An Analysis of the Academic Growth of Students with Disabilities Instructed in Self-Contained Schools and a Unique Therapeutic Inclusive Public School Special Education Program

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Gladhill, Jeffrey Scott
Kivlighan, Dennis M
This study analyzes the academic growth of students with disabilities (SWD) educated in two self-contained schools and a unique therapeutic inclusive public school program (TP) located in Piedmont County (PC). The majority of participants in this study were classified as students with an emotional disability (ED) (40%) or other health impairment (OHI) (34%). Results revealed that students in the TP group showed overall higher significant growth in mathematics as gauged by the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) assessment, until variables of grade level, gender, and medical assistance (MA) eligibility were added to the analysis. Following an additional analysis of growth accounting for these additional variables, there were no significant differences between the two educational environments. This study suggests that variables of teacher efficacy, relationship, background, prior knowledge, professional development, lack of random assignment of students, teacher certification and content knowledge of teachers need to be studied in future research. Findings from this research should not be generalized beyond this study due to a low number of participants (48 students) and the unique nature of the TP. Additional limitations regarding generalizability and recommendations are addressed within this study.