Assessing opportunity-to-learn for students with disabilities in general and special education classes

Alexander Kurz, Stephen Elliott, Christopher J. Lemons, Naomi Zigmond, Amanda Kloo, Ryan J. Kettler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Current legislation encourages schools to educate students with disabilities (SWDs) in general education settings to the greatest extent appropriate. However, it is unclear whether inclusion in general education settings provides SWDs a sufficient opportunity to learn the academic content assessed by accountability measures. This initial study was designed to (a) describe the extent to which general and special educators provide their eighth-grade classes with an opportunity to learn the state-specific standards and to (b) examine the extent to which SWDs experience a differentiated opportunity to learn compared with their overall class. Across three states, we trained 38 general and special educators to use an online teacher log to report on various opportunity-to-learn (OTL) indices for 46 mathematics and reading classes and 89 nested SWDs. Based on an average logging period of 151 days, the results indicated that this sample's SWDs included in general education classes experienced less time on standards, more non-instructional time, and less content coverage than their overall class. Limitations and implications for policy and future research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)24-39
Number of pages16
JournalAssessment for Effective Intervention
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2014


  • Content coverage
  • Differentiated opportunity structure
  • Inclusion
  • Instructional quality
  • Instructional time
  • Opportunity to learn

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Health Professions(all)


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