Use of instructional time in classrooms serving students with and without severe disabilities.
ABSTRACT: This investigation explored the use of teacher and student time in an inclusive elementary school where students with mild to profound disabilities were enrolled in general education classrooms. Participants included 6 students with severe disabilities and 12 students without disabilities. Observers recorded time used for instruction, as well as levels and types of student engagement and types of interruptions. Students in each group evidenced comparable levels of engaged time, and students with severe disabilities had no effect on losses of instructional time. Results were discussed in light of this school's contextual characteristics an the inclusive schools movement.

Classroom environment (Evaluation)
Teacher-student relationships (Evaluation)
Disabled children (Education)
Hollowood, Tia M.
Salisbury, Christine L.
Rainforth, Beverly
Palombaro, Mary M.
Pub Date:
Name: Exceptional Children Publisher: Council for Exceptional Children Audience: Academic; Professional Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Education; Family and marriage Copyright: COPYRIGHT 1994 Council for Exceptional Children ISSN: 0014-4029
Date: Dec-Jan, 1994 Source Volume: v61 Source Issue: n3
Accession Number:
Full Text:
How children spend their time in classrooms has been a long-standing concern of educators. Research in general education reveals that timerelated instructional variables (e.g., time allocated for instruction and learner engagement) are predictive of academic achievement (Good & Brophy, 1986; Greenwood, 1991; Latham, 1985; Tindal & Parker, 1987). This literature indicates that schools generally allocate less than half of the typical school hour to instruction, that most students are engaged approximately 70%-80% of that time, and that the typical ratio of engaged to allocated learning time is 33%. By placing the time the learner is actually engaged in the intended activity (engaged time) into the contexts of time allocated for instruction (allocated time) and the time actually used for instruction by the teacher (used time), it is possible to more accurately understand engagement ratios and the actual proportion of the school day devoted to core instructional activity.

Relatively little attention has been devoted to what actually transpires during the school day in integrated instructional contexts. For educators working in integrated contexts, it is important that all children benefit from instruction and that the presence of students with disabilities not diminish the quality or opportunity for instruction for students without disabilities. Preliminary reports on the use of instructional time in integrated contexts have focused almost exclusively on students with mild and moderate disabilities at elementary and middle school ages (Friedman, Cancelli, & Yoshida, 1988; Rich & Ross, 1989; Thurlow, Ysseldyke, Graden, & Algozzine, 1984; Tindal & Parker, 1987; Walter, 1983; Ysseldyke, Christenson, Thurlow, & Skiba, 1987a; Ysseldyke, Thurlow, Christenson, & Weiss, 1987b). In general, the time allocated for instruction and learner-engagement ratios from these studies are comparable to those found in the general education literature. Discrepancies in findings across studies in both fields have been attributed to differences in definitions of terms (Egbert & Kluender, 1984; Ysseldyke et al., 1987b).

Ysseldyke et al. (1987a) obtained notably different results in a study involving 122 students from 10 schools. Of these students, 92 were identified as having mild to moderate disabilities, and 30 had no identified disabilities. The average engagement ratio was 57%, with little difference noted between student groups. This is a particularly noteworthy investigation because engaged time was examined within the context of allocated time, and the sample included a comparison with students who evidenced no learning problems.

However, data on time use in general education classrooms serving students with severe disabilities are notably absent from the research literature. By examining components of instructional time, we can begin to understand the characteristics of instruction in inclusive educational contexts and, consequently, how we might begin to optimize instructional practices so that all students will benefit from such settings (Graden, Thurlow, & Ysseldyke, 1983). Implementation data are needed to move discussions of support for the inclusive schools movement beyond the philosophical arguments that have dominated the field. The current study was undertaken to examine uses of time in elementary school classrooms that included students with mild to profound disabilities. We were particularly interested in comparing engagement ratios of students enrolled in classrooms with and without peers with severe disabilities. We hypothesized that time allocated for instructional activities would be greatest for students with severe disabilities (Ysseldyke et al., 1987a; Ysseldyke et al., 1987b). Further, we projected that the amount of time actually used for instruction would be consistent across classrooms, but that reasons for lost time would be different across groups because students in classrooms where there were children with severe disabilities often spend noninstructional time assisting in meeting the needs of their peers with disabilities (Rich & Ross, 1989; Walter, 1983). Finally, we hypothesized that engagement ratios would be quantitatively similar across all student groups, but that differences would exist in the way those engaged behaviors were exhibited. Specifically, children with more severe disabilities were expected to spend more time passively attending to instruction, whereas other students were expected to spend more time actively responding and interacting during instruction (Tindal & Parker, 1987; Walter, 1983).



All students were enrolled in an inclusive elementary school in south central New York. In many respects, such as size and composition of students, the district is typical of other suburbanrural communities in the region. Students are served in two elementary schools, one middle school, and one high school. The village of 17,000 is predominantly blue collar, middle class, and Caucasian (96%).

However, the district is also unique. Nationally recognized for its validated Outcomes Driven Developmental Model (Alessi, 1991), the district incorporates many practices endorsed in the effective schools literature within an organizational framework of outcomes-based education (Purkey & Smith, 1983; Spady, 1992). Their efforts to fully include students with mild to profound disabilities (Salisbury, 1991; Salisbury, Evans, & Palombaro, 1992; Salisbury, Palombaro, & Hollowood, 1993) further distinguish this program from others with similar demographic characteristics. Our prior work in this district indicates that the quality of this school's instructional practices was influenced by an interplay of pedagogical, organizational, and ideological factors, which include cooperative teaching and learning, teaming and collaboration, vision-based decision making, and intentional actions designed to reflect 10 consensus-generated beliefs about teaching and learning (Salisbury et al., 1993).


A total of 18 elementary school students enrolled in eight classrooms participated in this study.

Group 1. Group 1 consisted of six students with severe disabilities enrolled in four classrooms in Grades 1, 3, and 4 (two students per grade). These students were selected as an intact sample of all such students enrolled in this elementary school on a full-time basis whose attendance was comparable to that of their peers without disabilities. These students were enrolled in one of four general education classrooms. All students lacked verbal communication skills, tested in the severe or profound range of mental retardation, and evidenced limited social interaction skills. In addition, two of these students were severely physically handicapped, and three exhibited serious challenging behaviors (e.g., hair pulling, biting, aggression). Table 1 shows the school's demographic profile, and Table 2 shows the chronological and equivalent ages of the children with disabilities.

Each of the students in Group 1 was enrolled in a general education classroom appropriate to his or her chronological age and was supported by a consultant special education teacher, paraprofessional staff, and therapy services. In this school, students with disabilities received direct instructional support and guided practice from professional and paraprofessional staff primarily within the context of regularly scheduled curriculum activities and lessons. Therapies were typically integrated into gym, art, and classroom activities, as well as during periods of transition.

To facilitate the instructional inclusion of all students, general education instructional activities and lessons were modified by the grade-level team using a five-step curriculum adaptation process (Salisbury, Mangino, Petrigala, Rainforth, Syryca, & Palombaro, in press). Briefly, this process entails progressive modifications to activities and materials that enable students with mild to profound disabilities to remain physically, socially, and instructionally included alongside their classmates, doing work that is appropriate to their individual needs. Implicit in this process is the assumption that not every student needs to be doing the same thing at the same time; that is, students may be using the same or different materials from those used by the child they are seated next to. In this way, children address individualized objectives that may be identical to, similar to, or different from those of their peers. Data from a qualitative investigation of this school's evolution and context revealed that "inclusion" was a broadly defined construct that was not limited to or narrowly associated with children with special needs, but was manifested in the value base of the school and in the instructional practices of the staff (Salisbury et al., 1993). Although the curriculum-adaptation process provides for occasions when separate instruction in locations distinct from classmates (within or outside the classroom) is appropriate and necessary, students participating in this study were observed only during regularly scheduled general education lessons in which they were instructionally included.

Groups 2 and 3. Each student with a severe disability was matched with a randomly selected classmate without identified disabilities. These latter classmates composed Group 2. Group 3 consisted of six students, randomly selected from 1st-, 3rd-, and 4th-grade classrooms in which no child with a severe disability was enrolled. Random selections of students for Groups 2 and 3 were made by drawing names from a box containing all possible names of students without disabilities in the respective classrooms. All students in Groups 2 and 3 were reported as performing within expected ranges on standardized achievement tests administered by the district. No other demographic data were available on these students.


This study involved two major procedures: (a) an analysis of general education teacher instructional plans (allocated time) and individual student schedules and (b) direct observation of classroom instructional sessions (used, lost, and engaged time). Although students with disabilities were based in general education and generally followed the classroom schedule, on some occasions these students received therapy or individualized instruction in more intensive groups. Scrutiny of individual schedules was necessary to ensure that students would be present when observations were scheduled. Operational definitions of dependent variables were developed as the basis for data collection and are described below.

Observational data were collected during large- and small-group instructional sessions over 5 months using two data-collection systems. The first system focused on the teacher/class as the unit of analysis and documented duration of used time, as well as duration and sources of lost time. To obtain this information, two trained master's-level research associates observed each class for four, 30-min blocks, two in the morning and two in the afternoon, each month, yielding 10 hr of data per class over the 5 months of study. The second system focused on individual students and their level of engaged time. Within the 2 hr of observation for used and lost time, research associates used the second data sheet to record individual student levels of engagement every 10 sec in 5-min increments for a total of 20 min each month. Although our observational systems reflected a small percentage of the actual used instructional time, we felt that the lengthy period of data collection distributed over both morning and afternoon instructional sessions compensated for this fact and enabled us to obtain a representative sampling of teacher and student behavior in these classrooms.

Classes were purposely sampled on a rotating schedule each month during those blocks designated by the teacher as instructional time for all students. In an attempt to sample representative classroom behavior, teachers were "blind" to the scheduling pattern we used. In classes where there was a student with a severe disability, we checked schedules and absentee lists to ensure that both student and matched peer were present for data collection. When collecting data on multiple students in the same class, the observer alternated between students after every 10-s interval.


A causal-comparative, between-groups design was used. Group membership (independent variable) was determined by the presence or absence of a child with a severe disability or whether a classmate evidenced a severe disability. Students in Group 3 constituted a post-hoc control group. The major dependent variables were allocated time, used time, and engaged time.

Allocated Time. Allocated time was defined as the time that the general or special education teacher planned to use for instructional activities. For Groups 2 and 3, instructional activities included any in-class activities designed to meet academic and curricular goals. For Group 1, instructional activities included those activities designed to promote the attainment of any cognitive, social/affective, or psychomotor objective consistent with the appropriate curriculum guide or the individualized education program (IEP) (Rich & Ross, 1989) that occurred within the context of on-going general education scheduled instruction.

Data on allocated time were collected for 1 week each month by reviewing teacher plan books and individual schedules for students with disabilities. Because the master schedule created structural parameters within which teachers had to plan (classroom, specials, recess, lunch), this sampling was assumed to provide a reasonably valid indication of total allocated time for the month. All time allocated for instructional activities during the week sampled was added and recorded individually for students in Groups 1, 2, and 3.

Used and Lost Time. Used time was defined as the amount of allocated time actually spent on instructional activities. Lost time was considered time allocated to instructional activities that was not used toward the completion of those activities. Lost time was recorded any time the teacher interrupted the instructional activity or when the majority of the class disengaged from attending to the instructional activity. Data on lost time were collected through direct observation with a stopwatch or second hand from a wristwatch and reflected the duration, cause, and nature of the interruption/delay. If the nature of the interruption changed before instruction began, the observer recorded the time of change, as well as the source and nature of each new interruption. Used time was the remainder of allocated minus lost time.

Engaged Time. Tindal and Parker's (1987) definitions of student engagement were used as the basis for describing occurrences of engaged time behavior. To measure these occurrences, we employed a momentary time-sampling procedure in which we charted each occurrence of off-task, on-task passive, or on-task active responding every 10 s, in groups of five, 1-min intervals for 20 min each month on each of the 18 participating students. These observations were distributed across large-group (15 min) and individual (5 min) activities. Operational definitions employed in this study were as follows:

* Off Task: Class time allocated by the teacher

for instruction or student performance, but

the student is not engaged. * On Task:

a. Passive Responding: Student is passively

attending to an instructional presentation

or learning task; no student activity is


b. Active Responding: Student is actively

responding in a relevant manner to

instructional presentation or learning task.


Interrater reliability was established for both observational measures before the onset of data collection through observation of nontarget classrooms and videotaped instructional lessons. Criterion for reliability was set and achieved at 85%. Interrater reliability was calculated by dividing the total number of agreements by the sum of agreements plus disagreements, then multiplying by 100.

Following onset of data collection, observers collected reliability data during the first, third, and fifth months on each data collection system on 2 hr of used class time and 30 min of individual student engaged time. Twin earphone jacks from a single tape player were used to synchronize the 10-s intervals. Results indicated high levels of agreement on scoring for jointly observed sessions of used (100%, 93%, 91%) and engaged time (93%, 89%, 91%) for each group.


Allocated Time

The school day for all students was 6 hr. During the 5 weeks that plan books were analyzed, a total of 150 hr was available to each student for instruction. The time allocated for instruction obtained from plan books was converted to a percentage of the total time available. This figure revealed that the average percentage of time allocated for instruction was comparable across the students in Groups 2 (75%) and 3 (76%). However, as expected, students with severe disabilities (Group 1) had more of their daily schedule (84%) allocated to instructional tasks than did their peers in the other two groups.

Allocated time for academic instruction occurs within the context of the school's master schedule. Insofar as 80 min each day were allocated to specials (art, music, gym, computer, or library) and lunch, 78% of each teacher's day in this school was, in fact, available for core academic instruction. This figure is consistent with findings from previous research studies and serves as an important benchmark in gauging the expenditure of used and engaged time in this school.

Used and Engaged Time

Used time was converted to be a percentage of the time allocated for instruction. Engaged time was converted to be a percentage of the used time. Table 3 shows the percentage of used and engaged time for each participating student.


Time spent on academic instruction is best understood in the context of the entire school day after all losses of instructional time have been factored out. When this figure was computed, students in the three groups spent a comparable percentage of time engaged in instruction (Group 1, 57%; Group 2, 60%; Group 3, 58%). Figure 1 shows allocated, used, and engaged times for all students in each group as a percentage of the entire school day.

Concerns are often expressed about the intensity and quality of time spent by students with severe disabilities in general education classrooms. These concerns generally center around levels of active engagement and the relative amount of "down" (i.e., passive) time students experience. We were, therefore, interested in determining how these students compared to their peers without disabilities in levels of active versus passive engagement. As Figure I shows, students in Group 1 spent 36% of their entire school day actively engaged in instructional tasks, compared to 42% for Group 2 and 45% for Group 3.

Total engagement (active and passive) across Groups 1 (70%), 2 (82%), and 3 (82%) reflects a relatively high percentage of the total time actually available for core academic instruction in this school. The lower level of engagement by students with severe disabilities in Group 1 was affected by two students with total engagement ratios below 75%. Figure 1 depicts the relationship of engaged time relative to the maximum time available for core instruction.

Lost Time

The sources of disruption to instructional time for each class were written verbatim on index cards and sorted into piles, using a constant comparative method (Patton, 1990). This procedure resulted in six emergent categories, which accounted for the time lost during instruction in this elementary school. Agreement on assignment to categories was affirmed through comparison, and discrepancies were resolved through consensus. There were no differences among classes in the sources of lost time. That is, classrooms comprising Group 2 did not evidence significant disruptions to instruction attributable to students with severe disabilities.

Insofar as duration data were collected on each source of disruption, we were also able to sum the total amount of time lost for the categories that emerged from the analysis. The average amount of lost time attributed to each category was computed to be less than 1% of the allocated time for each classroom. This relatively low level of interruption is indicative of the generally high levels of used and engaged time observed across the three groups. Table 4 shows the six categories and indicators for each.


Four important findings emerged from this investigation. First, results of this study indicated that time allocated to instruction was not only equitable for the students without disabilities in Groups 2 and 3, but also fell within the upper range of that reported in previous studies. These high allocation levels created an important foundation of instructional opportunity for the entire school day, and enhanced the probability that time used for core instruction would be high.

Second, the quantity of time actually used for instruction was unaffected by the presence of students with severe disabilities. General and special education teachers and support staff had shared responsibility for planning and teaching all students in these classrooms. Roles and responsibilities were shared but clear, enabling staff to provide focused instructional attention to the students they had responsibility for that day. Consequently, time was used well, and students were clear about expectations for their participation in the learning process.

Related to this second finding, students with severe disabilities evidenced the highest levels of used time relative to typical peers in the other two groups. This finding may be attributable to several factors. First, students with severe disabilities in these classrooms were required to be "on-task" and in instructional situations for a greater amount of allocated instructional time. Individual student schedules from Group 1 did not reflect as many planned breaks as those of the students in Groups 2 and 3. In their efforts to not sacrifice instructional intensity within an inclusive context, it may be that the staff in this school have compromised some degree of normalcy relative to what transpires for typical peers. Tasks presented to the students in Group 1 often required the supervision or assistance of another individual, typically an aide. This assistance created a "forced focus" situation that contributed to relatively high levels of engaged time. Paraprofessional staff in this school were responsible for executing instructional programs designed by professional staff. Inconsistencies among paraprofessional staff in the provision of instruction likely occurred and would affect the quality and intensity of instruction received by the students in Group 1. Although some training of paraprofessional staff was conducted by special education teachers throughout the school year, much of the training they received was "on the fly." Although the lack of formal training for aides was an acknowledged reality in this school, it remains a limitation of this investigation and an area in need of future attention and research.

Learning opportunities for students with severe disabilities were, of necessity, embedded within naturally occurring routines within and outside of the classroom context, creating a greater range of instructional options. Instruction distributed throughout the day likely contributed to an elevated level of used time for students in Group 1, and may well have offset inconsistencies that might have occurred among professional and paraprofessional staff. Issues of intensity and efficiency of instruction can be addressed by the degree to which instructional plans are effectively shared among team members and consistently implemented across materials, individuals, and contexts throughout the school day.

Third, data from this study indicate that the presence of students with severe disabilities in general education classrooms did not significantly affect the level of engaged time of classmates without disabilities. Students in Group 2 displayed levels of engagement comparable to students in classrooms where no classmates with severe disabilities were enrolled. Clearly, the nature of instruction and the emphasis on instructional accommodation prevalent throughout this school, contributed to this finding. Insofar as there was no detriment to peers without disabilities, this study provides support for those who argue that integrated and inclusive classrooms are productive instructional contexts for students with and without disabilities. More important, this finding counters criticisms that the inclusion of students with severe disabilities in general education classrooms will negatively affect the quality of the instructional climate for students without disabilities.

Fourth, losses of instructional time were unrelated to the presence of students with severe disabilities: No source category emerged for disruptions attributable to students with disabilities. One often-expressed concern among those moving toward more integrated and inclusive schooling is that students with more severe disabilities will require excessive attention from classroom personnel, drawing attention and support away from students without disabilities. In our sample of eight classrooms, disruptions to instructional time were minimal, despite the presence of students with severe disabilities. Most interruptions were attributable to administrative interferences, transitions between activities, and typical students. Even in situations where a student with a severe disability was vocalizing loudly or performing some action that might be expected to draw other students' attention to him or her, classmates typically continued to attend to the instructional activity presented to them.


Findings from this investigation may not be readily generalizable to other school settings for several reasons. First, although our findings are encouraging, they are also restricted by the small sample size. Replication in other inclusive contexts will be needed to build a stronger case for our findings of "no harm" and preservation of intensity.

Second, the underlying characteristics of this particular school may limit the generalization of findings to other settings. Outcome-based schools carry with them assumptions about processes related to teaching, learning, and contextual transformation. The extent to which other schools have incorporated elements of the effective schools literature in their development and reform efforts may influence their ability to replicate the findings from this investigation.

Third, relative to other schools, the class sizes in this setting may have afforded teachers more opportunities for instruction and hence influenced the levels of used and engaged time. The effects of contextual variables on instructional time is an area where more research is needed. In addition, although Group 3 provides us with some comparative data on uses of instructional time, we are unable to make inferences about uses of instructional time in settings where students with and without disabilities are differently mixed (e.g., integrated for related arts vs. mainstreamed for instruction, etc.).

Directions for Future Research

It will be important for future research to focus on the relationship of learner outcomes to levels of used and engaged time in integrated and inclusive contexts. Specifically, there is a need to determine how intensive the instructional context needs to be to create effective and efficient learning among students with and without disabilities.

While our indexes of instructional time produced positive findings, additional research is also needed to examine differences in instructional intensity in segregated and integrated settings. Although well-designed comparative research on learner outcomes already suggests that integrated settings produce better student social and learning outcomes (Cole & Meyer, 1991), additional research is still needed. Few comparative studies involving students with a range of abilities exist in the literature. The absence of such comparisons restricts our understanding of the interactive effects of learner, context, and instructional process. Both qualitative and multivariate quantitative approaches to research are needed to enhance our understanding in this area. Comparisons of instructional context and outcomes in integrated and segregated settings is particularly important, given the consistently high percentage of students with more severe disabilities who continue to be served in segregated environments (Danielson & Bellamy, 1989).

Future research must also be directed toward factors affecting the maintenance of positive outcomes over time. Specifically, the results of this investigation are bound by the characteristics, policies, and practices in existence at the time of the study. Whether these same results would be attainable 2 years hence cannot be ascertained. Changing economic and demographic variables can often alter the capacity of local schools' efforts to create and sustain educational reform. It will be important to determine which factors most directly affect the quality of instructional environments in inclusive settings and how we can best sustain the positive outcomes attained under optimal circumstances.

Additional research is also needed to determine how time devoted to instruction within different types of teaching paradigms (e.g., peer tutoring, cooperative learning) affects learner outcomes. Relatively little research has been conducted on the relationships among curriculum content, instructional methods, and learner outcomes in inclusive educational settings. If schools are, in fact, places for all students, then professionals will need to recognize, accept, and value the need for different types of learner outcomes. The goals for students with more severe disabilities may well be focused on a more functional level than those traditionally included in elementary settings. Consequently, what occurs in classrooms for these students will likely be different from, but of no less value than, what occurs for students who are less disabled or who have no disabilities. Research is needed on how to optimize learning opportunities for all students in integrated and inclusive classrooms.

Findings from this investigation may be useful to those involved in educational reform as they argue for the abolition of dual systems of instruction. Comparative data presented in this report provide preliminary evidence that teachers can provide instruction in inclusive educational environments without sacrificing either intensity or benefit to students with and without disabilities. Educational programs that create the conditions necessary for students with disabilities to be successful in general education classrooms are also able to preserve opportunities for and the engagement of learning in students without disabilities.


Alessi, F. (1991, April). ODDM: The gentle bulldozer. Quality Outcomes Driven Education, 11-18. Cole, D. A., & Meyer, L. H. (1991). Social integration and severe disabilities: A longitudinal analysis of child outcomes. Journal of Special Education, 25(3), 340-351. Danielson, L. C., & Bellamy, G. T. (1989). State variation in placement of children with handicaps in segregated environments. Exceptional Children, 55, 448-455. Egbert, R. L., & Kluender, M. M. (Eds.). (1984). Time as an element of school success. (Education Monograph No. 1). Lincoln: The Nebraska Consortium, University of Nebraska. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 246-028) Friedman, D., Cancelli, A., & Yoshida, R. (1988). Academic engagement of elementary school children with learning disabilities. Journal of School Psychology, 26(4), 327-340. Good, T. L., & Brophy, J. E. (1986). School effects. In M. C. Wittrock (Ed.), Handbook of research on teaching (3rd ed.). New York: Macmillan. Graden, J., Thurlow, M., & Ysseldyke, J. (1983). When are students most academically engaged? Students' academic resounding time in different instructional ecologies. (IRLD Report No. 1 19). Minneapolis: University of Minnesota. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 237 2 14) Greenwood, C. R. (1991). Longitudinal analysis of time, engagement, and achievement in at-risk versus non-risk students. Exceptional Children, 57, 521-535. Latham, G. (1985). Time on task and other variables affecting the quality of education. Logan: Utah State University, Mountain State Regional Resource Center. (ERIC Document No. ED 293 231) Patton, M. Q. (1990). Qualitative evaluation and research methods. Newbury Park, CA: Sage. Purkey, S. D., & Smith, M. S. (1983). Effective schools: A review. Elementary School Journal, 83(4),427-452. Rich, H. L., & Ross, S. M. (1989). Students' time on learning tasks in special education. Exceptional Children, 55, 508-515. Salisbury, C. (1991). Mainstreaming during the early childhood years. Exceptional Children, 58, 146-155. Salisbury, C., Evans, I. M., & Palombaro, M. M. (1992, November). Outcome data on an inclusive elementary school: Johnson City in perspective. Presentation at the 1992 annual conference of the Association for Persons with Severe Handicaps, San Francisco, CA. Salisbury, C., Palombaro, M. M., & Hollowood, T. M. (1993). On the nature and change of an inclusive elementary school. Journal of the Association for Persons with Severe Handicaps, 18(2), 75-84. Salisbury, C. L., Mangino, M., Petrigala, M., Rainforth, B., Syryca, S., & Palombaro, M. M. (in press). Promoting the instructional inclusion of young children with disabilities in the primary grades. Journal of Early Intervention. Spady, W. G. (1992). It's time to take a close look at outcomes-based education. Outcomes, 11(2), 6-13. Thurlow, M. L., Ysseldyke, J. E., Graden, J., & Algozzine, B. (1984). Opportunity to learn for LD students receiving different levels of special education services. Learning Disability Quarterly, 7(1), 55-67. Tindal, G., & Parker, R. (1987). Direct observation in special education classrooms: Concurrent use of two instruments and their validity. Journal of Special Education, 21(2), 43-58. Walter, G. A. (1983). Special education programs in District 27: Teacher activity, student activity, student times on task, and program structure. Jamaica, NY: St. Johns University. (Eric Document Reproduction No. ED 238 214) Ysseldyke, J. E., Christenson, S., Thurlow, M., & Skiba, R. (1987a). Academic engagement and active resounding of mentally retarded, learning disabled, emotionally disturbed and non-handicapped elementary students. (Report No. 4). Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, Instructional Alternatives Project. (ERIC Document Reproduction No. ED 293 264) Ysseldyke, J. E., Thurlow, M. L., Christenson, S. L., & Weiss, J. (1987b). Time allocated to instruction of mentally retarded, learning disabled, emotionally disturbed, and non-handicapped elementary students. (Report No. 1). Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, Instructional Alternatives Project. (ERIC Document Reproduction No. ED 293 261)


TIA M. HOLLOWOOD (CEC CA Federation), Communications Specialist, Imperial County Office of Special Education, El Centro, California. CHRISTINE L. SALISBURY (CEC #104), Senior Research Scientist, Allegheny Singer Research Institute and Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Medical College of Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh. BEVERLY RAINFORTH (CEC #4), Associate Professor of Special Education, Division of Education, State University of New York, Binghamton. MARY M. PALOMBARO (CEC NY Federation), Coordinator, Collaborative Innovations Project, Johnson City Central School District, Johnson City, New York.

This research and preparation of this manuscript were supported in part by Grant 86D-0009 from the U.S. Department of Education, Special Education Programs, to the State University of New York-Binghamton. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Department of Education, and no official endorsement should be inferred. This investigation was conducted in collaboration with the Johnson City Central School District, Johnson City, New York, and was submitted by the first author in partial fulfillment of the requirements for a Master of Science degree in Special Education at the State University of New York-Binghamton.

This investigation was conducted while the second author was on the faculty at the State University of New York. Address correspondence and requests for reprints to Child and Family Studies Program, Allegheny Singer Research Institute, One Allegheny Center, Suite 510, Pittsburgh, PA 15212.

Manuscript received February 1993; revision accepted February 1994.
        Demographic Information on School

School Variable                               N

Average class size
  Grade 1                                    20
  Grade 2                                    25
  Grade 3                                    23
  Grade 4                                    24

  Black                                        2
  Asian                                        8
  Hispanic                                     4
  White                                      636

Low income                                    67

Classified students
  Mild/moderate                               17
  Severe/profound                              9(a)
(a)Vineland Scales of Social Maturity-Revised.

                    TABLE 2
     Demographic Information on Students with
                Severe Disabilities

                  Chronological          Age
Child and              Age            Equivalent
Grade (Gr.)       (years,months)    (years-months)
Katrina (Gr.1)         6,5               1-1
Ricardo (Gr.1)         7,1               2-1
Devan (Gr.3)           9,1               1-1
Jordan (Gr.3)          8,2               1-4
Sara (Gr.4)           10,5               0-11
Janice (Gr.4)         10,0               1-6

       Sources of Time Lost to Interruptions

Nature of Interruption             Examples/Description

Student interruptions      Requests to leave room, change seat;
                           interrupting teacher; personal
                           conflict with another student

Teacher interruptions      Stopping instruction to discuss a
                           noninstructional topic; collecting
                           materials; calling the office

Visitor to class           Others lending or borrowing
                           materials; teachers stopping in to
                           confirm plans; parents; external

Loudspeaker                PA announcements to the class or

Transitions                Time spent changing from one
                           activity to another

Other                      Random, very infrequent occurrences
                           such as fire drills, police
                           sirens, equipment problems
Gale Copyright:
Copyright 1994 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.