IMPACT OF INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY ON ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT FOR EXCEPTIONAL STUDENT EDUCATION INCLUSION STUDENTS


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IMPACT OF INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY ON ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT FOR EXCEPTIONAL STUDENT EDUCATION INCLUSION STUDENTS  

Abstract

Students with disabilities are less likely to graduate from high school and tend to score lower on standardized tests than their general education peers. Although the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) can improve these outcomes for traditional students, it has been unclear whether its use positively affects learning gains for the inclusion student. The purpose of this study was to determine if the academic test performance of 5th grade ESE inclusion students was enhanced by implementing ICT as a curriculum resource in their classrooms. Two frameworks provided a structure for this study: the theory of social constructivism and the capability approach. The study population consisted of all 5th grade ESE inclusion students in 74 school districts in one southern state. Data sources were the state’s annual assessment scores for English language arts (ELA) and mathematics. Data were analyzed using 2 Mann Whitney U tests to compare ESE inclusion students’ assessment scores in the 2nd year of testing as compared to the 1st year of testing (2015-2016 as compared to 2014-2015). The findings of the study revealed no significant difference between the ESE inclusion students’ scores in the 1st and 2nd years for ELA and math scores even with ICT used as a resource. This outcome impacts social change by answering a question about whether ICT made a difference as used, and indicates that other studies must be done to better understand why ICT was not successful or how it can be used to significantly improve inclusion student outcomes

Chapter 1: Introduction to the Study

Introduction

The study was designed to examine whether Information and Communication Technology (ICT) as a resource affected academic learning gains for Exceptional Student Education (ESE) inclusion students in the mainstream classroom. The inclusion classroom provides special needs students with an equal opportunity to demonstrate that they could learn and apply the same skills as their regular education classmates (DiMiola & Conterelli, 2008). As inclusion evolved, however, it became apparent that the method by which instruction was delivered did not support the expectations of academic achievement by the ESE student (Yilmaz, 2011). Yilmaz observed that there must be a more diverse delivery of instruction to accommodate the needs of the inclusion student. The integration of ICT was implemented to assist the inclusion students to compete on an equalized playing field with their peers (Yilmaz, 2011).

Norman (1993) stated that the impact of technology in the education field has long been misunderstood. In the past, many teachers looked upon integrating technology as just something else to learn without understanding the benefits of technology for both students and teachers (Norman, 1993). Norman further stated that this lack of support and training has become a barrier to integrating technology into the classroom curriculum.

Researchers, psychologists, and theorists have posited that technology will eventually change the inertia that individuals possess and become the driving force behind that change (Norman, 1993). Norman also stated that new technologies require supporting staff who are willing to use technology experientially, in order to determine its success.

The author surmised that, as the digital world expands, technology use would be a basic requirement for most careers. If this holds true, the benefits that ICT could provide may be looked upon as an important resource.

Kim and Reeves (2007) stated that it is necessary that educators select and integrate technologies by considering their potential contribution to pedagogical effectiveness instead of making generalized assumptions about the preferences of their students. Kim and Reeves also stated that it is important to assist educators and learners to use technology as cognitive resources to improve academic skills and to develop intellectual skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, information and collaboration. Students need to understand and be guided by educators who understand that technology is not simply for entertainment purposes but is necessary for academic development (Head & Eisenberg, 2009; National Education Association [NEA], 2012).

Literature reviews have revealed a deficiency in information literacy (Association of College and Research Libraries [ACRL], 2015; Fontichiaro, 2012; Head & Eisenberg, 2009). Today’s students are less literate and write less efficiently than compared to past generations; however; these students also lack proficiency in technology and digital media. Becoming literate in technology and digital media is necessary for students to become well-rounded members of the 21st-century digital world (ACRL, 2015; NEA, 2012). Technology resources will also help students to foster development in other curricular areas, develop critical thinking skills, become more creative, and develop real world problem-solving skills (Head & Eisenberg, 2009).

The important consideration is whether educators are helping students prepare for the future (Daggett, 2010; NEA, 2012). A factor in integrating ICT into the inclusion classroom is teachers’ efficacy. Teacher beliefs play a very important role in whether ICT is implemented and the extent to which it is integrated into the curriculum. Teachers, staff, and administrators are all stakeholders who decide whether to implement technology into the curriculum (Bandura, 1993). Researchers, such as Goddard (1998), have indicated a connection between teachers’ self-efficacy and student achievement, which indicates that a strong correlation may exist between inclusion students’ gains and ICT integration. According to Bandura (1993), this would suggest that if teachers are prepared to teach technology as well as inclusion students, then there should be a strong sense of self-efficacy among the teachers. Billingsley and McLeskey (2004), recommended that colleges and universities examine their teacher preparation programs to determine if the training is adequate to encompass teaching students with disabilities as well as integrating technology. Earlier research by Phillips, Alfred, Brulli, and Shank (1990), indicated that teacher attitudes were influential in how the curriculum was delivered. To date, there has been little improvement in teacher attitudes towards inclusion of ESE students in the mainstream classroom (Elmore, 2010).

Background

In 1975, government legislation formally passed a landmark resolution granting a free and equal opportunity education for all students. This legislative ruling was known as the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA). In 2017, public schools across the United

States serve more than six million students possessing a variety of disabilities; however, the promise made in 1975 remains unfulfilled.

Although the passage of the IDEA appeared to be a resolution to the education of students with disabilities, more problems emerged, in addition to the lack of funding and distribution of funds. The revision of the IDEA law revealed and focused on a variety of new issues that had surfaced:

1. Access: Assuring that students with disabilities have access to the general education curriculum and appropriate general education classes.

2. Discipline: Assuring that there are alternative placement options for dangerous students, so they can continue their education without hampering the education of other students.

3. Assessment: Assuring the accurate and appropriate assessment of the academic achievement of students with disabilities. (U.S. Department of Education, 2012).

Although headway has been made to address these issues, school districts across the United States are not uniform in the application of the codes of practice for special education students. According to the U.S. Department of Education (2012), resources are mandated for special needs students who are educated in the public-school system. With the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), specific services are to be made available for special needs students. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 delineates mandated criteria, such as allowing extra time for test completion and reading of specific material for eligible special needs students. Because there is no uniformity

across the country, different states have different criteria for eligibility, services available, and the procedures for implementing these laws. Federal law states that special needs students are entitled to receive additional services or accommodations through public schools. The law further states that every child is entitled to a free and appropriate education in the least restrictive environment possible. This mandate led to the inclusion movement.

Section 504 is a part of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 that prohibits discrimination based upon disability. Section 504 is an anti-discrimination, civil rights statute that requires the needs of students with disabilities to be met as adequately as the needs of the non-disabled are met. Section 504 requires that schools not discriminate against children with disabilities and provide them with reasonable accommodations. It covers all programs or activities, whether public or private, that receive any federal financial assistance. Reasonable accommodations include untimed tests, sitting in front of the class, modified homework, and the provision of necessary services. Typically, children covered under Section 504 either have less severe disabilities than those covered under IDEA or have disabilities that do not fit within the eligibility categories of IDEA. Under Section 504, any person who has an impairment that substantially limits a major life activity is considered disabled. Learning and social development are included under the list of major life activities (U.S. Department of Education, 2012).

The ADA requires all educational institutions, other than those operated by religious organizations, to meet the needs of children with psychiatric disorders. The ADA prohibits the denial of educational services, programs or activities to students with

disabilities and prohibits discrimination against all such students. In 2001, the federal government enacted the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act that established an accountability system for states, school districts, and schools receiving federal education funds (P.L. 107-110). The law required the establishment of academic standards, required annual progress in having every student achieve the standards to close the gaps between all students and certain subgroups of students, test students for academic gains and collect data to demonstrate the gains. Furthermore, the schools that did not meet the requirements were to be monitored until they did achieve the gains, or the schools would be closed.

President Obama signed into law the Race to The Top (RTTT) program in 2009.

The program modified the NCLB; however, many of the same issues that prevailed during the NCLB reign continued to emerge during the new RTTT program. Wherein the NCLB mandated schools to establish a program of change to meet the academic standards; the RTTT provided incentives to achieve academic improvement.

Both the NCLB and the RTTT required that all students achieve set standards in math, reading or language arts and science. The state tests are designed to measure what the student has learned in each subject area and if they are proficient in the skills required to master the topic tested. However, there is no differentiation of tests for ESE students.

There are differences in the requirements for teachers under the NCLB and the RTTT: the NCLB requires teachers working in Title I-supported programs to be “highly qualified.” To meet this standard, the law requires teachers to (a) have full state certification or pass the state teacher licensing exam or, if a charter school teacher, meet

the state requirements for such teachers and (b) not be teaching under temporary, emergency, or provisional credentials or any other kind of certification waiver. For elementary level teachers, to be highly qualified means the teacher (a) holds at least a bachelor's degree and (b) has passed a rigorous state subject knowledge and teaching skills exam in reading, writing, math, and other areas of the state's basic elementary curriculum. For a middle or secondary school teacher, it means (a) having at least a bachelor's degree and (b) either passing a rigorous state exam in each of the subjects taught or successfully completing an academic major, having a graduate degree, or completing coursework equal to an undergraduate major in the subject taught.

The RTTT grant moved beyond the NCLB to focus on teacher effectiveness as well as qualifications. It did this by giving higher scores to states that link teacher evaluations and student performance. Also, the RTTT grant scoring addressed principals as well as teachers. It emphasized teacher and principal evaluations and required winning states to ensure that effective and highly effective teachers and principals were equitably distributed to high-poverty and high-minority schools and districts. Finally, it gave states points for providing high-quality teacher and administrator preparation programs, including programs that provided alternative routes to teacher and administrator certification. The latter programs sought to attract qualified candidates who did not graduate from traditional college teacher preparation programs.

As a condition of applying for the RTTT grant, the United States Department of Education (USDOE) required that, at the time the state submits its grant application, it have no legal, statutory, or regulatory barriers at the state level to linking data on student

achievement or growth in student achievement to individual teachers and principals for evaluation.

Neither the NCLB nor the RTTT has produced the results sought by federal Department of Education. On December 10, 2015, President Obama signed into law Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The focus of the new law is on college and career to create more equitable goals for student success (U.S. Department of Education, 2016). Rationale for Inclusion

The 1960s brought about significant social and educational initiatives as special education development evolved. Before the passage of the IDEA laws and the ADA, special needs students were educated in self-contained classrooms. It was not until the passage of the No Child Left Behind Act in 2001 that special needs students began to be included in the mainstream classroom. Improvement has been noted with many more special needs students receiving diplomas and contributing to society in general; however, problems continue to emerge with no resolution due a lack of resources that are mandated but not fulfilled (U.S. Department of Education, 2013).

There is urgency for understanding technology assistance, since the ESE inclusion students have a mandated curriculum diversification instituted by government guidelines. To support student success, a diversity of resources should be present in the ESE inclusion classroom, including technology. In the Blueprint for Success, the U.S. Department of Education (2013) stated that there is a need for schools and districts to maximize technology integration “recognizing educational success, professional excellence, and collaborative teaching” (p. 3).

Vygotsky’s (1978) Social Learning Theory postulates that students benefit from watching and learning from their peers. Piaget (1967), as cited in (Huitt & Hummel, 2003), developed four stages of learning theory. Piaget believed that social interaction in early childhood years played a crucial part in the future cognitive development of a child. A missing link is in Piaget’s theories in that not all children’s cognitive maturation occurs concurrently across different domains of knowledge. This lack of cognitive development brought about the need for a different type of education for those students not possessing the same cognitive abilities as their peers. Piaget’s theories also have been thought to undervalue the influence that culture and social interaction contribute to the cognitive development of a child (Huitt & Hummel, 2003).

Theorists like Robbie Case, Andreas Demetriou, and others have completed research that accounted for differences in cognitive development incorporating working memory and processing information. Demetriou ascribes an important role to hyper- cognitive processes of ‘self-monitoring, self-recording, self-evaluation, and self- regulation,’ and it recognizes the operation of several autonomous domains of thought’ (Demetriou, 1998; Demetriou, 2003, p. 153; Demetriou, Spanoudis, & Mouyi, 2011).

Therefore, as education evolved, proponents of inclusion advocate that the benefits of inclusion outweigh the reasons for not including the ESE student in a regular education classroom. One stated reason is that inclusion students are exposed to the same learning curricula as their non-ESE peers. The advocates believed that inclusion provides academic achievement along with the development of self-esteem and social skills (Demetriou et al., 2011).

Hocutt (1996) researched placement of students with disabilities in a regular classroom. The author concluded that “instruction, not setting” is the key to the achievement of success as measured by student outcomes (p.97). Gupta and Ferguson’s (1992) study resulted in the findings that “integration does not work, but inclusion does.” The difference is that students who are inclusion are expected to perform at the same level as their peers, although they have a somewhat diversified curriculum. Hilton and Liberty (1992) performed a study of 16 secondary students placed in nine Oregon high schools and suggested that immersing severely handicapped students in integrated settings does not guarantee that either social or academic success will occur.

Two factors to be considered are that the inclusion students need to receive the extra support that is designed to help them to succeed and that the teacher is capable of diversifying instruction to meet the needs of all students (Yell & Shriner, 1996, p.103). The research based on inclusion is not adequate and varies widely in terms of methods. The body of researchers in the literature has lent support to the continued need for educating special needs students; however, the focus on individual instruction to demonstrate benefits for inclusion has not been resolved to meet the expected requirements of government regulations.

Hunt, Farron-Davis, Beckstead, Curtis, and Goetz (1994) examined students with varying disabilities to determine their academic success in an inclusion classroom and outside an inclusion classroom. The results of this study revealed that superiority of regular class placements occurred over special education classes, including Individual Educational Plans (IEP) with more academic objectives, greater social interaction, and

less time spent alone. A summary of three meta-analyses of effective settings demonstrated a “small to a moderate beneficial effect of inclusive education on the social and academic outcomes of special needs students” (Baker, Wang, & Walberg, 1994, p.

34).

A major concern of placing special needs students in a regular classroom has been the attitude and qualifications of the teacher who is to be responsible for ensuring the academic success of the special needs student. Teachers develop specific attitudes and methods of instructional delivery over time. If the teacher is prepared and has adequate training and support, then the attitudes are somewhat different than those for the teachers who have no training in working with the diverse needs of challenged students, even though the teachers are compassionate (Phillips et al., 1990).

Another concern was that although students are often placed in inclusion classrooms, they often were not receiving the support they needed, as defined by law (Zigmond & Baker, 1995). Over the course of inclusion development, this remains a concern. Baines, Baines, and Masterson (1994), Liu (2011), and Wallace and Georgina (2014) concluded that students do not receive the support they need and the regular classroom teacher is expected to provide the support even when the teacher has not been provided specialized training.

First, there is need to understand why ICT could be considered an asset in the inclusion classroom. The term “technology” is defined as a process of using scientific, material or human resources to meet a human need or purpose. The term “information” is defined as that which can be communicated and understood” (Spector, 2012). If these

two are linked together, it provides a definition of: “the use of information to meet human need or purpose including reference to the use of technology devices such as phone, chrome books, laptops, the Internet, computer software, and many other Web 2.0 tools” (Spector, 2012).

Lanni (2005) stated that students are attracted to ICT because not only is it challenging, but they see it as part of their everyday lives. When ICT is integrated with their other curricula, students benefit and gain much more from the curriculum assignments than what was expected (Lanni, 2005). Papert (2002) stated that ICT is a valuable asset to be introduced into schools where children pursue with their own passion and from their heart. When students work together to do something difficult, the teacher has to acknowledge children as learners and understand that children can learn experientially. According to Papert (1997), technology is not what it does to learning; it is about what society would like children to learn.

The National Education Technology Plan was enacted in 2016 to align with Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), as authorized by Congress in December 2015. The plan is entitled Future Ready Learning: Reimaging the Role of Technology in Education (U.S. Department of Education, 2016). The plan calls upon all who are involved in American education to ensure the quality of access to transformational learning experiences that are enabled by technology. The director of the Office of Educational Technology stated, “The National Educational Technology Plan provides a vision of transformational learning experiences empowered by technology that can shrink long-standing equity and accessibility gaps” (U.S. Department of Education, 2016, p. 1).

The use of ICT for enhancing pedagogical activities has enormous potential to increase educators’ and learners’ capabilities (Chigona & Chigona, 2010). For ICT to be an effective resource in the classroom, teachers need to understand how to align technology to pedagogical content. Although teachers’ beliefs and values are important to the success of any classroom, these beliefs may not provide adequate motivation to deliver appropriate technology embedded curriculum (Cox & Abbott, 2004; Glover & Miller, 2001). What is needed is professional development to provide extensive knowledge of ICT, and strategies on how to integrate technology into curricula.

Kilic (2017) states that technology is a part of everyone’s daily life. Kilic believes that the use of ICT is important in education curriculum and that it can be used to solve educational problems. A reason provided is that technology assists students in developing capabilities to understand curriculum better. Kilic studied 278 music teachers who were teaching in various parts of Turkey. The results of the study showed that self confidence level of the teachers depended in part on whether the teachers possessed a personal computer. Those teachers who did have a personal computer showed a higher confidence level of using ICT than those who did not have a personal computer. Kilic believes that ICT has a definite place in educational curriculum but how ICT is integrated is dependent upon the teachers’ level of self confidence in using ICT.

Moseley et al. (1999) stated that there is a clear distinction between educators who choose to use ICT resources to integrate technology into curricula and those who deliver curriculum without any direct application to the use of technology within the curriculum. Using ICT in the curriculum requires that teachers develop knowledge of

technology, known as Technological-Pedagogical-Content Knowledge (TPCK; Mishra & Koehler, 2006). For technology to be adequately integrated into curriculum, teachers need to master certain technological as well as pedagogical skills. These skills can only be mastered through effective professional development (Mumtaz, 2000; Scrimshaw, 2004).

Problem Statement

The concept of inclusion is based on the idea that students with disabilities should not be segregated in a special needs classroom but instead should be included in a regular classroom—with special accommodations—with their typically developing peers (Office of Special Education Programs, 2015). “A student in an inclusion classroom needs only to show that she is not losing out by being in the classroom, though she may not necessarily be making significant learning gains” (Perles, 2017, p. 1). This statement may not apply to all inclusion settings, but proponents of inclusion tend to “place more emphasis on life preparation and social skills than on the acquisition of level-appropriate academic skills” (Perles, 2017, p. 1).

Purpose

The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between implementation of ICT into the inclusion 5th grade classroom with changes in the FSA scores in math and English language arts (ELA). If ICT implementation (according to Florida State implementation standards) has been successful, learning gains will be demonstrated. If not, the relationship may point to lack of implementation of ICT or other confounding variables that may have influenced the learning outcomes.

Research on the impact of technology continues to be in its infancy; however, this study contributed to the knowledge base in determining whether the ICT technology contributed to academic learning. Aql (2011) aimed to determine the effect of computer- aided instruction on eighth grade students’ mathematics achievement. Fifty percent of the sample used the “I CAN Learn” computer instruction system, and fifty percent received traditional “chalk-and-talk” classroom instruction; both groups took the Missouri Assessment Program (MAP). The results revealed that all five student groups assessed during data analysis—males only, females only, special need students, students on free/reduced lunch, and the sample as a whole—scored higher on the MAP assessment when they were in the group receiving computer-aided instruction (Aql, 2011). These findings indicated that computer-based instruction can be beneficial for many student groups.

Research over the past decade shows that even though technology is implemented in many schools, there have not been effective studies to demonstrate the impact that technology could have on learning (Bebell & Kay, 2010). Although academic education concentrates on the core curriculum of English language arts, math and writing, it is important to understand that critical thinking skills, collaboration and text analysis will be needed in both college and career.

The study was important in understanding how to adequately implement and integrate ICT into the ESE inclusion classroom, so that curriculum guidelines and pedagogy can conform to expectations for academic gains.

Research Question

RQ1: What is the effect of academic test results on fifth grade ESE inclusion students’ scores when ICT is used as a resource in curriculum instruction?

H0: There is no significant difference in academic outcomes of fifth grade inclusion students who use ICT as a resource in curriculum instruction and those inclusion students who do not.

H1. Fifth grade inclusion students exposed to ICT in their classrooms will show significantly higher academic performance than students who lacked ICT exposure.

Disadvantaged schools, such as Title 1 schools, face many challenges to provide adequate resources. ESE and inclusion students are at a disadvantage for various reasons, i.e., lack of enough trained quality instructors, financial resources and overcrowding. ICT could be useful in Title 1 schools to supplement existing or non-existing resources (Hardman, 2005). A capability approach helps to understand the challenges facing educators in disadvantaged schools by using ICT to aid in curriculum delivery. Sen (2000) focused, not the technology itself, but on how the technology can be used to deliver meaningful benefits. Miller, Naidoo, Van Belle, and Chigona (2006) noted in their study of the use of ICT in a Khanya project, that even though teachers had received professional development in the use of ICT to deliver instruction, not all of the teachers were using ICT.

In the past, researchers have viewed ICT as a tool and examined how it was used in schools, rather than studying the capabilities that teachers and students have to

effectively use the technology. Simply providing ICT in and of itself does not provide effective management of ICT. Capabilities of the teachers and students need to be studied to determine the effectiveness of the utilization of ICT. It is also important to identify the factors, which support or do not support the integration of ICT into the ESE inclusive classroom. In the current study, the researcher will strive to find evidence-based approaches to close the gap in the existing research.

A goal of education is student learning gains, and questioning whether more technology should be implemented in classrooms is reasonable in this age of technology. In addition to assisting students with academic skills, the hands on collaborative opportunities provided by using ICT, could result in students learning from one another (Keser, Huseyin & Ozdamli, 2014).

Theoretical Framework

The theoretical basis for this study was Vygotsky’s (1978) theory of social constructivism. This theory is based on the fundamental role of social interaction in the development of cognition. The approach demonstrates how students learn within the Zone of Proximal Development. Vygotsky (1978) argued, "…learning is a necessary and universal aspect of the process of developing culturally organized, specifically human psychological function" (p. 90). This method of learning leads to self-efficacy.

Placing ESE students in the mainstream classroom is only part of the solution for preparing the ESE student for social absorption. One of Vygotsky’s (1978) principles, known as the More Knowledge Other (MKO), refers to someone who has a higher knowledge or understanding than another. An example of MKO could be a classmate

who has a working knowledge of using a specific technology program who could share an experience with the ESE inclusion student (Vygotsky, 1978). In this study, I will investigate whether the technology would provide a more level playing field for the ESE inclusion student.

The technology framework for this study was a relatively new framework, the Capability Approach. I chose this approach since the study was concentrated on the implementation of ICT in the ESE inclusion classroom. This approach identifies a space in which people make cross-cultural judgments about life. Nussbaum (2002) praised the IDEA as a means to understand how the capabilities can be manifested in the current educational system. The approach is an alternative way to measure development. Hatakka (2011) validated the capabilities approach through a study in Bangladesh that established a clear role for technology in education.

Oosterken and van den Hoven (2012) compiled studies completed by several researchers on how the capabilities approach is applied in technology. Zheng (2012) evaluated the research on the capabilities approach and ICT to provide a theoretical perspective for evaluating social implications of technology and to give some examples of how to apply it (pp. 57-76). Reindal (2008) conducted research on the capability approach application to special education and inclusion. Reindal concluded that the capability approach has many attributes, particularly in the arena of socialized development, which can also be related to the use of technology. Norwich (2014) stated that the capability approach “provides a renewed ethical approach and some conceptual resources to re-examine issues in the disability and field of education” (pp. 16-21).

Cox, Preston, and Cox (1999) reported that many teachers think of ICT as a tool for improving presentation of curriculum, making lessons fun for the students, and ensuring a more efficient classroom. According to Scrimshaw (2004), ICT provides fast and accurate feedback to learners. The use of ICT in pedagogy could promote deep learning and allow educators to respond better to the various needs of different learners by developing cognitive skills, critical thinking skills, information access, evaluation and synthesizing skills (Castro, 2003).

Newhouse (2002) put forth that one of the most crucial elements of the constructivism theory of learning is the concept of proximal learning. This concept accepts that a learner builds upon his or her own knowledge from a base of scaffolding, which could be provided by either the educator or computer. Hence, teachers can use technology to help create ideal types of learning environments and systematic support for learner-centered approaches. This has been ignored, however, and ICT has failed to be implemented in the past (Newhouse, 2002).

Nature of the Study

The nature of this study was quantitative. Quantitative research is consistent with analyzing data sets from secondary sources to compare to a current database. By using a quantitative approach, I compared the data to show any growth over the period that was measured. I collected archival secondary data for two school years, 2014-2015 and 2015- 2016. Data from the first year was prior to the integration of ICT. Data from the second year was with ICT implemented in the ESE inclusion classrooms. Mandated inclusion was established in a Florida school district in the school year (2015-2016), requiring the

use of several resources for the inclusion student, including ICT programs. I compared students who were ESE inclusion but were not exposed to ICT programs in the first year to ESE inclusion students who were using technology as a resource in the second year.

Quantitative data are the best choice for comparing the two groups, and I r used descriptive and inferential statistics to analyze the data. According to Gall, Borg, and Gall (2007), these two analyses would be the best choice since I needed to organize, summarize and display sets of numerical data. For identifying inferential data, sets of mathematical procedures are best to infer sample information to arrive at conclusions concerning the sampling population (Gall et al., 2007).

Definition of Terms

Activity: Learning is not perceived as an individual action, but as a social activity in which people and artifacts play important roles (Winn, 2002).

ADA: The ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (P.L. 110-325) prohibits discrimination and ensures equal opportunity for persons with disabilities in employment, state and local government services, public accommodations, commercial facilities, and transportation.

Agency: This refers to “the endowments, belief systems, self-regulatory capabilities and distributed structures and functions through which personal influence is exercised, rather than residing as a discreet entity in a particular place” (Bandura, 2001, p. 2).

Alignment: As defined by Wenger (1998), alignment is one’s ability to coordinate perspectives and actions to direct energies to a common purpose. Similarly, alignment

refers to a way of ensuring the mutually informed adaption of technology and practice (Barab & Plucker, 2002).

Assessment: Assessment refers to “the process of measuring, documenting, and interpreting behaviors related to learning” (Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, & Zvacek, 2012, p. 62).

Capability approach: This describes “the core of moral and personhood is something all human beings share, shaped though it may be in different ways by their differing social circumstances” (Nussbaum, 2002, p. 70).

CCSS (Common Core State Standards): These standards provide clear and consistent learning goals to help prepare students for college, career, and life (U.S. Department of Education, 2014).

Communities of practice: These communities develop standardized representations of practice to mitigate problems “as a form of capturing the pedagogy appropriate to a type of objective” (Laurillard, 2008, p. 150).

CBI (Computer-based instruction): This describes curriculum adapted to delivery by computer rather than teacher-lecture delivery (Bernard et al., 2004; Bernard et al., 2009; Clark, 1994; Kozma, 1991; Ullmer, 1994).

Computerized curriculum: This describes innovative academic programs and curricula reconceptualized to prepare students to compete in a global economy (Cunningham, Lachapelle, & Lindgren-Streicher, 2009; Hsu, Cardella, Purzer, & Diaz, 2010).

Constructive learning theory: This refers to a set of learning theories which fall between cognitive and humanistic views (Vygotsky, 1978).

Context: This term describes “the surrounding environment, circumstances, or facts which help give a total picture of something” (Young, Reiser, & Dick, 1996, pp. 65- 78).

Data: “The use of statistical techniques that can be used to help faculty members and advisors to become more proactive in identifying at-risk students and responding accordingly” (Campbell & Oblinger, 2007).

Data analysis: Collective data analysis to determine institutional effectiveness, student retention issues, defining areas that directly impact students (Papamitsiou & Economides, 2014).

Discipline: Jones (2000) stated that in an educational context, “discipline is the business of enforcing simple classroom rules that facilitate learning and minimize disruption” (p. 26). It is important to note that this research does not encompass the literature on disciplining special education students in either self-contained or mainstreamed settings. The definition pertains to areas of instruction.

ELA (English Language Arts): Refers to all reading, writing programs in the K-12 learning environment.

Engagement: Engagement is an indication of successful classroom instruction in which students are visibly interested in their work and take pride in the accomplishment of all tasks (Fletcher, 2008).

ESE (Exceptional Student Education) students with disabilities.

ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act): This law modified the NCLB Act of 2001, and was signed by President Obama in December 2015. There is a 391-page bulletin that outlines all the changes that are to be enacted including reference to special needs students (U.S. Department of Education, 2016).

Evidence-based practice: This includes aspirations to change practice, or to improve learning outcomes in classrooms by incorporating empirically grounded work that links studies of practice to processes of technology and adoption (Alsop & Thompsett, 2007, pp. 28-39).

FLE (Flexible learning environment): This describes a learning environment that enables learners to make choices, select learning material, and personalize their learning trajectory based on the formulated learning needs and learning goals (Specter, 2012, p. 366).

FSA (Florida State Assessment): Standardized tests in Florida to assess student growth in subject areas.

Generational differences: For the purposes of this research, generational differences will refer to differences in how educators become educated, train, teach, and supervise in this generation, particularly in the use of technology (Bennett, Maton, & Kervin, 2008; Elmore, 2010; Prensky, 2010).

Inclusion: Congress passed a law in the 1970s to ensure that all children who were handicapped would receive an education. This law was the Education for All Handicapped Children Act (1975).

ICT (Information and Communication Technology): The application of computer skills and ability to use computers and related technologies to improve learning, productivity, and performance (Leye, 2007; Umrani & Ghadially, 2003).

IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act): In 1990, 1997, and 2004, reauthorizations of the EAHC act were upgraded to mandate that not only should all handicapped children be afforded an education, they should also be placed in the least restrictive environments which means that handicapped children should be educated alongside students without disabilities (U. S. Department of Education, 2016).

IEP (Individualized Education Program): Written programs established for special needs students to assist in their educational growth.

MKO (More Knowledge Other): This refers to someone who has more knowledge, a higher ability, or a better understanding than a learner with respect to a particular task, process or concept (Vygotsky, 1978).

NEA (National Educational Association): An association supporting educators.

RTTT (Race to The Top): This is a revision of the original No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) enacted in 2010 (U.S. Department of Education, 2012).

Self-directed learning: Knowles (1975) described this as “a process in which individuals take initiative, with or without the help of others, in diagnosing their learning needs, formulating learning goals, identifying human material resources for learning and choosing and implementing appropriate learning strategies, and evaluating outcomes” (p. 18).

Self-efficacy: This refers to one’s beliefs about their capabilities to produce designated levels of performance that exercise influence over events that affect their lives (Bandura, 1993).

TPAK (Technological pedagogical content knowledge): This term refers to the knowledge about the complex relations among technology, pedagogy, and content that enables teachers to develop appropriate and content-specific teaching strategies (Spector, 2012).

ZPD (Zone of Proximal Development): Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development consists of a set of tasks that students can accomplish with assistance (Pea, 2004; Vygotsky, 1978).

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IMPACT OF INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY ON ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT FOR EXCEPTIONAL STUDENT EDUCATION INCLUSION STUDENTS


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