It can be used to establish language dominance, to determine whether a student is performing at grade level in academic subjects in his native language, and to distinguish whether or not a student's weaknesses are due to limited English proficiency or to a specific learning disability. The test has the following sections: 1) Readiness; 2) Speech; 3) Functional Word Recognition; 4) Oral Reading; 5) Reading Comprehension; 6) Word Analysis; 7) Listening; 8) Writing and Alphabetizing; 9) Numbers and Computation; and 10) Measurement. Not all parts of the test are administered to every student because the teacher/test administrator is encouraged to check off skills that she knows the student has mastered (Brigance Diagnostic Assessment of Basic Skills).
Obstacles Associated with the research
As it relates to conducting and carrying out the aforementioned research there are certain potential obstacles that exist. The first of which has to do with receiving the appropriate amount of feedback for both the general education teacher and the inclusion specialists. This may be an obstacle because both parties will be rather busy. For instance, the general education teacher still will have the responsibility of creating a lesson plan for students that have a wide range of challenges. In addition the inclusion specialists will have the responsibility of creating IEP's and providing guidance to the general education teacher. In other words the main priorities of the general education teacher and the inclusion specialist will be the students and ensuring that they are receiving what they need to succeed in an academic environment. With this being understood, there may be some problems associated with gathering information from these individuals may be difficult.
The proposed test also calls for the administering of the Brigance Diagnostic Assessment of Basic Skills. The administering of this test may be time consuming because it must be administered individually by the test administrator. In addition, Scoring is conducted using a record sheet while the test is in progress, the record sheets also serve as guides for developing future instructional goals. In addition these record sheets can be kept and updated to document the progress of students and evidence of the assessment process related to establishing an individual education plan in compliance with federal law (Brigance Diagnostic Assessment of Basic Skills). In addition there are specific scoring guidelines for the majority of items allowed because there may be a variety of appropriate answers (Brigance Diagnostic Assessment of Basic Skills). In addition this particular test is criterion- as opposed to norm-referenced, and as such claims of content validity are based on a survey of teachers and textbooks (Brigance Diagnostic Assessment of Basic Skills). In addition reliability of test results can not be made (Brigance Diagnostic Assessment of Basic Skills).
In addition to the aforementioned obstacles evaluating the progress of the students may be somewhat difficult because of the nature of some of the challenges that the students have. Although the brigance test will be used to evaluate basic skills, it may be difficult to evaluate the social benefits and/or problems associated with the social impact of inclusion which is also believed to have an impact on the academic progress that students make.
In addition, since these special education students are preschoolers they may not have ever been in any classroom. As a result it may be difficult to measure their progress or failure because it will be impossible to determine if the progress or failure is a result of the inclusion program or the students adjustment to the school environment in general. In addition, the researchers will not be able to compare the students' progress in a special education program to their progress in an inclusion program. This will be a major obstacle for this research as it relates to determining the actual success or failure of the inclusion program.
The last major obstacle of this research will be conducting follow-up with parents. There are a total of 16 sets of parents that will be participants in the study. These parents will be asked to fill out a questionnaire which will inquire about their positive and negative feelings concerning the inclusion program. In addition, the questionnaire will inquire about the changes that parents have seen in their children since the program began.
What is learned from the research?
The preliminary research that has been conducted concerning what inclusion is and the advantages and disadvantages of inclusion programs has been rather informative. The initial research provided information concerning the various laws for disable people. I learned through this research that disabled children have not always had the opportunity to get a public education but were instead placed in special schools. I also learned that legislation passed in the 1970's gave disabled children the right to attend public schools with their peers who were not disabled. The research demonstrated the progress made as a result of the passage of this law. It is apparent that the IDEA paved the way for more inclusive programs in public schools and has contributed greatly to the inclusion movement. The research demonstrated to me that over the past decade inclusion has been a topic of much debate and there is a great deal of controversy over the issue. On the one hand, those that are supportive of inclusion assert that it is beneficial to special education students because it allows them to interact freely with peers while simultaneously providing general education students with the opportunity to better understand children that are disabled. However, those that oppose inclusion programs assert that disable students can be disruptive in a general education classroom. They also assert that general education teachers do not have the appropriate amount of training to properly teach an inclusive classroom. Even when teachers are paired with inclusion specialist those that oppose inclusion assert that the training and experience of general education teachers is inadequate as it relates to having a successful inclusion program.
The research has demonstrated to me the need for inclusion in many public schools. According to the research inclusion is not only beneficial to special education students but also general education students. As it relates to special education students inclusion programs allow them to interact with their peers who are not disabled. Increasing such socialization skill is essential to academic development and achievement. In addition, general education students benefit from inclusive programs because they are able to have experiences with children that have disabilities. Such experiences afford them with the opportunity to understand better the nature of certain disabilities and to have more sensitivity concerning the needs of disabled people. In affording them such an opportunity students are given an education that will benefit them well after they are high school graduates.
Overall I have also gathered a greater understanding of the importance if individualized education programs. These programs are essential for special needs children because they offer them exactly what they need to address the obstacles that they may face in the educational environment. The research demonstrates that in an inclusion program IEP's serve as the bridge between special education and general education. The research also revealed that parental involvement is an essential component in ensuring that inclusion programs are successful.
Brigance Diagnostic Assessment of Basic Skills. http://www.ncela.gwu.edu/databases/EAC/EAC0056.htm