Term Paper: Effective Mathematics Instruction for Students With Learning Disabilities

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¶ … Mathematics

Secondary school experiences and academic performance of students with mental retardation

The legislative support for students with mental retardation ensures that these students have a place within the school system. The place that is provided allows the students to access more options as it relates to education. It therefore becomes critical that the outcomes from this increased access be examined empirically to determine if the students are benefitting from the best available care. A companion issue that is raised by greater access to education is that of whether that access should exist in a specialized environment or in the general school population. While there has been research on this question, the results are not entirely conclusive. Additionally, the question of the whether the educational environment influences the delivery and reception of the curriculum must be explored as part of an integrated analysis.

To address these concerns adequately it is an imperative that the following research questions be examined (Kaplan, 1963). Firstly, what courses do students with mental disabilities study? Secondly, what are the physical and other characteristics of the classroom and how do these characteristics influence the outcomes of the learning process? Finally, the major consideration is what are the actual academic outcomes of students with learning disabilities? This final question provides the essential basis for the examination of the success of the policy implementation. It also allows the researchers to compare the usefulness of variant environments based on the level of student outcomes.

Subjects

The subjects for this study were between the ages of 14-18 at the time of the study. The degree of mental retardation was determined using a parent reported assessment of the child along four categories of cognitive functionality. The reading of common signs, telling the time on an analog clock, counting change and finally looking up numbers in a telephone directory represent the four areas of concern in this research (Yu, Newman, & Wagner 2009). These areas were measured using a combined scale where the lowest value would be 4 and the highest 16 for the child who was fully functional in all areas. 94% of the subjects attended regular schools where there was a multiplicity of student types. 4% attended schools specially designed for disabled students and the remaining 2% attended charter, hospital or other schools of that nature. Unfortunately, the researchers did not provide information on the demographic features of the sample; the analysis was focused on answering the relevant questions raised by the research.

Procedures

The research was conducted using secondary data collected for the purposes of the National Longitudinal Transition Study-2 (NLTS2) and from primary data collected from the direct examination of the success of youth with mental retardation. The survey was mailed out firstly to the staff in the schools from which the NLTS2 sample was drawn. Members of staff who had a high degree of awareness of the student's mental condition and the general program of the school completed the survey. The staff knowledge was also extended to incorporate special and vocational programs of the school.

Complementing the direct assessment of the students at the school was an assessment provided by the parents. The parental assessment was used to determine the level of mental retardation of the student. This provided a useful check for both validity and reliability of the teacher assessment. This formed a basis for data triangulation that allowed the researchers to ensure that the data collected from the NLTS2 and the teachers was useful and valid. Additionally, it should be noted that the direct assessment of the students was done using a specialized tool the Woodcock-Johnson III Tests of Achievement (WJ III). Where it was not possible to engage in direct assessment of the student because of the level of the disability, this disability may make the following of instructions difficult, or cause the student to provide unreliable responses to questions; an adult-reported assessment was engaged.

Results, Conclusions, and Implications

The researchers utilized multiple tables and other instruments to present the results in an acceptable manner. The researchers found that in any semester academic classes accounted for 49% of the courses taken by the students in the study. Vocational classes accounted for 18% of the classes taken and the final 33% was comprised of non-academic courses such as fine arts and other courses of that… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Effective Mathematics Instruction for Students With Learning Disabilities.  (2011, April 11).  Retrieved May 19, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/effective-mathematics-instruction-students/765586

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