Date of Award

Spring 4-23-2015

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

EdD Education Leadership, Management and Policy

Department

Education Leadership, Management and Policy

Advisor

Christopher H Tienken, Ed.D

Committee Member

Anthony J Colella, Ph.D

Committee Member

Robert S Axtell, Ph.D

Committee Member

Robert W Donley, Ph.D

Keywords

inclusive school environments, math achievement, general education students, elementary students, influence of exposure

Abstract

This study examined the influence of student exposure levels as measured by time (years and total minutes per day) on the academic achievement of general education students taught in inclusive classrooms. An ancillary examination was conducted to ascertain the impact of co-teaching classroom instruction on general education students’ math achievement. A non-experimental, correlational, cross-sectional, explanatory design with quantitative measures was executed. The North West Education Association’s Measure of Academic Progress mathematics scores were used to compare the achievement of students in Grade 6 as compared to Grade 3 baselines. Five simultaneous regression analyses were conducted leading to the identification of the model of best fit.

The results of this one district case study indicated that exposure to inclusive classroom environments did not have a significant impact on the mathematics achievement of general education students. The archival student data were taken from one large (10 homerooms per grade level) upper-elementary (Grades 4 through 6) building in southern New Jersey. The final regression analysis, the model of best fit, was found to be statistically significant (p = .000 < .05) and had no multicollinearity. The included variables (one year of exposure, three years of exposure, co-teaching environment, Grade 3 MAP results, and socioeconomic status) predicted 48% of the variance in the spring MAP RIT scores in Grade 6. The Grade 3 MAP assessment data was the only variable to be a statistically significant predictor of future math performance in all models.

The findings of this study suggest that further research is needed in order to determine the relationship between inclusive classroom environments and student achievement. The data from this study found neither a positive nor a negative impact on general education students’ math performance and may be used to answer parental concerns in regard to inclusive classroom environments (e.g., decreased rigor, increased distractions). The data also do not support the argument in regard to lower class size and/or increased student-teacher contact time; there was no impact. In order for education leaders and policy makers to make informed policy and/or practice decisions, they must consider the varied research findings while also considering their school and student needs.

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