Hi Everyone, I am wondering if anyone can give me feedback or recommend a resource on best practices for the push in model of teaching special education math in middle schools. I am specifically interested in a recommended ratio of Special Education students to General Education peers in a class. I am a General Education Math teacher in a school where this model is being proposed and I want to be sure that all parties involved are set up to be successful (especially the students). I believe the plan at this point is that half of my class would be Special Ed kids and the 2nd half would be General Ed kids who have lower end math skills. The Special Education math teacher would be with us every day and because it is a math/science block would join us two days a week for science. I could be wrong but I thought that a that the objective for the push in model is to include students into a heterogeneous class and that typically this would be more like 4-5 students out of about 28. Can anybody give me feedback or suggest a resource with data on this? I know that I depend on heterogeneous classes when I run science labs and this is also worrying me. Thanks so much!

I would guess that you have so many sped students in the class so that the sped teacher can be with you the entire time. If they split those students among 2 or 3 classes, she wouldn't really be able to spend much time with you (since obviously she can't be in two places at once), meaning the students overall would have very little support. The only solution would be to hire more sped teachers so that the students could be more spread out and receive and equal amount of support, but obviously schools don't have the money for this or don't see it as something they should sped money on.

Thanks Waterfall, I think you may be right although I will hopefully know more about their reasoning this week. My question is whether this is actually the best approach if those are the constraints and will this solution actually be an improvment for all students in the class. We currently use a pull out model for math and a push in for language arts.

I don't have any "official" data, but my building is starting full inclusion (or push in) for this school year. They said they are trying to keep the number of sped students in each class around 10%-15%. So, in a class of 30, that would be 3-5 students per class. They said that they feel anything more than that is not truly "inclusion" and I agree. I think your students won't be able to reap the benefits of inclusion if it's basically a lower level math class. Like you said, it needs to be heterogeneous so that there can be some role models/leaders in the room.

I would check your state law. We have a law that states that only 30% of your class can be students with special needs. In a class of 28, it's about 9 students. Not sure what the research is behind this, but it definitely limits the number of special needs students. However, sometimes it is easier to teach math to a group of students who are all low or all average.

I personally think pull-out is better unless the students are very close to grade level and really can do the complete gen ed curriculum with just some small in-class support. I taught sped the past two years and am going to gen ed next year. In my building, students that actually made it to sped identification were very, very, low- often years behind grade level. Other students who were just a little behind were served under RtI interventions. I know my students would not have benefited from a push-in only model as the stuff in gen ed was years above their level, and in push-in, they would only be able to work on that and not the lower level skills that they still needed to work on. In pull-out I was also able to pull kids from 3-4 different classrooms at once for lessons in my room, meaning that they didn't have to cluster the sped kids together and each gen ed class only had 3-4 IEP kids at the most. However, I will say that I recognize that I'm in a very small minority of people that would agree pull-out is better, so my opinion is rare. One of the reasons I was happy to leave sped was that push-in has gotten to be the requirement everywhere and I did not want that type of job.

At my school, it comes down to numbers. Special ed students are often grouped so that a special ed teacher can team teach the class or so that there is an aide available to support the students. Last year my inclusion class included 10-12 with IEPs out of a class of 30 students. How workable this practice is depends so much on the personalities/skills of those involved.