Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Mary B. Hallums


From 2014 to 2015, full inclusion through coteaching practices (2 or more professionals providing instruction in the same classroom environment) was implemented at a rural southeastern middle school in Georgia to improve the low academic achievement of students with disabilities (SWDs). The problem is that 8th-grade SWDs score low on the reading and mathematics sections of the Standardized Assessment for Reading and Mathematics (STAR). The purpose of this quantitative quasi-experimental study was to examine the effect of coteaching on the achievement of 8th-grade SWDs in reading and mathematics as measured by the STAR. Vygotsky's zone of proximal development was the theoretical framework for this study because cognitive development can be enhanced with adult guidance and peer collaboration. The research questions focused on the difference in STAR gain scores between the coteaching SWDs participants and the SWDs with no coteaching. The sample was 96 8th-grade SWDs. A t test was used to compare the reading and mathematics gain scores between the academic years 2012 and 2014 (without inclusion/coteaching),46 SWDs and 2015-2017 (with inclusion/coteaching), 50 SWDs. Results showed that there were significant differences in the STAR performance after coteaching implementation in reading and mathematics, p = .045 and p = .004, respectively. This study may lead to positive social change by providing data to the local educational agency leaders, administrators, teachers, and the educational community to make informed decisions about the implementation of coteaching practices, to enhance instructional practices and teaching strategies, and to improve the academic achievement of SWDs allowing them the opportunity to become college and career ready, thus enhancing their postsecondary options.

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