Inclusive education in the United States has been a focus of government policy for the past 30 years. The underlying goals of the inclusive education movement are to provide the most efficient and effective education in the least restrictive environment for students with disabilities. In response to federal and state mandates, students with disabilities increasingly are being educated in more inclusive settings. One way to measure the success of inclusion is to examine graduation rates for students with disabilities. Although accountability related to state curriculum standards and standardized test scores is important, graduation rates may be the critical factor in deciding whether current educational policy is resulting in successful outcomes for students. To determine the effects of inclusion, a statewide study was conducted to look for trends in inclusion and corresponding graduation rates for students with mild disabilities. The researchers examined the records of 67,749 students with mild disabilities in Georgia during a six-year period to determine the amount of time spent in general education classrooms and the graduation rates for each year’s cohort of students. Results indicated a 62% increase in the percentage rate in inclusion for students with mild disabilities, while graduation rates for students with mild disabilities remained stable (+0.4%) at less than 30% during that same period. This chapter will describe the results of this study, discuss barriers to graduation, and present inclusive practices that support students with mild disabilities.
Goodman, J.I., Bucholz, J., Hazelkorn, M. and Duffy, M.L. (2014), "Using Graduation Rates of Students with Disabilities as an Indicator of Successful Inclusive Education", Measuring Inclusive Education (International Perspectives on Inclusive Education, Vol. 3), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 279-301. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1479-363620140000003030
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