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A way to go : curriculum needs of adolescents with mild intellectual disabilities


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Andrew, RG 1996 , 'A way to go : curriculum needs of adolescents with mild intellectual disabilities', Research Master thesis, University of Tasmania.

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The focus of debate around the issue of equity and schooling has concentrated mainly upon access as a rights conditional to social justice, rather than the curriculum undertaken by students who are included in regular schools. This study first sought to describe and find priorities for the curriculum needs of young adolescents with Mild Intellectual Disabilities (MID) and second, to determine criteria by which stakeholders might evaluate the appropriateness of curriculum undertaken by MID students.
Individuals from a spread of stakeholder groups were surveyed. They responded to paragraph length vignettes which described the schooling experiences of six students from both regular and special settings in a school District of North-eastern Tasmania. The stakeholder groups were teachers, parents, peers, employers, community agency professionals, administrators and taxpayers. Complementing the surveys, separate interviews were conducted over a two-and a half-year period with the six target students, their parents and their teachers. Research questions focused on the curriculum needs of MID adolescents, agreement in the perceptions of stakeholders with regard to the needs expressed, the balance of curriculum domains available to students in regular secondary school programs and the discrepancy between the 'needed' and the 'undertaken' curricula.
Results indicated that: (1) the content and outcomes of non-academic curriculum domains were clearly favoured over those of the traditional academic curriculum domain; (2) the students' highest priorities (i.e., of social adjustments and life skills) were not reflected in the assessment records given most attention by teachers and the educational system; (3) alternative programs and assessment models were recognised by stakeholders as most important to school and post-school outcomes; (4) community-referenced, ecologically planned, cross-contextual learning was valued highly but not readily available; (5) while employers favoured more academic domain engagement for MID adolescents than did other stakeholders, they placed greatest importance on non-academic skills (e.g., punctuality and impulse control) of employees; and (6) proximal stakeholders and employers favoured earlier and more workplace experience for MID adolescents.
The results have been used to propose several criteria for appropriate curriculum. Through a consideration of these, educators and advocates might design provisions that better meet the curriculum needs of students with Mild Intellectual Disabilities. The study has indicated that secondary schools' curricula fall short of meeting several of the criteria derived from the results. Given that students with Mild Intellectual Disabilities are the largest group affected by several states' inclusion initiatives, the study has strong implications for equity in the researched context and beyond.

Item Type: Thesis - Research Master
Authors/Creators:Andrew, RG
Keywords: Learning disabled teenagers, Slow learning children
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Copyright 1995 the author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

Additional Information:

Thesis (MEd)--University of Tasmania, 1996. Includes bibliographical references (p. 207-228)

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