Deeper Learning for Students with Disabilities

Sharon Vaughn, University of Texas College of Education
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Image of report coverThe majority of students with disabilities spend most of the school day in general education classes and most are capable of meeting the goals described by advocates of deeper learning. However, policy discussions about deeper learning have yet to focus serious attention on the kinds of support these students require to become truly prepared for college, careers, and civic life.

How can general education teachers provide opportunities for deeper learning to such a wide range of students? While we are mindful of the many ways in which individuals and groups of students can differ from one another, we also find strong support in the research literature for several core instructional practices that are feasible to implement in every classroom and that facilitate learning for students with many kinds of needs. Further, we argue that the field of special education has important insights and expertise to share with the deeper learning movement in general.

In this report, we review previous efforts to promote better educational outcomes for students with disabilities. We also describe research-based instructional strategies that can support them and other struggling learners and the kinds of policies and local resources needed to ensure that all young people have meaningful opportunities to learn deeply and become truly prepared to succeed in college, careers, and civic life.

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