Week3 assignment special education reform essay

Week3 assignment

Special Education Reform Essay

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Due Date: Apr 13, 2016 23:59:59       Max Points: 100



Using the GCU Library, locate five scholarly articles on changes and/or reforms in special education during the past 100 years.


Review the Topic 3 Lecture for a description of what is considered a scholarly article.


In a 750-1,000-word essay, compare and contrast the three most significant positive and negative changes in special education. Discuss the changes/reforms you think still need to be made.


Prepare this assignment according to the APA guidelines found in the APA Style Guide, located in the Student Success Center. An abstract is not required. 


This assignment uses a rubric. Review the rubric prior to beginning the assignment to become familiar with the expectations for successful completion.


You are required to submit this assignment to Turnitin.











EDU-535 Lecture 3

Learning How to Research


In Topic 1, you learned about the importance of scholarship and a little about what it takes to transition from student to scholar. In this Topic, you will learn about the heart of scholarship: Research. Learning how to research is critical to your transition from student to scholar, because it is a significant component of how you master the knowledge in your field, which will in turn equip you to contribute to the improvement of practice in your field. Review the learning objectives for this Topic within the course syllabus and use the following lecture, which is about the role of research in scholarship, to accomplish them.

What Do We Mean by Research?

You may have used the term research in many different scenarios and settings. You may have had to research locations of companies offering a particular service you needed, or maybe you had to research different schools before deciding to enroll at GCU. The term research is often used loosely in informal settings to mean, as illustrated in the previous examples,the search for information−but what does research mean in an academic setting? What does research mean in graduate study? What does research mean to the aspiring scholar wishing to improve the field in which they work?

According to The Free Dictionary, researchis defined as “scholarly or scientific investigation or inquiry.” A Google search defines research as “the systematic investigation into and study of materials and sources in order to establish facts and reach new conclusions.” The first definition uses the term scholarly, which, as you learned in Topic 1, refers to a “learned person” who more than likely has mastered a particular discipline. The second definition mentions “the study of materials and sources.” This could include people, theories, concepts, studies, and a variety of other sources. Both definitions mention “systematic or scientific investigation,” which means an orderly and logical process that is carried out in the act of research. Analyzing both definitions should provide you with a better understanding of what research means in an academic setting, and to your ability to advance in your field by contributing to its improvement.

What Am I Researching For, Again?

Throughout your graduate study, you will learn to distinguish between two types of published knowledge−scientific and professional−and become familiar with sources that specialize in each type of knowledge. Mastering both the scientific and professional knowledge in your field is the first step in making the transition from student to scholar.

Scientific and Professional Knowledge

Scientific knowledge is information or data that has been scientifically tested to be applicable under specified circumstances and constitutes the most reliable source for solving problems and making decisions. Professional knowledge is, typically, information or data gained by practitioners or organizations and published because the knowledge was believed to be applicable and useful to other practitioners or organizations within the same field. Ultimately, the application of both types of knowledge to your chosen field is the hallmark of scholarship.

Main Sources of Scientific and Professional Knowledge

Scientific knowledge is disseminated primarily through peer-reviewed scientific journals, also called academic or research journals. Each field has its own recognized scientific journals, where the most prestigious authors prefer to publish. Submissions to such journals are selected for publications through a blind review process based on systematic criteria that are public domain.

Another source of scientific knowledge are academic publishers that specialize in textbooks, collective volumes edited by prestigious experts (often senior graduate faculty with substantial research and publication experience), and treatises on major topics authored by the top experts in the field. All major publishers have their manuscripts reviewed by prestigious experts in their field.

A third source of scientific knowledge includes papers presented at academic conferences. Like journal articles, conference papers are selected through a peer-review process. The difference between the peer-review systems of academic journals and academic conferences is that the former has a relatively stable and prestigious review team that ensures consistency across time and enforces agreed-upon high standards, whereas the latter relies on scarce, occasional volunteers who pick the targeted number of best available papers out of the pool of submissions. Consequently, there is no guarantee about the scientific quality of conference papers. This explains why conferences have become springboards or first stops for researchers whose final destination is an academic journal. The conference reviewers’ feedback and the questions asked during the discussion following the presentation of a paper are used by authors to prepare their articles for submission to the appropriate journals.

A fourth source of scientific information includes theses and dissertations, which most often rely entirely on scientific sources. The research findings they present have to be scrutinized very carefully for limitations and possible flaws, because the only scholarly reviewers of each thesis or dissertation are the members of the author’s committee. The quality of the knowledge contained within a thesis or dissertation depends not only on the pooled expertise of committee members, but also on the quality standards of the university that granted the degree. Considering the variability of standards across universities, the findings of graduate research presented in theses and dissertations ought to be used with great caution.

In addition to the layered sources of scientific knowledge, each field has a growing amount of sources of professional knowledge, which disseminates that knowledge in a variety of formats and, generally, has fewer requirements and a more flexible selection criterion. The preferred format is the professional journal. Authors’ access to professional publications is governed by factors such as the prestige of the author and/or the organizations they represent, the urgency and importance of the issue to the target audience, the scope and dollar value of potential practical applications of information contained in the material, and the engaging quality of the material (e.g., comprehensibility, human interest, entertainment). Scientific quality rarely comes into play as a selection criterion.

So What Does All of This Mean to Me?

As a graduate student, you will use scientific and professional knowledge you gain through research in academic and professional journals to:

·            Support your communication efforts (writing assignments, discussion question responses, etc.) to express your understanding and achievement of course learning objectives

·            Demonstrate mastery of knowledge in your field

To successfully research academic and professional journals, you must learn to navigate the GCU Library. Access to the GCU Library is found under the “Resources” tab within your LoudCloud classroom. For more information on how to successfully navigate the GCU Library, complete the “Library Walk Through” tutorial.

Review the resources posted by the Library for your program.

Conduct a keyword search using one of the Library databases or ask a librarian for assistance.

When you locate a relevant and appropriate resource, an effective way to locate additional resources is to look in the resource section of the resource you found. There, you will find references the author used to support their writing. You may ask, “How do I know if the resource is an appropriate source for use in my writing?” Visit the Cornell University Library for a review of how to critically analyze information sources. Also, complete the “Evaluating Websites” tutorial, located in the GCU Library.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a vital component to be a successful scholar, particularly regarding the use of academic resources. The following explanation of what academic integrity means at GCU, was taken from the GCU website:

Academic integrity is at the heart of GCU’s values and is integral to our university community. According to the Center for Academic Integrity, there are five fundamental values that are center to academic integrity: honesty, trust, fairness, respect, and responsibility. Students who utilize the work of others without proper citation or reference are in violation of these values, and are committing academic dishonesty. Such dishonesty not only discredits the student who is plagiarizing the work of another, but also the university community as a whole. At GCU, we encourage students to develop practices that support academic integrity, such as independent learning, developing study skills such as note-taking and time-management, and respecting the ideas of others by utilizing proper citations and references. It is the responsibility of all GCU students to be familiar with the specific policies pertaining to student conduct and academic integrity that are outlined in the University Policy Handbook.

All students are expected to demonstrate a high standard of conduct and academic integrity in the classroom. Visit the GCU website to review Academic Integrity in the University Policy Handbook, as well as policy violation examples of academic dishonesty.

The instructor determines the in-class penalty for academic dishonesty. An in-class penalty may include, but is not limited to, rewriting the assignment or paper with or without point deductions, or awarding no or limited points for a specific assignment or paper. The instructor may request a University-level penalty, which may include, but is not limited to, awarding a failing grade for the course, removing a student from class, academic suspension, or academic expulsion from the University. An instructor may not prevent a student from attending or completing a course, as this would be a University-level decision. One of the most significant examples of academic dishonesty is plagiarism.


Plagiarism is claiming credit for someone else’s work or ideas. Examples of plagiarism include:

·            Creating documents or producing materials without crediting the source.

·            Presenting as new or original any idea or product from an existing source.

·            Paraphrasing or condensing ideas from another’s source without proper citation and referencing or primarily using other sources for the content of a paper.

·            Intentionally or unintentionally using the words, works, or ideas of others and representing them as one’s own in any academic exercise.

·            Wrongful use of electronically stored or transmitted work.

As a GCU student, you are responsible for authenticating any assignment submitted to an instructor. Proving that the assignment submitted is actually your own work. This includes:

·            Producing copies of sources that are cited or referenced.

·            Using Internet searches or Turnitin, if necessary.

·            Being able to explain your work or process orally.

·            Pass a quiz based on your submitted work.

·            Knowing how to properly cite and reference information sources.

·            Knowing GCU’s Code of Conduct, as stated in the Academic Catalog and Student Handbook.


As stated previously, the instructor determines the in-class penalty for academic dishonesty. Depending on the amount, severity, and frequency of the plagiarism that is committed, students may receive in-class penalties that range from coaching (for a very minor omission) to zero credit for a specific assignment, or even receiving a failing grade in the class. In addition, University-level penalties may occur up to and including suspension or expulsion from the University.


This topic focused on the importance of research to your transition from student to scholar and, ultimately, a master of the knowledge base within your field. Up to this point, topics covered have been general in nature and focused on knowledge and skills you will need to be a successful graduate student at GCU. In the final topic, you will learn about important information regarding your specific college and program of study.


Research. (n.d.). In The Free Dictionary online dictionary. Retrieved from http://www.thefreedictionary.com/research


© 2014. Grand Canyon University. All Rights Reserved.




Electronic Resource1. Critically Analyzing Information Sources: Ten Things to Look for When You Evaluate an Information Source

Read “Critically Analyzing Information Sources: Ten Things to Look for When You Evaluate an Information Source,” from the Cornell University Library website.


2. Overview and Contradictions

Read “Overview and Contradictions,” from the Purdue Online Writing Lab website.


3. APA Style Guide

Review the APA guidelines found in the APA Style Guide, which is located in the Student Success Center, to help you prepare for the Educational Reform Essay.

4. Purdue Online Writing Lab

Review the Purdue Online Writing Lab to help you prepare for the Educational Reform Essay.


5. Library Walk Through

Watch the “Library Walk Through” tutorial, located in the GCU Library.


6. Evaluating Websites

Watch the “Evaluating Websites” tutorial, located in the GCU library.


7. Education LibGuide

Check the resources posted by the GCU Library for COE programs.


8. Education Database

Use the Education Database to assist you with your research.


9. Ask a Librarian

Explore the “Ask A Librarian” page, located in the GCU Library.




Here the rubric on the assignment

No Evidence

Nominal Evidence

Unacceptable Evidence

Acceptable Evidence

Target Evidence

100.0 %Criteria


35.0 %Compare and Contrast Positive and Negative Changes in Education

No submission.

Essay has little or nothing to do with the positive and negative changes in education.

Essay inadequately compares and contrasts positive and negative changes in education and is overly simplistic. Few details and/or examples are given.

Essay clearly compares and contrasts positive and negative changes in education. It provides basic, appropriate supporting details and/or examples.

Essay skillfully and convincingly compares and contrasts positive and negative changes in education. It includes several distinctive supporting details and/or examples.


35.0 %Discuss Changes and/or Reforms to Education

No submission.

Essay has little or nothing to do with changes/reforms to education.

Inadequately discusses changes/reforms to education. Essay is overly simplistic, and few details and/or examples are given.

Clearly discusses changes/reforms to education. Essay provides basic, appropriate supporting details and/or examples.

Skillfully and convincingly discusses changes/reforms to education. Essay includes several distinctive supporting details and/or examples.


15.0 %Organization

No submission.

Statement of purpose is not justified by the conclusion. Argument is illogical. Conclusion does not support the claims made.

Purpose statement is vague, and claims do not thoroughly support it. Argument and conclusion are orderly but present unconvincing justification of claims.

Purpose statement and conclusion are clear. Argument shows logical progression. There is a smooth progression of claims from introduction to conclusion.

Purpose statement and related conclusion are clear and convincing. Information is well organized and logical. Argument presents a persuasive claim in a distinctive and compelling manner.


10.0 %Research Citations

No submission.

Reference page includes errors and/or inconsistently used citations. Sources are not credible.

Reference page lists sources used in the paper. Sources are appropriate and documented, although errors are present.

In-text citations have few errors. References used are reliable, and reference page lists all cited sources with few errors.

In-text citations and a reference page are complete and correct. Sources are credible. The documentation of cited sources is free of error.


5.0 %Mechanics

No submission.

Surface errors are pervasive enough that they impede communication of meaning. Inappropriate word choice and/or sentence construction are used.

Frequent and repetitive mechanical errors distract the reader. Inconsistent language and/or word choice are present. Sentence structure is lacking.

Prose is largely free of mechanical errors, although a few may be present. The writer uses a variety of effective sentence structures and figures of speech, as well as some practice and content-related language.

Submission is nearly/completely free of mechanical errors and has a clear, logical conceptual framework. Word choice reflects well-developed use of practice and content-related language. Sentence structures are varied and engaging.


100 %Total Weightage






Her is a sample how she wants it do



















Special Education Reform

Student Name Here

Grand Canyon University

EDU 535

Kimber O. Underdown (Instructor)

July 20, 2015














Special Education Reform

         Over the last 100 years there have been many different reforms to the educational system. With these changes the country has seen many positive changes and many negative changes due to these reforms. Some of the most influential changes have occurred because of No Child Left Behind, the Montessori Movement, IDEA, The Technology Movement, and Inclusion. This paper will address each of these and clarify the positive changes, those that may not be positive, and what changes still need to be made to bring America back to the forefront in the world of education.

Positive Changes

The positive changes seen in the United States educational system since these reforms have been put into place have made a tremendous impact. With No Child Left Behind, the teachers and the schools are being held at a higher quality of standards to where educators and schools have to make sure that the children are reaching the state’s goals (Aske, Connolly, & Corman, 2013). This is a good thing because teachers are required to ensure that they are being the best educators that they can be; but also that they are trying to find different ways to teach student, some that may be considered “outside the box” in order to ensure that the students are grasping the concepts being taught. Some of the biggest things NCLB did to impact education include the assessment of student achievement; the public being able to access information regarding student/school performance (which increases public accountability); and laws that provides parents with personal choice in the schools their children attend (Aske, et al., 2013).

Another positive that has occurred in the education system is with the Technology Movement and that with the technology the students are learning new skills that they would not have without the technology. “Correspondingly, opportunities to learn and teach are expanded far beyond what would have been possible without the current revolution in technology” (Flair, 2014, page 12). The final positive thing that has come out of educational reforms is with the Montessori Movement. The Montessori Movement has made a major impact on how teachers are trained. When teachers first started out teaching they did not have any training, but once the Montessori Movement came about the teachers were given training on how to create teacher materials, and how to make things better for the students to where they understood what they were learning (Kayili & Ari, 2011). “The basis of the Montessori education is to make child independent and prepare the most suitable environment to support child’s development” (Kayili, et al., 2011, pg. 2105).

Negative Changes

            With every change that happens in this world there are always some drawbacks or negative repercussions. Within the educational system there have been several in recent years. With No Child Left Behind, the teachers are being held to a higher standard and when they do not meet that standard they are at risk of losing their jobs or at least losing some pay. “According to NCLB, schools are expected to increase their performance for all students on an annual basis” (Tavakolian & Howell, 2012, pg. 72). This may seem entirely positive, but it does not take into account the educators who are given high case loads of students with special needs, English Language Learning needs, behavior problems, or students with high socioeconomic needs. These groups of students have historically been lower performers and while they definitely need to be taught and make progress, sometimes the progress made by these students is seen in different ways that standardized testing does not fully demonstrate (Tavakolian, et al., 2012).

Another negative aspect that has come to light with the educational reforms is within the technology movement. The technology movement, as it implies, uses technology, but some may say is it too much and too often (Flair, 2014). Since Americans rely on technology to function, teachers, as well as students, may not know how to preform basic skills on their own without it. “Another criticism of technology in education is that technology may be hindering skill development among school-aged children” (Chmiel, 2014, page 112).

The last negative thing that has come out of the above mentioned educational reforms is within the Montessori Movement itself. The Montessori Movement has made a major impact on how teachers are trained, which is great. Teachers were then trained on child development, teacher-created materials, and standards that were more child-led. “In keeping with this belief, the Montessori method emphasizes sensory training and the use of didactic materials, learning episodes, and physical exercises in a structured environment” (Webb, Metha, & Jordan, 2013, pg.196). This may not seem like a negative, but it can be construed as one since it requires a high level of student motivation and does not take into account the current standards all educators and students are being held to; a sense of balance therefore needs to exist. Additionally, the training is expensive and most schools require the teachers to pay for their own training to be current in their practice (Webb et al., 2013).


             As mentioned above, many reforms have been made throughout the years; not all have been positive and not all have been negative and each tends to have both positive and negative aspects. Future reforms are likely to incorporate more parent choice, less reliance on strict standardized testing as a reflection of a teacher’s or a school’s proficiency, and more inclusion for students with various differences and diverse abilities.  It is also likely that future reforms will allow more use of technology in the classroom, focus on science, engineering, technology, and math, and transition planning for children at a younger age (Colvin, 2012).

            In conclusion within the United States there have been many positive changes as well as negative changes with regards to educational reform. There will always be changes in the education system, and teachers will need to follow the laws and adapt to the changes, even if they do not always agree with them. These changes that the top branches of government have put into place are to benefit the students and provide them with a quality education. While at times cumbersome, and sometimes feeling overwhelming, these reforms are implemented for a reason. One thing that does not change is the need for education to continue to change; in doing so, students and educators are able to keep up with the ever-changing global demands of the world and its ever-changing economy. Only through reform will today’s children become tomorrow’s world leaders.














Aske, D. R., Connolly, L.S., & Corman, R. R. (2013). Accessibility or accountability? The rhetoric and reality of no child left behind. Journal of Economics & Economic Education Research, 14(3), 107-118.

Chmiel, M. P. (2014). Education technology. Salem Press Encyclopedia, 92(3), 123-130.

Colvin, R. (2012). A rocky future for school reform. Phi Delta Kappan, 94(4), 66-67.

Kayili, G., & Ari, R. (2011). Examination of the effects of the montessori method on preschool children’s readiness to primary education. Educational Sciences: Theory And Practice, 11(4), 2104-2109.

Tavakolian, H., & Howell, N. (2012). The Impact of No Child Left Behind Act. Franklin Business & Law Journal, (1), 70-77.

Webb, L. D., Metha, A., & Jordan, K. F. (2013). Foundations of American education (7th ed.). Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Merrill
















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