Integrated co-teaching (ICT) is an emerging method of teaching students with learning disabilities. This system is implemented in different levels of educational institutions starting from the kindergarten classes to teach students with disabilities in the general school environment. However, according to Hott, Randolph, and Raymond (2020), the research aimed to analyze the effectiveness of ICT has not identified any significant evidence that confirms the improvement of academic achievements among the students taught under the ICT model.
Statement of the Problems Impact on Learning
Students with learning disabilities are educated within the ICT classes during the past decade to stay in the general environment instead of particular educational institutions. Referring to Mag, Sinfield, and Burns (2017), there are different controversial opinions regarding this method regarding the teaching system, content of materials used, and place where this special education should be. The conflict arises based on the effect that this educational methodology may create on students with disabilities and students who do not face the problems during the education process.
- Is ICT effective in a kindergarten class based on the AimsWeb Assessment and Fountas and Pinnell scores?
- How are students with disabilities performing academically in an ICT setting?
Co-teaching is an education delivery method that creates a mutual environment for students for educational purposes. According to Carty and Farrell (2018), there are several co-teaching interpretations that can be used in the classroom environment. They depend on the number of instructors and their responsibilities within the workplace. For instance, co-teaching can be implemented with the help of two teachers who provide parallel teaching for two groups in the same class separately, or the teacher and assistant method, where the second person helps or observes. Other methods are similar to parallel teaching, but in the alternative model, there are two groups, the leading one and the small one, while in the teaming method, instructors work together with the whole class. The last method is station teaching based on the shared materials taught by each instructor one by one.
Past years’ researches were aimed to identify the pros and cons of ICT, its psychological effect, and emotions experienced within the classroom environment. The scientists propose that equality in the education environment, mutual resources, and delivery methods are the fundamental criteria for the desired well-being. Mag, Sinfield, and Burns (2017) mention that instructors or teachers must consider all differentiations associated with the students, including cultural and personal characteristics, physical and mental abilities, and emotional state within the group. In this case, instructors may face a dilemma between the special treatment of students with learning disabilities and the willingness to create a stricter and pushing environment for their classmates.
This paper is based on the Aimsweb assessment and Fountas and Pinnell scores and learning gains of students with learning disabilities in the kindergarten class. The research methodology is based on the secondary data research analysis retrieved from the past years’ academic sources. Aimsweb is a progress measurement tool that evaluates constant students’ assessments regarding reading, calculating, spelling, and writing skills. This system allows to monitor the results of each evaluation and analyze the progress of a student by teachers and parents who receive the results via the online platform. It is a helpful tool that identifies either positive tendencies or negative fluctuations of students’ learning progress.
Fountas and Pinnell Benchmark Assessment System focuses on the reading and analysis skills of each student through the individual evaluation of graded tasks based on the F&P text level gradient. With the help of information collected during these assessments, teachers and instructors can modify the existing education system by improving the methodology used in a particular group or class.
Data Collection Procedures
The information analyzed in this research paper is based on past-year researches conducted among the kindergarten students who learn within the integrated co-teaching model. Several studies were aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of ICT on different levels of the educational system, starting from the kindergarten classes and ending with a high-school environment to identify more accurate data associated with the academic progress. This research uses secondary data analysis of information collected from academic studies for the past five years period. The qualitative research was used to identify the evidence of the effectiveness of a particular ICT classroom method based on the academic performance of children with learning disabilities who study in the general classroom.
Research works conducted in the 90’s showed mixed results regarding students’ achievements and teaching methods. Therefore, it was hard to evaluate whether ICT was effective or not. Further, in 2012 Curcic examined students’ academic results with learning disabilities who were taught in the general environment. This study outlined a positive correlation between academic progress and learning placement, including test results, assessment scores, and educational achievements. The research work conducted in 2016 by Buli-Holmberg and Jeyapratheban covered three countries and generated information from twenty-four schools that applied the investigated method of teaching. This study identified five types of ICT implemented in classrooms in Oslo, Akershus, and Buskerud. Buli-Holmberg and Jeyapratheban (2016) used three types of criteria presented in Table 1, applied to the analyzed classrooms.
Table 1: Criteria of Effective Inclusive Practice.
|Interaction Criteria||Support Criteria||Adaptation Criteria|
| || || |
Note. Retrieved from Buli-Holmberg, J. & Jeyapratheban, S. (2016). Effective practice in inclusive and special needs education. International Journal of Special Education, 13(1), 123.
Firstly, the traditional teaching method was investigated in terms of effectiveness, where students with learning disabilities were treated in the same way as the rest of the class. The analysis showed a shortage of specifications in terms of ICT since the academic results, and the observational conclusions supported the assumption of the lack of effectiveness of this methodology based on the academic progress of students with learning disabilities in these classrooms. As a result, it is required to change the traditional teaching and switch towards a more diversified approach to better support students with disabilities.
Secondly, one-to-one support practice outside the classroom was analyzed based on five sampled classrooms with this methodology. In terms of this ICT implication, students with special needs were taught the same teaching method but with additional clarification and one-on-one explanation from the instructor outside the class. The results showed that students were more involved in the process since they felt more comfortable during the one-to-one explanation sessions and showed improved academic achievements in the task completion. However, from the psychological point of view, there is a disadvantage related to the lack of socialization among the students. In addition, this approach is practical only if an instructor is fully involved in the process and maximizes attention towards the students with special needs.
Thirdly, the same ICT method and the one-to-one sessions inside the classroom were observed in the research. In this case, two teachers were involved in the process of education where one instructor explained to the whole class, while another teacher later explained one more time but separately to students with disabilities. Under particular education methods, the most effective results were shown by students in classrooms where teachers had a maximized collaboration observed during the class. In other cases, the evidence of the significant effect of this method was not identified.
Fourthly, the small groups outside the classroom implication were observed by which a small group of students with special needs was taught additionally after the general class. This method of ICT is successfully proved the academic progress among students. However, the researchers mention that this approach focuses more on the separated education than on ICT, even if the results were significantly positive.
The last methodology is based on the flexible teaching system within the general classroom environment. The academic evidence showed positive progress of students with disabilities who were taught in the same classroom. The only specification was related to teaching methods that included increased variety and adaptability to the unique needs of the students in the learning process. Also, the socializing level was significantly higher than in the rest of the ICT methods, which provides an additional positive effect on the academic results of the students’ psychological influence.
The analysis has outlined positive evidence for the ICT integration in the general kindergarten classroom environment. However, not all the approaches are practical in terms of the academic proofs based on the qualitative research and the Aimsweb assessment, and Fountas and Pinnell scores. Also, due to the limited implementation of ICT, the effectiveness of this approach is still under observation. It requires further examination of both academic and psychological effects on students with learning disabilities as well as the other students in the general classroom environment.
Buli-Holmberg, J. & Jeyapratheban, S. (2016). Effective practice in inclusive and special needs education. International Journal of Special Education, 13(1), 119-134. Web.
Carty, A. & Farrell, A.M. (2018). Co-teaching in a mainstream post-primary mathematics classroom: and evaluation of models of co-teaching from the perspective of the teachers. Support for Learning. 33(2), 1-11. Web.
Hamdan, A. R., Anuar, M. K. & Khan, A. (2016). Implementation of co-teaching approach in an inclusive classroom: overview of the challenges, readiness, and role of special education teacher. Asia Pacific Education Review, 16(4), 289-298. Web.
Hott, B. L., Randolph, K. M. and Raymond L. (2020). Teaching students with emotional and behavioral disabilities. Plural Publishing.
Mag, A., Sinfield, S. & Burns, T. (2017). The benefits of inclusive education: new challenges for university teachers. MATEC Web of Conferences, 121(1). Web.