Implementing Research Practices

Special education research has undergone one of the most significant developments in the history of education during the past two decades (Gersten, Vaughn, Deshler, & Schiller, 1997). These developments can be related to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 1997 and the resulting knowledge about teaching individuals with disabilities. This landmark legislation has not only supplied a framework for the provision of educational services to all children with disabilities in the United States, it has also been a catalyst for dramatically changing the knowledge base about effective instructional practices and services for children and youth with disabilities. In addition, research conducted with students with disabilities has been a source of information to general education. Research on cooperative learning, reading comprehension, instructional grouping procedures, and curriculum-based assessment have significantly influenced practice in general education. Special education research and practice, previously deemed as irrelevant by most members of the general education community, has been increasingly valued (McKenna, 1992; National Academy of Education, 1991).