Experiences of a Student with Learning Disability in Science: Supporting Students to Enhance Learning

Allison L. McGrath
Otterbein University

Marie Tejero Hughes
University of Illinois at Chicago


Most students with disabilities in the United States receive science instruction in general education classrooms; however, little is known about the academic success for students with learning disabilities (LD) in these classes. This case study takes place in an inclusive science classroom that used an inquiry approach to learning science and reports on the experience from the perspective a 6th grade student with LD. Data was collected over the course of a science unit and data sources included student and teacher interviews, observations, and student portfolio documents. Results indicated that the student acquired science content and process knowledge but struggled to demonstrate the knowledge gained. Implications for classroom practices to support students with LD include that science teachers must utilize an array of performance measures to accurately assess students’ science knowledge and utilize supports, including peer supports, in inclusive science classrooms to further engage students in science inquiry-based instruction.

Keywords: special education; inclusive education; curriculum and instruction; science

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