The Inclusive Environment and its Effects on All Learners

Date of Award

Spring 5-17-2019

Document Type

Project (696 or 796 registration)

Degree Name

Master of Science in Special Education


Graduate Studies

Committee Chair

Renee Harmon


inclusive environment, special education, reading progress


A variety of research has shown that a fully inclusive environment is the most beneficial for all students both academically and socially. This study analyzes two groups of students; Group 1 students qualify and receive special education services, they spend 28% of the school day with non-disabled peers, Group 2 students are general education students and spend 100% of the school day with non-disabled peers. The purpose of this research is to compare the growth rates in reading progress in students in both the mainstream group (Group 1) and the inclusive group (Group 2) of students in order to determine if there are academic benefits from the inclusive setting in students with disabilities. The growth rate of standardized reading test scores on the aReading FastBridge assessments of students in an inclusive environment was greater than the growth rate of students in the mainstream environment. The data concludes that full inclusion results in higher academic achievement in reading. Students in Group 2 were able to meet their calculated, individualized End of Year Goal Scores at a much higher rate than Group 1.

There are many academic and social benefits that full inclusive classroom can provide. In an inclusive classroom, the general education teachers and special education teachers work together to meet the needs of all students. This type of environment also provides the appropriate supports to students that qualify for special education services while allowing them to stay in their least restrictive environment. It is also important to note that all students can benefit from the additional resources and support staff the inclusive setting would provide.

Abstract only: No full text available.