Peer relationships of pupils with and without individualized education plans in co-teaching and maistream educational settings
Pupils with special educational needs have been shown to experience more problems in peer relationships than their peers. Comparative research across different educational settings has been limited though. The purpose of this study was to compare the peer relationships of fifth-graders with and without individualized education plans (IEP) in co-teaching and mainstream educational settings. Peer relationships were operationalized as peer acceptance, friendship and, as a subjective response to peer relationships, the level of loneliness. Pupils with IEPs (n = 31) and pupils without IEPs (n = 181) from two coteaching and eight mainstream classes participated in the study. In the spring of Year 5, participants completed sociometric measures of peer acceptance and friendship and The Loneliness and Social Dissatisfaction Scale. In addition, teachers (n = 12) filled in the Abilities Index for pupils with IEPs. The data was analyzed quantitatively using nonparametric tests. The results indicated that pupils with IEPs had lower social preference, were more rejected, had fewer reciprocated friends, received fewer friendship nominations and reported higher levels of loneliness than pupils without IEPs. However, in coteaching classes, particularly boys with IEPs fared well socially. This suggests that coteaching might be a viable option for providing special education services from the point of view of pupils’ peer relationships. ...
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