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Observations of students with learning disabilities in general education classrooms.

Many educators agree that schools need to effectively integrate students with learning disabilities into the general education classroom. Students with learning disabilities are often characterized as "inactive learners," remaining on the periphery of academic and social involvement in elementary and secondary classrooms (Torgeson, 1982). Central to the argument for effective integration of these students is that for a part of each day, most are removed from general education curricula and from their peers without disabilities; as a result, students with disabilities must continually reestablish themselves as members of the mainstream. Some educators have decried the segregating effects of removing students from the general education classroom and have advocated that effective integration can be accomplished only through a complete restructuring of general and special education (Gartner & Lipsky, 1987; Reynolds, Wang, & Walberg, 1987). Others have recommended a thoughtful evaluation of general education practices with students with disabilities and an exploration of alternative procedures before endorsing such restructuring (Braaten, Kauffman, Braaten, Polsgrove, & Nelson, 1988; McKinney & Hocutt, 1988; Mesigner, 1985).

Can general education meet the diverse needs of the largest group of special education students in regulm' classes--mainstreamed students with learning disabilities? First, we must establish a foundation of classroom-based research (Baker & Zigmond, 1990; Ceci, 1990; Vaughn, McIntosh, & Hogan, 1990) that will provide contextbased information about the feasibility of accommodating students with disabilities in the general education classroom. A logical first step, therefore, is to examine general education classrooms that include students with learning disabilities-- the consistency or discrepancy between teacher and student behaviors, as well as interactions among students with and without disabilities, and the nature of adaptations that teachers make for students with disabilities.


Mainstreamed students with learning disabilities often experience difficulties in establishing relationships with peers (Pearl, Donahue, & Bryan, 1986; Wiener, 1987). For example, La Greca and Stone (1990) found that students with learning disabilities were less well accepted by peers than were low- and average-achieving students. Although the social relationships, social status, and peer relationships of mainstreamed students with learning disabilities have been examined, few studies have examined the social interaction of these students in the general education classroom. The nature of interaction with the teacher is not likely to be the same for students with disabilities as it is for other students in the general education classroom. Siperstein and Goding (1985) matched isolated/rejected students with learning disabilities and popular peers without disabilities and then compared the interaction between the teacher and these two groups of students, respectively. Teachers' initiations and responses to the students with disabilities were more negative and corrective than with the students without disabilities. Dorval, McKinney, and Feagans (1982) found that general education classroom teachers initiated conversations more frequently with mainstreamed students with learning disabilities than with average-achieving students, but that these initiations were primarily directed to inattentiveness and rule infractions. Slate and Saudargas (1986) also found that students with learning disabilities received more individual contacts with the teacher, but that these contacts related to being engaged in an activity other than schoolwork. However, the academic engaged time of the mainstreamed students with learning disabilities was not significantly different from that of average-achieving peers. No study was found, however, that examined teacher adaptations and instructional procedures across grade levels from elementary school through high school.


What is known about general education teachers' attitudes toward accommodating students with disabilities is limited to a few investigations. On a survey addressing adaptive instruction (Ysseldyke, Thurlow, Wotruba, & Nania, 1990), general education teachers did not specify particular classroom adaptations made for students with disabilities. General education teachers from elementary, middle, and high schools reported a wide range of reactions toward the desirability and feasibility of making specific adaptations for students with disabilities in the regular classroom (Schumm & Vaughn, 1991). Teachers considered most adaptations to be desirable and deemed all adaptations to be more desirable than feasible. Adaptations considered most feasible related to the social or motivational well -being of the student and required the teacher to make little adjustment of curriculum or instruction. Teachers rated three adaptations as the most feasible:

* Providing reinforcement and encouragement.

* Establishing a personal relationship with the

mainstreamed student.

* Involving students with learning disabilities in

whole-class activities.

Adaptations teachers considered least feasible included adapting regular materials, using alternative materials, and providing individualized instruction, all of which would be costly in terms of teacher effort and would require substantial changes in curriculum or materials.

Schumm and Vaughn (1992) conducted a survey to investigate general education teachers' perceptions and planning practices for teaching mainstreamed students in the general education classroom. Whereas 98% of teachers of kindergarten through 12th-grade rated their knowledge and skills for planning for general education students as either excellent or good, only 39% rated their planning for main streamed students as excellent or good. Teachers reported little differential planning for mainstreamed and general students other than ongoing and spontaneous adaptations such as providing extra help with assignments and tests. Teachers reported an overall positive feeling toward having mainstreamed students in their classes, and over 75% reported a willingness to participate in an inservice program or workshop to improve their ability to work with mainstreamed students. Thus, teachers seem to want to help mainstreamed students with disabilities but do not feel prepared to do so. Teachers reported that they relied on other teachers as facilitators in working with mainstreamed students. Compared with elementary school teachers, middle and high school teachers reported that they made fewer adaptations and were less positive about the benefits of maidstreaming for both the mainstreamed and general education students.

Little is known about classroom teachers' differential accommodation of general and special education students. Baker and Zigmond (1990) conducted a detailed analysis of an elementary school to determine the extent to which accommodations were made for individual differences. The overall climate of the school, according to observations, interviews, and surveys, was one of conformity and overwhelmingly undifferentiated, large-group instruction. The results from interviews and observations indicated that both math and reading instruction were large-group, teacher-directed, and text-based instructional formats. Very little differentiation in instruction, grouping, or assignments was reported for students of different abilities, suggesting that students with individual differences and needs would not fare well in this school if a complete mainstreaming format were to be adopted.

Though mainstreaming is a practice that occurs across all grade levels, no studies have reported observations in general education classes to determine the extent to which specific adaptations or accommodations occur differentially across the grades. If education is to be restructured to better accommodate students with disabilities, it is of primary importance to gather information about general education classrooms across the grade levels. The content area subjects, social studies and science, are the classes that students with learning disabilities are mainstreamed into with the highest frequency and are considered difficult classes for these students (Stanovich, 1986). Social studies and science classes require teachers to cover designated material and frequently involve the use of text-based reading. Examinations of mainstreaming practices need to include observations of these subject area classes to ascertain the extent to which appropriate adaptations occur for students with disabilities.

The purpose of this study was to examine the extent to which general education teachers accommodate mainstreamed students with learning disabilities and the extent to which they treat these students, both academically and socially, differently from classmates without disabilities. We were also interested in how all students responded to teachers and to each other in general education classrooms. The intent of the study was to focus on student and teacher behaviors during content area classes (social studies and science) and to examine students across grade groupings: elementary, middle school, and high school. Of primary interest was teachers' instructional practices (e.g., grouping, monitoring of students, adapting materials), teacher-student interactions (e.g., teacher's appearing fair and impartial or making negative comments, students' volunteering to answer questions or asking for help, the frequency of interaction), and student-student interactions (e.g., students' interfering with the work of others, students' ridiculing or making sarcastic comments, frequency of interaction).



Teachers and students from a large southeastern school district were included in this study. Schools were selected if their student population represented the ethnic composition of the district as a whole: 46% Hispanic, 33% black, and 22% white.

Teachers. Sixty general education, social studies and science teachers (Grades 3-12) who had a mainstreamed student with learning disabilities (MSLD) in one or more of their classes participated in this study. There were 20 teachers from each of three grade groupings (elementary, middle, and high school). See Table 1 for background information on sex, highest degree, ethnicity, and teaching experience for the district, our teacher sample, and the sample by grade grouping. Teachers represented 18 schools ( 10 elementary, 5 middle, and 3 high schools).

Principals from those schools who agreed to participate in the study were asked to identify teachers who they felt were effective in meeting the needs of MSLDs. A special education teacher in each school confirmed the list of effective teachers with MSLDs. Teachers were then contacted individually and asked if they currently had an MSLD in one or more of their classes. Those teachers who had MSLDs were asked to rate themselves on the extent to which they viewed themselves as effective with these students. The nomination and selection process stopped when 20 teachers met the criteria for each of the grade groupings. Teachers were informed observations would be used to record behavior, not to evaluate their ability or performance, and that information would remain confidential and reported as group data.

Students. A student with learning disabilities in each of the 60 participating teachers' classes was identified, and parental permission was obtained for their participation in the study. In classrooms where there were more than one student with disabilities, a student was randomly selected. All students met the school district criteria for learning disabilities (LD): An intelligence test (usually the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children-Revised), an achievement test (usually the Woodcock-Johnson Psychoeducational Battery), and a range of processing tests provided scores indicating the presence of LD. Placement criteria for services included evidence of academic achievement that was significantly below the student's level of intellectual functioning, evidence of a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes, and evidence that the learning problems were not due to other disabilities.

Twenty-one females and 39 males with LD participated in the study (elementary, 5 female and 15 male; middle, 8 female and l 2 male; high, 8 female and 12 male). The ethnicity totals do not always equal group totals because ethnicity was unavailable on a small number of students. Ethnicity by grade grouping included 5 Hispanic, 6 black, and 9 white elementary students; 8 Hispanic, 2 black, and 7 white middle school students; and 7 Hispanic, 5 black, and 6 white high school students. The average achievement scores for the 60 subjects were 24th percentile in reading and 30th percentile in math (elementary, 25.5 reading, 27.5 math; middle, 23 reading, 24 math; high, 18 reading, 37 math). IQ scores by grade grouping were as follows: elementary, M= 98.84, SD = 13.67; middle, M = 99.06, SD = 12.00; and high, M = 96.24, SD = 17.35.

Observation Measure: Classroom Climate Scale

The literature was searched to identify observation instruments that might be appropriate to use across grade levels and to examine both teacher and student behaviors and interactions (academic and social). Existing instruments fell into the following categories: evaluating teachers (e.g., Bailey, 1984), examining teacher behavior or instructional practice (e.g., Callaway, 1988), examining students' social or behavioral problems (e.g., Schumaker, Hazel, Sherman, & Sheldon, 1982), examining either teacher or student interaction (e.g., Dorval, McKinney, & Feagans, 1982) or examining interaction among students (e.g., Bryan & Bryan, 1978). No instrument specifically included both teacher and student behaviors relative to accommodating MSLDs, as well as interactions between teachers and students or among students. The instruments provided models useful in constructing an appropriate instrument and in establishing sound psychometric properties of the instrument.

The Classroom Climate Scale (CCS) was developed to provide a reliable and valid measure of teacher and student behavior in general education classrooms containing MSLDs. The 21-item CCS includes four components:

* Teacher-initiated behaviors (9 items) concern

instructional grouping, types of monitoring

and modifications made for students, use of

praise, and teacher fairness and impartiality.

* Student-initiated behaviors (5 items) include

students' level of involvement in class activi-

ties, asking for help and volunteering, and lev-

els of frustration and confusion.

* Student participation and interaction (3 items)

represent interactions between the student and

the teacher, class activities, and other students.

* Overall classroom climate (4 items) reflects

the consistency or discrepancy in assign-

ments, materials, and location and involve-

ment in class activities between general

education students and MSLDs.

The first three components are rated on a 5point Liken-type scale ( 1 = almost never; 5 = all of the time). Overall classroom climate items are in a yes/no format.

Teacher-initiated behavior, student-initiated behaviors, and student participation and interaction are formatted so that the observer rates each item separately for the MSLD and for the other students in the class. For example, "Teacher makes modifications for students" is rated for both the MSLD and the class (all other students). Thus, scores on each item can be compared for students with LD with their classn|ates without LD.

Item Development. Item development and testing occurred over a 2-year period and included three phases. During Phase I, we conducted a review of the literature and scale development; and we reviewed and evaluated observation instruments-their properties, types, and styles (McIntosh, Vaughn, Schumm, Haager, & Lee, 1991 ). The first and subsequent drafts of the CCS contained items adapted from portions of the Teacher Assessment and Development System (1984) and from a districtwide survey/questionnaire (Schumm & Vaughn, 1992). During Phase 1, we developed items to represent the following areas: teacher planning, subject matter and content, classroom management, techniques and adaptations of instruction, teacher-student relationships, and assessment techniques.

During Phase II, we refined the components and items. We identified the four components of the final version of the CCS and wrote a number of items that corresponded with each component. We formalized a draft of the scale and evaluated items in classroom settings to determine their feasibility and reliability. Items that were difficult to observe or on which there was low interrarer reliability were deleted or revised. Using a list developed by Slavin (1984), we developed a checklist against which each item in the observation was compared and evaluated for clarity and appropriateness, as well as freedom from ambiguity and potential bias.

During Phase III, to further enhance the validity of the instrument, we developed performance indicators. Extensive field testing of the CCS indicated that additional clarification of items was necessary to ensure high interrarer reliability and validity for coding classroom behavior. We further enhanced the content validity of the scale by writing behavioral descriptors for each item, referred to as performance indicators. Each item has behavioral descriptors that correspond with each rating on the Likert scale. Performance indicators were constructed to ensure construct validity for each item and also to define the Likert scale for increased interrater reliability. For example, one item from the teacher-initiated component is "The teacher monitors ongoing student performance." The corresponding performance indicators are (a) teacher checks in with the student during an activity to be sure he or she is performing correctly, (b) teacher asks student to demonstrate what he or she is doing, (c) teacher has student repeat directions, (d) teacher makes positive or friendly facial or hand gestures to student, (e) teacher calls on student during class discussion, (f) teacher assists student to perform assignments, (g) teacher asks student to raise hands if he or she does or does not understand, and (h) teacher asks student to explain work. During the development of the performance indicators, items were tested in natural classroom settings to verify their effectiveness in recording the desired behaviors.

Pilot Development of the CCS. Training procedures for observers were developed and piloted in a university class containing 24 graduate students, mostly teachers, enrolled in a teacher effectiveness course. Students practiced coding the CCS using videotaped classroom scenarios. A Cronbach's alpha of .97 was obtained from the 24 students' final observations; and 88% of the students obtained an interrater agreement of .80 or higher. Interrater agreements were obtained by comparing the student's rating of each item to a predetermined rating that we established. We used information from the pilot training to make final adaptations of the CCS. For example, we rewrote one ambiguous item, omitted one item because obtaining high interrater reliability was difficult, and added information to the performance indicators to make them more definitive.

Observer Training. We provided extensive training to observers in this study prior to data collection. All observers participated in a 6-hr training session that provided an overview of the CCS scale, detailed information on using performance indicators, and methods for controlling observer bias. Observers practiced coding the CCS in both videotaped teaching sessions and in teachers' classrooms who were not participating in the study. Observers were required to obtain an interrarer agreement of higher than .85 on two videotaped classroom scenarios not previously observed. Interrater agreements ranged from .85 to 1.00 for trained observers who were involved in data collection. Interrater agreement was obtained by comparing each item rating with the item rating agreed on by the developers of the CCS.

Controlling Observer Bias. Observer bias refers to systematic errors traceable to characteristics of the observer or to the observation situation. This type of error, as opposed to random error (which is distributed among the true values), is produced in a single direction, yielding scores that are consistently too high or too low. A defense against observer bias is to use items that do not require observers to draw conclusions or make involved inferences of the behavior observed (Salvia & Mersel, 1980). Observer bias was controlled for in this study by developing and field testing performance indicators that would provide specific information about how to make judgments and what observed behaviors corresponded with the ratings on the Likert scale for each item. This study also conformed to best practices in reducing observer bias by conducting random checks of observers during data collection.


Observations occurred over the spring semester of the school year. Each classroom was observed on three occasions for each of the 60 participating teachers, for a total of 180 observations. If the targeted student with disabilities was absent, the observation was conducted on another day. Observations were previously arranged with the teacher being observed. Each observation lasted a class period (approximately 50 min) and was conducted during social studies or science classes. Observers rated each item on the CCS separately for the behavior of the MSLD and for the behavior of the remaining students in the classroom (as a whole). The researcher was introduced to the class as a student or researcher from the university wanting to watch the ways the teacher taught.


The independent variable for this study was student type: general education or MSLD. Comparisons of these two types of students were conducted for each of the research questions in the study. The first three research questions addressed were as follows:

1. Do teacher-initiated behaviors in general ed-

ucation classrooms differ for MSLDs when

compared with other students in the class?

2. Are the behaviors initiated by MSLDs differ-

ent from those of other students in the general

education classroom?

3. Are interactions between students, between

students and teachers, and between students

and classroom activities different for MSLDs

when compared with other general education

students in the same classroom?

To address these questions, we compared each item on the observation scale for MSLDs with their general education classmates. The Wilcoxon Signed Ranks two-tailed test was used to test differences between the paired ratings for each item. This nonparametric technique takes into consideration both the direction and the magnitude of the differences. The Wilcoxon Signed Ranks Test for large samples approximates a z test. All analyses were conducted at the p < .05 level of significance. Because of the use of a Likean-type scale, the nonparametric test for significance between groups was the most appropriate test (Kerlinger, 1986). Tables 2-4 report overall scores for each item by grade grouping (20 subjects x 3 observations for a subtotal of 60), as well as total observations (60 subjects x 3 observations, for a total of 180). Median scores are indicative of the ordinal nature of the Likean scale used in the data collection. Mean and standard deviations are provided as additional descriptive statistics.

We were also interested in the extent to which assignments, seating, and other classroom structures were different for MSLDs and general education students. The fourth component of the CCS (Overall Classroom Climate) addressed this question. Results are discussed separately for each of the scales' four components: teacher-initiated behaviors, student-initiated behaviors, student/teacher interactions, and overall classroom climate.

Teacher-Initiated Behavior Items

Results indicated that teachers' instructional behaviors were consistent across grade groupings and were not significantly different for MSLDs and general education students. Few teacher behaviors were found to be significantly different between MSLDs and general education students. Teacher use of room arrangement, pairing or grouping activities, whole-group instruction, and fairness and impartiality were not significantly different for MSLDs and general education students across grade groupings. Teachers made more instructional modifications for MSLDs than for other students at the elementary grade level, but not at middle or high school. Teachers monitored general education students' performance and made more negative comments to general education students than to MSLDs at middle and high school; however, there were no differences at the elementary level. Overall, use of teacher praise diminished from elementary to high school. Table 2 shows medians, means, and standard deviations by item of teacher-initiated behaviors for each grade grouping.

Student-Initiated Behavior Items

Significant differences between MSLDs and general education students occurred within the student-initiated behavior component. MSLDs across all grade groupings were rated as displaying significantly lower ratings for all student-initiated behavior items, including asking for assistance, volunteering to answer questions, and engaging in class discussions. General education students across grade groupings, in contrast, interfered with the activities of other students and made sarcastic comments and engaged in personal ridicule of other students more frequently than did students with LD. See Table 3 for medians, means, and standard deviations of ratings of student-initiated behavior items by grade groupings for general education students and MSLDs.

Student-Teacher Participating and Interaction Items

All student participation and interaction items on the CCS showed significant differences between the behavior of MSLDs and general education students. General education students interacted with the teacher, other students, and classroom activities at higher rates than did MSLDs. Table 4 shows medians, means, and standard deviations of student participation and interaction items for general education students and MSLDs.

Overall Classroom Climate Items

Overall classroom climate items were assessed by observers by a "yes/no" response. Percentage scores represent the number of yes responses per item. Percentages of affirmative responses ranged between 90% and 100% for most items, including sameness of activities, assignments, materials, seating arrangement, and sequencing of completing activities. Table 5 shows percentages for each item in the overall classroom climate activities.


The purpose of this study was to observe effective general education classroom teachers across grade groupings (elementary, middle, and high school) to determine the extent to which they accommodate and make adaptations for students with disabilities in general education classroom settings. A secondary purpose of this study was to compare the classroom behavior of mainstreamed students with learning disabilities with their classmates with disabilities in content area classes.

An overall finding of this study is that students with learning disabilities are treated by their general education classroom teachers much like other students. There is, of course, a positive and negative side to this finding. On the positive side, students with disabilities appear to be accepted by the teacher; treated by the teacher fairly and impartially; involved in the same seat arrangement as other students; and, particularly at the middle and high school level, work on the same activities and use the same materials as other students in the class.

The potentially troublesome side of this finding is that instruction in mainstreamed classes is not differentiated to meet the needs of students with disabilities, and few adaptations are provided. Students with learning disabilities are included in class activities, but are participating very little. They are not very engaged in the learning process, either by their own or by the teacher's initiation. Across all grade levels, when these students are compared with their classmates without disabilities, they infrequently ask the teacher for help or assistance, do not volunteer to answer questions, participate in teacher-directed activities at a lower rate, and interact with both the teacher and other students at a lower rate.

The primary mode of instruction for social studies and science classes across all grade groupings is whole-class activities. Individual assignments or activities, small-group work, and student pairing occur in that order of frequency, but significantly less frequently than whole-class instruction. During whole-class instruction, the teacher frequently monitors the performance of students, but infrequently interacts with the students with learning disabilities. Monitoring includes checking with the student during an activity to be sure that the student is performing correctly, asking the student to repeat directions, calling on the student during class discussion, and asking the student to explain the task. The students with learning disabilities, as compared to other students in the class, are extremely low on volunteering to answer questions or requesting assistance.

Two related explanations for the classroom behavior of mainstreamed students with learning disabilities may be drawn. One explanation is that these students have been characterized as "inactive learners" (Torgeson, 1982; Torgeson & Licht, 1983). An inactive learner has a response style that is passive and disengaged, with little sell-monitoring of what is being learned or what parts of information are being missed. Certainly, the behaviors of many of the students i n this study conform to the description of passive learners. Additional confirmation for the inactive learning style of the students in this study is that despite low rates for requesting assistance and volunteering to answer, the students did not appear to be confused or frustrated by the activities or requests of the teacher. If they were actively engaged in the learning process, there would surely be times when they recognized they were not following the idea and would ask for clarification, or otherwise demonstrate confusion.

A second explanation tier the disengaged classroom behavior of the students in this study is that there is a large cognitive gap between their knowledge and the material presented in class. Because so little of the classwork is adapted to meet the individual learning needs of students and the primary mode of instruction is large group, most of the students with learning disabilities are not engaged in the learning process. Though not recorded directly with this observation scale, the consensus from the classroom observers is that there was little, if any, opportunity for students to discuss what they already knew about the designated topic and then to relate what they knew to the new concepts presented.

Students' passive learning style and the limited adaptations by the teacher may be related. Students who have little prior or background knowledge of what is being taught may find that limited interaction on their part is an effective strategy for getting through the school day with minimum difficulty (Brozo, 1990). Although mainstreamed students with learning disabilities show somewhat higher interaction levels at the elementary grades, middle school and high school students demonstrate little classroom task-related interaction with the teacher or peers; and little is asked of them by the general education teacher. It would be difficult not to conclude based on the findings of these observations that there is an implicit pact between the teacher and the student. "You don't bother me and I won't bother you." The behavioral representation of this agreement was more apparent at the middle and high school level than at the elementary level.

In an observational analysis of elementary classrooms, Baker and Zigmond (1990) reported that conformity was an important behavior for successful accommodation of students with learning disabilities into general education classrooms. Our analysis suggests that these students recognized the importance of accommodation, but were perhaps too accommodating. On the positive side, students with disabilities infrequently interfered with the work or activity of other students, made few sarcastic comments, or engaged in little personal ridicule. On the negative side, they did not ask for help or assistance or volunteer to answer questions. Overall, students with learning disabilities interacted with the teacher and students at lower rates than did other students in the classroom.

The findings from these observations suggest that even teachers who are identified as effective with students with learning disabilities, by peer, principal, and self, make few adaptations to meet their students' special learning needs. Our results were similar to the findings of Baker and Zigmond (1990): "The overriding impression of observers in these classrooms was of undifferentiated, large-group instruction" (p. 525). Further, although students with learning disabilities appear to be accepted by the teacher and cause few interruptions to other students, they can be characterized as passive learners who ask questions infrequently and rarely volunteer to answer questions.

Several limitations need to be considered in interpreting the findings from this study. First, the teachers who participated in this study do not represent a random sample of teachers who educate students with learning disabilities, but a select group of teachers identified by others and self as effective with mainstreamed students with learning disabilities. Second, because we were interested in the classroom environment as a whole, we contrasted the performance of students with disabilities with all other students in the class, thus sacrificing student-by-student comparisons. Third, the results are limited to what occurs in social studies and science classes. Particularly at the elementary level, one might expect that teacher adaptations and grouping procedures would differ for other academic areas, such as reading.

A fundamental question that must be addressed in future research is the extent to which students with learning disabilities are learning in general education classrooms where large-group instruction is the norm and undiffemntiated instruction is likely to occur. This problem is clearly not limited to students who have been identified as having special education needs. Many students in the regular classroom demonstrate learning, cultural, behavioral, or linguistic differences that would benefit from teacher adaptations. It no longer seems feasible to develop or maintain pullout programs for all students who are experiencing learning problems in the general education classroom, and yet we simply cannot overlook that some youngsters have extraordinary learning needs that are not being adequately addressed within general education classrooms.

Another related question to address in future investigations is what feasible expectations can be placed on general classroom teachers to meet the needs of mainstreamed students with learning disabilities. This study indicates that even effective teachers do little to make adaptations and that teachers feel that many adaptations are not feasible (Schumm & Vaughn, 1991). Previous research examining students' perceptions of teachers' adaptations suggests that particularly with middle school and high school students, adaptations that modify textbooks, tests, and homework assignments would not be met with favor by either the high-achieving or low-achieving students (Vaughn, Schumm, Niarhos, & Daugherty, 1993; Vaughn, Schumm, Niarhos, & Gordon, in press). Thus, despite the need for teacher adaptations, both teachers and students may ignore or actively resist making adaptations in general education classrooms. How special education teachers can work effectively with general education teachers to develop positive attitudes and feasible expectations about the academic and social performance of students with learning disabilities mainstreamed in general education classroom settings needs to be addressed.


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RUTH MCINTOSH, Adjunct Assistant Professor; SHARON VAUGHN (CEC #121), Professor; JEANNE SHAY SCHUMM, Assistant Professor, School of Education, University of Miami, Florida. DIANE HAAGER, Assistant Professor, California State University, Los Angeles. OKHEE LEE, Assistant Professor, School of Education, University of Miami, Florida.

We gratefully acknowledge support for this study from the U.S. Department of Education, Grant Award No. H023E90014, Research on General Education Teacher Planning and Adaptation for Students with Handicaps, to the School of Education, University of Miami. We are also grateful for the assistance of Michael Hurley, Twila Grandchatmp, Yaro Sojka, the Florida Diagnostic and Learning Resources System, and the principals and teachers in Dade County, Florida, Public Schools.

Manuscript received January 1992; revision accepted November 1992.
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Author:McIntosh, Ruth; Vaughn, Sharon; Schumm, Jeanne Shay; Haager, Diane; Lee, Okhee
Publication:Exceptional Children
Date:Dec 1, 1993
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