (74%) and 17 girls (26%), with an ethnic mix of 45 European American (68%); 13 African American African American Multiculture A person having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa. See Race. (20%); and 8 Asian American A·sian A·mer·i·can also A·sian-A·mer·i·can
A U.S. citizen or resident of Asian descent. See Usage Note at Amerasian.
A , Native American, Pacific Islander American Pacific Islander Americans are residents of the United States with original ancestry from the Pacific Islands. They represent the smallest racial group counted in the United States census of 2000. They numbered 874,000 people or 0.3 percent of the United States population. , or other (12%). See Table 1 for a demographic breakdown of the sample.
TABLE 1 Description of Subjects/hr Each Level of Integration Special Education- Descriptive Variable Only n 22 Age 51.77 months Range 36-72 months n % Gender Boys Girls 5 23 Ethnicity European American 14 64 African American 4 18 Other 4 18 Integrated Special Education n 22 Age 52.05 months Range 36-70 months n % Gender Boys Girls 6 27 Ethnicity European American 13 60 African American 7 31 Other 2 9 Mainstreamed n 22 Age 55.95 months Range 31-75 months n % Gender Boys 16 73 Girls 6 27 Ethnicity European American 18 82 African American 2 9 Other 2 9
In addition, 51 typically developing children were enrolled in integrated and mainstreamed classrooms. These children, ages 32 months to 65 months (M = 47 months, SD = 7.88), included 31 boys (61%) and 20 girls (39%), representing ail ethnic mix of 39 European American (76%); 9 African American (18%); and 3 Asian, Native American, Pacific Islander American, or other (6%). For this group the McCarthy General Cognitive Index (GCI GCI Ground Circuit Interrupter
GCI Getty Conservation Institute
GCI Global Commerce Initiative
GCI Green Cross International (non-profit international environmental organization)
GCI Growth Competitiveness Index
GCI Great Cities Institute ; McCarthy, 1972) mean was 105 (SD = 15.28) and the Preschool Language Assessment Instrument (PLAI; Blank, Rose, & Berlin, 1978) mean proportion for totally appropriate responses was .62 (SD = .20). Only data from children with disabilities are reported in the remainder of this article.
Children were randomly assigned as·sign
tr.v. as·signed, as·sign·ing, as·signs
1. To set apart for a particular purpose; designate: assigned a day for the inspection.
2. to one of three levels of inclusion (special education-only, integrated special education, and mainstreamed classrooms). Each classroom enrolled 14 children. Special education-only classrooms enrolled 14 children with disabilities and no typically developing children. The integrated classrooms enrolled 3 typically developing children and 11 children with disabilities. Mainstreamed classrooms enrolled 9 typically developing children and 5 children with disabilities.
Final Sample Selection. The original sample included 114 children with disabilities, but some of these had participated in the preschool program for more than 1 year. To ensure comparability, we used only data from a child's first year in the program. Moreover, the number of children with disabilities who had been assigned to the three types of treatment ranged from 22 in the mainstreamed condition to 48 in the special education-only condition. Because differential weighting from disproportionate dis·pro·por·tion·ate
Out of proportion, as in size, shape, or amount.
dispro·por samples creates problems in interpreting interaction terms, we equated sample size by matching a subsample sub·sam·ple
A sample drawn from a larger sample.
tr.v. sub·sam·pled, sub·sam·pling, sub·sam·ples
To take a subsample from (a larger sample). of children from the integrated special education and special education-only programs (n = 22 each) with students in the mainstreaming condition, using the PLAI pretest scores for total appropriate responses as the matching variable. As shown in Table 2, the three groups were similar at pretest, with no significant differences among the final groups on any pretest measure. Even though we had randomly assigned children to classrooms and conditions, our final selection of students matched for pretest PLAI performance resulted in a quasi-experimental design. However, a comparison of results found for the larger sample mirrored those for the smaller sample reported here. Table 1 gives descriptive statistics descriptive statistics
see statistics. for each classroom composition.
TABLE 2 Repeated Measures ANOVAs on McCarthy Scales and PLAI Pretest Measure M (SD) McCarthy GCI Special education - only 67.05 (19.78) Integrated 67.73 (20.26) Mainstreamed 64.91 (16.52) Time Interaction McCarthy Verbal Special education - only 33.95 (10.69) Integrated 31.45 (11.22) Mainstreamed 30.09 (9.84) Time Interaction McCarthy Perceptual Segregated 31.57 (11.24) Integrated 33.68 (11.89) Mainstreamed 33.48 (10.15) Time Interaction McCarthy Quantitative Special education - only 33.91 (9.59) Integrated 35.50 (12.73) Mainstreamed 32.00 (9.19) Time Interaction McCarthy Memory Segregated 34.38 (11.27) Integrated 34.64 (10.44) Mainstreamed 32.38 (9.21) Time Interaction PLAI Total Appropriate Special education - only .31 (.27) Integrated .33 (.26) Mainstreamed .31 (.26) Time Interaction Posttest Measure M (SD) McCarthy GCI Special education - only 74.14 (28.32) Integrated 75.18 (23.65) Mainstreamed 65.33 (16.16) Time Interaction McCarthy Verbal Special education - only 34.33 (12.20) Integrated 36.41 (13.05) Mainstreamed 30.14 (9.60) Time Interaction McCarthy Perceptual Segregated 33.19 (12.05) Integrated 36.36 (14.47) Mainstreamed 33.76 (9.54) Time Interaction McCarthy Quantitative Special education - only 32.91 (11.39) Integrated 37.82 (13.85) Mainstreamed 32.95 (9.89) Time Interaction McCarthy Memory Segregated 34.05 (13.19) Integrated 37.64 (15.65) Mainstreamed 30.00 (10.20) Time Interaction PLAI Total Appropriate Special education - only .44 (.20) Integrated .44 (.24) Mainstreamed .37 (.25) Time Interaction Measure Significance McCarthy GCI Special education - only Integrated Mainstreamed Time F = 6.01 (1, 61), p < .02 Interaction F = 1.25 (2, 61), ns McCarthy Verbal Special education - only Integrated Mainstreamed Time F = 3.47 (1, 61), ns Interaction F = 2.74 (2, 61), ns McCarthy Perceptual Segregated Integrated Mainstreamed Time F = 3.49 (1, 61), ns Interaction F = .72 (1, 61), ns McCarthy Quantitative Special education - only Integrated Mainstreamed Time F = .64 (1, 61), ns Interaction F = 1.05 (1, 61), ,s McCarthy Memory Segregated Integrated Mainstreamed Time F = .01 (1,61),ns Interaction F = 2.23 (1, 61), ns PLAI Total Appropriate Special education - only Integrated Mainstreamed Time F = 31.81 (1, 62), p < .000 Interaction F = 1.58 (2, 62), ns
Note: McCarthy GCI = McCarthy Scales of Children's Abilities General Cognitive Index: PLAI = Preschool Language Assessment Instrument.
Data collection extended over a 3-year period, with all three types of classrooms represented each year. Children attended preschool for 2 hr and 15 min per day, 5 days per week, for 180 school days. There were morning and afternoon sessions for each of the three classroom compositions. Across the 3 years, four different teachers taught the mainstreamed, five taught integrated, and four taught special education-only classrooms.
In the first 2 years of the project each classroom used one of two curricula. Five of the six classrooms used the Mediated me·di·ate
v. me·di·at·ed, me·di·at·ing, me·di·ates
1. To resolve or settle (differences) by working with all the conflicting parties: Learning (ML) Curriculum (Osborn, Sherwood, & Cole, 1991) and one of the special education-only classrooms used the Direct Instruction (DI) program as developed by Engelmann and his colleagues (Becker, 1977; Becker, Engelmann, & Thomas, 1975). Due to the implementation of another research project in the third year, the curricula used in the classrooms changed. At that time one classroom representing each level of classroom composition employed direct language teaching methods (Waryas & Stremel-Campbell, 1984), with the other three classrooms employing an interactive curriculum (Drummond, 1989). One-way ANOVAs on posttest post·test
A test given after a lesson or a period of instruction to determine what the students have learned. scores for children enrolled in each curriculum revealed no significant differences. Treatment fidelities were consistently high for each curricular approach; details of those analyses are available in Cole, Dale, Mills, and Jenkins (1993) and Cole, Mills, Dale, and Jenkins (1996).
Each classroom was staffed by a head teacher with a Master's degree in Special Education, an assistant teacher, a practicum practicum (prak´tikm),
n See internship. student, and related service personnel who provided services in the classroom during segments of the school day. On average, three adults were in each classroom.
McCarthy Scales of Children's Abilities (MSCA). The MSCA (McCarthy, 1972) is an individually administered intelligence test for children ranging in age from 2 1/2 to 8 1/2 years of age. Subtests include Verbal, Perceptual, Quantitative, Memory, Motor, and the General Cognitive Index (GCI), composed of a combined set of the subsets. The MSCA is widely used and covers the appropriate developmental range for preschoolers with developmental delays. The following average split-half reliabilities are indicated: GCI = .93, Verbal = .88, Perceptual = .84, Quantitative = .81, and Memory = .79. Test-retest reliability ranges from .75 to .91. Sattler (1988) characterized char·ac·ter·ize
tr.v. character·ized, character·iz·ing, character·iz·es
1. To describe the qualities or peculiarities of: characterized the warden as ruthless.
2. it as "well standardized and psychometrically sound" (p. 295). We obtained complete pre- and posttesting results for 64 of 66 children on this measure.
Preschool Language Assessment Instrument (PLAI). The PLAI (Blank et al., 1978) is an experimental test designed to measure children's ability to respond to increasingly difficult and abstract language, similar to that encountered in teaching situations with four distinct ascending ascending /as·cend·ing/ (ah-send´ing) having an upward course.
progressing to higher levels, usually used in reference to the nervous system. levels of abstraction In object technology, determining the essential characteristics of an object. Abstraction is one of the basic principles of object-oriented design, which allows for creating user-defined data types, known as objects. See object-oriented programming and encapsulation.
1. : 1 Matching Perception (e.g., What do you see?); 2 Selective Analysis of Perception (e.g., What is different?); 3 Reordering re·or·der
v. re·or·dered, re·or·der·ing, re·or·ders
1. To order (the same goods) again.
2. To straighten out or put in order again.
3. To rearrange.
v. Perception (e.g., How can you tell?); and 4 Reasoning About Perception (e.g., What will happen?). The split-half reliability for each level is: group 1 = .64, group 2 = .80, group 3 = .83, and group 4 = .86. Test-retest reliabilities for each group are: group 1 = .73, group 2 = .83, group 3 = .86, and group 4 = .88. A variety of scores can be derived from the test. For the present study, the total number of adequate responses (a scoring category defined in the test manual) was used as an overall measure. We obtained complete pre- and posttest results for 65 children on this test.
The McCarthy and PLAI were administered as pre- and posttests between October and May. The minimum period between pre- and posttests was 6 months. Research staff consisting of graduate students in speech language pathology pathology, study of the cause of disease and the modifications in cellular function and changes in cellular structure produced in any cell, organ, or part of the body by disease. , special education, and psychology as well as undergraduate students in psychology conducted all testing. Testing staff were not involved in classroom activities arid ar·id
1. Lacking moisture, especially having insufficient rainfall to support trees or woody plants: an arid climate.
2. were not informed of the nature of the hypotheses involved in the study. Guidelines guidelines,
n.pl a set of standards, criteria, or specifications to be used or followed in the performance of certain tasks. were in place to ensure that research staff tested approximately equal numbers of students across the three conditions.
Means and standard deviations for pre- and posttest measures of the three treatments are presented in Table 2. Analyses of variance The discrepancy between what a party to a lawsuit alleges will be proved in pleadings and what the party actually proves at trial.
In Zoning law, an official permit to use property in a manner that departs from the way in which other property in the same locality (ANOVAs) compared the three groups' pretest levels on the following six measures: McCarthy GCI, Verbal, Perceptual, Quantitative, and Memory scale scores, arid PLAI number of total appropriate responses. There were no statistically significant pretest differences among the three groups.
Pre- and posttests were examined through repeated-measures ANOVAs, with treatment (i.e., class composition) as a between-subjects factor and time (pre- and posttest) as a within-subjects factor. The interaction of Treatment X Time, reflecting differences among treatment in amount of change, was not statistically significant for any of the six measures.
The main effect for time reached statistical significance on McCarthy GCI, F(1, 61), p [is less than] .05 and the PLAI, F(1, 62), p [is less than] .001. Recall that McCarthy scores are age-based standard scores; thus the same standard score on pre- and posttest indicates that children grew at the average of their norm-referenced group. The statistically significant pre- to posttest difference on the GCI resulted from participants' higher scores, relative to the norm group, at posttest than at pretest. The PLAI provides only raw scores (confounding confounding
when the effects of two, or more, processes on results cannot be separated, the results are said to be confounded, a cause of bias in disease studies.
confounding factor maturation maturation /mat·u·ra·tion/ (mach-u-ra´shun)
1. the process of becoming mature.
2. attainment of emotional and intellectual maturity.
3. and education effects), so the overall pre- to posttest changes cannot be easily interpreted.
Exploring further the gains by treatment groups on the six measures, we computed effect sizes to quantify Quantify - A performance analysis tool from Pure Software. difference between pre- and posttest for each group (Glass, McGaw, & Smith, 1981). As shown in Table 3, the largest effect sizes were associated with the integrated treatment, followed by the special education-only treatment. The smallest effect sizes were associated with the mainstream treatment, for which all effect sizes from the McCarthy measures were either negative or near zero. Effect sizes observed for the PLAI, ranging from 60 to 78, were larger than those for the McCarthy, again reflecting a difference in the type of scores produced by the two tests (i.e., raw vs. standard scores). Contrast analyses were performed to evaluate the pre- to posttest change on each measure for the three groups separately. For the integrated treatment, differences between pre- to and posttest means were significant for McCarthy GCI (p = .036) and Verbal scale (p = .004), and nearly so for the Perceptual scale (p = .059). For the special education-only treatment, the pre- to posttest difference on the McCarthy GCI (p = .05) approached significance. For the mainstream treatment, no pre- to posttest differences approached significance on any McCarthy measure. All three treatments produced significant pre- to posttest changes on PLAI raw scores.
TABLE 3 Effect Sizes for gains from Pre- to Posttests for Three Classroom Compositions Classroom Composition Measure Special Integrated Mainstreamed Education-Only McCarthy GCI .36 .40 -.01 Verbal -.01 .48 -.01 Perceptual .17 .25 .02 Memory -.10 .29 -.24 PLAI .78 .64 .60
Note: Effect sizes computed by dividing pre-posttest difference by the pretest standard deviation, pooled across groups. McCarthy GCI = McCarthy Scales of Children's General Cognitive Index; PLAI = Preschool Language Assessment Instrument.
We next examined ATIs for each posttest measure, using multiple regression regression, in psychology: see defense mechanism.
In statistics, a process for determining a line or curve that best represents the general trend of a data set. analyses with hierarchical A structure made up of different levels like a company organization chart. The higher levels have control or precedence over the lower levels. Hierarchical structures are a one-to-many relationship; each item having one or more items below it. ordering as follows: age, pretest, class composition, and ability-(pretest cognitive and language scores)by-treatment. Ability pretests used in the regression were either PLAI total appropriate responses or McCarthy GCI. Because of the complexity of the ATIs, we conducted pairwise comparisons of the groups (R. Abbott, personal communication, April 28, 1992), that is, mainstreamed versus integrated special education, special education-only versus integrated special education, and special education-only versus mainstreamed. Results are summarized in Table 4. From the total of 36 regressions, 9 significant ATIs were observed.
TABLE 4 Summary of Aptitude x Treatment Multiple Regression Analysis In statistics, a mathematical method of modeling the relationships among three or more variables. It is used to predict the value of one variable given the values of the others. For example, a model might estimate sales based on age and gender. for Students in Special Education-Only, Integrated Special Education, and Mainstreamed Settings
Pretest Measure Posttest Measure ISE vs. Mainstream PLAI McCarthy Verbal p < .01(a) [R.sup.2] 0.081 McCarthy Quantitative p < .05(a) [R.sup.2] 0.046 McCarthy Memory p < .01(a) [R.sup.2] 0.106 McCarthy GCI p < .05(a) [R.sup.2] 0.055 McCarthy Perceptual ns PLAI ns McCarthy GCI McCarthy Verbal ns McCarthy Quantitative ns [R.sup.2] ns McCarthy Memory p < .05(a) [R.sup.2] 0.024 McCarthy GCI ns McCarthy Perceptual ns PLAI ns Pretest Measure Posttest Measure SE-O vs. ISE PLAI McCarthy Verbal p < .01(a) [R.sup.2] 0.068 McCarthy Quantitative p < .0.1(a) [R.sup.2] 0.112 McCarthy Memory p < .01(a) [R.sup.2] 0.095 McCarthy GCI ns [R.sup.2] McCarthy Perceptual PLAI ns McCarthy GCI McCarthy Verbal ns McCarthy Quantitative p < .05a [R.sup.2] 0.039 McCarthy Memory ns [R.sup.2] McCarthy GCI ns McCarthy Perceptual ns PLAI ns Pretest Measure Posttest Measure SE-O vs. Maintream PLAI McCarthy Verbal ns [R.sup.2] McCarthy Quantitative ns [R.sup.2] McCarthy Memory ns [R.sup.2] McCarthy GCI ns [R.sup.2] McCarthy Perceptual ns PLAI ns McCarthy GCI McCarthy Verbal ns McCarthy Quantitative ns [R.sup.2] McCarthy Memory ns [R.sup.2] McCarthy GCI ns McCarthy Perceptual ns PLAI ns
Note: ISE Ise (ē`sā), city (1990 pop. 104,164), Mie prefecture, S Honshu, Japan, on Ise Bay. It is one of the foremost religious centers of Shinto, the site of the shrines of Ise. = integrated special education; SE-O = special education-only; McCarthy GCI = McCarthy Scales of Children's Abilities Genergal Cognitive Index; PLAI = Preschool Language Assessment Instrument.
(a) The direction of the slope is highest far ISE.
Special Education-Only Versus Integrated Special Education. After controlling for age and pretest, the interaction of pretest PLAI scores and treatment significantly predicted three posttests: McCarthy Verbal (p [is less than] .01), Quantitative (p [is less than] .01), and Memory (p [is less than] .01) posttest scale scores. The interaction between McCarthy GCI pretest and treatment also predicted McCarthy Quantitative (p [is less than] .05) posttest scale scores. The direction of the interaction for all four ATIs indicated that higher performing students at pretest gained more from the integrated special education classes, whereas lower performing students gained more from the special education-only classes. Figure 1 illustrates the pattern of all interactions.
[Figure 1 ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]
Integrated Special Education Versus Mainstreamed. Again, after controlling for age and pretest, the integrated versus mainstreamed treatment significantly interacted with pretest PLAI scores in predicting four posttests: McCarthy Verbal (p [is less than] .01), Quantitative (p [is less than] .05), Memory (p [is less than] .01), and GCI (p [is less than] .05) scale scores. The interaction between McCarthy pretest GCI and treatment was also a significant predictor of posttest McCarthy Memory (p [is less than] .05). The direction of the interactions was the same for all five ATIs: higher performing students at pretest gained more in integrated special education and lower performing students gained more in the mainstreamed classes.
Special Education-Only Versus Mainstreamed. No significant interactions with pretest ability measures were found.
We used the Johnson-Neyman procedure (Pedhazur, 1982) to determine the region of nonsignificance for each pair of regression lines. The statistically significant differences for lower performing students noted on the nine interactions of pretests and treatments did not occur within the range of scores observed in our sample. The differences between the higher performing students in the integrated special education relative to the special education-only or mainstreamed classrooms were, however, significant. Thus, while the ATIs are significant, their impact is greater for the higher performing children than for the lower performing children.
This study contrasted three classroom ratios of children with disabilities to typically developing peers. Across the total sample of children, we observed significant growth from pre- to posttest on cognitive (McCarthy GCI) and language (PLAI) measures. Although analyses of variance did not reveal significant treatment differences, within-group analyses of pre- to posttest gains indicated moderate effect sizes (.25 -- .48) for the integrated special education treatment, which was primarily responsible for the significant McCarthy gains. The special education-only treatment also produced a moderate level effect size (.36) on the McCarthy GCI. In contrast, effect sizes for the mainstream treatment were either negative or near zero across all McCarthy measures. All three treatments resulted in significant gains in language development, as shown by increased PLAI raw scores.
Regarding the different levels of inclusion, our statistically nonsignificant non·sig·nif·i·cant
1. Not significant.
2. Having, producing, or being a value obtained from a statistical test that lies within the limits for being of random occurrence. Treatment X Time interactions are consistent with findings of previous studies (Buysse & Bailey, 1993; Odom & McEvoy, 1988) in which preschool children with disabilities, on average, made comparable progress in special education-only and integrated special education classrooms (Cole et al., 1991; Jenkins, Odom, & Speltz, 1989; Jenkins, Speltz, & Odom, 1985) and in special education-only and mainstreamed classrooms (Fewell & Oelwein, 1990; Rule et al., 1987). On the other hand, our analysis of effect sizes and within-group pre- to posttest gains suggest that only one treatment, integrated special education, consistently produced growth that significantly exceeded normal development.
Cole et al. (1991) found ATIs between child characteristics and type of placement; specifically, higher performing children made relatively greater gains in integrated special education classrooms, and lower performing children made relatively greater gains in special education-only classrooms. In the present study, multiple regression analyses testing the same treatment conditions (i.e., integrated special education and special education-only) and child characteristics (i.e., pretest McCarthy GCI and PLAI scores) replicated the pattern of ATIs reported in our earlier study.
Were one to consider only the results of the integrated special education and special education-only classroom compositions in both the present study and that of Cole et al. (1991), it would be tempting to suppose that further increasing the ratio of typically developing children to children with disabilities would further improve the development of higher performing children with disabilities. The addition of the mainstream treatment in the present study permits an examination of this hypothesis. Mainstreamed classrooms had more than twice as many typically developing children than integrated special education classrooms (proportionally pro·por·tion·al
1. Forming a relationship with other parts or quantities; being in proportion.
2. Properly related in size, degree, or other measurable characteristics; corresponding: 64% were typically developing in the mainstream treatment vs. 21% in the integrated special education treatment). Rather than benefiting from the larger numbers of typically developing classmates Classmates can refer to either:
These results indicate that the mix of typically developing to special education children provided by integrated special education classrooms (3 children who are typically developing and 11 children with disabilities) results in improved outcomes for higher performing children relative to outcomes produced by either higher (mainstreamed) or lower (special education-only) ratios of typically developing classmates. The nonlinear A system in which the output is not a uniform relationship to the input.
nonlinear - (Scientific computation) A property of a system whose output is not proportional to its input. relation between child ratios and developmental outcome is not easily interpreted, but it appears that introducing a high ratio of typically developing children changes classroom dynamics in ways that do not favor higher functioning special education children. Perhaps the academic demands in mainstreamed classes exceed the abilities of the special education participants, or perhaps the ratio of typically developing children in mainstream classes affects child interaction patterns such that special education and typically developing children keep more to themselves.
It is also difficult to understand why children with lower language and cognitive skills achieved more in mainstreamed and special education-only treatments (extreme opposites), relative to their achievement in the integrated special education treatment. Perhaps these different student mixes induce in·duce
1. To bring about or stimulate the occurrence of something, such as labor.
2. To initiate or increase the production of an enzyme or other protein at the level of genetic transcription.
3. teachers to establish instructional groupings that are more or less beneficial to low performing students. Alternatively, the different mixes may induce teachers to deliver instruction at levels which are more or less accessible to lower functioning students.
Our earlier findings (Cole et al., 1991) that lower functioning children benefited more from special education-only than from integrated special education raises a potential dilemma for practitioners, especially those who arc committed to inclusion on philosophical, legal, and social grounds. The results of the present study may help resolve this dilemma. Thc finding that lower performing children advanced comparably in mainstreamed and special education-only settings, combined with the finding that higher performing children benefited more from integrated settings suggest that both higher and lower performing groups can profit from some level of inclusion. However, the optimal degree of inclusion differs for these two groups; relatively higher functioning preschoolers with disabilities did not derive as much benefit from a full inclusion (i.e., mainstreamed) model as they did from an integrated model. In contrast, lower functioning preschoolers benefited as much from a full inclusion model as they did from a special education-only placement. These findings challenge the idea that one type of placement (full inclusion) is best for all children. By limiting placement for special education children to mainstreamed classrooms only, some children may experience a less than optimal learning environment. As Bricker (1995) reminds us, the needs of the child should not be lost in a movement to advocate one type of placement over all other considerations.
Transportation costs, personnel, geography, and population density affect school districts' ability to maintain a full continuum of services for preschool children with disabilities. In such cases, decisions on which program(s) to offer become important. Our results suggest that providing integrated and special education-only programs, or integrated and mainstream programs is most likely to meet the needs of preschool children who fall into the moderate range of disabilities.
Two aspects of this research strengthen confidence about the findings. First, our findings replicate rep·li·cate
1. To duplicate, copy, reproduce, or repeat.
2. To reproduce or make an exact copy or copies of genetic material, a cell, or an organism.
A repetition of an experiment or a procedure. and extend our earlier results which showed that children vary in their response to the same educational environments. Second, the research classrooms in this study employed a broad range of curricular approaches, one emphasizing cognitive strategies, another emphasizing academic learning, another direct language training, and another child-initiated language techniques. Thus, our findings would appear to have applicability across a variety of curricular approaches.
Still, caution is warranted in applying these results. The reliability of our findings would have been enhanced by adding growth measures between the pre- and posttest points. Moreover, the interaction between aptitude and treatment accounts for a relatively small proportion of the variance on cognitive and language measures.
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PAULETTE E. MILLS, Assistant Professor, Department of Human Development, Washington State University, Pullman. KEVIN N. COLE, Senior Researcher, Washington Research Institute; JOSEPH R. JENKINS, Professor, Experimental Education Unit; PHILIP S. DALE, Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Washington, Seattle.
This research was supported by Grants H024A80030 and H024V00002 from the U.S. Department of Education to the University of Washington. Points of view or opinions stated in this report do not necessarily represent official agency positions.
Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Paulette E. Mills, Department of Human Development, 311 Hulbert Hall, Washington State University, P. O. Box 646236, Pullman, Washington 99164-6236. Electronic mail may be sent via Internet Internet
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Manuscript received March 1997; revision accepted March 1998.