Research Proposal

by Sarah Wardzala

Literacy Gains for Students with IEPs (diagnosed Intellectual Disabilities) in Inclusive Settings vs. Non-Inclusive Settings in Elementary Schools

Rationale/Research Questions

    • Is including students with disabilities and IEPs in a regular education classroom beneficial for their literacy gains?

    • Is it better to be mainstreamed or self-contained during literacy instruction?

    • Franklin Park District 84: moving away from self-contained special education classrooms and moving towards full inclusion.

    • Concerns:

      • Will the students be successful in Reading?

      • Will the students be successful if we don’t change the curriculum to meet their needs?


    • Setting

      • District 84 as the inclusive setting

      • District __ (chosen by LASEC) as the non-inclusive setting

      • Both suburban (of Chicago) districts of similar sizes

    • Participants

      • Students in elementary classrooms, grades 1-5

      • Students in both settings have similar IEP goals and eligibility (ID diagnosis, similar cognitive abilities, etc.)

        • **Minutes will differ because of different settings

    • Variables

      • 5 classrooms with students with ID included in the general education setting

        • One per grade level (grades 1-5)

      • 5 classrooms with students with ID that are self-contained with IEP peers

        • One per grade level (grades 1-5, or 5 multi-age classrooms grades 1-5)

    Procedures/Data Collection

    1. Researcher will speak with Leyden Area Special Education Cooperative (LASEC) about participating districts within the cooperative.

    2. Once districts have been chosen, all students, with and without ID, in both settings will be given a MAP test for Reading. All accommodations will be given. Scores will be recorded.

    3. Students will be monitored throughout the school year. Observations will include:

      1. amount of time in general education setting

      2. amount of sped support received

    4. All students (with and without ID) in participating classrooms will be given an end of year MAP test.

    5. Scores will be compared.


    • Location matters (Brock, M. E., & Schaefer, J. M., 2015)

    • Effects on students without IEPs (Sermier Dessemontet, R., Bless, G., & Morin, D, 2012)

      • Pre and post test

      • Inclusion vs control group

      • No significant differences

    • Mainstreamed students with IEPs (LD) scores increase (Klinger, J. K., Vaughn, S., Hughes, M. T., Schuman, J. S., & Elbaum, B., 1998)

      • 32% of LD students showed gains

    • Mainstreamed students with IEPS (ID) scores increase (Sermier Dessemontet, R., & Bless, G., 2013)

      • Switzerland

      • Three tests

      • Inclusion vs control group

      • Mean score gap from 2.6 to 8.4