The Disadvantages of a Full-Inclusion Classroom

Updated on February 12, 2018
Dean Traylor profile image

Dean Traylor is a freelance writer and teacher. He wrote for IHPVA magazines and raced these vehicles with his father (who builds them).


Full Inclusion is quickly becoming the norm in many public schools across the country. It's a goal that has the support of national and state laws as well as a few top educators. It's also a critical way of ensuring that students with special needs will receive the same form of education as their non-disabled peers. It is a step in the right direction. But, there's a lingering question: does it fully benefit the students it serves?

Unfortunately, the answer is "no." Despite its intended goal of mainstreaming all students with disabilities into the general education population, full inclusion still falls short of providing adequate education for all. One major problem is the way districts try to fulfill it. Also, some students with disabilities aren't adequately placed. It may be due to below-basic skills in reading, writing, or math; intellectual or emotional disabilities; or the student’s inability to access the education. Either way, this inability to reach certain students reveals the limitations of full inclusion.

Originally posted at
Originally posted at

What is Full Inclusion?

Full inclusion is the practice of including students with disabilities (in particular, those with learning disorders) in the same educational program as their non-disabled peers. The reasons are two folds:

• it gives students with learning disabilities more access to educational material and lessons they would not have had in a special education setting, and

• it adheres to civil rights and educational laws such as the American with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and American with Disability (ADA).

Should all schools adopt a full-inclusion model

See results

Its Flaws

As noble and ambitious as full inclusion is, it still suffers from a fundamental flaw: not all students have the same educational levels or degrees of disability. In many cases, students with intellectual disabilities such as mental retardation will not be able to access the educational material in an Algebra class, or students with physical disabilities such as quadriplegia will never join a varsity baseball team.

Inclusion into a general education classroom usually relies on effective accommodations. Accommodations are practices, technology usage, or assistance to help students with disabilities to access the educational material and lesson being taught. Also, it works well when the students have mild or moderate forms of disabilities. The students may able to read, write or do math at levels near grade level (usually two to three grade levels off). But, a little help such as repeating information, supplying notes, or giving the students a flexible seating arrangement can help them access the education being taught.

However, some students – even if all they have is a specific learning disability such as auditory processing disorder – may be severely affected to a point that they can not keep up with the curriculum despite all the accommodations made. For these students, they need a special day classroom to address their educational needs.

When mentioning inclusion, the term Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) often pops up

Student Designation is Critical

Another obstacle that can affect the effectiveness of full inclusion is the practice of screening and labeling students.

An example can be those labeled "SDC." SDC (Special day class) students, have academic skill levels that are far below their age and grade levels. They need extra help and modification – a change in the curriculum – to their education. Also, they spend more than 50% of their school days in a special education classroom.

When mentioning inclusion, the term Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) often pops up. The term often refers to the idea of placing a student in an environment that would be the least restrictive on his/her chance of getting an adequate education. In many cases, however, “restrictions” can have different meanings.

For students who are slightly below grade level in certain skills (usually called a Resource or RSP student), a restrictive environment may be the slow-paced or unchallenged curriculum of a special day class. For an SDC student, a general education classroom may be restrictive in terms of the complex and challenging material usually presented in these courses. Restrictive, in the case of LRE, is anything that restricts a student’s ability to learn.

While full inclusion has its advantages, it also has some disadvantages. It’s not for every student with a disability. Despite its restriction, it is just one more approach educators can use to help a student with disabilities get a free and appropriate public school education like his/her non-disabled peers.

How to Fix the Problem?

Full inclusion is a lofty goal. However, for school officials to obtain this educational prize, they must use various educational programs. They may include better screening of students, the use of remedial or reading recovery courses, and better tutoring systems. Also, some schools have utilized a system in which the special education teacher or instructional assistant will work in collaboration with the general education teacher in the same classroom.

The following programs have been used by various districts to help with mainstreaming:

  • Response to Intervention (RTI). It helps in offering preventative measures. Also, it helps school officials keep numbers of referrals for special education down.
  • Co-Teaching or Co-Taught: two teachers (one general and the other special education) teach in the same class. The special educator will monitor students.
  • Assessments such as Woodcock Johnson (to measure their abilities).

Originally from
Originally from

Questions & Answers

    © 2014 Dean Traylor


      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      • profile image

        charmaine ne 

        2 months ago

        I am all for inclusion when appropriate. However, after working in a school for the last few years I am appalled at what is allowed to go on in classrooms. Not only do a good number of students not get the individual help they need to succeed, but the other students are many times not allowed to learn in a safe and disruption free environment. I have seen classrooms being evacuated several times a day on a normal basis due to students with emotional problems that have chronic dangerous behavior problems. In my opinion the district just doesn't want to spend the money for an optional setting. I do not believe the law was set up for this type of classroom setting. It is truly unbelievable.


      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

      Show Details
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)