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Effects of Special Education Placement on Educable Mentally Retarded Children KIRBY A. HELLER Research on the effects of placement in special education programs for educable mentally retarded (EMR) children has proliferated since the passage of the Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975 (P.L. 94-1421. In part this research represents a response to the mandate of P.L. 94-142 a need to determine whether special education services can be ef- fectively delivered in a less restrictive setting than self-contained class- rooms~ for EMR children; whether regular classroom teachers can instruct children previously assigned to special education teachers; and whether children in the regular classroom are adversely affected when EMR stu- dents are placed in their classrooms. These questions, however, did not arise solely in response to current educational policy. They have been asked repeatedly since the introduction of special education programs into the public school system. Even Binet, whose test was used to identify chil- dren needing special instruction, warned "it will never be to one's credit to have attended a special school" (cited in Lazarson, 1975:501. Throughout this paper, I use the term "special education" to cover all services provided to children who have been identified and labeled in the schools. I use the terms "segregated special education," "self-contained classrooms,' and "special classes" interchangeably to refer to one type of administrative arrangement within special education. I would like to thank James Gallagher, Jay Gottlieb, Samuel Guskin, Reginald Jones, Gaea Leinhardt, Lauren Resnick, and Melvyn Semmelfor their thoughtful and helpful reviews of earlier drafts of this paper. 262
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Effects of Special Education Placement 263 The long-standing debate over the efficacy of special education classes reflects a tension between the perceived need for educating the EMR stu- dent in a small class with a specialized curriculum and special teacher and the concern over the effects of segregating EMR children from the main- stream in classes that include a disproportionate percentage of minority students. The justification for educating the EMR child in a special class lies in the assumed benefits derived from such a class. If placement in a special program has harmful effects or an absence of beneficial effects, then the harms associated with special placement pejorative labeling and segregation appear indefensible. If, however, beneficial effects fol- low from a special placement, such programs may be successfully de- fended on educational grounds. For these reasons, answers to the question of the efficacy of special programs are important not only to special educa- tors who seek to deliver better services but also to those concerned with the civil rights of minority and mentally handicapped children. The purpose of this paper is to review the research on the effects of pro- grams for EMR students. This research has almost exclusively focused on the effects of setting whether EMR children should be educated in a reg- ular classroom or in a self-contained classroom. To a large extent it ig- nores the processes that occur in these settings: those that lead to effective learning and those that provide barriers to further development. I argue that the goal of research should be to identify those factors that contribute to effective learning, rather than to arbitrate a final decision on setting, which must be determined by moral and legal concerns as well as by scien- tific evidence. I begin with a brief description of the early studies, known as efficacy studies, on the effects of setting. This research has been widely reviewed and criticized for its methodological shortcomings (see, e.g., Guskin and Spicker, 1968; Kirk, 1964; Semmel et al., 19791. Methodological prob- lems are discussed here because they provide an important caveat to the interpretation of the efficacy studies and because they illustrate the diffi- culties inherent in evaluating effects attributable to the settings in which EMR children are placed. The remainder of this paper is devoted to a dis- cussion of the later research on the effects of mainstreaming. Included are studies on academic achievement and social adjustment of EMR children, studies on the attitudes of other children toward their EMR peers, and studies on the attitudes of teachers toward mainstreaming and their ex- pectations for EMR children. The literature on the consequences of special education for EMR chil- dren is voluminous, and this paper by necessity cannot be an exhaustive review of all relevant research. My approach has been to focus on rep- resentative, frequently cited, and, whenever possible, methodologically
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264 TELLER sound research. Because of the complexities involved in investigating the effects of educational programs on children, it is possible to criticize the methodology of almost every study undertaken in this area; yet it would be unfair to say that we know nothing about the effects of alternative educa- tional arrangements on children and simply conclude that more research is needed. To some extent, however, it is impossible to avoid the cliche of more needed research since many mainstreaming programs are new and evaluation efforts are just beginning. Rather than focus on the lack of knowledge, I have tried to emphasize the issues consistently addressed in the literature and the specific research questions that need to be studied for a better understanding of the effects of special education on EMR children. EFFICACY STUDIES The efficacy studies hypothesized that children in special classes would achieve at higher levels and be better adjusted than their counterparts in regular classes. In most of these early studies the special class thus repre- sented the treatment or experimental group and the regular classroom was the control group. The efficacy studies have been reviewed thoroughly (e.g., Cegelka and Tyler, 1970; Gardner, 1966; Guskin and Spicker, 1968; Hammons, 1972; Kaufman and Alberto, 1976; Kirk, 19642 MacMillan, 1971; MacMillan and Meyers, 1979; Meyers et al., 1980), and their results are often too briefly summarized: The academic achievement of children in special classes was found to be lower than the achievement of children remaining in regular classrooms, whereas social adjustment was often lower for chil- dren remaining in regular classrooms. The reviewers note, however, that this generalization is misleadingly simple, for the results of many studies, including one of the better known and frequently cited efforts of this period (Goldstein et al., 1965) do not adhere to this pattern. In addition, all discussion of the efficacy studies includes, by necessity, an important caution: The literature suffers from serious methodological problems. SAMPLING A major problem in the research is the choice of an appropriate com- parison group against which to measure the achievement of EMR children in self-contained classrooms. A typical strategy has been to compare EMR children to students with similar IQs who were perhaps matched on other variables as well, such as social class, age, sex, and achievement test scores (e.g., Baldwin, 1958; Kern and Pfaeffle, 19631. Since random sam
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Effects of Special Education Placement 265 pling was not employed, the equivalence of the two groups is in doubt. In fact, it is likely that in most cases the groups were not equivalent. Children who have been identified as needing special education services are apt to differ from those who have never been so identified. Children who have been removed from the regular classroom may exhibit behavior or adjust- ment problems to a greater extent than those who remained in the regular classroom. To avoid these obvious problems, other sampling techniques have been adopted: matching EMR children in special classes with children on waiting lists for placement in special classes (e.g., Mullen and Itkin, 1961) or matching EMR children in special classes with children who attended schools in districts that did not have special education pro- grams (e.g., Cassidy and Stanton, 1959; Johnson, 1961~. Although well planned, these studies did not solve the problems created by a failure to randomly assign children to treatments. One can assume that children who are placed in special education differ in fundamental ways from chil- dren who await placement. Similarly, districts that do not provide special education services are likely to differ from those that do on many charac- teristics other than the availability of special education programs, such as size of school, expenditures, and educational philosophy (Kaufman and Alberto, i976~. The research also suffers from problems associated with matching students on selected variables, particularly the inability to generalize from the atypical matched samples to the original unmatched samples. Only one of the efficacy studies attempted to eliminate these problems by a random assignment of students to classrooms. Goldstein et al. (1965) tested all students entering the first grade in 20 school districts and ran- domly assigned all those with IQ scores below 85 to either self-contained classes with carefully designed curricula and specially trained teachers or to regular classes. The children were tested periodically during the follow- ing four years using a variety of achievement and social adjustment mea- sures. At the end of the four years no differences were found between the two groups in IQ gains, although both groups showed significant IQ in- creases, primarily during the first year of school. Results from academic achievement tests were mixed, depending on the specific subject matter tested, the IQ of the children, and the actual tests used. Sociometric measures indicated that neither group was rejected by its peers, but children in the regular classes were more likely than their special-class counterparts to interact with other neighborhood children. In a study of self-concept using the data from the Goldstein et al. project, Meyerowitz (1962) found that students in the special classes applied more self-derogatory statements to themselves than did EMR children in regu- lar classrooms.
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266 HELLER Despite the strength of the methodology, there is a serious weakness in the study. Children were placed in the self-contained or regular classroom on the basis of IQ alone. Although this is not a methodological problem in the study itself, it does reduce the external validity of the project. Students are not usually placed in special classes unless they have been referred by a teacher (or someone else) who notices that the child has a specific problem (see the paper by Bickel in this volume). Thus the sample of children in the special classes in the Goldstein et al. (1965) study may not be equiva- lent to samples of children typically found in self-contained classrooms. In fact, many of the children who were originally placed in special classrooms later had IQ scores above 85. The study reveals little about the effects of special education on children who are placed when they are older than six or effects on children who have been chosen for placement using selection criteria other than the relatively high IQ scores used in this study. This and other studies emphasize the importance of random sampling and standardized measures of cognitive ability and achievement. Other types of research designs, which often include less quantifiable measures, are relatively neglected in the literature. This is not meant to imply that studies that include randomization are not desirable. The measures em- ployed must match the questions asked, and not all questions require ran- domization. To gain a more differentiated view of the effects of special education, a wide variety of outcome measures should be used, includ- ing naturalistic observations, descriptions of services provided, and more qualitative judgments of the experiences of EMR children in special and mainstreamed classes. INSTRUMENTATION The validity of the four instruments most commonly used to measure achievement in the efficacy studies- the Stanford Achievement Test, the Wide Range Achievement Test, the California Achievement Test, and the Metropolitan Achievement Test has been questioned for use in regular classes (Kaufman and Alberto, 1976~. In special classes, with modified curricula and students with IQs not represented in validation samples, the validity of these instruments is even more doubtful. Instrumentation prob- lems are even more serious in the measurement of social behaviors. Many researchers attempt to measure ill-defined constructs with instruments of unknown reliability and validity. The instrumentation problem involves more than the use of invalid measures. It is difficult to determine which measures are appropriate when two different types of programs with nonoverlapping goals are being compared. For example, it may be more appropriate to judge the effec
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Effects of Special Education Placement 267 tiveness of special classrooms on the basis of outcomes other than aca- demic achievement, since instruction is often geared toward acquiring social and vocational skills. The differences typically found between EMR children in special and regular classrooms could simply reflect the lack of emphasis on academic subjects in special classes. IDENTIFICATION OF TREATMENTS AND POPULATIONS The sampling and instrumentation issues discussed above are examples of specific problems that limit the inferences that can be drawn from the effi- cacy studies. There are, in addition, two other, more fundamental and pervasive problems that undermine efforts to synthesize results from the effi- cacy research. First, studies on the effectiveness of special education fail to delineate the treatment or curriculum that is being evaluated. One can- not assume that children educated in special classes share anything besides a common administrative arrangement. Differences found among classes in- clude class size, curricula, the materials used, the professional back- grounds of the teachers, the attitudes of the teachers, and the educational needs of the students within the classroom. To understand the effects of special classes, the actual classroom operation, the nature of teacher- student interactions, the sequencing of ideas and materials, and the con- sequences of treatment rather than the administrative arrangement must be identified (Gallagher, 1967; Jones et al., 1978~. A similar problem is that the studies fail to describe the children being evaluated. Children labeled EMR do not belong to one clearly identifiable group. Rather, their membership is determined by the state in which they live as well as by idiosyncratic factors associated with individual school districts. For example, states employ different criteria in the definition of mental retardation, so that a child may be eligible for EMR programs in Illinois (with no specified IQ cutoff score) but ineligible in neighboring In- diana (with an IQ cutoff score of 75) Similarly, in 1959 the American Association on Mental Deficiency (AAMD) revised its system of classifica- tion of mentally retarded children by including in the definition of mild mental retardation deficits in adaptive behavior as well as subaverage in- tellectual functioning (test scores between one and two standard devia- tions below the mean). Thus, studies done prior to this revision included samples that may have been significantly different from those that were used after the new classification system was adopted.2 2The AAMD again revised its classification system in 1973, eliminating the category of "borderline retardation," thereby reducing further the generalizability of studies from decade to decade.
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268 HELLER Children with varying learning characteristics and educational needs are likely to be found in EMR classes. These may include bilingual children who need help with English, children from impoverished environ- ments who may be lacking experience or materials that aid in school adjustment, children with motivational problems, and children with emo- tional problems that depress test scores (MacMillan, 19711. For these reasons, studies that focus on the effects of special and regular classes without specifying the population under study and the actual classroom operations may fail to identify significant findings and relationships. RESEARCH IN THE POST-EFFICACY STUDY ERA: THE EFFECTS OF MAINSTREAMING The increased role of the judiciary in special education, the growing disen- chantment with segregated special classes among influential educators (Dunn, 1968; Johnson, 1962), and the attendant restructuring of the laws governing the education of handicapped children led to a renewed interest in research on the effects of special education in the 1970s. The research addressed questions similar to those of the earlier efficacy literature, but the hypotheses of the later studies reflected a different bias. Children in mainstreamed classes were now considered the experimental group and children in special classes the control. This shift was partially the result of provisions of P.L. 94-142, which require the placement of children in the least restrictive environment. Because of persistent attacks on the earlier studies, researchers investi- gating the effects of mainstreaming attempted to randomly assign subjects to groups (this, of course, is not always possible nor desirable, as argued previously), to more adequately describe classroom curricula and func- tioning, and to utilize more sophisticated measures. To this end two meth- odologies have been employed: (1) large-scale planned or natural experi- ments, which resemble the actual conditions found in classrooms and (2) smaller-scale controlled studies, which maximize control but are limited in their applicability to real classroom conditions. The synthesis of both leads to a more complete understanding of the potential and real effects of educating EMR children in regular classrooms. DEFINITIONS OF MAINSTREAMING The terms "mainstreaming" or "mainstreamed classroom" have been used simply to assert that some degree of integration of handicapped and nonhandicapped students occurs in the same classroom. This unqualified usage of the concept of mainstreaming reveals little about the educational
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Effects of Special Education Placement 269 environment experienced by a handicapped child. Variations include the number of hours of integration in the regular classroom, the academic and nonacademic subjects taught in integrated settings, the types of tran- sitional programs that are provided, the supports given to handicapped children in the regular classroom, and the teaching strategies used to ac- commodate handicapped children. Meyers et al. (1980) list four forms of regular-class placement for special learners, each of which is considered an example of mainstreaming: 1. The special student is in the regular class for one half of the time and is aided in a resource room or taught by a tutor for the other half. 2. The special student is in the regular class for most of the time and gets periodic help when it is needed. 3. The special student is in the regular class and gets no direct special help, but the teacher is assisted by a consultant. 4. The special student is in the regular class and gets no extra assistance. Kaufman et al. (1975:40-41) formulated a definition of mainstreaming that has been widely adopted as a model by many special education researchers (e.g., Jones and Wilderson, 1976; MacMillan and Semmel, 19771: Mainstreaming refers to the temporal, instructional and social integration of eligi- ble exceptional children with normal peers, based on an ongoing individually determined educational planning and programming process and requires clarifica- tion of responsibility among regular and special education administrative, instruc- tional, and supportive personnel. To satisfy the criteria set forth in this definition, a handicapped child must receive more than a desk and chair in the regular classroom. The ad- ditional requirements a sharing of responsibility among educators and instructional and social integration-are precisely the factors most dif- ficult to implement. As a result, it is unlikely that mainstreaming, as it is currently practiced, meets the standards set forth in Kaufman et al.'s defi- nition or that evaluations of current practices are evaluations of main streaming in its intended form. Guerin and Szatlocky (1974) conducted one of the few studies that com- pared various models of mainstreaming programs. They identified four models of integration that were used in eight school districts in California. These models included (1) primary assignment to a special class with par- tial integration into regular classrooms; (2) placement in combination classes in which the EMR children were in regular but small-sized classes
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270 HELLER all day, with access to aides and supplementary materials; (3) assignment to regular classrooms in a centralized school that maintained a resource center for the regular as well as the handicapped school population (the EMR children were helped by a special education teacher who assisted the other teachers in the resource center); and (4) attendance at local schools with help from a special teacher for an hour or two a day. Guerin and Szatlocky found that the type of integration affected students' behavior in the classroom as well as the attitudes and plans of the staff. The results from this study are described in greater detail in subsequent sections. Research on the extent of mainstreaming indicates that the percentage of time a child is instructed in the regular classroom is not necessarily based on specific information about that child. For example, Semmel et al. (1979) noted that in a large-scale study in Texas (Project PRIME), admin- istrative considerations probably determined the child's placement and that correlations between learners' characteristics and hours of integra- tion were quite low. Determination of the least restrictive environment fre- quently is inextricably tied to the child's label e.g., if a child is labeled EMR, his or her placement is in a self-contained classroom (Stearns et al., 1979~. (These findings are part of a larger pattern, discussed in the paper by Bickel in this volume, in which service availability affects types of refer- rals, labeling practices, and final placements.) ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT OF EMR CHILDREN This research was recently reviewed by Semmel et al. (1979) and Corman and Gottlieb ( 1978~. The conclusions of these reviewers are strikingly similar to those reached by reviewers of the efficacy literature. Corman and Gottlieb note (p. 2571: Studies on achievement of EMR pupils in a variety of school settings reveal incon- sistent results. As a whole, these studies suggest that particular instructional techniques may be of greater relevance to improved achievement than the fact that these techniques are used in one of many possible integrated settings. Unfortunately, the designs of most achievement studies have failed to isolate particular treatment methods so that it is impossible to determine which treatment components were responsible for improvement. Exceptions to this generalization i.e., studies that do describe the educational program generally follow behavior modification principles. For example, Bradfield et al. (1973) studied the progress of three EMR and three educationally handicapped children placed in regular third- grade classrooms. The trained teachers took a learning center approach,
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Effects of Special Education Placement 271 emphasizing individualized instruction and behavior modification tech- niques. At the end of the first year, the achievement scores of the handi- capped children in the regular classrooms were similar to those of children who remained in the special classrooms, but the achievement scores of the nonhandicapped children in the mainstreamed classrooms were below those of other children in regular classes. During the second year of the program, the consultants were replaced and the program was altered. The curriculum relied less on traditional textbooks, and the staff developed their own materials. The emphasis was on precision charts that indicated each child's progress and on tangible reinforcements, such as food. All work was done on an individualized basis, and cross-age tutoring was em- ployed. After the second year, the EMR children in the fourth-grade inte- grated classrooms gained more than their special-class peers in reading and arithmetic. There were no differences between third-grade EMR children in the model and control programs. Fourth-grade nonhandi- capped students in the model program had higher achievement scores than other nonhandicapped students in regular classes. No other differ- ences were found between these two groups, indicating that their perfor- mance did not deteriorate when EMR children were their classmates. Haring and Krug ( 1975) did not initially investigate mainstreamed classes but did study the effects of curricula based on behavior modifica- tion techniques. In this study, 48 children who had been diagnosed as mentally retarded were randomly assigned to either experimental or con- trol classrooms. The two experimental classrooms included precision charts showing daily achievements, a highly structured reading program, and a token reinforcement system in which students could earn rewards for good behavior. Teachers specified the programs in the two control classrooms. The experimental group gained significantly more in reading and arithmetic than the control group. Following the termination of the project, 13 of the 24 children in the experimental group returned to the regular classroom. None of the children in the control classrooms was transferred. The one-year follow-up study is more relevant to a discussion of main- streaming. Teacher ratings of the 13 EMR students who were reintegrated into the regular programs were compared with those for nonhandicapped children in the regular classrooms. The teachers indicated that on some specific items (e.g., the student follows directions, the student has basic skills) the experimental EMR students were superior to regular-class stu- dents. None of the former special-class students was perceived to need spe- cial-class help, and 76 percent of them did not require any extra assistance. The authors concluded that children who received adequate preparation in special classes can function effectively in regular classes.
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272 HELLER As noted previously, characteristics of children labeled EMR may be more diverse than the single label implies. It is possible, and in fact likely, that some children labeled EMR may profit from instruction in the regu- lar classroom, while others may advance under the conditions offered in special classes. A study described earlier (Goldstein et al., 1965) found that children with borderline IQs (in this case, 80-85) in regular class- rooms had slightly although not significantly higher reading, arithmetic, and basic social information achievement test scores than did the equiva- lent IQ group in the special classes. The opposite pattern was found for children with IQ scores lower than 80. Children in this IQ range in the special classes had higher achievement test scores than did the children in the regular classes. Budoff and Gottlieb (1976) studied the interaction between educational placement and "learning potential" the ability to use prior training to solve new tasks. EMR children were divided into two groups: those that had high learning potential and those that exhibited low learning poten- tial. Half the children in each group were randomly assigned to segregated classrooms or integrated programs supplemented by remedial learning centers. Achievement test scores as well as data from other measures were collected during the spring prior to placement, two months after the be- ginning of the school year, and at the end of the school year. Results indi- cated that the students with high learning potential had higher arithmetic and reading test scores than did the children with low learning potential at all three times of measurement. No differences were found between chil- dren in the two placement groups on achievement test scores. The studies described above, with the exception of the older Goldstein et al. study, were experimental in design, using small samples and few classrooms. A different strategy, possible because of large-scale changes in special education following the implementation of P.L. 94-142 and revised state regulations, would be to monitor the effects of districts' ef- forts to educate EMR children in less restrictive environments. One example is the Texas PRIME project (Kaufman et al., in press), which was based on a naturally occurring change in special education in Texas. Districts were required to choose either self-contained classrooms for EMR students or adopt mainstreaming plans. Anglo, Chicano, and black children in grades 3, 4, and 5 in special and regular classes were studied. Considerable data were collected concerning the types of pro- grams into which children were placed, the percentage of class time that was integrated, the amount of one-to-one instruction, and the types of in- struction provided. Although the final report has not yet been published, drafts indicate that the scores of the mainstreamed EMR students were roughly equivalent to those of the nonmainstreamed EMR students on
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Effects of Special Education Placement 289 children low in learning potential. As noted previously, children with high learning potential in integrated classrooms had more positive attitudes about school and themselves and were more reflective than the equivalent group of children in self-contained classrooms. Children with low learning potential in integrated classrooms, however, had less positive attitudes about school and themselves than did the children with low learning potential in self-contained classrooms. Thus, EMR children who have the ability to use past experiences to solve new tasks may be better suited to a regular class than children low in this ability. The authors of the California Recertification study (Meyers et al., 1975) attempted to identify variables that could predict which children would eventually be decertified. They found no differences (between children who retained the EMR label and those who were later decertified) at ini- tial time of placement into EMIT classes on IQ scores; grades in reading, mathematics, and citizenship in the regular classrooms before EMR placement; or in comments made by teachers or psychologists concerning adjustment problems. Their results indicate that for reasons not yet identified, the educational prognosis of some children improves, while the performance of others with similar characteristics at the time of original placement is less likely to warrant a change in status. Thus, continual re- evaluations and an openness to the possibility of changing children's placements are necessary. Changes in the composition of EMR populations may also affect the likelihood of mainstreaming for those children who now receive the EMR label. The last few years have witnessed a significant decline in the num- ber of children labeled EMR. In addition, fear of litigation may be re- shaping the EMR population in several states (e.g., California), so that children labeled EMR may be more disabled than children with this label in other, less litigious states (MacMillan and Borthwick, 1980; MacMillan and Semmel, 1977~. Characteristics other than those pertaining to the child may also facili- tate or hinder effective mainstreaming. These include the attitudes and practices of teachers (reviewed above), attitudes of administrators (Guerin and Szatlockly, 1974; Larrivee and Cook, 1979), and organizational struc- ture of the school (e.g., flexible age groupings, open classrooms, team teaching; Budoff, 1972~. For example, the Project PRIME data (cited in Semmel et al., 1979) revealed that classroom environment influences the social adaptation of EMR children. Regular classrooms that were charac terized as more harmonious and cohesive were more likely to elicit positive social adaptation by EMR children than were classrooms in which there were higher levels of disruptiveness and dislike among the non-EMR children.
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290 HELLER Jones et al. (1978) described three conditions that must be met for effec- tive instructional integration to occur: 1. The educational needs of the EMR children must be compatible with the instruction given to non-EMR students. 2. Teachers must modify their instructional practices to accommodate the special needs of the EMR students. Large-group instruction is inap- propriate in most cases. 3. There must be cooperation between regular teachers and personnel providing supportive services. Simply returning the child to the regular classroom without the aid of transitional programs or other supportive services is unlikely to result in effective mainstreaming. In almost all cases, these children had been in the regular classroom and had failed. Unless some intervening experience has remedied the child's previous problems, the conditions that contrib- uted to the labeling of the child as EMR probably will have a similarly detrimental effect on the child's future educational attainments. CONCLU SION The major theme emphasized throughout this paper is that evaluations of mainstreaming must expand beyond an investigation of setting. The child must be studied in context. Without a knowledge of the teaching pro- cesses employed in the classroom, teacher-student interactions, the teach- er's organization of his or her time, patterns of feedback, curricula used, etc., the attributes of the mainstreamed or special classroom that contrib- ute to program success and failure cannot be determined. Furthermore, the cumulative effects of various instructional options should be studied. A child's academic performance and self-concept, for example, are not merely the result of current school practices but of long-standing influ- ences both inside and outside the school. This perspective calls for longi- tudinal research, tracing the EMR-labeled child through elementary and secondary school as well as the child's life adjustment after his or her schooling is completed. Studies of setting alone allow few conclusions. In general, the evidence falls into one of three categories: (1) the data are contradictory, neither supporting nor refuting the efficacy of mainstreaming; (2) the data indi- cate that mainstreamed settings are more effective, or at least less harm- ful, than segregated classrooms; or (3) the data reveal the opposite pat- tern segregated settings are more effective or less harmful than main- streamed settings.
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Effects of Special Education Placement 291 The first category, characterized by the research on self-concept, is the most troublesome. Can one make a policy recommendation concerning educational placement when the data are so contradictory? Balla and Zigler (1978:156) favor one interpretation: While there does not seem to be a convincing rationale to reconcile these discrep- ant findings, it appears that there is insufficient empirical evidence in the self-con- cept area to support the predominant thrust in social policy in the area of the men- tally retarded that retarded persons be mainstreamed in regular classes to the greatest extent possible. In cases that are truly ambiguous, I would favor an alternative interpre- tation. Unless there is evidence that the benefits derived from special classes outweigh the potential stigma and civil rights' infringements of segregation, the child should not be removed from the regular classroom. Thus, I would place the burden of proof on those who want to educate the child in a separate setting. Most of the research falls within the second category- indicating that mainstreamed settings are more effective (or at least less harmful) than segregated classrooms. The parenthetical phrase is important, for it indi- cates that at best children in mainstreamed settings are performing equally to or slightly better than their special education peers. Mainstreaming does not miraculously cure an EMR child. It is more likely to facilitate the oc- currence of certain positive events (e.g., higher expectations held by teachers) or shield the child from other negative factors associated with special class placement (e.g., stigma). The academic achievement of chil- dren in mainstreamed versus self-contained classrooms exemplifies the research in this category. As suggested in previous sections, mainstreamed children may score higher on standardized achievement tests because the curricula used in regular classrooms are more likely to emphasize aca- demic subjects than are programs in special classes. Research on the sociometric position of children in integrated class- rooms lies within the third category of evidence indicating that seg- regated settings lead to more positive, or less negative, effects than do mainstreamed settings. Children in mainstreamed classrooms may be less tolerated or more actively rejected than children in self-contained class- rooms because regular classroom children spend considerably more time with the EMR children in their own classrooms than those in separate classes. It is perhaps easier to express tolerance for peers with whom one seldom interacts or encounters. Studies on classroom behavior, however, suggest that integrated EMR children do not act in ways that would neces- sarily lead to poor acceptance by their regular-class peers. More research is needed on the types of behaviors exhibited by EMR and non-EMR chil
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292 HELLER dren that may contribute to the generally low sociometric position of EMR children in mainstreamed classrooms. The interpretation of ambiguous and weak results as support for main- streaming (or, more accurately, evidence against the value of self-con- tained classrooms) is consistent with the thrust of P.L. 94-142 toward educa- tion in the least restrictive environment. Yet neither the law nor the position advocated above implies that children should be "dumped" into the regu- lar classroom and forever ignored. Clearly, these children need alternative services, for they were first identified on the basis of their inability to func- tion adequately in the regular classroom. This view suggests that special services should be offered to the child, and the goals of these services should be to maintain the child in the regular classroom and to minimize the amount of time the child is separated from peers. Education in a mainstreamed setting need not preclude provision of special services. A number of programs, some of which are still in the ex- perimental stages, provide encouraging examples of special education services delivered within a mainstreamed program. These include the Consulting Teacher Approach to Special Education used in many districts in Vermont (Christie et al., 1972; Fox et al., 1973; Knight et al., 1981), the Instrumental Enrichment Program (Feuerstein et al., 1980), and the Adaptive Learning Environments Model (Wang, 1980, in press). Re source rooms in which a child receives more intensive instruction in a small group from a special education teacher may also provide the tradi- tional benefits associated with special education programs while minimiz- ing the associated harms (see Leinhardt and Pallay, 1981, for a review of this literature). The segregative impact of various settings becomes increasingly trou- blesome as the effectiveness of programs becomes increasingly less evi- dent. The segregation of children in self-contained classrooms is problem- atic because the costs are clear and the benefits are less than obvious. If specified instructional techniques led to successful outcomes, the impor- tance of setting would become less significant. Its role, under these condi- tions, would be to facilitate effective practices rather than determine them, and its importance in research could diminish. The evaluation of programs could appropriately focus not merely on the setting in which these programs are implemented but also on the success of the programs in achieving specified goals. REFERENCES Aloia, G. F., Beaver, R. I., and Petfus, W. F. 1978 Increasing initial interactions among integrated EMR students and their
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294 HELLER Corman, L., and Gottlieb, J. 1978 Mainstreaming mentally retarded children: a review of research. Pp. 251-275 in N. R. Ellis, ea., International Review of Research in Mental Retardatio''. Vol. 9. New York: Academic Press. Dentler, R. A., and Mackler, B. 1962 Ability and sociometric studies among normal and retarded children: a review of the literature. Psychological Bulletin 59:273-283. Dunn, L. M. 1968 Special education for the mildly retarded-is much of it justifiable? Exceptional Children 35:5-22. Elashoff, J., and Snow, R. E. 1971 Pygmalion Reconsidered: A Case Study in Statistical Inference: Reconsideration of the Rosenthal-Jacobson Data on Teachers Expectancy. Belmont, Calif.: Wads- worth Publishing Co. Feuerstein, R., Rand, Y., Hoffman, M. B., and Miller, R. 1980 Instrumental Enrichment. Baltimore, Md.: University Park Press. Foley, J. M. 1979 Effect of labeling and teacher behaviors on children's attitudes. American Journal of Mental Deficiency 83:380-384. Fox, W., Egner, A., Paolucci, P., Perelman, P., McKenzie, H. S., and Garvin, J. 1973 An introduction to a regular classroom approach for special education. Pp. 22-47 in E. Deno, ea., Instructional Alternatives for Exceptional Children. Reston, Va.: The Council for Exceptional Children. Freeman, S., and Algozzine, B. 1980 Social acceptability as a function of labels and assigned attributes. American Jour- nal of Mental Deficiency 84:589-595. Gallagher, J. J. 1967 New directions in special education. Exceptional Children 33:441-447. Gampel, D. H., Gottlieb, J., and Harrison, R. H. 1974 Comparison of classroom behavior of special-class EMR, integrated EMR, low IQ, and nonretarded children. American Journal of Mental Deficiency 79:16-21. Gardner, W. I. 1966 Social and emotional adjustment of mildly retarded children and adolescents: critical review. Exceptional Children 33:97-105. Gickling, E. R., and Theobold, J. J. 1975 Mainstreaming: affect or effect. Journal of Special Education 9:317-328. Goldstein, H., Moss, J. W., and Jordan, L. 1965 The Efficacy of Special Class Training on the Development of Mentally Retarded Children. U.S. Office of Education, Cooperative Research Project report no. 619. University of Illinois, Urbana. Goodman, H., Gottlieb, J., and Harrison, R. H. 1972 Social acceptance of EMRs integrated into a nongraded elementary school. American Journal of Mental Deficiency 76:412-417. Gottlieb, J. 1974 Attitudes toward retarded children: effects of labeling and academic performance. American Journal of Mental Deficiency 79:268-273. 1975a Attitudes toward retarded children: effects of labeling and behavioral ag- gressiveness. Journal of Educational Psychology 67:S81-585. 1975b Public, peer, and professional attitudes toward mentally retarded persons. Pp.
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Effects of Special Education Placement 295 99-125 in M. Begab and S. Richardson, eds., The Mentally Retarded and Society: A Social Science Perspective. Baltimore, Md.: University Park Press. 1978 Observing social adaptation in schools. Pp. 285-309 in G. P. Sackett, ea., Observ ing Behavior, Vol. 1: Theory and Applications in Mental Retardation. Baltimore, Md.: University Park Press. 1981 Mainstreaming: fulfilling the promise? American Journal of Mental Deficiency 86:115-126. Gottlieb, J., and Davis, J. E. 1973 Social acceptance of EMR children during overt behavioral interactions. American Journal of Mental Deficiency 78:141-143. Gottlieb, J., Gampel, D. H., and Budoff, M. 1975 Classroom behavior of retarded children before and after integration into regular classes. Journal of Special Education 9:307-315. Gottlieb, J., Semmel, M. I., and Veldman, D. J. 1978 Correlates of social status among mainstreamed mentally retarded children. Jour- nal of Educational Psychology 70:396-405. Gottlieb, J., Agard, J., Kaufman, M. J., and Semmel, M. I. 1976 Retarded children mainstreamed: practices as they affect minority group children. Pp. 195-214 in R. L. Jones, ea., Mainstreaming and the Minority Child. Reston, Va.: The Council for Exceptional Children. Gresham, F. M. 1981 Social skills training with handicapped children: a review. Review of Educational Research 51: 139-176. Guerin, G. R., and Szatlocky, K. 1974 Integration programs for the mentally retarded. Exceptional Children 41:173-197. Guskin, S. L., and Spicker, H. H. 1968 Educational research in mental retardation. Pp. 217-278 in N. R. Ellis, ea., Inter- national Review of Research in Mental Retardation. Vol. 3. New York: Academic Press. Hammons, G. 1972 Educating the mildly retarded: a review. Exceptional Children 38:565-570. Haring, N. G., and Krug, D. A. 1975 Placement in regular programs: procedures and results. Exceptional Children 41 :413-417. Hartup, W. W. 1970 Peer interaction and social organization. Pp. 361-456 in P. H. Mussen, ea., Car- michael s Manual of Child Psychology, 2nd ed. Vol. 2. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Heintz, P. 1974 Teacher expectancy for academic achievement. Mental Retardation 12:24-27. Iano, R. P., Ayers, D., Heller, H. B., McGettigan, J. F., and Walker, U. 1974 Sociometric studies of retarded children in an integrative program. Exceptional Children 40:267-271. Johnson, G. O. 1950 A study of the social position of mentally handicapped children in the regular grades. American Journal of Mental Deficiency 55:60-89. 1961 A Comparative Study of the Personal and Social Adjustment of Mentally Handi- capped Children Placed in Special Classes with Mentally Handicapped Children who Remain in Regular Classes. Syracuse, N.Y.: Syracuse University.
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296 HELLER 1962 Special education for the mentally retarded-a paradox. Exceptional Children 29:62-69. Jones, R. L., ed. 1976 Mainstreaming and the Minority Child. Reston, Va.: The Council for Exceptional Children. Jones, R. L., and Wilderson, F. B. 1976 Mainstreaming and the minority child: an overview of issues and a perspective. Pp. 1-13 in R. Jones, ea., Mainstreaming and the Minority Child. Reston, Va.: The Council for Exceptional Children. Jones, R. L., Gottlieb, J., Guskin, S., and Yoshida, R. 1978 Evaluating mainstreaming programs: models, caveats, considerations, and guidelines. Exceptional Children 44:588-601. Kaufman, M. E., and Alberto, P. A. 1976 Research on efficacy of special education for the mentally retarded. Pp. 22S-255 in N. R. Ellis, ea., International Review of Research in Mental Retardatio,`. New York: Academic Press. Kaufman, M. J., Agard, J. A., and Semmel, M. I. In Mainstreaming: Learners and Their Environment. Baltimore, Md.: University press Park Press. Kaufman, M. J., Gottlieb, J., Agard, J. A., and Kukic, M. B. 1975 Mainstreaming: toward an explication of the construct. Focus on Exceptional Children 7(3). Kern, W. H., and Pfaeffle, H. A. 1963 A comparison of social adjustment of mentally retarded children in various educa- tional settings. American Journal of Mental Deficiency 67:407-413. Kirk, S. A. 1964 Research in education. Pp. 57-99 in H. A. Stevens and R. Heber, eds., Mental Retardation: A Review of Research. Chicago, Ill.: University of Chicago Press. Knight, M. F., Meyers, H. W., Paolucci-Whitcomb, P., Hasazi, S. E., and Nevin A. 1981 A Four-Year Evaluation of Cousulting Teacher Service. Unpublished manuscript. College of Education and Social Services, University of Vermont, Burlington. Lapp, E. R. 1957 A study of the social adjustment of slow-learning children who were assigned part- time to regular classes. American Journal of Mental Deficiency 62:254-262. Larrivee, B., and Cook, L. 1979 Mainstreaming: a study of the variables affecting teacher attitude. Journal of Special Education 13:315-324. Lazarson, M. 1975 Educational institutions and mental subnormality: notes on writing a history. Pp. 33-52 in M. J. Begab and S. A. Richardson, eds., The Mentally Retarded and Society: A Social Science Perspective. Baltimore, Md.: University Park Press. Leinhardt, G., and Leinhardt, S. In The evaluation of social outcomes in education. In E. Yaar and S. Spiro, eds., Pro press ceedings of the Pinchas Sapir Conference on Development. Social Policy Evalua- tion: Health, Education, and Welfare. New York: Academic Press. Leinhardt, G., and Pallay, A. 1981 Restrictive Educational Settings: Exile or Haven? Unpublished manuscript. Learn- ing Research and Development Center, University of Pittsburgh.
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Effects of Special Education Placement 297 MacMillan, D. L. 1971 Special education for the mentally retarded: servant or savant? Focus on Excep- tional Childre'' 2:1-11. MacMillan, D. L., and Borthwick, S. 1980 The new educable mentally retarded population: can they be mainstreamed? Me,'- tal Retardations 18:155-158. MacMillan, D. L., and Meyers, C. E. 1979 Educational labeling of handicapped learners. Pp. 151-194 in D. C. Berliner, ea., Review oJ Research i'' Education. American Educational Research Association. MacMillan, D. L., and Morrison, G. M. 1980 Correlates of social status among mildly handicapped learners in self-contained special classes. Journal ok Educational Psychology 72:437-444. MacMillan, D. L., and Semmel, M. I. 1977 Evaluation of mainstreaming programs. Focus o,' Exceptional Childre'' 9:1-14. MacMillan, D. L., Jones, R. L., and Aloia G. F. 1974 The mentally retarded label: a theoretical analysis and review of research. America'' Journal of Mental Deficiency 79:241-261. Meyen, E. L., and Hieronymous, A. N. 1970 The age placement of academic skills in curriculum for the EMR. Exceptional Children 36:333-339. Meyerowitz, J. H. 1962 Self derogations in young retardates and special class placement. Child Develop- me,~t 33:443-451. Meyers, C. E., MacMillan, D. L., and Yoshida, R. K. 1975 Correlates of Success in Transition of MR to Regular Class. Final Report. Grant no. OEG-0-73-5263. Prepared for the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. 1980 Regular class education of EMR students. From efficacy to mainstreaming. Pp. 176-206 in J. Gottlieb, ea., Educating Mentally Retarded Persons in the Main- stream. Baltimore, Md.: University Park Press. Morrison, G. M. 1981 Sociometric measurement: methodological consideration of its use with mildly handicapped and nonhandicapped children. Journal of Educational Psychology 73: 193-201. Mullen, F. A., and Itkin, W. 1961 Achievement and Adjust net of Educable Mentally Handicapped Children in Special Classes and in Regular Classes. Chicago, Ill.: Chicago Board of Education. Palmer, D. J. 1979 Regular-classroom teacher's attributions and instructional prescriptions for handi- capped and nonhandicapped pupils. Journal of Special Education 13:325-337. Raber, S. M., and Weisz, J. R. 1981 Teacher feedback to mentally retarded and nonretarded children. American Jour- nal of Mental Deficiency 86:148-156. Rosenthal, R., and Jacobson, L. 1968 Pygmalion in the Classroom. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston. Rothbart, M., Dalfen, S., and Barrett, R. 1971 Effects of teacher's expectancy on student-teacher interaction. Journal of Educa- tional Psychology 62:49-54.
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298 HELLER Rubovits, P., and Maehr, M. 1971 Pygmalion analyzed: toward an explanation of the Rosenthal-Jacobson findings. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 19:197-203. Rucker, C. N., and Vincenzo, F. M. 1970 Maintaining social acceptance gains made by mentally retarded children. Excep- tional Children 36:679-680. Rucker, C. N., Howe, C. E., and Snider, B. 1969 The participation of retarded children in junior high academic and nonacademic regular classes. Exceptional Children 35:617-623. Salvia, J., Clark, G., and Ysseldyke, J. 1973 Teacher retention of stereotypes of exceptionality. Exceptional Children 39:651-652. Schurr, K. T., Towne, R. C., and Joiner, L. M. 1972 Trends in self-concept of ability over two years of special class placement. Journal of Special Education 6:161-166. Semmel, M. I., Gottlieb, J., and Robinson, N. M. 1979 Mainstreaming: perspectives on educating handicapped children in the public schools. Pp. 223-279 in D. C. Berliner, ea., Review of Research in Education. Vol. 7. Washington, D.C.: American Educational Research Association. Severance, L. J., and Gasstrom, L. L. 1977 Effects of the label "mentally retarded" on causal explanations for success and failure outcomes. American Journal of Mental Deficiency 81:547-555. Sheare, J. B. 1974 Social acceptance of EMR adolescents in integrated programs. American Journal of Mental Deficiency 78:678-682. Shotel, J. R., Iano, R. D., and McGettigan, J. F. 1972 Teacher attitudes associated with the integration of handicapped children. Excep- tional Children 38:677-683. Simon, A., and Boyer, E. G., eds. 1967 Mirrors for Behavior. Vol. 5. Philadelphia, Pa.: Research for Better Schools. Stearns, M. S., Greene, D., and David, J. L. 1979 Local Implementation of P.L. 94-142. Menlo Park, Calif.: SRI International. Strang, L., Smith, M. D., and Rogers, C. M. 1978 Social comparison, multiple reference groups, and the self-concepts of academically handicapped children before and after mainstreaming. Journal of Educational Psychology 70:487-497. Strauch, J. D. 1970 Social contact as a variable in the expressed attitudes of normal adolescents toward EMR pupils. Exceptional Children 36:485-494. Strichart, S. S., and Gottlieb, J. 1975 Imitation of retarded children by their nonretarded peers. American Journal of Mental Deficiency 79:506-512. Thorndike, R. I. 1968 Review of Pygmalion in the Classroom by R. Rosenthal and L. Jacobson. American Educational Research Journal 5:708-711. Wang, M. C. 1980 Mainstreaming Exceptional Children: Some Instructional Design and Implemen- tation Considerations. Learning Research and Development Center, University of Pittsburgh.
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Effects of Special Education Placement 299 In Development and consequences of students' sense of personal control. In J. Levine press and M. C. Wang, eds., Teacher and Student Perceptions: Implications for Learn- ing. Hillsdale, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum. Yoshida, R., and Meyers, C. 1975 Effects of labeling as EMR on teachers' expectancies for change in a student's per- formance. Journal of Educational Psychology 67:521-527. Yoshida, R., MacMillan, D. L., and Meyers, C. E. 1976 The Recertification of minority group EMR students in California: student achieve- ment and adjustment. Pp. 215-233 in R. L. Jones, ea., Mainstreaming and the Minority Child. Reston, Va.: The Council for Exceptional Children.
Representative terms from entire chapter: