Date of Award

Spring 1999

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Urban Services - Urban Education

Committee Director

Stephen W. Tonelson

Committee Member

Robert A. Gable

Committee Member

Cheryl S. Baker


This study examined the impact of fully included students with learning disabilities on the academic achievement and classroom behavior of urban elementary fourth grade students. To achieve these purposes, data were collected by using the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills Multilevel Battery (ITBS) of general education students and students with at-risk profiles, Kaufman Tests of Educational Achievement (KTEA) of students with disabilities, completed Individualized Education Program (IEP) objectives of students with disabilities, report card grades of all students, and referrals to principal for inappropriate behavior of all students. Staff and parent surveys and student interviews were another source of data. Effect size, t-Test, percentages, and Wilcoxon signed-rank test were the data analysis techniques.

The independent variables were inclusion and no inclusion. Academic achievement and classroom behavior of individual students, as measured by the ITBS, KTEA, report card grades, completion of IEP objectives, referrals to principal, staff and parent surveys, and student interviews, were the dependent variables. The research design was quasi-experimental using a pretest-post test control group, because randomization was not possible. Except the interviews and surveys, data were collected twice, as a pretreatment measure and post-treatment measure of the outcome variables. The staff and parent surveys and student interviews were completed only at the end of the study.

Participants included 68 general education students, 20 students with at-risk profiles, 12 students with disabilities, four general education teachers, one special education teacher and the special education teacher assistant. Fifty-two staff members, thirty-one parents of general education students, and 12 parents of students with disabilities completed a questionnaire that focused on the aspects of the program and student outcomes.

This study confirms much of the literature that inclusion should be one of many options for service delivery and contributes to the validation that general education students and students with at-risk profiles do better academically and behaviorally with students with disabilities included full time in their classroom. The research data revealed that the qualitative results support the quantitative findings. The neutral and positive feelings that the parents, staff, and students were having are supported by positive gains of the students. Implications, along with future avenues of research, are presented.


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