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The ERIC/OSEP Special Project

OSEP, Ideas that Work

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Development funded by the U.S. Office of Special Education Programs


Put on Your Listening Ears:
Students Speak Out on Inclusion

A synthesis of 20 studies indicates that students with disabilities in inclusive classrooms want the same activities, books, homework, grading criteria and grouping as their peers without disabilities. Students without disabilities agreed, citing fairness as their main reason. One very significant finding indicated that most general education students do not see instructional accommodations for students with learning disabilities as problematic. These findings dispute the notions teachers sometimes have regarding students' perceptions of accommodations as being "unfair."

This recent analysis funded by the U.S. Office of Special Educational Programs and conducted by researchers at the University of Miami and the University of Texas, Austin, included 4,659 students' grades K-12. Of the 4,659 students in the 20 studies surveyed, 760 were identified as have learning disabilities.

Qualitative interviews and surveys were the primary sources of data. An analytic method requiring sensitivity analysis was applied for summarizing findings. Seven categories of findings were generated in a cross-study analysis: Grading Practices, Homework, Assignment Routines, Helping Practices, Instructional Practices, Grouping Arrangements and Adaptations.

All students agreed that good instructional practices include:

  • Recognition of learning styles and rates
  • Slowing down instructional pace when indicated
  • Clear explanations of concepts and assignments
  • Instruction in learning strategies
  • Use of multiple strategies for teaching

Overall, students preferred an active learning style, mixed grouping, opportunities for peer tutoring, consistency, and equality.

For more information about this study, see "Students' Perceptions of Instruction in Inclusion Classrooms: Implications for Students with Learning Disabilities" by Janette K. Klingner, University of Miami, Sharon Vaughn, University of Texas, Austin Exceptional Children, v. 66, n. 1, Fall 1999.

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Last updated: February 28, 2000