Date of Conferral

1-1-2011

Degree

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

School

Education

Advisor

Peter Kiriakidis

Abstract

According to IDEA and NCLB requirements, students with disabilities are held to the same standards established for nondisabled students. The purpose of this quantitative study was to examine the impact of a special education inclusion program for middle school students with mild to moderate learning disabilities. Student outcomes were measured based on the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP) test scores for reading/language and mathematics. The theoretical foundation for this study was Vygotsky's social development theory applied to special education inclusion programs to support learning within the general curriculum for students with mild to moderate learning disabilities. An independent samples t test was used to measure the difference in the means of the TCAP scores for 2 cohorts of Grade 6, 7, and 8 students with disabilities (one group taught before the implementation of an inclusion program and one group taught after the implementation of an inclusion program). The findings indicated that inclusion had a significant positive impact on TCAP scores in both reading/language and mathematics. The implications for positive social change generated by this research include a better understanding of the impact of an inclusion program on the TCAP scores of students with mild to moderate learning disabilities at one middle school in Tennessee. Effective IEP decisions have implications for social change because positive educational experiences for middle school students with mild to moderate disabilities increase the likelihood such students will graduate from high school to enter higher education or the work force.