Effective Mathematics Instruction in Inclusive Schools

Authored by: Cynthia C. Griffin , Maggie H Jossi , Delinda van Garderen

Handbook of Effective Inclusive Schools

Print publication date:  May  2014
Online publication date:  May  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415626057
eBook ISBN: 9780203102930
Adobe ISBN: 9781136242434


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Federal accountability mandates have served as catalysts for reform efforts designed to ensure that all students, including students with disabilities, meet high academic standards through shared responsibility among general and special education (No Child Left Behind Act [NCLB], 2001; Individual with Disabilities Education Act, [IDEA], 2004). Although improvements in academic performance have been achieved (e.g., Schiller, Sanford, & Blackorby, 2008), recent data from The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP, National Center for Education Statistics [NCES], 2011) reveal learning deficiencies among students with disabilities, indicating areas of instructional need. In the content area of mathematics, differences between students with disabilities and their peers without disabilities are pronounced. Of fourth-grade students not identified with disabilities, 86% scored at or above Basic in 2011 on the NAEP. By contrast, only 55% of students with disabilities achieved this minimal competency level. For eighth graders, the difference between these groups of learners is even greater: for example, more than three-quarters (78%) of eighth graders not identified with disabilities scored at or above Basic, compared to only 36% of students with disabilities. A growing body of research evidence reveals that a substantial part of the variability in student achievement gains in mathematics is due to the teacher (National Mathematics Advisory Panel [NMAP], 2008). Studies reviewed in the NMAP report suggest that student learning is negatively affected by teachers’ lack of mathematical content knowledge and pedagogy. To complicate matters, the Panel also found that school districts tend to overemphasize materials, such as textbooks, and underestimate the skill required for teachers to deliver effective mathematics instruction (NMAP, 2008).

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