When the different levels of functionality were compared highly functioning individuals took 55% of the academic courses the difference between the groups was significant (p< .01). Moderate functioning individuals took 46% of their classes as academic classes and for low-functioning persons only 40% of their classes were academic. When consideration was given to the setting in which the courses was taken it was found that 92% of the sample took at least one class in a special education setting and 69% in a general education setting.
The finding demonstrated that the students took a number of diverse courses within the semester. The courses were taken within the two settings of general and special education. Students with mental retardation however were more likely to do courses in the special education arena rather than the general arena, this finding was significant. Moderate functioning students and students with low functioning were more likely than there high-functioning counterparts to take classes in the special education environment. Where students were doing courses in the general education setting, the academic courses were often modified to suit the limitations of the students. In the general classroom, students with disabilities were less likely to participate in the class activities than their non-disabled classmates. The study found that in the vocational classes there was no significant difference in the instructional experience of students with disabilities and their non-disabled peers.
In general, the majority of the students received grades of C. And below 25% received poor or failing grades. The immediate concern here is that while the instructional experience in some instances is very similar to regular students the outcomes as measured by grades are not the same. This suggests that further study is needed to unearth the mechanisms that will allow students with disabilities to have similar grades to students without.
Overall assessment of the article
This particular study was very interesting and provided some useful descriptive data and analyses of the problem. I liked the study as it explored and area of interest to me. Additionally the study demonstrated that there is not only a practical difference in the delivery of the curriculum to students with disabilities but this difference can be demonstrated...
The researchers did not clearly state how the adults determined the level of functioning of the individual. This was important so that it would have greater validity and be exempt from accusations of subjectivity. Some type of functional scale should have been developed for use in determining functionality.
The subjects selected for this study were very appropriate for the subject matter chosen. They were divided along lines of level of functionality and then the data analyzed based on those divisions (Nardi, 2006). This allowed the researchers to provide a more complex assessment of the phenomenon. Unfortunately, the gender and socioeconomic status of the subjects was not identified by the researchers and this was important information that could have provided an additional layer of sophistication to the work. If I were doing this work differently, I would do analysis based on gender and socioeconomic status. Additionally, I would collect primary data rather than use secondary from a large national study (Creswell, 1994). I may also consider a qualitative design instead of a quantitative to give additional depth to the interpretations (Strauss, & Corbin, 1990).
The results of the study suggest that serious consideration should be given to the teaching of integrated classes. Students with disabilities are disadvantaged by being in the same classroom with regular students. The practice has its benefits but procedures and techniques need to be developed to improve student performance in these settings. Students in my classes will benefit from the greater sensitivity I have toward this issue. Based on the stated objectives the study was successful and the researchers were able to present a possible area for future consideration.
Yu, J., Newman, L. & Wagner, M. (2009). Secondary School Experiences and Academic
Performance of Students With Mental Retardation U.S. Department of Education
Institute of Education Sciences National Center for Special Education Research
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