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TNLI: Action Research: Curriculum Implementation: Implications of No Child Left Behind

Does inclusion include students with disabilities and teachers?


The purpose of this study was to research and observe the implications of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and its effect on middle school students. The question “Does inclusion include students with disabilities and teachers?” is very important because as we attempt to implement the mandates of NCLB we are faced with many challenges. These challenges affect the instruction of our students and the teacher’s ability to help these students meet success in the inclusive setting.

This study came about after my school district decided to integrate resource students into an inclusive setting. This reorganized our special education department, our school, and the instructional strategies used in the classroom. I focused my study on students who were once a part of the resource team but are now in the inclusive setting. I interviewed these students, talked to their current teachers, and researched current and past grades in the core subjects. I also took a look at the teachers and their reaction to this change. Through interviews and observations, I learned of their years of experience and different methods of instruction used in the classroom.

As I began to collect data and researched the information, I found that students’ motivation and the teacher’s ability to keep students actively engaged was the key. Students who had succeeded in the resource setting had also succeeded in the inclusion setting. Their success was internal, and the teacher’s ability to keep the students engaged throughout the lesson kept the students motivated. Teachers, on the other hand, were not really afraid to teach students with disabilities but were concerned that they were not adequately trained to handle the specialized needs of special education students.

Through the interviews with the students, I was able to learn more about their feelings about inclusion and special education in general. Some students were elated to be off the resource team because of the stigma that was attached to special education. Some of the students not succeeding were motivated but had home issues that inhibited their ability to meet success in the classroom.

No Child Left Behind has mandated that school districts and states that receive federal funds implement changes in order to increase the academic achievement of all students but especially minorities and students with disabilities. In light of that mandate, I have recommended some steps that I believe need to be implemented in the schools.



  • States and school districts must replace proficiency targets based on actual school achievement.
  • We must measure students’ academic growth in relation to their previous academic progress.
  • We must use multiple indicators to assess student scores.
  • Assessments should reflect the curriculum being taught in the school.
  • Policy makers must ensure that assessments are aligned to state standards, are valid and reliable, and assess higher-order thinking.
  • We should decrease the amount of assessment given to students.*

* National Education Association. Delaware Secondary Education Act. Nov./Dec. 2004, p. 15.

Full Study
Coming Soon!

Tamara Grimes-Stewart

7th and 8th Grade
LRE English/LA
Gauger-Cobbs Middle School

TNLI Affiliate:

If you would like to learn more about Teachers Network Leadership Institute--Delaware, please e-mail Michael Rasmussen.



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