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1.1 Background to the study

Over  the  past  decades,  local  and  national  governments  have  adopted inclusive  education  policies.  International  human  rights  framework  states  that schools  are  responsible  for  providing  equal  educational  opportunities  and  that classroom  teachers  are  the  key  agents  in  promoting  inclusion  for  all  students (UNESCO,  1994,  2000).  However,  despite  a  large  body  of  literature  on  inclusion, there  is  a  lack  of  empirical  evidence  on  its  impact  on  student  growth  (Fuchs  & Fuchs,  1994;  Farrell,  2000;  Lindsay,  2003,  2007;  Kauffman,  2008;  Kavale  & Forness,  2000).   Disability  is  one  of  many  individual  differences  and  from  this  perspective, inclusive  education  is  defined  as  providing  appropriate  educational  practices  to students  with  disabilities  by  classroom  teachers  in  regular  classrooms  (Loreman, 2007;  Porter,  2008).  While  opponents  of  inclusion  argue  that  inclusive  teaching takes  away  from  the  learning  opportunities  of  students  without  any  special  needs, some  suggest  that  inclusion  benefits  all  students  (Demeris,  Childs,  &  Jordan, 2007;    McGhie-Richmond  et  al.,  2013).  Research  also  suggest  that  although students  with  special  needs  may  benefit  socially  from  inclusion,  the  academic benefits  remain  unclear  (Farrell,  2000).   Lack  of  empirical  evidence  on  inclusive  education  may  be  perhaps  due  to conceptual  limitations  such  as  a  lack  of  consensus  over  a  definition  of  inclusion and  methodological  challenges  such  as  establishing  control  in  natural  settings (Dyson,  Farrell,  Polat,  Hutcheson,  &  Gallannaugh,  2004;  Farrell,  2000;  McGhieRichmond  et  al.,  2013;  Nind  &  Wearmouth,  2006). 


1.2 Problem Statement.

According  to  Dyson  et  al. (2004),  there  are  limited  numbers  of  classroom-based  observation  studies examining  effective  teaching  practices  in  inclusive  classrooms.  Indeed,  a component  that  is  often  not  included  in  research  examining  effectiveness of inclusion  and  its  impact  on  student  outcomes  is  an  observation  of  the  quality  of classroom  teaching.  Farrell  (2000)  suggests  that  studies  should  examine observation  of  actual  teaching  as  opposed  to  focusing  on  comparisons  of placement  labels  such  as  “inclusive”  versus  “special”  classrooms. Thus,  focusing on  classrooms  as  units  of  analysis  is  a  step  forward  in  identifying  how  inclusive education  can  be  implemented  effectively  in  practice  for  all  students  (Erten  & Savage,  2012). There  are  also  other  factors  to  take  into  consideration  when  examining pathways  to  successful  inclusive  practices.  Many  scholars  state  that  moving towards  inclusion  requires  systematic  evaluation  at  the  overall  school-level including  identifying  the  attitudes  and  perceptions  of  school  professionals (Carrington,  1999;  Loreman,  2007;  Porter,  1997,  2008;  Singal,  2008;  Villa  & Thousand,  2005).  Research  findings  point  out  that  classroom  teachers’  positive attitudes  towards  inclusion  is  amongst  the  most  important  factors  in  creating inclusive  classrooms  (Avramidis  &  Norwich,  2002;  McGhie-Richmond  et  al., 2013).  However,  evidence  also  suggests  that  classroom  teachers  are  reluctant about  implementing  inclusion  and  adapting  instruction  for  all  students  (Avramidis & Norwich,  2002).   In  addition  to  school-level  factors,  factors  at  the  classroom-level  also influence  impact  of  inclusive  education.  Classroom  teachers  are  expected  to  take the  leading  role  in  providing  support  for  students  with  special  needs  within  the regular  classroom  context  (Pressley,  Wharton-McDonald,  Mistretta-Hampston,  & Echevarria,  1998;  Loreman,  2007;  McGhie-Richmond,  Irvine,  Loreman,  Cizman, & Lupart,  2013).  Evidence  from  studies  of  effective  teaching  reveal  that  teaching in  inclusive  classrooms  requires  not  only  a  general  understanding  of  best  practices in  teaching  but  also  a  more  specialized  knowledge  of  adapted  instruction  for students  with  special  needs  (Bender,  Vail,  &  Scott,  1995;  Jordan,  Lindsay,  & Stanovich,  1997;  Jordan  &  Stanovich,  2001,  2003,  2004;  McGee,  2001;  McGhieRichmond,  Underwood,  &  Jordan,  2007;  McGhie-Richmond  et  al.,  2013; Tomlinson,  2001,  2003;  Voltz,  Brazil,  &  Ford,  2001).  However,  research  findings on  teachers’  negative  attitudes  towards  students  with  disabilities  may  also  suggest that  teachers  are  reluctant  to  implement  inclusive  practices  (Avramidis  & Norwich,  2002).   In  educational  psychology,  although  literature  examining  the  link  between teachers’  behaviour  and  attitudes  is  quite  extensive,  research  focusing on empiral study of inclusive education and the effects on teaching of biology are limited.


1.3 Research  Objectives

Two research  objectives  shape  the  present  study.  The  first  objective  is  to examine  whether  there  is  a  relationship  between  teachers’  teaching  practices  and their  perceptions  of  inclusion  in  inclusive education and effects on teaching biology.The  second objective is to explore whether  any  classroom-level  factors including various components  of  teachers’  teaching  practices  and  attitudes  are  significantly  related to student  outcomes  of  reading  attainment,  social  inclusion,  self-concept, bullying and  students’  perceptions  of  inclusion.  Through a nested  design  with  students nested  within  classrooms,  the  present study  will  examine  individual  variation  in reading  attainment of biology. 


1.4 Research Question

(1) what is inclusive education?

(2) how is it implemented?

(3) what are its effect on teaching practices?



1.5 Significance of the study

 The  present  study  seeks  to  examine  how  students’  develop  in  relation to  different  classroom  contexts  as  measured  by  observations  of  classroom teaching of biology  and  attitudes  towards  inclusion  surveys  through  hierarchical  analyses. The  present  study  will  aim  to  make  substantive  conceptual  and  methodological contributions  to  the  field  of  inclusive  education  by  1)  examining  normal classroom  variation  through  looking  at  growth  in  attainment  and  social  outcomes and  2)  by  exploring  the  shared  classroom  variation  as  the  dependent  variable independent  of  unique  student-level  variance. Finally, the present study aims  to  guide  professional  development  in  the  implementation  of  inclusive education  particularly  at  the  classroom-level and its effects on teaching of biology.


1.6 Scope of the study

The study focuses on Empirical study of inclusive education and the effects on teaching of biology.



Avramidis,  E.  &  Norwich,  B.  (2002).  Teachers’  attitudes  towards integration/inclusion:  a  review  of  the  literature.  European  Journal  of Special  Needs  Education,  17(2),  129-147.

Carrington,  S.  (1999).  Inclusion  needs  a  different  school  culture.  International Journal  of  Inclusive  Education,  3(3),  257-268.

Demeris,  H.,  Childs,  R.  A.,  &  Jordan,  A.  (2007).  The  influence  of  students  with special  needs  included  in  grade-  3  classrooms  on  the  large-  scale achievement  scores  of  students  without  special  needs.  Canadian Journal  of  Education,  30(3),  609-627.

Dyson,  A.,  Farrell,  P.,  Polat,  F.,  Hutcheson,  G.,  &  Gallannaugh,  F.  (2004). Inclusion  and  pupil  achievement  (Research  Rep.  No.  RR578).  London, UK:  Department  for  Education  and  Skills.  Retrieved  on  March  12, 2009

Erten,  O.  &  Savage,  R.  (2012).  Moving  forward  in  inclusive  education  research. International  Journal  of  Inclusive  Education,  16(2),  221-233.

Farrell,  P.  (2000).  The  impact  of  research  on  developments  in  inclusive  education. International  Journal  of  Inclusive  Education,  4(2),  153-162.  

Fuchs,  D.,  &  Fuchs,  L.  S.  (1994).  Inclusive  school  movements  and  the radicalization  of  special  education  reform.  Exceptional  Children,  60, 294-309.    

Kauffman,  J.  M.  (2008).  Would  we  recognize  progress  if  we  saw  it?:  A commentary.  Journal  of  Behavioural  Education,  17,  128-143.  

Kavale,  K.  A.,  &  Forness,  S.  R.  (1996).  Social  skill  deficits  and  learning disabilities:  A  meta-analysis.  Journal  of  Learning  Disabilities,  29,  226-237.

Lindsay,  G.  (2003).  Inclusive  education:  A  critical  perspective.  British  Journal  of Special  Education,  30(1),  3-12.    http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/14678527.00275 Lindsay,  G.  (2007).  Annual  review:  Educational  psychology  and  the  effectiveness of  inclusive  education/mainstreaming.  British  Journal  of  Educational Psychology,  77, 1-24.    

Loreman,  T.,  Lupart,  J.  L.,  McGhie-Richmond,  D.,  &  Barber,  J.  (2008).  The development  of  a  Canadian  instrument  for  measuring  student  views  of their  inclusive  school  environment  in  a  rural  context:  The  Student Perceptions  of  Inclusion  in  Rural  Canada  (SPIRC)  scale.  International Journal  of  Special  Education,  23(3),  78-89. Loreman,  T.,  McGhie-Richmond,  D.,  Barber,  J.  &  Lupart,  J.  L.  (2008).  Student perspectives  on  inclusive  education:  A  survey  of  Grade  3-6  children  in rural  Alberta,  Canada.  International  Journal  of  Whole  Schooling,  5(1), 1-15

McGhie-Richmond,  D.,  Irvine,  A.,  Loreman,  T.,  Cizman,  J.,  &  Lupart,  J.  (2013). Teacher  perspectives  on  inclusive  education  in  rural  Alberta,  Canada. Canadian  Journal  of  Education,  36(1),  195-239.

Nind,  M.  &  Wearmouth,  J.  (2006).  Including  children  with  special  educational needs  in  mainstream  classrooms:  Implications  for  pedagogy  from  a systematic  review.  Journal  of  Research  in  Special  Educational  Needs, 6(3),  116-124.

Porter,  G.  L.  (1997).  What  we  know  about  school  inclusion.  In  Implementing Inclusive  Education:  OECD  Proceedings.  (pp.55-64).  Paris:  Centre  for Educational  Research  and  Innovation.   Porter,  G.  L.  (2008).  Making  Canadian  schools  inclusive:  A  call  to  action. Education  Canada,  48(2),  62-66.  

Pressley,  M.,  Wharton-McDonald,  R.,  Mistretta-Hampston,  J.  &  Echevarria,  M. (1998).  Literacy  instruction  in  10  fourth-  and  fifth-grade  classrooms  in upstate  New  York.  Scientific  Studies  of  Reading,  2(2),  159-194.  

United  Nations  Educational,  Scientific  and  Cultural  Organization  (UNESCO) (1994).  The  Salamanca  Statement  and  framework  for  action  on  special needs  education.  Paris:  UNESCO.  Retrieved  on  June  9,  2013  from http://www.unesco.org/education/pdf/SALAMA_E.PDF United  Nations  Educational,  Scientific  and  Cultural  Organization  (UNESCO) (2000).  The  Dakar  framework  for  action.  Education  for  all:  meeting our  collective  commitments.  Paris:  UNESCO.  Retrieved  on  June  9, 2013


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Over the past decades, local and national governments have adopted inclusive education policies. International human rights framework states that schools are responsible for providing equal educational opportunities and that classroom teachers are the key agents in promoting inclusion for all students (UNESCO, 1994, 2000). However, despite a large body of literature on inclusion, there is a lack of empirical evidence on its impact on student growth (Fuchs & Fuchs, 1994; Farrell, 2000; Lindsay, 2003, 2007; Kauffman, 2008; Kavale & Forness, 2000). Disability is one of many individual differences and from this perspective, inclusive education is defined as providing appropriate educational practices to students with disabilities by classroom teachers in regular classrooms (Loreman, 2007; Porter, 2008). While opponents of inclusion argue that inclusive teaching takes away from the learning opportunities of students without any special needs, some suggest that inclusion benefits all students (Demeris, Childs, & Jordan, 2007; McGhie-Richmond et al., 2013). Research also suggest that although students with special needs may benefit socially from inclusion, the academic benefits remain unclear (Farrell, 2000). Lack of empirical evidence on inclusive education may be perhaps due to conceptual limitations such as a lack of consensus over a definition of inclusion and methodological challenges such as establishing control in natural settings (Dyson, Farrell, Polat, Hutcheson, & Gallannaugh, 2004; Farrell, 2000; McGhieRichmond et al., 2013; Nind & Wearmouth, 2006). .. education project topics


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