The Effects Of Mainstreaming O Essay

This essay has a total of 2168 words and 10 pages.

The Effects Of Mainstreaming O


Abstract
A wide range of research has been done on the effects of mainstreaming on learning
disabled children. Although many studies have shown improvements and positive effects,
none had addressed the best time to implement mainstreaming programs. In this study,
students, who had been diagnosed as moderately learning disabled, were selected to
represent their respective grade level. Group 1 consisted of 15 students in kindergarten
through 2nd grade, and Group 2 consisted of 15 students in grades 3rd through 5th. Both
groups were given the Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Achievement-Revised at the beginning of
the semester before inclusion was implemented, and another at the end of the semester.
Group 1 had shown a more significant difference in improvement than Group 2. This study
shows that there are definitely positive effects of mainstreaming, but also hopes that
these current findings will direct future research to detect learning disabilities as
early as possible.



Effects of Mainstreaming on
Moderate Learning Disabled Children in
Early versus Late Elementary Grade Levels
For many years now, there has been an increase of interest for the welfare of learning
disabled children and their place in the normal classroom setting. The attempt to
reintegrate special education students with learning disabilities has been a popular
subject among the special education and research community (Shinn, Powell-Smith, Good, &
Baker, 1997). The strive to create inclusion programs, however, has not just been a recent
issue among these professionals. The movement began in 1975 when the Education of the
Handicapped Act (now called The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) was created
to develop programs across the United States. It's basic requirements were: (a) to make
sure that all handicapped children (in private and public schools) were educated with non
handicapped children as much as possible, and (b) that if handicapped children must be
removed from the regular education environment, it must only be done if the special
education children cannot achieve satisfactorily in the normal classroom with the help of
special aides and services that can be provided (Aerfsky, 1995; Brown, 1997). Because of
this movement, a growing number of students with moderate learning disabilities are being
educated and overcoming their learning disability in general education classrooms (Logan &
Malone, 1998).

The term "mainstreaming" has been used to describe the transition of
special-needs-children into the regular classroom (Brown, 1997). When these children are
brought into the normal classroom, the strategy that many schools take on is usually
called a "collaborative teaching" approach. This is where special and regular education
teachers team up together to collaborate ideas and instruct students with disabilities in
general education classrooms (Martson, 1996). Studies have shown that not only do the
learning disabled students gain the potential to reach a higher academic standing when
mainstreamed (Logan & Malone, 1998), but they also are able to develop positive self
images and improve social development when included in the classrooms of normal children
(Klinger, Vaughn, Schumm, Cohen, & Forgan, 1998; Martson, 1996; Shinn et al., 1997). The
increase in ability for learning disabled students to recognize and identify words is one
of the examples of an academic gain when included in the normal classes (McCormick &
Becker, 1996). When learning disabled students are incorporated in the normal classroom,
self-esteem and feelings of self-worth are believed to develop more because these students
are less likely to be identified as "slow" by their peers or to feel stigmatized (Klinger
et al., 1998). By being in the normal classroom, these students are also able to have more
time to develop and keep friendships that are created with the normal class children
(Klinger et al., 1998). Also, advocates of inclusive classroom settings have strongly
agreed with the merits of placing the students in mainstream classes, especially those
related to the social benefits that increase for students with the learning disabilities
(Scanlon, Deshler, & Schumaker, 1996).

All previous research that has been discussed has shown positive results when
mainstreaming is brought into the school system. Particular research has been conducted
across a variety of grade levels--kindergarten through fourth grade (Salisbury, Wilson,
Swartz, Palombaro, & Wassel, 1997), and grades second through sixth (Shinn et al., 1997).
However, research has yet to be done to show if mainstreaming is more effective when
started early on (grades kindergarten through second), or in the later elementary grades
(third through fifth). As said before, it has been proven that mostly all mainstreaming
attempts have been effective, but the question is if it would be more effective in early
or later grade levels. The primary goal of this study conducted was to identify at which
time is the best time to mainstream learning disabled children. Just as it was
hypothesized, the correlation was that the earlier that mainstreaming is implemented, the
more the child will be able to achieve academic improvement. Through this study, it is
anticipated that mainstreaming will be able to benefit and reach out to even more learning
disabled children than its existing positive outcomes.

Method
Participants
This study consisted of 30 students who were diagnosed with moderate learning disabilities
by the Jefferson Parish School Board. The School Board diagnosed these children by using
their standard diagnostic test that detects any form and the level of a learning
disability. The students were then randomly chosen by the principal of the school. The
parents were then given and asked to sign an informed consent to allow their children to
participate in this beneficial study. All of the participants were from the same school,
which is a public elementary school that contains kindergarten through fifth grade. This
school is located in a middle-class neighborhood and has already established and
implemented a mainstreaming program for its learning disabled students. These 30 students
were chosen to be compared and studied on the difference in their academic performance at
the beginning of the semester (when inclusion was first implemented) and again at the end
of the semester. Of these 30, 15 were picked to represent the first group which contained
grades kindergarten (n=5), first (n=5), and second (n=5). The latter of the chosen sample
will represent Group two which includes grades third (n=5), fourth (n=5), and fifth (n=5).
Male students and female students were dispersed as equal as possible among the two
groups--15 males and 15 females. Of these 30 students, however, there were only 10
African-Americans and 20 were Caucasian students. The ages of the children range from
5-year-olds to 11-year-olds. The students chosen to participate were treated in accordance
with the "Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct" (American Psychological
Association, 1992).

Materials
After the children had been diagnosed by the school board as learning disabled, the
children were then given the Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Achievement-Revised to measure the
students initial standing at the beginning of the semester. Because the School Board has
different forms of each test for each grade level, a different form of the test was used
at the end of the semester to detect for any difference in the scores. These achievement
tests are standard Jefferson Parish School Board tests that are used by the schools to see
how well the learning disabled students are performing in school, but are usually only
given once a year in May. These tests consist of 200 questions and are given over a
two-day period. The tests cover five subjects and contain 40 questions for each different
subject. The five subjects that are used to test achievement are as follows: reading
comprehension, English and grammar skills, math, science, and social studies. The tests
Continues for 5 more pages >>




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