A Case Study of the Patterns of Practice Used to Provide Access to the General Curriculum for Secondary Students with Disabilities
Whitehurst, Cherie Cutler
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The multi-case analysis utilized in this study describes how specially-designed instruction is being used to ensure that secondary students with disabilities have access to the general curriculum and are participating and progressing within it. Bronfenbrenner's (1976) systemic model that presents interacting sub-systems in a series of nested educational environments was used as a guide for exploration. Case study schools included two high schools that serve partially suburban and partially rural communities within one school district. Review of documents, observations, and interviews were used to triangulate the data. Evolving display matrices were used to analyze the data. The matrix displays evolved as authentic categories emerged from within each case and across the two cases, and from within each level and across the four levels of the educational environment. To note differences, the data from two case schools as well as from the four educational environments were compared and contrasted. The consistent patterns of practice found at all levels of the educational environment included: (a) identifying and implementing accommodations and modifications needed for students with disabilities, (b) initiating special education and regular education collaboration activities, (c) monitoring student learning, (d) examining placement, and (e) providing professional development training. The findings from this study also revealed that the origin of the patterns of practice began at the macro-system level, or at the state department of education. It was found that the state policy context addressing the federal mandate is built on the vision of enabling students with disabilities to access the general curriculum. In addition, it was determined that the strategies to meet this vision are designed around the provision and implementation of state regulations, state professional development training, and state accountability measures. The conclusions suggest that the patterns of practice throughout the total high school environment of District A are initiated through state regulations, state professional development training, and state accountability measures, and support the participation and progress within the general education curriculum of secondary students with disabilities. A pattern of concern related to cluster grouping of inclusion students in secondary classrooms and their opportunities for genuine access to the general curriculum was noted.
- Doctoral Dissertations