Estimating the Effectiveness of Special Education Using Large-Scale Assessment Data.

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Title: Estimating the Effectiveness of Special Education Using Large-Scale Assessment Data.
Author: Ewing, Katherine Anne
Advisors: Ann Schulte, Committee Chair
Jeffery Braden, Committee Member
William Erchul, Committee Member
Susan Osborne, Committee Member
Abstract: The inclusion of students with disabilities in large scale assessment and accountability programs has provided new opportunities to examine the impact of special education services on student achievement. Hanushek, Kain, and Rivkin (1998, 2002) evaluated the effectiveness of special education programs by examining students’ gains on a large-scale assessment of student achievement in Texas as they entered and exited special education programs. They found that special education placement resulted in an overall increase in the achievement scores of students with disabilities. The current study aimed to replicate and extend Hanushek et al.’s research using scores from the End-of-Grade Tests of Reading Comprehension and Mathematics for 396,828 students with and without disabilities who participated in special and/or general education programs over 5 academic years in the state of North Carolina. Results of multiple regression analyses revealed support for the effectiveness of special education programs. After controlling for school characteristics, cohort, regression to the mean, and accommodations use, entry into special education programs remained a significant predictor of students’ gain scores on large-scale assessments of reading and mathematics. Students with disabilities made significantly larger gains when enrolled in special education programs than when enrolled in general education programs, and gains were found for most of the subgroups of special education students examined in the study. A discussion of the implications for practice, limitations of the study, and suggestions for future research are provided.
Date: 2009-10-26
Degree: PhD
Discipline: Psychology

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