Date of Conferral

2015

Degree

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

School

Education

Advisor

Linda Sorhaindo

Abstract

Inclusion education led to academically-homogeneous grouping of students at southeast high school. Administratively, the decision was made to increase rigor, inclusion students would be grouped heterogeneously in senior economics classes. Guided by Dewey's pragmatic theory, the purpose of this sequential, explanatory, mixed method study was to investigate whether a significant difference exists in the course passing rates, end-of-course test (EOCT) scores, and graduation rates between inclusion students in heterogeneous classes and those in homogeneous classes and how participants perceived the grouping. Archival data (N = 42) on student instructional grouping, passing rates, EOCT scores, and graduation rates were analyzed using 3 t tests. Data were also collected via interviews with 13 participants, including current and former teachers and several former students to determine the perceptions of those involved with the change. Findings from the quantitative analysis showed a significant difference in EOCT scores, demonstrating an improvement for the heterogeneous inclusion students, but not on course passing or graduation rates. The qualitative data were open coded and thematically analyzed and 6 themes emerged on how the heterogeneously-grouped classes benefitted inclusion students. Based on these findings, a 3 day professional development program for teachers was developed to assist local faculty in the construction of project-based and differentiated learning environments. This study contributes to social change by affecting the academic placement and academic success of inclusion students. Inclusion students' increased test scores could lead to increased passing rates, which could result in increased graduation rates.