Effect of Special Education Proportion on School-Level Achievement in Texas Elementary Schools
Grande, Robert John
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For almost thirty years researchers have attempted to measure the impact that educating special education students with their regular education peers has on academic achievement. A review of the research literature addressing this broad question indicates that understanding the effect on school level achievement that increasing percentages of special education students within a school has on that school?s achievement has not been adequately addressed. Using a main effects model (multiple regression), Texas Administrative Data for over 3800 elementary schools in Texas, 2010-2011, was analyzed using the dependent variable of the percentage of students passing all portions of the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS). The independent variables were the percentages of students within a school categorized as the following: Special Education, Limit English Proficient, At Risk, Economically Disadvantaged, White, Black, and Hispanic. The analysis showed that a standard deviation increase in the percentage of special education student within a school resulted in an increase of .056 standard deviation in overall school achievement. The results suggest that at current rates of special education participation, a school?s rate of academic achievement is not adversely affected by percentages of special education students within that school. Several intriguing interactions among the independent variables were identified suggesting future research.