Academic journal article Education & Treatment of Children

A Comparison of One-to-One Embedded Instruction in the General Education Classroom and One-to-One Massed Practice Instruction in the Special Education Classroom

Academic journal article Education & Treatment of Children

A Comparison of One-to-One Embedded Instruction in the General Education Classroom and One-to-One Massed Practice Instruction in the Special Education Classroom

Article excerpt


A single subject alternating treatment design was used to compare the relative effectiveness of one-to-one embedded instruction in the general education classroom and one-to-one massed practice instruction in a special education class. Four middle school students with developmental disabilities, their special education teacher, and paraprofessional participated in the study. The results indicate that embedded instruction is an effective instructional strategy for students with developmental disabilities being served in inclusive settings. However, the results indicate that there was some difference in the efficiency of the two instructional formats. Two students reached criterion more rapidly in the one-to-one massed instructional intervention while the one-to-one embedded instruction was more efficient for one student. There was no difference between the interventions for the fourth student. Finally, the study validated previous research that found that both special education teachers and paraprofessionals can, with minimal training, accurately implement embedded instructional interventions in the general education classroom. Implications for practitioners and researchers are discussed.

KEY WORDS: One-to-One Instruction, Embedded Instruction, Massed Instruction, Constant Time Delay, Inclusion, Students with Severe Disabilities


The number of students with developmental disabilities served in inclusive settings has increased steadily over the last decade (Lipsky & Gartner, 1996; U.S Department of Education, 2002). Research has suggested that inclusive educational programs have a number of potential educational and social benefits for both students with and without disabilities (Cole, Waldron, & Majd, 2004; Harrower, 1999; Hunt & Goetz, 1997; McDonnell et al., 2003; Salend & Duhaney, 1999). Despite the positive outcomes associated with inclusive education, professionals have raised a number of concerns about providing appropriate instruction for students with developmental disabilities in general education settings. Of increasing importance is the need to empirically validate the effectiveness and efficiency of inclusive instructional procedures for students with developmental disabilities and to compare them to traditional special education delivery procedures. Researchers and practitioners must begin to take what we know works out of separate special education classrooms and evaluate the procedures in the context of instructional delivery in inclusive settings. Specifically, there is a need to examine instructional procedures in general education settings that have been validated in traditional special education settings and provide the systematic and individualized instruction needed by students with developmental disabilities (McDonnell, 1998; Schuster, Hemmeter, & Ault, 2001).

Previous research on embedded instruction as an instructional strategy has begun to address this issue (Harrower, 1999; McDonnell, 1998; Wolery, Ault, & Doyle, 1992). Embedded instruction is a strategy that can be used to provide students with developmental disabilities systematic instruction within the typical routines of general education classrooms. Like more traditional teaching strategies used in special education, embedded instruction allows the teacher to systematically control all the instructional procedures. The primary difference from traditional teaching formats is that the instructional trials are distributed within and across class activities rather than being presented rapidly one after the other in a massed practice format. This allows the instructional trials to be presented when naturally occurring opportunities arise within the ongoing routines and activities of the general education setting.

There has been a great deal of research examining embedded instructional strategies used to teach young children with and without disabilities in inclusive early childhood settings (Wolery, et al. …

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