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The research problem, questions, or hypotheses

Question:

Topic is SPECIAL EDUCATION.You will need to demonstrate the ability to employ research methods used within your specialization. You are expected to critique research methodologies used by scholar-practitioners and compose responses identifying best practices in educational research.

Empirical article-1

Idol, Lorna (2006). Toward Inclusion of Special Education Students in General Education: A Program Evaluation of Eight Schools, Remedial and Special Education, 27 (2): 77–94

The research problem, questions, or hypotheses

This article is based on empirical evidence from a evaluation of a program on provision of special education service in different level of schools and magnitude of the ‘inclusion’ process of students living with disability in general level education system.

RQ1:   Whether there occurs the process of ‘inclusion’ of the pupil with disability in general education system?

RQ2:    if yes, what is the magnitude and nature of ‘inclusion’?

RQ3: What is the role of regulatory mechanism to tackle this issue?

The research purpose

To examine process of provision of special education services in different level of general schools in metropolitan area in terms of the magnitude of inclusion process for students living with disability in general level education system vis-à-vis regulatory mechanisms (Act on Education for All Handicapped Children, 1975).

Study design

Following a purposive sampling method, 8 schools were chosen for the study with consultation from executive director (chief administrator) of the special education program. Three criteria were followed in selection -- the schools had better developed special education programs in place, feeling of schools’ staff about the approach to education of students living with disability considered appropriate enough and the third one as the stage of process of inclusion. So half of all schools comprised from bottom with rest half were in top in the scale of no inclusion at bottom to the full inclusion at top most.The study collected both quantitative and qualitative data for program evaluation by use of personal interview technique with the teachers (educators) in the selected schools. The data covered most of the educators to best possible level than random sampling method, using structured interview under guidance from school administrators. Information were sought on the roles of the educators in providing education in the schools. In addition, state-wide testing data for students in selected schools were assessed for providing information on the effect of testing of the students living with disability upon the overall testing result for these schools.

Addressing threats to validity

For the quantitative data of the study 100 % of reliability check were undertaken in terms of inter-rater reliability to address the threats to internal validity.

The findings and implications

In terms of administrative support, the study finding clearly see a positive relationship between principal’s support with educators’ endeavor towards use of inclusion in all the 8 schools with special education facilities. This is found to be useful not only in provision of emotional support by the administrators (principals) but also material support to the educators to accomplish the relevant works in the school.In the finding the attitude of educators becomes clearer in terms of moving towards implementing inclusion process for students living with disability in the nearby general type of education class. This is also supported by all administrators.In terms of the service delivery options, a number of different options emerged to be significant for inclusion of special education program such as extra amount of consultative approaches, proper use of instructional assistants etc. In some schools covered under this study, special education educators offered their consultation service added with their whole assignment as a direct instructional teacher. The use of the available instruction assistants in a proper manner is reported for examination closely mainly by better training for their effective and efficient use.The evaluation brought out another important issue— the need for professional development for educators related to inclusion covering topics like appropriate instructional and curricular modifications, extending support effectively to teachers of the inclusive type of classrooms in a number of options, consultative teaching, cooperative type of teaching, instruction assistants, and teams of teacher assistants.

The research purpose

Significance of the findings (compelling case)

The study findings greatly support that practicing of inclusion of the students in special education to the general type education program is really challenging in nature. A number of important factors that this study explores in the evaluation may guide the educators to more activate the fuller potential of the process of inclusion in special education.

Wagner, Mary; Newman, Lynn; D'Amico, Ronald; Jay, E. Deborah; Butler-Nalin, Paul ; Marder, Camille and Cox, Robert. (1991). Youth with Disability- How Are They Doing: The first comprehensive report from National Longitudinal Transition Study of Special Education Students, Office of Special Education Programs U.S. Department of Education.

 Research problem, questions, or hypotheses

The current article is based on a study on different experiences of youths and their outcomes when living with disability in specific domains of special education at secondary as well as post-secondary level and explains the factors behind them.

The research questions are

  1. To understand the individual level as well as household level characteristics of the youth living with disability currently in secondary level special education.
  2. To study the nature of achievements of youth with disability related to their education, employment and independence.
  3. To find out the factors behind the educational, employment, and independence outcomes of youth with disability under special education

The research purpose

The purpose of the study is to assess the nature of problem faced by youths with disability currently enrolled in secondary special education and the factors behind them so as to work out possible program recommendations.

Study design

The study design followed in this article employs around 8,000 youth in the age group of 13-21 currently enrolled in selected secondary schools for special education for the period 1985-86. This sample was taken as national level representative for generalizations to youth as a whole.The data on experiences of youth were gathered in 3 key domains -- such as education, employment and personal independence. The operationalization of constructs shows that education components would examine the secondary and post-secondary program, experience and subsequent enrollment to higher class. The employment component covered the nature of employments during and after school and magnitude of earnings. The personal inter-dependence comprise of social level integration of youth with special education. Also the study aims to assess the factors behind success in lives of youths after special education.The study employed telephonic interviews with the parents, secondary information from school recent records of students under secondaryschool and survey of educators.

Threats to validity

The article as such did not mention any threat to validity, however the external validity of generalization is assumed under this study.

The findings and implications

The data analysis in the article shows that more than half of all youth students in secondary special education fall into category of learning disabled. Few of them were mentally retarded, with emotional disturbances. Most of such youths came from poor households with single parent, not living in a suburban community. These characteristic could have implication on their achievement in school and after wards.In terms of the performance and achievements, most of the youth in secondary schools with disability had some difficulty in few courses, with lower level of competency, higher absenteeism etc. There was clear absence of social bonds reflected in lack of affiliation with school or community groups, and the tendency of such youths to get into conflicts resulting in to disciplinary actions. However in terms of employment more than half of such youth could get paid employment quite similar to youth in general with similar rate of wage and salaries. While such youth with disability studied under special education could maintain independent engagement, the levels of productive engagement did not improve markedly with elapse of time after youth left theirs high schools.

Study design

Significance of the findings (compelling case)

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The study finding suggests even if there would be a host of explanations for achievements of youths living with disability and undergone the special education, importance of young people's identifying with social institutions and internalizing of various social values and the norms would be helpful. These may enable the students to have some positive experience in societal organizations. The article presents a compelling suggestion that these aspects may play the role for goodcitizenship, as taught at home and school, at an early age. Even the schools can provide support in social, athletic service and leadership for such youth to establish better social affiliations.

Chambers, Jay G.; Parrish, Thomas B.; Lieberman, Joanne C. and Wolman, Jean M. (1998).What Are We Spending on Special Education in the U.S.?, Brief No. 8, American Institutes for Research in the Behavioral Sciences,Palo Alto, CA. Center for Special Education Finance.

The research problem, questions, or hypotheses

With the continual growth of special education enrollment by heightened numbers and with growing proportion of such enrollment after the Disability Education Act came into place, it become pertinent to develop proper understanding about the process of growth towards expenditure on special education expenditures. This article is based on the research question that seeks to understand the pattern of need, availability of sufficient data that can be used to assess the nature and magnitude of spending on special education

The research purpose

To examine the different data source in terms of their sufficiency and reliability to asses accurately the government expenditure pattern on special education.

Study design

The article examines different ways that are used to work out the current level of expenditure incurred towards special education, such as the recent most data on relative expenses towards special type need programs added with available existing information on current aggregate expenditures per student for educational related services.It uses alternate estimate of expenses towards special education in addition to special need program in the USA for the period of 1995-1996 and stat wise data from federal level survey for states during 1987-1988.

Findings and implications

The study finds that better refined information would be needed to provide accurate level estimates on current spending on special education budget of the USA. Having no data sources of recent and uniform nature for tracking the expenses incurred towards services in special education at state as well as federal level. It also observe that even when OSEP often collects annual information about the numbers of pupil living with disability added with allocations of such pupil among different placements, still there does not exist availability of any correct information at this time regarding the expenditure or the cost incurred towards these placements for estimation of total expenditure as such.

Significance of the findings (compelling case)

The article particularly presents the criticality of proper data on utilization of resources towards special education mainly during growth over interest across policy makers as well as teachers. This is towards implementing the much inclusive type of model of service delivery to meet the requirements of the pupil living with disability, and also students with high level of economic and education disadvantages.

Addressing threats to validity

Carlson, Elaine; Brauen, Marsha; Klein, Sheri; Karen; Schroll, Sharon Willig, Westat (2002). Key Findings from the Study of Personnel Needs in Special Education, U.S. Department of Education Office of Special Education Programs.

The research problem, questions, or hypotheses

With the backdrop the teaching experience being considered as an important component of teacher quality, the research questions of the current article revolves around study of teacher attrition in special Education perspective and its relationship with workforce quality.

The research purpose

The purpose of this study is to present in details about personnel serving students living with disability by quality and factors behind workforce level quality.

Study design

The current study employs computer-assisted telephonic interview with a sample of national level representativeness comprising of 8091 service providers and 358 numbers of local administrators. This includes special as well as regular education teachers, special education para-professionals and speech-language pathologists. The interviews were undertaken during spring and fall of the year 2000.

Threats to validity

If not explicitly but the article vividly presents a possible threat to instrumentation validity such as difficulty in separate discussions of teacher quality and teacher quantity. This however may be taken n different data type to tackle the problem.

The findings and implications

The findings of this study find clear connection among shortage of quantity and quality of teachers. For instance, the posts meant for educators of students who had emotional disturbance or need for special education seemed often difficult to be filled. Also the teachers in those positions, in the form of a group, seem lesser better prepared compared to other colleagues there, that is they would have lesser level of experience thereby lower likelihood of getting certificate for main assignments of teaching.

Significance of the findings (compelling case)

This paper not only presents the significance of teacher for special education but also the problems behind availability of such teachers in terms of required quantity and quality.

Landrum, Timothy J.; Tankersley, Melody and Kauffman, James M. (2003). What Is Special About Special Education for Students with Emotional or Behavioral Disorders, The Journal of Special Education, 37 (3): 148–156

The research problem, questions, or hypotheses

Given that students often with emotion level or behavioral related disorders mostly experience poor level of school outcomes in comparison with other students having or not with any disability, many effective practices could be readily available for making the special education in case of such students who had some emotion and behavioral related disorder (EBD) significant.

Specific research questions are

RQ1:   What are the practices based on research on working with pupils living with the EBD?

RQ2: Whether such practices are properly implemented regularly in schools?

RQ3: what is the uniqueness of these practices in field of special education?

The research purpose

The purpose of this research is to examine the effectiveness of practices available for making special education for such students with some emotional and behavioral disorder significant.

Study design

Within 3 broad intervention areas of inappropriate behavior, academic learning problems, and interpersonal relationships, the current article endeavors to present a brief analysis of some empirically validated practices.

The findings and implications

Threats to validity

There may be threats to external validity in this analysis as the generalization in changing context may be a problem.

The findings and implications

The study finds that specific type of researches conducted with participants with EBD may be necessary to make verification on the effectiveness of such intervention before the recommendations as best practices for children with EBD. The study also observes that validation of many such interventions can be done with students with varying quotient of learning, behavior as well as social related problems associated with the EBD.

Significance of the findings (compelling case)

The article emphasizes the significance of special education meant for pupil under EBD, and finds it special even when taken its full advantage with technologies available for behavior related and instruction led intervention.

Idol, Lorna. (2006). Toward the Inclusion of Special Education Students in General Education: Program Evaluation of 8 Schools, Remedial and Special Education 27 (2): 77–94

The research questions

Given that most of the special education programs are far from implementing the process of ‘inclusion’ and merely focusing on ‘mainstreaming’, the current article would like to focus on examination of special education services in varying contexts such as selected elementary and secondary level schools and examine the strength of ‘inclusion’ process implemented to students with disability vis-à-vis general education classes. Hence the research questions it would address are:

RQ1:   How the ‘inclusion’ process is conceptualized in varying contexts of special education mainly the elementary and secondary level?

RQ2:   What is the nature of implementation of ‘inclusion’ and variations at different level?

RQ3: Does the existence of regulatory mechanism catalyze the process of inclusion in special education?

The research purpose

The purpose of this research would be 2 pronged. One, it would assess the level of conceptualization of 'inclusion' in special education at 2 level of schooling— elementary and secondary school. Secondly, the research would examine the extent of the implementation of ‘inclusion’ against the role of regulatory mechanism (Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975) in the same.

Study design

The alternative research method would follow ‘proportionate’ sampling in selection of type of school. So out of 8 schools in the metropolitan, the current study would choose 4 elementary schools and 3 secondary schools. The criteria to be followed in selection -- tempo of implementation of ‘inclusion’ and differential in proportion of pupils with disability enrolled. This will help ensuring the internal validity is maintained.

Considering the extent of association with the process of inclusion, the study would employ both quantitative and qualitative data for examination of indicators at 3 levels of respondents:

  1. Level 1 -- the persons associated with regulatory mechanism (Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975). Qualitative data through informal discussion based on semi-structured guideline will be collected.
  2. Level 2 – teachers (educators) dealing with students under special education. Qualitative data through FGD (focused group discussion) based on structured guideline will be collected.
  3. Level 3 – 400 (statistical rule of sample size) parents of students from each school type following random selection. Quantitative data through personal interview using pre-coded structured guideline will be collected.

The data from these 3 levels of respondents can answer all the 3 research questions (RQ 1, RQ2 and RQ3). The RQ1 will be examined from respondents at all the 3 levels in terms of differential in their perception on ‘inclusion’. The RQ2 will be tested from respondents at level 2 and 3; and the RQ3 will be examined from respondents at level 1 and 2.

Significance of the findings (compelling case)

The strengths and weaknesses of new envisioned design and methods

The strength with the new method remains at its endeavor to understand the factors behind ‘inclusion’ process in special education at different level rather than seeing them at aggregate level. The weakness may be some perceptual variation among different respondents due to their exposure to the process and sensitiveness.

Addressing threats to validity

The alternative research method would follow proportional sampling in selection of school types keeping in consideration of tempo of implementation of ‘inclusion’ and pupils with disability enrollment. This will help ensuring the internal validity is maintained. The data from qualitative methods will be triangulated among different level of respondents so that any possible instrumentation validity threat can be reduced.

 Plan of data analysis

The qualitative data from the persons at regulatory board and teachers (educators) will be analyzed by triangulation method in terms of their understanding of ‘inclusion’ and the implementation steps (to be) followed at different types of schools (elementary and secondary). The qualitative data from the teachers (educators) will be analyzed in terms of ‘ease’ and ‘problems’ in implementing the ‘inclusion’ process in different types of schools. The quantitative data from the parents of students on actual experience of their wards disaggregated by different types of schools from educators and fellow pupils in social and technical integration will be analyzed.

Significance and appropriateness of alternative research method over previous method towards contribution to theory

The study findings has more significance and hence appropriateness over previous methods due to the disaggregate understanding of the concept of ‘inclusion’, hence differential in implementation. As theories have found that implementation leads to student’s ease in attending general schools, hence disaggregate analysis can find these factors better (Idol, 2006). and further course correction need that can bring out doable recommendations for policymakers (regulatory mechanism).

References

Carlson, Elaine; Brauen, Marsha; Klein, Sheri; Karen; Schroll, Sharon Willig, Westat (2002). Key Findings from the Study of Personnel Needs in Special Education, U.S. Department of Education Office of Special Education Programs.

Chambers, Jay G.; Parrish, Thomas B.; Lieberman, Joanne C. and Wolman, Jean M. (1998).What Are We Spending on Special Education in the U.S.?, Brief No. 8, American Institutes for Research in the Behavioral Sciences, Center for Special Education Finance.

Christ, Theodore J.; Silberglitt, Benjamin; Yeo, Seungsoo and Cormier, Damien (2010). Curriculum-Based Measurement of Oral Reading: An Evaluation of Growth Rates and Seasonal Effects Among Students Served in General and Special Education, School Psychology Review, 39 (3): 447–462

Ellen Brantlinger, Robert Jimenez, Janette Klingner, Marleen Pugach and Virginia Richardson (2005). Qualitative Studies in Special Education, Council for Exceptional Children, 71 (2): 195-207.

Harris-Murri, Nancy; King, Kathleen and Rostenberg Dalia (2006). Reducing Disproportionate Minority Representation in Special Education Programs for Students with Emotional Disturbances: Toward a Culturally Responsive Response to Intervention Model, Education and Treatment of Children, 29 (4):779-799.

Idol, Lorna (2006). Toward Inclusion of Special Education Students in General Education: A Program Evaluation of Eight Schools, Remedial and Special Education, 27 (2): 77–94.

Landrum, Timothy J.; Tankersley, Melody and Kauffman, James M. (2003). What Is Special About Special Education for Students with Emotional or Behavioral Disorders?, The Journal of Special Education, 37 (3): 148–156

Mason-Williams, Loretta (2015). Unequal Opportunities: A Profile of the Distribution of Special

Education Teachers, Exceptional Children, 81(2): 247–262

Xin Wei, Mary Wagner, Elizabeth R. A. Christiano, Paul Shattuck and Jennifer W. Yu (2013). Special Education Services Received by Students With Autism Spectrum Disorders From Preschool Through High School, The Journal of Special Education, 11(10): 1–13

Wagner, Mary; Newman, Lynn; D'Amico, Ronald; Jay, E. Deborah; Butler-Nalin, Paul ; Marder, Camille and Cox, Robert. (1991). Youth with Disability: How Are They Doing?: The First Comprehensive Report from the National Longitudinal Transition Study of Special Education Students, Office of Special Education Programs U.S. Department of Education.

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