Wednesday, October 16, 2013

EDLD 5398 Action Research Project


Curriculum criteria were formed in a way to ensure all students get the same level of education as students in other classes or other schools. With this educators are able to make sure every student is getting the same essentials for each subject regardless of his or her teacher or campus.  The problem with some curriculum is that it does not assist teachers with required modifications for inclusion students.   With this a number of student’s needs are not being met since each student has a different learning style.  Some students may be visual while others may be auditory learners.  However some students may be slower and need more direction than others.   No matter what the child’s learning style is, the teacher needs to modify his or her teaching methods to ensure each student’s needs are being met. This is where differentiated education comes into play. Due to the passing of numerous federal laws, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (1990), the individuals with Disabilities Education Act (1990), and the No Child Left Behind Act (2001), full inclusion and its needed workings remain to be of extreme importance to both the learning and emotional environment.  Inclusion education is the mainstreaming of Special Education students into a regular classroom. With inclusion the goal is for all children, disabled or not, to be able to attend a general classroom. This model is often viewed as the educational approach of choice for individuals with disabilities.  However there are significant challenges that ASD students face in general education classes. Severing students with disabilities outside of general education classes is no longer an option (Mastropieri & Scruggs, 2010).

Is the Inclusion program more academically beneficial for ASD students? This project will provide information for general and special education teachers.
General educational teachers are unenthusiastic about ASD students in their classrooms, there is seemingly a bias against the inclusion program. My vision is for teachers to be more comfortable with IEP’s and be willing to work with the inclusion program.
Inclusion programs offer special education students the required services and supports to be successful within a general education classroom. According to Santoli, Sachs, Romey, McClurg (2008), pulling students with exceptionalities out of general education classrooms was not successful; in addition Freidlander (2009) asserted that inclusion is the placement of choice for children with autism spectrum disorders. 
Key terms:
Full inclusion, autism spectrum disorders (ASD), special education, least restrictive environment (LRE)

Literature Review
The importance of my action research project is to work with administers, and teachers to make the inclusion program for ASD students more academically beneficial.  In 1943 Swiss psychiatrist Eugen Bleuler, studied mental illnesses. He coined the word “autism” which comes from the Greek word “autos” meaning “self” and refers to an extreme social withdrawal signifying an isolated self.  Dr. Leo Kanner at Baltimore’s John Hopkins University began using “autism” in its modern sense in 1943 to describe and classify the apparent withdrawn and indifferent behavior of several children studied. “Extreme aloofness” and “total indifference” are two phrases Kanner used to describe autism (Church, 2009, p.524).
In 1990, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) mandated that children with disabilities would be educated with children who are not disabled to the maximum extent appropriate (Hardman et al., 2008). While developing interventions for students with autism, Mazurik-Charles & Stefanou, (2010) noted that aspects involving impairments in social interaction required the most attention. 
            Children with disabilities benefit greatly from full inclusion the time in general education classroom has proven to increase social skills and behavioral. Current research has revealed that inclusion is good for intervention implementation because children with disabilities were given the opportunity to practice functional skills, such as following daily routines and appropriately interacting with peers, numerous times a day in authentic settings (DeVore & Russell, 2007).
According to the article entitled "Using Technology to Improve the Literacy Skills of Students with Disabilities," reading is often considered the most multifaceted component of literacy, and 10-15% of general education students in K-12 have difficulty in this arena (Thompson, 2004).
The literature states in order for children with autism to be successful in general education settings, a number of carefully planned interventions must be established. In many instances, the LRE for children with autism is a fully inclusive general education classroom. Because ASD occurs on a continuum and encompasses a wide range of exceptionalities (Vander Wiele, 2011).

Action Research Design
As a part of the study, the collaborating teachers selected a group of 6 third grade students who were either full-inclusion or partial-inclusion students.  The sample size is small due to limited number of ASD students in third grade. Two of the students were consider high functioning and4 students are consider low functioning  within the ASD spectrum.

Curriculum standards were intended to guarantee every student receives the same education as his or her peers. However, the curriculum did not account for the different types of learners in every classroom. Some students are visual or auditory learners.  With that being said, a test group of 6 ASD third grade students were selected to test a theory that inclusion was academically beneficial to all ASD students.  My goal was to work with students within the general education classroom and a self-contained classroom. I want to learn more about The Pros and Cons of Inclusion for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders.  This study was to determine if the Inclusion program is academically beneficial for all ASD or did self-contained classrooms increase student achievement?

Data Collection
            With the use of SurveyMonkey, I created a pre-survey for participating teachers and staff members to establish the feelings and attitudes towards the Inclusion Program. In the course of this eighteen week study Student improvement was measured with various criteria.  The primary method of determining the student’s success was with, observations, and district benchmark exams. Each week, with the help of classroom teachers students were tested on general education assignments to determine student's overall achievement on weekly reading activities and assessments. The second method of assessment was the student's overall achievement on 6 week activities and assessments.   The final assessment area was to gauge each student's willingness to contribute in class, hence showing increased self-confidence in his or her social skills.  All data was collected and tracked with Google Docs.


I want to learn more about The Pros and Cons of Inclusion for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders.  Is the Inclusion program more academically beneficial for ASD students?
Action Step (s)
Person(s) Responsible
Timeline: Start/End
Needed Resources
1.  1.  Obtain permission to conduct research on the campus. 
Tonya Avery
August 27, 2012 – August 31, 2012
Written permission from district/campus personnel for research to take place.
2.  2.  Compile a list of ASD Students to monitor for the project
Tonya Avery
August 27, 2012 – August 31, 2012
 Access to students’ scores, and teacher input on criteria 
3.  3.  Draft questions for teacher surveys.
Tonya Avery
August 13, 2012 – August 17, 2012
Microsoft Word
4. 4.   Meet with supervisor to review survey questions.
Tonya Avery
August 20, 2012 – August 27, 2012
Drafted Survey Questions
Site Supervisor
5.  5. Survey participating teachers about feelings/attitudes towards Inclusion Program.
Tonya Avery
August 20, 2012 – August 31, 2012
Google Docs – Survey or Survey Monkey
6.  6. Survey students weekly/bi-weekly  progress
Tonya Avery
August 28, 2012 –  October 27, 2012
Weekly Assessments  ,Student Benchmarks
Analyze information in either Microsoft Excel or Microsoft Access
8.   7. Gather research articles and books regarding Inclusion Classrooms.
Tonya Avery
August 20, 2012 – May 31, 2013
Articles, Books, Professional Literature, Blogs
9.   8. Analyze Survey Data.
Tonya Avery
September 28, 2012 – October 27, 2012
Excel or Access Data from Surveys
Analyze Information from Survey Data
9.  9.Discuss possible interventions for ASD students  in Inclusion Program
Tonya Avery
August 27, 2012 – May 31, 2013
Students’ Scores and Benchmarks
     10. Identify  ways to improve student performance at various stages of instruction
Tonya Avery
August 27, 2012 – May 31, 2013
Students in a Classroom
Classroom Observations
1   11. .  Mark end of year progress of students and end of year teacher survey
Tonya Avery
May 27, 2012 – May 31, 2013
Google Doc – Survey or Survey Monkey
Analyze information in either Microsoft Excel or Microsoft Access
      12 Compare data from beginning, middle, and end of year to determine any patterns and/or make observations based on findings
Tonya Avery
May 28, 2013 –  July 1, 2013
Excel or Access Data from Surveys
Analyze Information from Survey Data.  End of year progress in identified areas of need using district benchmark tests, progress reports, report cards, other district/campus quantitative data, teacher observation/interviews
      13. Write a Self-Reflection on the Inclusion Program with Cumulative Data and Observation Surveys
Tonya Avery
July 2, 2013- September 2, 2013
Microsoft Word
 Data References                            
Self-Evaluation – Reflection of Recommended Plans of Action to Take Place
      14. Share information found on action research with administration, and teachers.  Make recommendation based on data collected from action research.
Tonya Avery
August 15, 2013 – September 14, 2013
PowerPoint presentation at the beginning of the 2013-2014 school years.
Presentation feedback

From a general scale, some of the students showed growth in their reading and math skills.  A significant factor that was noticed by all teachers was that the ASD student's growth was based on his or her willingness to participate, function level and social skills in a general education classroom. Students with behavioral issues or poor social skills seem not to progress as much as other ASD students. However, when this group was educated in a self-contained classroom there was sufficient growth, this was due to the individual instruction and minimal distractions.

Mrs. Hester' Students
            Mrs. Hester’s study group consisted of four students.  Students H2-A, H3-B, H4-C, and H5-D. This group of ASD students remained in full inclusion. The group was given the same
Instruction and assignments with little or no support.  Even though students' H2-A and H3-B growth was minimal on weekly assessments. There were significant improvements made in their 6 week assessments and self-confidence level.  Students H4-C, and H5-D showed very little growth and seemed to regress on previous learned material.  H4-C, and H5-D continues to struggle with self-confidence and a willingness to try to complete the assignments.   Within the general education classroom there seems to be a lack of support of the ASD students. Teachers were overwhelmed, students were not engaged and allowed to sit and fend for themselves. Granting all of the students have not shown substantial growth as per the data, their overall abilities have improved.

Mr. Williams’s Students
Mrs. Williams’s study group consisted of two students.  Students W2-A and W3-B, This group of ASD students participated in partial inclusion during social time. For the duration of instruction time students were taught the same curriculum as general education students but in a self-contained environment.  Students W3-A and[TA1]  W3-B suffers from attention deficit disorder (ADD) and has difficulty focusing.  Student W2-A has had a problem focusing on what he is working on since the beginning of the year.  He struggled to pay attention and focus during instruction time.  Although this students' growth is minimal, this student will need additional testing done because it is apparent based on his grades that he cannot retain information.  With student W3-B I saw no motivation or desire to learn. Daily interventions are being implemented to connect and encourage student W3-B to participate in daily curriculum.

Conclusions and Recommendations
After conducting this action research project my study and findings produced significant differences between Inclusion and Self-contained instruction for ASD/Special Education students. I recommend that all general education teachers’ be educated in special education and be equipped with student IEP’s as soon as possible.  Extra support is needed in class for ASD students to ensure they are engaged and on target.  Additional staff development is needed for all teachers on educating ASD students. States and districts, have created standard-based curriculums that teachers must follow.   Despite these requirements, many students are being left behind due to academic and social discrepancies. ASD are being placed in inclusion programs without the needed support to be successful. Inclusion is a great ideal in theory, but not for every student.  Teachers need to be aware of the various learning styles and abilities within the classroom.  This ensures each student is given a chance for success.  with teachers modifying his or her teaching methods to fit the student’s behavior, learning style, or ability.  The goal of this research is to identify ASD students who are falling short in a full inclusion classroom. Furthermore provide a teachers with a variety of strategies, concepts, motivation and discipline that will increase the student achievement.
         Church, E. (2009). Using medical imaging to decipher autism.  Radiologic Technology, 
80(6), 523-542.
           DeVore, S., & Russell, K. (2007). Early childhood education and care for children with
disabilities: Facilitating inclusive practice. Early Childhood Education Journal,
35(2), 189-198. doi:10.1007/s10643-006-0145-4
           Dukes, Charles.,& Dukes, Pamela. (2009). Inclusion by design: Engineering inclusive practices in secondary schools. Exceptional Children, 41(3), 16-23.
Hardman, M., Drew, C., Egan, M. (2008). Human exceptionality: School, community,
and family (10thed.). Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.
Karten, Toby. (2005). Inclusion strategies that work! Research-based methods for the
. (p. 2) Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.
           Mastropieri, M., & Scruggs, T. (2010). The inclusive classroom:

Strategies for effective differentiated instruction. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson
           Santoli, S., Sachs, J., Romey, E., & McClurg, S. (2008). A successful formula for middle
school inclusion: Collaboration, time, and administrative support. Research in Middle
Level Education Online, 32(2), 1-13.
Thompson, J.R., et. all. (2004), Using technology to improve the literacy skills of students with disabilities. North Central Regional Education Laboratory.
Retrieved October, 24, 2012, from

Vander Wiele, L. (2011).The pros and cons of inclusion for children with
autism spectrum disorders: What constitutes the least restrictive environment?

No comments:

Post a Comment