Ecobehavioral Characteristics of Self-Contained High School Classrooms for Students with Severe Cognitive Disability

Jennifer A Kurth, Kiara Born, Hailey Love

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Scopus citations


This study investigated educational experiences for students with significant cognitive disability (SCD) taught in self-contained high school classrooms. Nineteen students and nine teachers across five high schools and four school districts participated. A time-sampling method was used to describe the ecological, teacher, and student behaviors of these classrooms. Field notes were collected and analyzed as well. Results revealed that students in these classrooms were often passively engaged and had few opportunities to learn from rigorous curriculum. Instructors engaged in few practices known to be effective in supporting the learning of students with SCD. Finally, the classrooms themselves were often distracting and demonstrated little evidence of specialized or effective instruction. Implications for teaching and research are included.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)227-243
Number of pages17
JournalResearch and Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016
Externally publishedYes



  • intellectual disability
  • self-contained classrooms
  • severe disabilities
  • special education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Health Professions(all)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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