|With the passage of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 children with mild intellectual disabilities / specific learning disabilities have increasingly been integrated into most facets of the general education curriculum. In order to be successful, a child with mild intellectual disabilities / specific learning disabilities must learn to cope with the extensive reading demands associated with the general curriculum.
The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of two instructional approaches to teaching main idea identification with students with mild intellectual disabilities / specific learning disabilities.
The first instructional approach, or treatment condition, examined by this study was a basal approach that can be generally characterized as student directed. The second instructional approach, or treatment condition, examined by this study was an explicit approach that can be generally characterized as teacher directed. The key instructional difference between the two approaches is that the explicit approach utilized instructional scaffolds such as rule based statements, multi-step procedures, and immediate correction procedures; whereas the basal approach made limited use, if any, of these instructional supports.
A total of 38 students served as participants in this study. They were all students from the same rural school district in Southeastern Alabama. The participants were randomly assigned to either an explicit treatment condition or a basal treatment condition. The participants in this study received either the explicit or basal instructional approach during a treatment session that lasted 25 - 30 minutes a day, four days a week. The course of the treatment condition lasted for three weeks, resulting in 12 treatment sessions per participant.
The results of this study indicated that the explicit instructional approach produced significantly better scores on two measures that were based on the story content and procedures taught during the lessons. These measures were the story retells and the unit tests. However, the other dependent measures used in this study such as the (a) pretest, (b) behavioral measure, (c) social validity measure, (d) posttest, (e) and maintenance measure failed to demonstrate statistically significant differences.