Graduation Date

5-2019

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree

Master of Science

Program

Education

Program Director

Jennifer Lucko, PhD

First Reader

Jennifer Lucko, PhD

Second Reader

Kathleen McDougall

Abstract

According to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), students with disabilities are to be provided accommodations that allow them to access the curriculum in inclusionary classroom. Research shows that many general education teachers are not properly trained in supporting students with disabilities, are provided with limited time and resources to plan differentiated curriculum, and in turn develop poor teacher efficacy and a negative attitude towards the inclusion setting. These challenges indicate that some students may not be accessing the general education curriculum. The limitation with current research is that it fails to gain the student perspective on their ability to access the curriculum in light of these challenges. My research aims to explore the challenges and successes students have experienced as they attempt to access accommodations in their general education classrooms. I employed a qualitative approach, and held both a student focus group with high school students and interviews with successful general education teachers in hopes of identifying the qualities of, and what could be, an effective inclusionary classroom. The findings of my research indicate that students are capable of accessing their accommodations and the attitude of the teacher and their acknowledgement/approval of students accessing IEP accommodations can act as either a wall or a gateway for student self-advocacy. With an open communication channel and a welcoming attitude from the general education teacher, students can help ease the challenges associated with the inclusionary classroom.

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