Date of Award

Spring 3-2011

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Dr. Terry Reid

Second Advisor

Dr. Sherry DeVore

Third Advisor

Dr. Doug Hayter


The field of special education has been challenged by the quandary over which educational environment provides the best academic opportunities for students with learning disabilities: self-contained versus inclusive. Proponents of self-contained classroom placement have insisted students with learning disabilities placed in self-contained classrooms receive better instruction due to the reduced class sizes and the efficient delivery of special education services. Proponents of inclusive classroom placement expound inclusive classrooms allow students with learning disabilities to engage in enhanced learning via emersion into the regular education population. To assess both learning environments, disaggregated data from the Missouri Assessment Program (MAP) were collected from the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. A total of 23,647 Communication Arts scores and 23,633 Mathematics scores were collected from 2008 and 2009. Student MAP scores were grouped into three time classifications: students placed in inclusive classes for >79%, 40-79%, and <40% of the school day. Then, student MAP scores were separated into two achievement levels: Below Basic/Basic and Proficient/Advanced for comparison. In addition to the MAP data, a questionnaire was e-mailed to special education directors in Missouri public schools. This questionnaire was designed to elicit input on self-contained classes versus inclusive classes from these professionals. After analyzing the data, a relationship was found between academic success on the MAP and time spent in inclusive classes. Further study should be conducted to determine the relationship between special education placement and post graduation success.


Copyright 2011