Evidence of Effectiveness

According to Kavale and Forness (2000), who reported findings from meta-analyses of the effectiveness of many interventions in special education, the following types of interventions have been highly effective with students with disabilities (the number in parentheses is the mean effect size): computer-assisted instruction (0.52), peer tutoring (0.56), direct instruction (0.84), behavior modification (0.93), reading comprehension (0.98, 0.113), and mnemonic strategies (0.162).

Hockenbury et al. (1999-2000) also comment on the effectiveness of special education:

Special education has a considerable history of devising and testing effective instructional methods for atypical students. These include, for example, direct instruction (e.g., Gersten, 1985; White, 1988), self-monitoring (e.g., Lloyd et al., 1989; Webber et al., 1993), mnemonic instruction (e.g., Mastropieri and Scruggs, 1998; Scruggs and Mastropieri, 1990), strategy training (e.g., Deshler and Schumaker, 1986; Ellis et al., 1991; Hughes and Schumaker, 1992), curriculum-based measurement (e.g., Deno and Fuchs, 1987; Fuchs and Fuchs, 1996), applied behavior analysis (e.g., Jenson et al., 1988; Wolery et al., 1988), and functional assessment (e.g., Arndorfer and Miltenberger, 1993; Horner and Carr, 1997). Some of these instructional methods are applicable in some form to many students in general education. This does not, however, preclude the need for special education. One thing that is right about special education is that it includes devising and testing empirically methods of instruction that are effective with atypical students, whose instruction often must be different in content or be made more explicit, carefully controlled, carefully monitored, intensive, and sustained than instruction for typical learners (p. 6).

Minority Students with Learning Disabilities and Behavior Disorders

Minority students are often represented in intervention research. However, findings for minority students are rarely, if ever, disaggregated and compared to majority students with LD or BD. The assumption is that the performance of minority students with disabilities is comparable to majority students with disabilities.

Recently, a synthesis on instructional practices for English language learners was reported (Gersten and Baker, 2000a). Combining both a multivocal synthesis and a more traditional meta-analysis, results provide minimal guidelines for instruction of students who are English language learners. Eight studies that provided both an experimental and a control group were located. Effect sizes ranged from -0.56 to 1.95, with a median effect size of 0.25. This documents the frequently held belief that there is

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement