School Improvement through Inclusive Education
- LAST MODIFIED: 25 October 2017
- DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199756810-0191
- LAST MODIFIED: 25 October 2017
- DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199756810-0191
Inclusive educational practices have recently become a driving force for school improvement. These practices are rooted in a body of research which indicates that when students with disabilities are meaningfully included in general education classrooms and schools, academic and social outcomes improve for students with and without disabilities. However, ensuring that a unified educational system provides the support needed to be successful across the full range of diverse students (e.g., students who live in poverty, who experience high mobility, who require an accelerated curriculum, or who struggle to learn for any other reasons) can be a challenge. Inclusion requires system-level change and a rethinking of traditional service delivery models. Inclusive school improvement entails the reorganization of education systems, structures, and resources to better meet the needs of all students within one integrated educational framework. The purpose of this article is to provide examples of how equity-based inclusion can serve as a driver for systems-level change for schoolwide transformation. This article contains citations related to the essential features of inclusive school improvement, as follows: (1) we start with a general overview of the benefits of inclusive education and advances in inclusive school improvement; (2) we examine literature related to using a multi-tiered system of support as a schoolwide model to provide instruction and services for students when data indicate a need; (3) we look at the role that administrative leadership plays in guiding inclusive school improvement; (4) we examine the process of engaging family and community partners in inclusive school improvement; (5) we review literature related to changing traditional service delivery by integrating separate educational systems, such as general and special education; and (6) we explore organizational and policy change relevant to inclusive school improvement.
General Overview and Advances in Inclusive School Improvement
Ainscow 2005 argues that inclusive school improvement needs to extend beyond individual schools, and that it includes systemic change that challenges views of disability—not as inherent problems within a student, but as a process for identifying and removing barriers to improve participation and achievement of all students. Artiles and Kozleski 2007 and Artiles and Kozleski 2016 view inclusive education as the cornerstone of education reform, asserting that an inclusive education should not just be about students with disabilities, but also about increasing access, participation, and outcomes for all students who are marginalized. McLeskey, et al. 2014 defines inclusive practices and makes the case that inclusive schools require schoolwide systemic change that is focused on teacher practice and capacity building in areas teachers are motivated to improve. Furthermore, the authors agree with Liasidou 2015 that such a change requires time for planning before systemic changes are implemented. Waldron and McLeskey 2010 describes how comprehensive school reform can be used to focus on the development of inclusive schools. Sailor and McCart 2014 and Sailor 2015 define and outline current advances in inclusive school improvement and provide some suggested next steps for developing inclusive systems. In Sailor 2016, the problem is further described as framing education in terms of categorical, specialized services. Sailor argues for using a Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) as a way to equitably distribute resources; that is, by matching resources to measured student needs. Choi, et al. 2016 statistically demonstrates the positive effects of an equity-based inclusive education model on student reading and math achievement.
Ainscow, Mel. 2005. Developing inclusive education systems: What are the levers for change? Journal of Educational Change 6.2: 109–124.
Ainscow notes that focusing only on supports needed for inclusion can actually act as a barrier to progress. New ways of thinking, especially about definition and evidence, are essential to school reform.
Artiles, Alfredo J., and Elizabeth B. Kozleski. 2007. Beyond convictions: Interrogating culture, history, and power. Language Arts 84.4: 357–364.
This paper covers the systematic intersection of race and disability, indicating that a disproportionate number of students with disabilities are also poor and belong to a minority group. Artiles and Kozleski lay the groundwork that, in addition to disability, inclusive education reform should take into consideration race, gender, class, and ethnicity.
Artiles, Alfredo J., and Elizabeth B. Kozleski. 2016. Inclusive education’s promises and trajectories: Critical notes about future research on a venerable idea. Education Policy Analysis Archives 24.
Artiles and Kozleski offer their observations on the future of inclusive education, noting the considerable distance between concept and implementation. Of particular concern is that inclusive education is defined to include all students, regardless of their needs, but research focuses mainly on students with disabilities.
Choi, Hoon, Jessica M. Meisenheimer, Amy McCart, and Wayne Sailor. 2016. Improving learning for all students through equity-based inclusive reform practices: Effectiveness of a fully integrated schoolwide model on student reading and math achievement. Remedial and Special Education 38.1: 28–41.
The authors report the results of a three-year quasi-experimental comparison group analysis of student outcomes from seven urban elementary or elementary/middle schools that implemented the Schoolwide Applications Model (SAM), the precursor to the SWIFT framework, and seven matched comparison schools in the same district. Schools implementing the SAM model had significantly larger growth in math scores, but not in reading, compared to the matched schools.
Liasidou, Anastasia. 2015. Sustainable inclusive education reforms. In Inclusive education and the issue of change. By Anastasia Liasidou, 105–115. New York: Springer.
Liasidou explores the role of sustainability in the process of inclusive education reform and argues the importance of considering sustainability when engaging in inclusive transformation. She identifies factors that contribute to or prevent sustainable inclusive school reform.
McLeskey, James, Nancy L. Waldron, Fred Spooner, and Bob Algozzine. 2014. What are effective inclusive schools and why are they important? In Handbook of effective inclusive schools: Research and practice. Edited by James McLeskey, Nancy L. Waldron, Fred Spooner, and Bob Algozzine, 3–16. New York: Routledge.
This chapter describes an inclusive school as one that provides comprehensive and ongoing support to better meet the needs of a diverse range of students. In an inclusive school, professionals work collaboratively, all students are educated together with the support they need to succeed, and all are active and valued members of the classroom and school community. The authors offer suggestions for schools to increase the effectiveness of their inclusion efforts.
Sailor, Wayne. 2015. Advances in schoolwide inclusive school reform. Remedial and Special Education 36.2: 94–99.
School reform requires a cultural shift that must occur for inclusive education to be the norm. In this article, Sailor lays out three practices that make up equity-based inclusive education: Multi-Tiered System of Support/Response to Intervention, Universal Design for Learning, and Collaborative Teaching. He then walks through three steps to improve educational outcomes for all students: braiding funding, integrating academics and behavior, and scaling up through implementation science methods.
Sailor, Wayne. 2016. Equity as a basis for inclusive educational systems change. Australasian Journal of Special Education 41.1: 1–17.
Sailor maintains that inclusion is a “wicked” and unsolvable problem in its present form, and thus needs to be reframed to achieve equity in education. He reviews supporting literature that addresses structural elements, administrative elements, implications for teachers, implications for paraprofessionals and teaching assistants, instructional innovations, and whole school inclusive educational arrangements.
Sailor, Wayne S., and Amy B. McCart. 2014. Stars in alignment. Research and Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities 39.1: 55–64.
This paper by SWIFT Center directors Sailor and McCart outlines the thirty-five-year history of inclusive education efforts and makes the case that it is time for such efforts to manifest at scale. Sailor and McCart address issues in defining inclusion, advocate for a schoolwide approach to inclusive education using the SWIFT framework as an example, and note emerging effective practices in school reform.
Waldron, Nancy, and James McLeskey. 2010. Establishing a collaborative school culture through comprehensive school reform. Journal of Educational and Psychological Consultation 20:58–74.
Building a collaborative school culture requires the entire school community to be on board and participate. This paper walks through the steps a school leadership team takes to initiate and implement change efforts. The authors emphasize the role of professional development, and how principals and school leaders depend on each other to support the transition to a collaborative school culture.
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content on this page. Please subscribe or login.
- Academic Achievement
- Academic Audit for Universities
- Academic Freedom and Tenure in the United States
- Action Research in Education
- Adjuncts in Higher Education in the United States
- Administrator Preparation
- Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate Courses
- African American Racial Identity and Learning
- Alternative Certification Programs for Educators
- Alternative Schools
- American Indian Education
- Art Education
- Assessing School Leader Effectiveness
- Assessment, Behavioral
- Assessment, Educational
- Assessment in Early Childhood Education
- Athletics, College
- Beginning-Teacher Induction
- Bilingual Education and Bilingualism
- Blended Learning
- Case Study in Education Research
- Changing Professional and Academic Identities
- Character Education
- Children’s and Young Adult Literature
- Children's Beliefs about Intelligence
- Children's Rights in Early Childhood Education
- Classroom Management
- College Admissions in the United States
- Community Relations
- Comparative Education
- Computer-Based Testing
- Counseling in Schools
- Critical Race Theory
- Crossborder and Transnational Higher Education
- Culturally Responsive Leadership
- Culturally Responsive Pedagogies
- Culturally Responsive Teacher Education in the United Stat...
- Curriculum Design
- Data Collection in Educational Research
- Data-driven Decision Making in the United States
- Deaf Education
- Desegregation and Integration
- Development, Moral
- Digital Age Teacher, The
- Distance Learning
- Distributed Leadership
- Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) in Denmark
- Early Childhood Education and Development in Mexico
- Early Childhood Education in Australia
- Early Childhood Education in China
- Early Childhood Education in Europe
- Early Childhood Education in Sub-Saharan Africa
- Early Childhood Education in Sweden
- Early Childhood Education Pedagogy
- Early Childhood Education Policy
- Early Childhood Education, The Arts in
- Early Childhood Mathematics
- Early Childhood Teacher Education
- Early Childhood Teachers in Aotearoa New Zealand
- Early Years Professionalism and Professionalization Polici...
- Economics of Education
- Education For Children with Autism
- Education Leadership, Empirical Perspectives in
- Education Reform and School Change
- Educational Statistics for Longitudinal Research
- Emotional and Behavioral Disorders
- Epistemic Beliefs
- Ethics and Education
- Ethics of Teaching
- Ethnic Studies
- Evidence-Based Communication Assessment and Intervention
- Family and Community Partnerships in Education
- Family Day Care
- Federal Government Programs and Issues
- Finance, Education
- Financial Aid
- Formative Assessment
- Gender and Achievement
- Gifted Education
- Global Mindedness and Global Citizenship Education
- Global University Rankings
- Governance, Education
- Grounded Theory
- Higher Education and Globalization
- Higher Education and the Developing World
- Higher Education Governance
- Higher Education in China
- Higher Education in the United States, Historical Evolutio...
- Higher Education, International Issues in
- Higher Education Policy
- Higher Education Research
- Higher Education Student Assessment
- High-stakes Testing
- History of Education in the United States
- Inclusive Education
- Indigenous Education in a Global Context
- Inservice Teacher Education
- Integrating Art across the Curriculum
- Intensive Interventions for Children and Adolescents with ...
- Intersectionality and Education
- Knowledge Development in Early Childhood
- Leadership Development, Coaching and Feedback for
- Leadership Training
- Learning Difficulties
- Learning, Lifelong
- Learning, Multimedia
- Legal Matters and Education Law
- LGBT Youth in Schools
- Linguistic Diversity
- Linguistically Inclusive Pedagogy
- Literacy Development and Language Acquisition
- Literacy, Multiple Documents
- Literature Reviews
- Mathematics Instruction and Interventions for Students wit...
- Mathematics Teacher Education
- Measurement in Education in the United States
- Meta-Analysis and Research Synthesis in Education
- Methodologies for Conducting Education Research
- Mindfulness, Learning, and Education
- Mixed Methods Research
- Multivariate Research Methodology
- Museums, Education, and Curriculum
- Music Education
- Narrative Research in Education
- Numeracy Education
- Online Education
- Pedagogy of Teacher Education, A
- Performance Objectives and Measurement
- Performance-based Research Assessment in Higher Education
- Performance-based Research Funding
- Phenomenology in Educational Research
- Philosophy of Education
- Physical Education
- Politics of Education
- Portable Technology for Special Education
- Pre-Service Teacher Education
- Problem Solving
- Professional Development
- Professional Learning Communities
- Program Evaluation
- Programs and Services for Students with Emotional or Behav...
- Psychology Learning and Teaching
- Psychometric Issues in the Assessment of English Language ...
- Qualitative Data Analysis Techniques
- Qualitative Research Design
- Quantitative Research Designs in Educational Research
- Race and Affirmative Action in Higher Education
- Reading Education
- Refugee and New Immigrant Learners
- Religion in Elementary and Secondary Education in the Unit...
- Researcher Development and Skills Training within the Cont...
- Response to Intervention
- Restorative Practices
- School Accreditation
- School Choice
- School Culture
- School Improvement through Inclusive Education
- School Reform
- Schools, Private and Independent
- School-Wide Positive Behavior Support
- Science Education
- Secondary to Postsecondary Transition Issues
- Self-Regulated Learning
- Self-Study of Teacher Education Practices
- Severe Disabilities
- Single Salary Schedule
- Single-sex Education
- Single-Subject Research Design
- Social Context of Education
- Social Justice
- Social Network Analysis
- Social Pedagogy
- Social Science and Education Research
- Social Studies Education
- Sociology of Education
- Statistical Assumptions
- Student Assignment Policy
- Student Engagement in Tertiary Education
- Student Participation
- Student Voice in Teacher Development
- Teacher Evaluation and Teacher Effectiveness
- Teacher Preparation
- Teacher Training and Development
- Teacher Unions and Associations
- Teaching Critical Thinking
- Technology Education in Early Childhood
- Technology, Educational
- The Bologna Process
- The Regulation of Standards in Higher Education
- Theories of Educational Leadership
- Tracking and Detracking
- Transitions in Early Childhood Education
- University Faculty Roles and Responsibilities in the Unite...
- Using Ethnography in Educational Research
- Value of Higher Education for Students and Other Stakehold...
- Vocational and Technical Education
- Women's and Gender Studies