What is an appropriate GenEd to SpEd student ration in the classroom?

ANSWER: The district's recommended ratio is no more than 1/3 of the total class population reflects students being served by special education services. However, state and federal law does not specify a required ratio.

Recommended Further Reading:

1) Class Size Reduction: No Silver Bullet for Special Education Students' Achievement. 2004; Zarghami, F. and Schnellert, G.; International Journal of Special Education; Volume 19, Number1; pp. 89-96; ERIC Document  #EJ852046.

According to the abstract: “While there are hundreds of studies reported for general education, few researchers have focused on the impact of class size on the academic achievement of students with special needs. Despite escalating special education costs and increasing student needs, policies governing special education remain inconsistent. We examine the effect of class size reduction on special education students. Two issues were explored: (a) appropriate class size and caseload as they influence special education student academic achievement and (b) the effect of class size on special education teacher attrition rate and teaching methods. The implications of these issues for policy makers are also discussed. Findings indicate 1) each state has different rules on class size and caseload for special education, 2) the students demonstrating the most profound needs remain largely unaffected by class size reduction, and 3) that attrition rate is affected more by quality of teacher preparation than it is by class size. Teachers felt inadequately prepared for inclusion and indicated that their primary need was for more specific inclusion training. We identified no single best way to determine appropriate class and group size for special instructional programs and services; 
however, the existence of well-qualified teachers proved an important factor in
increasing student achievement.”

2) Educating Students with Disabilities in General Education Classrooms: A 
Summary of the Research. 1998; Moore, C., Gilbreath, D., and Maiuri, F.; 
Western Regional Resource Center; 16 pages; ERIC # ED419329.

According to the abstract: “This document reviews the research on achievement 
and successful practices related to educating students with disabilities in inclusive 
general education classrooms. First, it examines the meaning of ‘inclusion’ and
distinguishes inclusion from mainstreaming and integration. The following 
section explains legal requirements under the Individuals with Disabilities 
Education Act that mandate student placement in the least restrictive environment 
and the relationship of inclusion to school reform. The research on inclusion is 
reviewed separately for its effects on students with mild disabilities, for students 
with more significant disabilities, and for students without disabilities.”

3) Toward Inclusion of Special Education Student in General Education: A 
Program Evaluation in General Education. 2006; Idol, L.; Remedial and 
Special Education; Volume 27, Number. 2; 19 pages.

According to the abstract: “The primary intent of this program evaluation was to 
determine the degree of inclusion of students with disabilities in general education 
classes in four elementary and four secondary schools; the similarities and 
differences in how special education services were offered; and the ways in which 
students with disabilities were supported in the least restrictive environment. Staff 
perceptions of special education services were examined by conducting personal 
interviews with a large majority of the classroom teachers, special education 
teachers, instructional assistants, and principals in each school. The findings 
include descriptions of how far along each school was with inclusion, the amount 
of time students spent in general education, the roles of the special education 
teachers, the rates of student referrals for special education consideration, the 
attitudes of all staff toward inclusion and toward collaboration, and the skills of 
the teachers related to the inclusion of special education students. The findings 
also include descriptions of the impact of inclusion on other students, the 
performance of all students on a statewide test, and the qualitative responses of 
educators toward inclusion. Overall, educators were positive about educating 
students with disabilities in general education settings. They were conservative 
about how to best do this, with many of them preferring to have the included 
students accompanied by a special education teacher or instructional assistant or 
continuing to have resource room services. Nearly everyone favored using 
instructional assistants to help all students, not just the students with disabilities. 
Most educators reported feeling positive about working collaboratively and felt 
they had administrative support to offer inclusive education programs.”