Inclusionary Practices

10 Key Policies and Practices for Explicit Instruction with Strong Evidence of Effectiveness from High-Quality Research
This guide provides 10 practices for explicit instruction and includes various scenarios for using each. Incorporating these practices supports all students, including students with disabilities.
Publication Date: 2021
Publisher: Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk

A Framework for Inclusive Practices in Education
This publication shares a universal design in education (UDE) framework that can guide initiatives for making all institutional offerings more accessible, usable, and inclusive.
Author: Sheryl Burgstahler
Publication Date: March 2021
Publisher: University of Washington

Accessibility Guidelines: Selecting, Administering, and Evaluating Accommodations for Instruction and Assessment
This document addresses accommodation selection and accessibility decisions for instruction and statewide assessment. The action steps serve as a reference to guide the process of selecting, administering, and evaluating instructional accommodations for use by English Learners, students with disabilities, and EL students with disabilities.
Publication Date: November 2021
Publisher: Arizona Department of Education

AEM Center Brief: The Right of Students with Disabilities Who Need Accessible Educational Materials to Receive These Materials in a Timely Manner
The purpose of this brief is to help families and educators understand the right of students with disabilities who need accessible educational materials to receive these materials in a timely manner. This right is based on provisions in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), as well as in the disability civil rights statutes Section 504 and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Author: Joanne Karger
Publication Date: 2021
Publisher: National Center on Accessible Educational Materials

Case Studies of Schools Implementing Early Elementary Strategies
To explore how educators use these two strategies, aligning instruction from preschool through grade 3 and differentiated instruction, this study conducted a systematic literature review followed by case studies of five programs that used one or both strategies.
Authors: Karen Manship, Jonathan Farber, Claire Smith, and Katie Drummond
Publication Date: December 2016
Publisher: U.S. Department of Education, Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development, Policy and Program Studies Service

Choosing Accessible Grade-Level Texts for Use in Inclusive Classrooms
Accessible texts promote comprehension through the use of adaptations that modify original print formats. This article outlines considerations for choosing appropriate accessible grade-level texts for students with significant cognitive disabilities in inclusive classrooms.
Authors: Shawnee Wakeman, Deborah Taub, Holly Johnson, and Jacqui Kearns
Publication Date: May 2021
Publisher: TIES Center University of Minnesota

Content Area and Disciplinary Literacy Strategies and Frameworks
This document defines the terms content area literacy and disciplinary literacy and their distinct approaches, what they mean, and how they are best combined in classroom literacy instruction. It includes a table of sample combination approaches using literacy strategies and disciplinary literacy frameworks.
Publication Date: 2017
Publisher: International Literacy Association

Content Standards: Connecting Standards-Based Curriculum to Instructional Planning
This module helps teachers understand standards and benchmarks, be aware that students’ different educational and cultural backgrounds affect their learning, be able to identify methods of assessment that determine whether students have learned the standards-based curriculum, and identify the components needed to design a standards-based curriculum.
Publisher: IRIS Center Peabody College Vanderbilt University

Cooperative Learning in Inclusive Classrooms: Students Who Work Together, Learn Together
This article explains cooperative learning structures and the benefits for students with disabilities, including the likelihood for them to be at instructional level and have positive learning outcomes.
Author: Lisa M. Emerson
Publication Date: May/June 2013
Publisher: William & Mary School of Education

Creating Accessible Grade-level Texts for Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities in Inclusive Classrooms
This article explains ways teachers can adapt text and provide scaffolding to ensure each and every student is provided access and opportunity to meet grade-level learning expectations.
Authors: Shawnee Wakeman, Elizabeth Reyes, and Holly Johnson
Publication Date: May 2021
Publisher: TIES Center University of Minnesota

Defining High Quality PBL: A Look at the Research
This white paper explores this research to clarify the criteria, describe how and why they contribute to High Quality Project Based Learning, and propose a set of terms that can be used by the educational community and others to describe and discuss High Quality Project Based Learning.
Author: John Mergendoller
Publication Date: April 2018
Publisher: High Quality Project-Based Learning

Differentiated Instruction: Maximizing the Learning of All Students
This module discusses the importance of differentiating three aspects of instruction: content, process or instructional methods, and product or assessment. It explores the student traits of readiness level, interest, and learning preferences that influence learning.
Publication Date: 2022
Publisher: IRIS Center Vanderbilt University

Do You See What I Mean? Visual Literacy Supports for Students with Disabilities
Many learners with disabilities are visual learners and are best able to understand and remember content when they can see it represented in some way; in other words, they need to “see what we mean.” This article describes picture books, graphic notes, and story kits, three visual supports helpful for teaching and supporting literacy development.
Author: Paula Kluth
Publication Date: 2017
Publisher: Reading Rockets

Educator Competencies for Personalized, Learner-Centered Environments
These Educator Competencies refer to equity and justice considerations or point to cultural assets and celebrations. The intent is to embrace the complexity of social constructs such as identity and ethnicity. These competencies are designed to help educators build the knowledge, skills, and abilities to tackle this urgent work. Individual teachers can use these competencies to guide them in their development towards more personalized and learner-centered teaching.
Publication Date: 2020
Publisher: KnowledgeWorks and Council of Chief State School Officers

Enhancing Engagement Through Active Student Response
This guide examines four well-researched high-Active Student Response strategies to improve student engagement and academic achievement: response cards, choral responding, guided notes, and peer tutoring. Promising digitally supported approaches are briefly explored with the use of digital student response systems, smartphones, and tablet computers to increase student engagement.
Authors: Matt Tincani and Janet Twyman
Publication Date: 2016
Publisher: Center on Innovations in Learning, Temple University

Examples of Instructional Accommodations
This is a list of accommodations with explanations for practical applications and testing accommodations that students should be using during regular instruction, so they are proficient with them.
Publication Date: March 2020
Publisher: Inclusive Schools Network

Framework for Teaching
The Framework for Teaching has proven to accelerate teacher growth, improve student outcomes, and create a more rewarding and sustaining professional environment. Explore the 2022 updates in the Framework for Teaching with this interactive, digital resource that transforms the guide into a hands-on online tool to gain a deeper understanding of the domains, components, elements of success, and more.
Publication Date: 2022
Publisher: The Danielson Group

Graphic Organizers: Guiding Principles and Effective Practices
Research and best practices have shown that, for graphic organizers to be effective instructional tools, several factors must be addressed. This packet will present strategies and approaches for incorporating these elements, along with outlining the primary categories and uses for graphic organizers.
Publication Date: 2015
Publisher: William and Mary Training and Technical Assistance Center

High-Leverage Practices and Evidence-Based Practices: A Promising Pair
High-leverage practices and evidence-based practices when used together can become powerful tools for improving student outcomes. This brief shows the promise of these practices in advancing educator preparation and practice and, subsequently, outcomes for students with disabilities and those who struggle.
Authors: Erica D. McCray, Margaret Kamman, Mary T. Brownell, and Suzanne Robinson
Publication Date: October 2017
Publisher: CEEDAR Center

How Does Changing “One-Size-Fits-All” to Differentiated Instruction Affect Teaching?
This rigorous literature review analyzed how 28 research studies conducted between 2001 and 2015 have defined, described, and measured changes in teaching practices related to implementation of differentiated instruction in P-12 classrooms.
Authors: Rhonda Bondie, Christine Dahnke, and Akane Zusho
Publication Date: March 2019
Publisher: Review of Research in Education

Identifying and Supporting English Learner Students with Learning Disabilities: Key Issues in the Literature and State Practice
This study describes the key elements to inform policymakers interested in developing more effective procedures for identifying, assessing, and supporting English learner students who may have learning disabilities.
Authors: Elizabeth Burr, Eric Haas, and Karen Ferriere
Publication Date: July 2015
Publisher: Institute of Education Sciences

Implications for Educational Practice of the Science of Learning and Development
This article seeks to contribute to the process of integrating insights across multiple fields and connecting them to knowledge of successful approaches that is emerging in education by drawing out the implications for school and classroom practices of an emerging consensus about the science of learning and development outlined in a recent synthesis of the research.
Authors: Linda Darling-Hammond, Lisa Flook, Channa Cook-Harvey, Brigid Barron, and David Osher
Publication Date: February 2019
Publisher: Applied Developmental Science

Interest Matters: The Importance of Promoting Interest in Education
This research manuscript describes four interest-enhancing interventions: attention-getting settings, contexts evoking prior individual interest, problem-based learning, and enhancing utility value. It includes the science behind the interventions and policies that put student interest at front of the class.
Authors: Judith Harackiewicz, Jessi Smith, and Stacy Priniski
Publication Date: October 2016
Publisher: Policy Insights from the Behavioral and Brain Sciences

MTSS for All: Including Students with the Most Significant Cognitive Disabilities
This brief provides suggestions for ways in which MTSS can include students with the most significant cognitive disabilities so that MTSS provides a whole school and whole district approach to be implemented by educators. Ideas for how to make MTSS fully inclusive of all students are presented following a short history of MTSS and a summary of current MTSS models.
Authors: Martha Thurlow, Gail Ghere, Sheryl Lazarus, and Kristin Liu
Publication Date: January 2020
Publishers: National Center on Educational Outcomes and TIES Center

Neuroscience and Learning: Implications for Teaching Practice
The authors considered recent studies in the neuroscience of learning and memory, with particular emphasis on working and semantic memory, and suggest that neuroscience research into self-referential networks may improve understanding of the learning process. They propose advances in understanding the neural basis for metacognition may encourage the development of new perspectives that may help to motivate students to learn about their own learning processes
Authors: Richard Guy and Bruce Byrne
Publication Date: August 2013
Publisher: Journal of Experimental Neuroscience

This webpage explains the National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS) and the National Instructional Materials Access Center (NIMAC) and provisions for students with disabilities who need instructional materials that are converted into accessible formats in order to learn the same curriculum that is being taught to other students in the class.
Publisher: National Center on Accessible Educational Materials

Preschool Through Third Grade Alignment and Differentiated Instruction: A Literature Review
This literature review provides a review of policies, programs, and practices that have the potential to help students sustain the positive effects of preschool as they progress from kindergarten through grade 3.
Authors: Katie Drummond, Aleksandra Holod, Marie Perrot, Antonia Wang, Michèle Muñoz-Miller, Mackson Ncube, and Herb Turner
Publication Date: August 2016
Publisher: U.S. Department of Education, Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development, Policy, and Program Studies Service

Reading Instruction for English Learners with Learning Disabilities
The purpose of this Info Sheet is to present a brief review of several validated instructional practices for developing reading skills for English Learners with Learning Disabilities.
Authors: Shiva Khalaf and Kristi Santi
Publication Date: 2016
Publisher: Council for Learning Disabilities

Right to Supportive Learning Environments and High-Quality Resources
This research brief discusses every child’s right to literacy-rich learning environments that provide high-quality, open educational resources such as accessible books, texts, and digital resources for all to use, manipulate, and learn from.
Publication Date: 2019
Publisher: International Literacy Association

Significant Disproportionality in Special Education: Current Trends and Actions for Impact
It is imperative that education professionals and policymakers understand the magnitude of significant disproportionality for students of different races and ethnicities and take actions to correct it and prevent it from happening. This brief summarizes the literature and latest research on disproportionality in special education and offers changes in policy and practice that can reduce significant disproportionality in schools.
Publication Date: October 2020
Publisher: National Center for Learning Disabilities

Steps of Interactive Modeling
This article describes how interactive modeling incorporates key elements of effective teaching: modeling the skill or procedure, engaging students in active learning, and immediately assessing their understanding.
Publication Date: 2017
Publisher: Center for Responsive Schools

Study Skills Strategies (Part 1): Foundations for Effectively Teaching Study Skills
This module examines the importance of effective study skills strategies and includes information on why some students struggle with those skills and why it's critical for teachers to explicitly teach such strategies.
Publication Date: 2022
Publisher: IRIS Center Vanderbilt University

Study Skills Strategies (Part 2): Strategies that Improve Students’ Academic Performance
This companion to the Study Skills (Part 1) module reiterates the importance of teachers providing explicit instruction on the use of study skills strategies and overviews several effective strategies: graphic organizers, note-taking, mnemonics, organizing materials, time management, comprehension strategies, and self-regulation strategies.
Publication Date: 2022
Publisher: IRIS Center Vanderbilt University

Teacher Digital Learning Guide
This guide provides key considerations, guiding strategies, resources, and reflection questions to help guide your digital learning in a way that will be specific to your unique situation and the unique needs of your students.
Publication Date: January 2021
Publisher: U.S. Department of Education, Office of Educational Technology

Teachers Know Best: Making Data Work for Teachers and Students
This study explores what teachers believe about data-driven instruction and the tools that support it, how teachers use data to tailor instruction, key challenges teachers identify with the tools that support data-driven instruction, and what teachers need to make data work to drive instruction in the classroom.
Publication Date: June 2015
Publisher: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Teaching as Brain Changing: Exploring Connections between Neuroscience and Innovative Teaching
This paper explores how one might conceptualize learning as a biological process in the context of a common teaching technique called the think–pair–share. It gives an overview of what is known from biological research about the neurobiological basis of learning and explores how various teaching techniques might harness known neurological mechanisms to promote the creation and retrieval of long-term memories.
Authors: Melinda Owens and Kimberly Tanner
Publication Date: Summer 2017
Publisher: CBE Life Sciences Education

Teaching Content-Area Literacy and Disciplinary Literacy
Many students struggle to master basic literacy skills, and many teachers in discipline-specific courses lack the knowledge and expertise to help students interpret the complex texts associated with each distinct discipline. This article focuses on two types of literacy that are crucial to helping students become college and career ready: content-area literacy and disciplinary literacy.
Authors: Ramona Chauvin and Kathleen Theodore
Publication Date: Spring 2015
Publisher: Southwest Education Development Laboratory, American Institutes for Research

Teaching Newcomer English Learners: Four Powerful Vocabulary Practices
Newcomer English learner students must navigate new social structures, school systems, and cultural dynamics—while learning new content in English. This video illustrates four proven ways teachers can help newcomer English learner students develop the academic vocabulary they need to succeed in school and beyond.
Publication Date: May 2019
Publisher: Institute of Education Sciences

The Five Dimensions of Differentiation
This article focuses on differentiation and the ways that teachers can meet the academic needs of all their students. It includes challenges and solutions about how differentiation can be implemented with a variety of strategies that can be used to differentiate, challenge, and engage all students.
Authors: Sally M. Reis and Joseph S. Renzulli
Publication Date: December 2018
Publisher: International Journal for Talent Development and Creativity

The Role of the Paraprofessional in the Inclusive Class
This webinar explains how paraprofessionals can work successfully in the inclusive classroom, give students effective and appropriate support, manage relationships with teachers and students, and help support friendships between students.
Author: Julie Causton
Publication Date: November 2014
Publisher: Brookes Publishing

The UDL Guidelines
The UDL Guidelines are a tool used in the implementation of Universal Design for Learning. These guidelines offer a set of concrete suggestions that can be applied to any discipline or domain to ensure that all learners can access and participate in meaningful, challenging learning opportunities.
Publication Date: 2018
Publisher: CAST

The Use of Graphic Organizers in Inclusive Classrooms for Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities
This article expands on the traditional graphic organizer formats to show how they can be differentiated to meet the needs of students with the most significant cognitive disabilities through the use of Universal Design for Learning.
Authors: Elizabeth Reyes, Shawnee Wakeman, and Jessica Bowman
Publication Date: 2020
Publisher: TIES Center University of Minnesota

Use Strategies to Promote Active Student Engagement
This video defines and provides background on a high-leverage practice for students with disabilities and highlights three essential components, demonstrating these components through video clips from real classrooms. The three key components are the importance of building positive teacher–student relationships, using a variety of strategies for ensuring student engagement during lessons, and actively monitoring for engagement while providing ongoing feedback.
Authors: Michael Kennedy, Katherine Peeples, John Romig, Hannah Mathews, and Wendy Rodgers
Publication Date: 2018
Publisher: Council for Exceptional Children

Using Universal Design for Learning to Design Standards-Based Lessons
This article presents a process that teachers can use as they develop standards-based lesson plans. By applying UDL during the lesson planning process, teachers can identify clear goals and develop flexible methods, assessments, and materials that address the needs and preferences of varied learners. General educators and special educators can use this process to develop inclusive lesson plans that address learners with and without disabilities.
Authors: Kavita Rao and Grace Meo
Publication Date: November 2016
Publisher: SAGE Journals

Video Examples of the Prioritized Educator Competencies
These video resources show educator competencies in action. These competencies have the most leverage in transforming classroom practices to be personalized, student-centered, and more equitable. Footage includes teachers demonstrating key techniques and strategies, experts and peers discussing practice, students reflecting on their experiences.
Publication Date: April 2021
Publisher: KnowledgeWorks Foundation