Education Week - September 7, 2016 - 10
Are Nondisabled Students Worse Off in Inclusive Classes?
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1
Gottfried, an associate professor
of education at the University of
California, Santa Barbara, and his
Gottfried drew on data from the
Early Childhood Longitudinal
Survey-Kindergarten, also known
as the ECLS-K, which tracked children from kindergarten through
"I knew it would be controversial
because the results ... do show a direct negative effect," Gottfried said.
"I don't think that kids with disabilities should be segregated as they
have in the past, but that doesn't
mean we should ignore what the
results are saying."
Gottfried cautioned that the results are preliminary, and that
future research should dig deeper
into the issue, looking at factors
such as the severity of a child's
disability, the backgrounds of
students both with and without
disabilities, the level of support
available for teachers, and how
inclusion is actually being implemented.
If policymakers and school officials just focus on exclusion, he
said, "I think that readers are missing the point. The point is, here is
a situation that we have and what
systems of supports can improve
outcomes for everyone?"
Inclusion has long been a fundamental tenet of special education.
In the 1997 reauthorization of the
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, lawmakers made their
intent clear: Students are presumed
to be educated in a general education class unless their disability
prevents that. While recognizing that "every decision made for
a child with a disability must be
made on the basis of what that individual child needs, ... when the decision is made to educate the child
separately, an explanation of that
decision will need, at a minimum, to
be stated as part of the child's [individualized education program],"
said a Senate committee tasked
with rewriting the law.
For such a bedrock plank of special education, however, the effectiveness of full inclusion for all students is still debated.
One often-cited study is a 2002
paper led by Eric A. Hanushek,
a leader in economic analysis of
education issues. That paper found
that full inclusion boosts the math
achievement of special education
students, particularly those with
learning or emotional disabilities,
without causing any academic drag
to students without disabilities.
That study focused on students
who were in the same grade, but
not necessarily in the same class.
In 2009, Jason Fletcher, currently
a professor of public affairs with a
specialty in the economics of education at the University of WisconsinMadison, became one of the first
researchers to take a closer look
at what he called the "spillover ef-
fects" of inclusion on nondisabled
students in the same classrooms.
At the time, he focused on students
with emotional and behavioral disabilities, because integrating such
students into the classroom presents unique challenges.
Using the same nationally representative sample of students that
Gottfried would later use and focusing on reading and math scores,
Fletcher found that the negative
spillover effects were more "robust
and larger for reading" and had
more of an impact on African-American and Hispanic nondisabled
students in low-income schools.
Fletcher also reported that score
gaps between Hispanic and white
students were larger at the end of
the school year in classrooms with
students with emotional or behavioral disabilities than they were in
demographically similar classrooms
without such students. The same
pattern held for the gaps between
white and black students.
Following on Fletcher's work,
Gottfried and colleagues conducted
three separate investigations to test
for spillover effects on nondisabled
students in areas other than academics. Findings were published in
2014, 2015, and, most recently, this
year in Early Childhood Research
They pointed to signiﬁcant effects
for absenteeism rates and other
noncognitive outcomes among nondisabled students. The noncognitive
outcomes included both externalizing behaviors-such as arguing,
ﬁghting, impulsivity, disruptive behaviors-and internalizing behaviors-anxiety, loneliness, low selfesteem, sadness, and self-control.
For instance, the number of absences reported among nondisabled
peers of pupils with emotional and
behavioral disturbances in kindergarten increased by a half day on
average. (The data on absenteeism
and noncognitive outcomes were
all based on teacher reports during the spring of the kindergarten
year.) And, like Fletcher, Gottfried
and his colleagues also pointed to a
potential larger cumulative effect.
"While this doesn't seem excessive, a classroom of 18 students
would aggregately experience a
loss of nine full instructional days
in a single year of schooling," the researchers write in their 2016 study,
which focused on absenteeism. Also,
"the disruptive effect of these absences on the teaching and learning
environment would be further exaggerated by ... creating a situation in
which the teacher must repeatedly
revisit old content for the benefit
of those who missed its introduction instead of always moving on
to newer, more advanced material,"
Although actual research on the
beneﬁts of including students with
such disabilities has been scarce
over the past 10 years, there is
general agreement that educating
students with disabilities in inclusive settings results in positive academic and learning outcomes, social
acceptance, consistent interactions
and friendships for students with
disabilities, and enhanced under-
I don't think
that kids with
be segregated ...
but that doesn't
mean we should
ignore what the
results are saying."
MICHAEL A. GOTTFRIED
University of California,
"Classmates With Disabilities and Students'
STUDIES ON 'SPILLOVER EFFECTS'
Author: Michael A. Gottfried
Researchers have found that young students who do not
have disabilities experience negative impacts when they are
educated in the same classroom as peers who have emotional
or behavioral disabilities. These studies have all used a
nationally representative sample of students called the Early
Childhood Longitudinal Study-Kindergarten cohort to gauge
the impact of inclusion. Here's what those studies have found.
Findings: Young students with a greater number of
classmates with educational disabilities have higher numbers
of problem behaviors and worse social skills. The effects are
largest for students who have classmates with emotional
and behavioral disabilities. The negative effects were less
pronounced for students with high academic abilities, and
for those in classes taught by an experienced teacher.
"The Effect of Having Classmates with Emotional
and Behavioral Disorders and the Protective Nature
of Peer Gender"
"Spillover Effects of Inclusion of Classmates
with Emotional Problems on Test Scores in Early
Author: Michael A. Gottfried and Aletha Harven
Author: Jason Fletcher
Findings: When it comes to academic achievement, being
in a classroom with a higher percentage of girls was found
to lessen the negative "spillover effect" of having a classmate
with an emotional or behavioral disability. Researchers
theorized that girls may exhibit greater levels of emotional
support and acceptance of diversity.
Journal: Journal of Policy Analysis and Management
Findings: Having a classmate with an identiﬁed emotional
disability is associated with lower test scores in reading
and in math for kindergartners and 1st graders who do
not have a disability, especially for African-American and
Hispanic students. Students in full-inclusion classrooms
are affected more than those in classrooms that practice
partial inclusion. The effects themselves are not large,
but Fletcher hypothesized that the aggregate effects
may be substantial because nearly 10 percent of
students in the sample have a classmate with an
emotional or behavioral disability.
"Does the Presence of a Classmate With Emotional/
Behavioral Disabilities Link to Other Students' Absences
Author: Michael A. Gottfried et al.
Journal: Early Childhood Research Quarterly
SOURCE: Education Week
10 | EDUCATION WEEK | September 7, 2016 | www.edweek.org
Findings: Students who had a classmate with an emotional or
behavioral disability missed approximately half a day more of school
than students who did not have such a classmate. The odds that a
student was chronically absent were 1.42 times greater for students
who had a classmate with an emotional or behavioral disability.
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - September 7, 2016
Education Week - September 7, 2016
Are Dual-Enrollment Programs Being Oversold?
Inclusive Classes Have Downsides, Researchers Find
For New Kindergartners, a Whirlwind Introduction
Tax Boosts to Aid K-12 Up for Vote
News in Brief
Amid Shortage Fears, States Ease Teacher-Licensing Rules
Rating Materials for Reading
Longer Day, Year Required for Many Head Start Programs
DIGITAL DIRECTIONS: Parent Group Sees Education Technology ‘Threats’
Draft ESSA Funding Rules Unveiled
Trump Taps Indiana Lawmaker’s Staffer To Craft Plan on School Choice
Amid School-Closure Worries, Mich. Lists Low-Performers
NICHOLAS C. DONOHUE: Don’t Fix High Schools, Transform Them
BARBARA DUFFIELD: How ESSA May Help Homeless Students
NITA LOWEY: ‘Books, Not Bullets’
T opSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
ALFIE KOHN: Bullying the Bully
Education Week - September 7, 2016 - Tax Boosts to Aid K-12 Up for Vote
Education Week - September 7, 2016 - 2
Education Week - September 7, 2016 - Contents
Education Week - September 7, 2016 - News in Brief
Education Week - September 7, 2016 - 5
Education Week - September 7, 2016 - Rating Materials for Reading
Education Week - September 7, 2016 - Longer Day, Year Required for Many Head Start Programs
Education Week - September 7, 2016 - DIGITAL DIRECTIONS: Parent Group Sees Education Technology ‘Threats’
Education Week - September 7, 2016 - 9
Education Week - September 7, 2016 - 10
Education Week - September 7, 2016 - 11
Education Week - September 7, 2016 - 12
Education Week - September 7, 2016 - 13
Education Week - September 7, 2016 - 14
Education Week - September 7, 2016 - Trump Taps Indiana Lawmaker’s Staffer To Craft Plan on School Choice
Education Week - September 7, 2016 - Amid School-Closure Worries, Mich. Lists Low-Performers
Education Week - September 7, 2016 - 17
Education Week - September 7, 2016 - BARBARA DUFFIELD: How ESSA May Help Homeless Students
Education Week - September 7, 2016 - NITA LOWEY: ‘Books, Not Bullets’
Education Week - September 7, 2016 - Letters
Education Week - September 7, 2016 - 21
Education Week - September 7, 2016 - T opSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
Education Week - September 7, 2016 - 23
Education Week - September 7, 2016 - ALFIE KOHN: Bullying the Bully
Education Week - September 7, 2016 - CT1
Education Week - September 7, 2016 - CT2
Education Week - September 7, 2016 - CT3
Education Week - September 7, 2016 - CT4