Date of Award

Spring 5-16-2014

Document Type


Degree Name

Education Specialist (EdS)


Special Education

First Advisor

Dr. Ginny VanRie


Placement of students with disabilities in their least restrictive environment (LRE) is an important part of a student’s individualized education plan (IEP). The debate as to whether LRE is a full inclusion classroom or mainstreaming a student into an inclusion classroom for part of the day and allowing them to be in a small group classroom when needed has yet to be determined based on the literature available. Therefore the research question for this study was as follows: what difference is there in learning for secondary students with learning disabilities in the area of science when taught in a small group instructional setting versus being instructed in an inclusion co-taught setting? A pre-experimental static-group comparison design with a pre-posttest and unit probes was used to evaluate the effect of educational setting on the academic performance of students with disabilities who were taught environmental science in a co-taught inclusion setting with those taught in a small group setting. There were three students with high incidence disabilities in each condition (inclusion and small group). The content as well as instruction were the same with the only difference between the groups being the instructional setting. Upon analysis of the pretest and posttest results as well as the unit probes, there were no significant differences between the groups. Future research should include larger sample sizes in each group with the participants randomly assigned as well as replicating this study with younger participants.