Research and Reports

January 11, 1984 2 min read

Integrated Settings

For Handicapped

Endorsed in Study

Both severely handicapped students and nonhandicapped students benefit from their interaction in the schools and in the community, according to a new study by the Educational Testing Service.

The three-year study of severely handicapped students was conducted in 14 diverse school districts. The researchers identified and compared the benefits of different social programs on 245 handicapped students and their classmates.

Although similar studies have been conducted, the ets study is unusual because its results are based on observations of students from the ages of 3 to 22, according to Richard Brinker, a research scientist with the testing service and the project director for the study.

Specifically, the study found that classmates who serve as tutors and special-education teachers who encourage classroom interaction create the best social and learning atmosphere for severely-handicapped students. The study also concluded that integrated settings allow handicapped students to model their behavior on that of nonhandicapped classmates and to develop stronger social skills in consequence.

Integrated settings permit far more positive exchanges between handicapped and nonhandicapped students than segregated settings do, according to the study.

The authors of the study underscore the importance of teachers in fostering social exchanges between handicapped and nonhandicapped students.

And they recommend that special-education teachers receive training that better prepares them for such a role.

Early Use Of Drugs,

Alcohol Found

By the time they start high school, when drug-prevention classes often begin, many students have already tried drugs or decided not to, a University of Florida study suggests.

In a survey involving the 9th- and 12th-grade pupils at six Florida public schools, Professor of Anthropology Brian du Toit found that 10 percent had used cocaine, 47 percent had smoked marijuana, and 83 percent had tried alcohol.

White males began experiment-ing with alcohol at the youngest age, the study showed. Fifty-three percent drank in middle school, compared with 45 percent of white females. Thirty percent of the white males and 20 percent of the white females had smoked marijuana before entering high school.

The rates were lower among the black students surveyed, the researcher found. Thirty-eight percent of the black males and 31 percent of the black females surveyed first drank in middle school. Seventeen percent of black males and 12 percent of black females had tried marijuana by the time they started high school.

A version of this article appeared in the January 11, 1984 edition of Education Week as Research and Reports