Integrating Accessible Multiplication Games into Inclusive Classrooms

Integrating Accessible Multiplication Games into Inclusive Classrooms

Cindy L. Anderson (Roosevelt University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-878-1.ch021
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Abstract

Two accessible games were the focus of a study involving inclusive fourth grade classrooms in a suburban Chicago elementary school district. The games were created using software with universal design capability and were designed to teach multiplication facts. Data were collected that compared the classes using the software with classes that did not use the software. The statistical analysis used in the design of the study was analysis of covariance using a pretest assessment of multiplication facts as the covariate. Students used the games twice a week for four weeks during a period of 40 minutes a day. Results indicated a gain in accuracy of multiplication facts on the part of the groups using the games, but not enough to demonstrate significance. In addition to the analysis of covariance analysis, selected classes filled out surveys designed to measure the students’ opinions of the games and their effectiveness. Results of the surveys indicated that the students were somewhat unsure about their effectiveness as a tool to learn multiplication facts but found them enjoyable to play. Interpretation of both of these results is provided.
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Background

In 1983, the publication of A Nation at Risk (National Commission on Excellence in Education, 1983) led to a national push for accountability in teaching. In 1989, President George H.W. Bush and the governors of the 50 states developed a set of national educational goals that would become the Goals 2000: Educate America Act (H.R. 1804). This act required greater accountability based on higher academic standards. Professional teacher organizations in each content area set out to develop their own lists of standards, designed to be the backbone of standardized assessment development and the foci of each field in its attempt to develop future problem-solving workers. Individual states, in the meantime, adapted and adopted these lists of academic standards into their own under the direction of the Goals 2000 initiative and with the assistance of the initiative’s funding (Anderson & Anderson, 2005).

At the same time, the field of special education began to question its effectiveness and its parallel programming as being too separate from general education (Wang, Reynolds, & Walberg, 1988, Behrman, 1992). The resulting self-questioning led to a movement towards inclusion of students in the regular classroom (Fuchs & Fuchs, 1994), requiring that the education of students with disabilities become a joint responsibility between general education and special education. As inclusion progressed, students with disabilities were also increasingly included in standardized assessments, culminating in the passage of Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act of 1997, requiring that all students with disabilities be included in all standardized assessments with the exception of the bottom two percent of those identified as disabled who were required to be assessed in an alternate capacity using the states’ academic standards. No Child Left Behind (2001) finalized the process, declaring that special education is a subgroup of those students taking standardized assessment who are also required to be achieving acceptable levels in reading and writing by 2013-14 (Anderson & Anderson, 2005).

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