Making specific decisions about the goals you write and the kinds of data you collect is crucial to student success in inclusion
As special education teachers, it is our job to ensure that all students are presented with meaningful inclusion opportunities. LRE, after all, is the law. But it is also important that students are included when they are ready to be included and that they receive the supports and accommodations they need to be successful when in inclusive settings.
It is imperative that all students receive setting-appropriate instruction, supports, and accommodations. Setting appropriate goals and collecting setting-specific data is the first step in ensuring that students are successful in inclusion. Below are a few tips for how we can best support students in inclusive settings, with specific ideas for the kinds of data we can collect in specific settings.
- Assess students for readiness
Before moving students into inclusion settings we must first determine that they are ready for inclusion. Assessing readiness will help us ensure that students are learning in settings where they are most likely to be successful. There are several ways you can assess for readiness. If you are a Rethink user, you can conduct Rethink’s inclusion assessment which will help you determine which skills students need to work on to be ready for inclusion. The VBMAPP Transition Assessment and Assessment of Functional Living Skills (AFLS) can both be useful in determining a student’s readiness for inclusion settings.
- Identify Goals Based Upon Assessment Results
Once you have assessed the student, take a look at the student’s strengths and areas of improvement and set goals accordingly that will allow them to grow and thrive in inclusion settings. One way to support this kind of goal writing is to collect normative data, or data from age-matched peers in the inclusion setting identified for your student. This kind of data will help you identify what kinds of goals your student should be working toward. You may also want to work on teaching students some pre-requisite skills to ensure their success in the inclusive setting.
- Identify Appropriate Inclusion Setting and Prepare Staff
Educating inclusion staff and/or employees if the student will be working in a vocational setting can be key to a student’s success. Ensuring that everyone is on the same page about how to interact with the student, provide feedback, and support the student will make the transition smoother for everyone. Additionally, it may also be important to establish what everyone’s role is in educating the student. If your student is moving into a general education classroom, having a conversation about your student’s needs with the classroom teacher is an important step in making this transition successful.
- Determine Who is Responsible for Collecting Data
Data tell us that whether what we are doing with a student is successful, and can help us gage the student’s success within the inclusive setting. That being said, collecting data in inclusive settings can be challenging, especially if a student is not accompanied by an instructional aide or paraprofessional. It is important to determine ways before the student moves into the inclusive setting that make it easy for general education teachers to supply you with data that you need to monitor the student’s progress. It is also important to be clear about roles and responsibilities before a student transitions.
Normative Data, Goals, and Kinds of Data to Collect
The kind of data you collect and the types of goals you write for your students for inclusion are very important to a student’s success in inclusion and will vary based upon the setting that they are in. In the slides below you will find setting-specific examples of normative data, inclusion goals, and types of data collection that might work in general education settings in middle and high school as well as vocational settings. You can also check out an entire webinar on this topic here.