Study: Inclusion benefits special-needs students

A new study from researchers at Indiana University provides strong evidence that students with special needs do better academically when they are placed in general-education classrooms, not separated in self-contained special education classes.

The study tracks the test scores of a cohort of Indiana students with disabilities from third through eighth grades. It finds that students in “high inclusion” placements – in general-education classrooms at least 80 percent of the time every year – scored better than similar peers.

Lead authors of the study are Sandi Cole of the Center on Lifelong Learning at IU’s Institute on Disability and Community and Hardy Murphy of the center and the IU School of Education at IUPUI.

“We can now make a pretty definitive statement that placement matters,” Cole said. “If we know that placement matters, let’s talk about how we make it happen.”

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