Comparing and Contrasting Research-to-Teaching Practices: A Critical Analysis of Highly Restrictive Special Education Placements for Students with Low-Incidence Disabilities

By Marissa Desiree Pardo

This issue of NASET’s Practical Teacher was written by Marissa Desiree Pardo. The purpose of this article is to observe and discuss the effectiveness of Category C, or the most restrictive placement for students with disabilities (SWD), including residential facilities, separate schools, and hospital/homebound setting. In the study, it was apparent that every state varied in placement patterns. States also did not set high expectations or rigorous goals to reduce the number of students in Category C placements. Over the last 8, years the amount of increases or decreases in Category C placements has remained the same. The article takes four research questions into consideration. What extent do states vary in providing more restrictive settings at baseline? What targets were implemented by states to decrease the number of students in separate facilities, separate school, or hospital/homebound settings (Category C placements) between 2004 to 2012? Do state target goals predict placement rates for Category C students? What types of disabilities are more often funneled into the most restrictive settings? The most crucial finding is that students with low-incidence or severe disabilities are heavily placed in these settings.

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