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Minority Students in Special and Gifted Education
that the extent to which effective practices are used among students of any race or ethnicity is largely unknown.
The findings reviewed here are drawn from research conducted primarily with students with learning disabilities (LD) and to a lesser extent students with emotional and behavioral disorder (ED/BD). This emphasis reflects the bulk of the research conducted in the past 20 years. Little research on curriculum and instruction has been conducted in that period with students with mild mental retardation (MMR). Most of the research on moderate and severely mentally retarded children has addressed issues of where and not how to teach them, with the debate often being more philosophical than empirical in nature.
Features of Effective Interventions
Considerable progress has been made over the past two decades in designing, implementing, and evaluating effective academic and behavioral interventions for students with disabilities (Gerber, 1999-2000). These interventions have been closely linked to models of learning and to providing access for students with disabilities to the general education curriculum. With the support of the U.S. Department of Education, the Office of Special Education Programs, and the National Center for Learning Disabilities, research syntheses have been completed to examine the converging findings related to intervention studies for children with LD. These syntheses have addressed the overall effectiveness of interventions for students with learning disabilities (Swanson et al., 1999), specific findings for reading comprehension (Gersten et al., 2001) and written expression (Gersten and Baker, 2001), higher-order processing (Swanson, 1999), grouping practices that are associated with improved outcomes in reading (Elbaum et al., 1999), behavioral interventions (Marquis et al., 2000), and interventions for students with learning disabilities associated with improved outcomes in self-concept (Vaughn and Elbaum, 1999). For summaries of the above-stated syntheses, see Gersten and Baker (2000a, b) and Swanson et al. (1999).
Initially presented in Vaughn et al. (2000), the following principles of instruction associated with effective outcomes for students with LD are drawn from the above described syntheses in special education. It is reasonable to assume that the best intervention practices would be hybrids that capitalize on as many of these findings as is sensible.
1. Research on effective interventions for students with LD has demonstrated success with both general and special education. All the research conducted thus far demonstrating significantly positive effects for students with LD has also resulted in at least as high (often higher) effect sizes for all other students in the class, including average and high-achieving students.