On October 26, 2017 the American Institutes for Research hosted a presentation and discussion on the inclusion of students with disabilities in general education classrooms, a cornerstone of special education policy in the United States and many countries. While studies have examined when and how much inclusion is appropriate for students with disabilities, there is less research on how inclusion may negatively impact students without disabilities in the same classroom. Using 2013 data from the Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS), the presentation addressed some parents' concern that, due to the additional needs of students with disabilities, teachers may spend less time teaching in inclusive classrooms. Through analyses of 121,173 teacher responses from 38 participating education systems, factors are identified that may explain disparities in instructional time between inclusive and non-inclusive classrooms.
- The findings indicate that teachers in classrooms with a greater percentage of students with special needs do spend less time teaching.
- In classrooms in which 11-30% of students have special needs, teachers spend about 76% of their class time on teaching, compared to 81% in classrooms without any students with special needs, on average.
- The disparity is wider in many countries, including Singapore (77% vs. 60%), Japan (82% vs. 72%), and Sweden (87% vs. 77%).
- Teacher and school characteristics do not explain the variation in class time spent on teaching. Instead, the disparity in teaching time in inclusive and less inclusive classrooms is fully attenuated when accounting for classroom student characteristics, particularly the proportion of students with behavioral problems.
Presenter: North Cooc, Assistant Professor, The University of Texas at Austin
Discussant: Louis Danielson, Managing Director, American Institutes for Research
Moderator: Mary Coleman, Senior Education Research Scientist, National Center for Education Statistics
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The Research on International Studies in Education (RISE) Webinar Series showcases research using data from international studies and promotes sharing and discussion about how data-based evidence can be used for improving educational outcomes. The RISE Webinar Series is organized by AIR. To receive emails about RISE and invitations to upcoming webinars, please email RISE@air.org.