Academic journal article Education & Treatment of Children

Comparing Choral Responding and a Choral Responding Plus Mnemonic Device during Geography Lessons for Students with Mild to Moderate Disabilities

Academic journal article Education & Treatment of Children

Comparing Choral Responding and a Choral Responding Plus Mnemonic Device during Geography Lessons for Students with Mild to Moderate Disabilities

Article excerpt

Abstract

Four male 9th-grade students with mild to moderate disabilities participated in a single case design that compared choral responding (CR) and a choral responding plus mnemonic device (CR+) during geography lessons. The authors used an alternating treatments design to evaluate the effects of the two strategies on students' on-task behavior and daily quiz scores in identifying states on a map of the United States. The results showed that the CR + was more effective than CR in increasing on-task behavior and accuracy levels on daily quiz scores, as well as performance on a 1-week delayed recall test. The teacher and students rated the CR+as highly acceptable. A discussion of limitations, future research, and practical implications is included.

Keywords: choral responding, mild to moderate disabilities, mnemonic device, on-task behavior

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Federal legislation and national initiatives (Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act [IDEA], 2004; No Child Left Behind [NCLB], 2001) demand that teachers use evidence-based practices to teach academic skills to students in inclusive settings. Although these mandates allow students with disabilities to have easier access to general education curriculum, schools are required to report students' progress toward achievement tests particularly in content areas of literacy, mathematics, and science. For students with disabilities who are exempt from state achievement tests, schools are required to show progress toward meeting the states' core standards using alternative strategies. Acquiring content area knowledge at the secondary level can pose significant challenges for teachers as a result of memory and recall deficits individuals with disabilities display (Hall, Kent, McCulley, Davis, & Wanzek, 2013; O'Shaughnessy & Swanson, 1998; Scruggs & Mastropieri, 2000). Failure to recall academic content can negatively impact the test performance of these students, resulting in other poor outcomes, such as high rates of off-task behavior, low grade point averages, and loss of access to the general curriculum (Dunlap, KernDunlap, Clarke, & Robbins, 1991; Scruggs & Mastropieri, 1990; Scruggs, Mastropieri, Berkeley, & Graetz, 2010).

Students with mild to moderate disabilities include children identified with high-incidence disabilities, such as learning disabilities, speech or language impairments, mild intellectual disabilities, and emotional and behavior disorders (Friend & Bursuck, 2009). These students may have learning and/or behavioral difficulties that impede normal or expected academic achievement. For example, these students may experience challenges in communication and language, memory and recall, ability to generalize learning to new contexts, and motivation to attend to the task at hand and stay focused (Copeland & Cosbey, 2008). The learning impediments make it difficult for students to acquire basic information, such as learning sight words, math facts, or basic geographical information that would be helpful in acquiring further knowledge in academic areas.

When seeking to keep students with disabilities in the general education curriculum, there is a strong consensus that using instructional practices similar both in focus and implementation to practices used for students in the general education setting with similar learning challenges is best practice (Ambrose, Bridges, DiPietro, & Lovett, 2010). The success of inclusive schooling for students with disabilities is predicated on the design and implementation of educational supports that will benefit all students (Hunt, Soto, Maier, & Doering, 2003). Students with mild to moderate disabilities often benefit from highly structured instructional interventions and adaptations that will help increase academic achievement. Two instructional strategies with empirical support that can increase student achievement are choral responding and mnemonics. …

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