Are there any studies showing negative effects of inclusion in the classroom?
August 25, 2009 7:32 AM   Subscribe

I'm not asking anyone to write this paper for me (so nobody's doing my schoolwork), but I need help finding peer-reviewed articles against classroom inclusion.

I have access to innumerable online peer-reviewed scholarly journals, but I'm only turning up articles in favor of inclusion (i.e. integrating students with mental, physical, and/or emotional disabilities into a "normal" classroom), not against it (or with studies that show detrimental effects, either on teachers or students). I have to write a paper showing the arguments, supported with research, for/against, and then draw my own conclusions blah blah blah. I've gone through ERIC, and the education abstracts database, but everything I've found falls into the "for" category.

I am for inclusion myself, but I've got to find an article that opposes it for this project. The only things I'm finding are columns written by teachers who don't like it, and that's an opinion, not a peer-reviewed study.
posted by tzikeh to Education (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Have you tried searching using the term mainstreaming?
posted by burnmp3s at 7:41 AM on August 25, 2009

I've looked under mainstreaming - I'm mostly using the ERIC database (don't know if you have access to it), but frankly, I often find searching these databases daunting. You need a MLS just to navigate all the different boolean options.
posted by tzikeh at 7:42 AM on August 25, 2009

I don't know about disabilities in general, but there are several studies exploring development of identity in Deaf individuals programs of varying degrees of inclusions.

Here's one:

A comparative perspective on the experiences of deaf and hard of hearing individuals as students at mainstream and special schools.

Perhaps you can search among these lines?
posted by pakoothefakoo at 7:51 AM on August 25, 2009

How far back are you going? It's not my field, but I think the way I would approach it is to try to look at the discourse historically: when was classroom inclusion first suggested? What was it in response to? What were the reactions? You might have some luck by finding an early book publication and looking for reviews of that book. It's also possible that some articles that pre-date the concept of classroom inclusion may put forth what are in retrospect opposing arguments.

Are you familiar with doing citation searches? You could find an article that takes a strong view and see who has sited it. You might turn up someone who is citing it to disagree. This might be especially useful with early stuff, before the idea was widely adopted.

Hope that helps!
posted by carmen at 8:13 AM on August 25, 2009

You might consider starting with the op-ed articles; if you can distill their points then that may give you a lead to where/how to search next.

This is one of the first results for a simple google search of "research against inclusion IDEA". The author suggests that children with severe behavior problems or medically fragile children are better supported in self-contained classrooms. Think about why that might be (degree that intervention & instruction can be focused and integrated, level of class disruption, peer group acceptance, children not having access to appropriate medical care/technology) and then use that info to look for articles.

Search Examples (found through google scholar)
peer relationships inclusion idea
medically fragile inclusion

If you're looking for help in using the database effectively, then give the research librarian a call. I found the ones on my campus invaluable.
posted by lilnublet at 8:14 AM on August 25, 2009

I think you will probably need to come at this from side angles. Try looking at research for accelerating the development of gifted students and think about how the suggested programs require segregation. Look at the consequence of negative experiences in exposure to minorities, etc.. Look at the requirements for teaching special needs students...etc..

The problem is that people are not arguing against streaming because that is more or less the status quo that people argue against.
posted by srboisvert at 8:17 AM on August 25, 2009

Yeah, nobody wants to come out and say "inclusion is a terrible idea," even if they think it is, because it's an emotional (and now legal) quagmire. Least-restrictive environment for those with disabilities is good, but there are those who feel that it makes the environment for those without disabilities *more* restrictive (distractions from behavioral problems, less attention from the teacher because of the time the teacher must spend with the mainstreamed students, etc.).

lilnublet: I am in a chat with a university library at the moment, and we're both tearing our hair out attempting to find studies. We both know there must be research that shows the negative effects of mainstreaming, but they are just hiding from us somehow.

using DE Inclusive eduction AND study AND negative* brings up three articles, each one *not quite* what I'm looking for.

pakoothefakoo: If you give me a sense of how you found it, I can see if I can tweak the search, but that article is about mainstreaming in Cyprus, which doesn't quite help this American. :)
posted by tzikeh at 8:28 AM on August 25, 2009

here's one, but I'm not sure it's any kind of peer-reviewed.
posted by mareli at 8:45 AM on August 25, 2009

The Inclusion Debate Continues.Citation Only Available . By: Petch-Hogan, Beverly; Haggard, Diane. Kappa Delta Pi Record, v35 n3 p128-31 Spr 1999. (EJ592426)

You might have access to this journal, I don't.
posted by mareli at 8:49 AM on August 25, 2009

Google scholaring "mainstreaming effects review" brings up lots of relevant review articles. Review articles (in good journals) are a way to get started on a topic; they are frequently by well-respected researchers and will highlight and synthesize the seminal developments. Don't rely on them for fast-developing fields, and understand that there are politics in them, but they're excellent to start with.

The Journal of Special Education, Vol. 19, No. 4, 503-521 (1985)
DOI: 10.1177/002246698501900412 is a meta analysis which includes plenty of studies which found negative effects, and cites review articles which talk about pluses and minuses.

Review of Educational Research, Vol. 53, No. 4, 519-569 (1983)
DOI: 10.3102/00346543053004519 is a review which discusses (and cites) opinions from the 50's and teacher views which opposed mainstreaming.

The Journal of Special Education, Vol. 26, No. 4, 434-461 (1993)
DOI: 10.1177/002246699302600407 points out that while social and behavior outcomes get better, academic ones don't in the studies that they look at.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 9:13 AM on August 25, 2009 [2 favorites]

Your question is too broad and does not reflect the complex reality of disability education. As such the kind of generalised argument you are looking for does not really exist. If you go down a level of abstraction however, you will find newer research that bares on this. I hope these 4 points show what I mean:

1) Disablity is a diffuse concept, what's good for people with one kind of disability may not be good for people with a differnt kind of disability. You are not going to find that inclusion is on the whole bad for people with simple mobility problems. Yet, people with severe autism, may well find an eviroment tailored to their needs far more helpful. Many people with a disability will be somewhere in the middle. That is they can benefit from some special attention, but also from some standard classroom time

2) Many (not all) of the seperate specialist schools of the not too distant past, were institutions which did appalingly badly by the children that went there - for many reasons. The outcomes achieved by these schools are not representative of what a seperate institution could be like, therefore there is little point drawing generalised conclusions about the outcomes they achieved.

3) There is no reason why mainstreaming/ seperate streaming should be an either or question. For example, in the UK today many pupils will be integrated for part of the day and seperate (but on the same sight) for other parts of the day- whatever suits their particular needs more.

4) It is not always clear wheather a given outcome is better or worse than another outcome. For example, is a marginal improvement in reading better per se than improved social skills? The answer is that its all relative, and it depends on the situation. But this complicates the question of seperate vs mainstream because they tend to deliver different outcomes.

You should be able to find research that discusses these specific aspects, however.
posted by munchbunch at 9:53 AM on August 25, 2009 [1 favorite]

Use some of the suggestions from munchbunch to generate new searches. Search for specific types of disabilities rather than all disabilities.
In your search syntax in addition to negative* try the following:
neg* *(this will pull in negates, negation, etc.)
regress* (some children with behavioral or autistic issues may regress in certain situations)

Think of any other negative effects and use them in your search in place of negative*
posted by Librarygeek at 3:41 PM on August 25, 2009

You need a MLS just to navigate all the different boolean options.

It's funny you should say that. Asking the librarian at your institution should be able to give you quite a bit of help.
posted by asciident at 8:42 PM on August 26, 2009

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