Impact of grade and disability on the instructional context of inclusive classrooms

Stacy K. Dymond, Douglas L. Russell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study investigated general education classrooms in one elementary school to determine impact of grade and disability on interactions among students, teachers, and the environment (i.e., instructional context). Twelve students were randomly selected from four strata (mild disabilities/grades 1-2; mild disabilities/grades 3-5; severe disabilities/grades 1-2; severe disabilities/grades 3-5) and observed during academic general education classes. An interval recording procedure was used to collect data on seven variables. Data suggest that differences in the instructional context were present for grade and/or disability level in the areas of curriculum, instructional format, and partner. No differences were found for type of activity, location, or student response. Preliminary findings include: 1) students with severe disabilities, particularly in grades 3-5, spent less time in general education classrooms than students with mild disabilities and were more likely to receive special education support from a paraprofessional than a special education teacher; 2) curriculum adaptations were almost non-existent for students with mild disabilities yet they were used regularly with students with severe disabilities; and 3) number of students with severe disabilities receiving individual instruction varied by grade level, raising questions about how decisions regarding instructional format were made. Implications for evaluating and improving inclusive schools are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)127-140
Number of pages14
JournalEducation and Training in Developmental Disabilities
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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