Defense Date


Graduation Date

Fall 12-20-2019


Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name



Professional Doctorate in Educational Leadership (ProDEL)


School of Education

Committee Chair

Launcelot I. Brown

Committee Member

Gibbs Y. Kanyongo

Committee Member

Amy Olson


mathematics, sixth grade, inclusion, instructional strategies, teacher directed instruction, project-based learning, opportunity to learn, active engagement


The purpose of this mixed-method study focused on the effect of active engagement on opportunity to learn and concept learning among sixth grade special education students participating in the inclusion mathematical setting. By implementing two instructional strategies and using the theoretical frameworks of Vygotsky’s Social Constructivism and Erikson’s Stage of Psychosocial Development of Industry vs. Inferiority, findings showed there was a significant negative relationship between active engagement time during instruction and concept learning. The study showed students with identified needs within an inclusion mathematics setting increased concept learning in both instructional classrooms. Therefore, there was no difference in concept learning based on instructional strategy. Surveys indicated the majority of the special education students in the inclusion setting preferred teacher directed instruction. Based on the findings of the study, recommendations for the future in the field of education would be to utilize a variety of instructional strategies within an inclusion classroom and not rely on a single method or instructional strategy for delivering instruction. In addition, understanding the academic needs and learning styles of special education students in the inclusion mathematics classroom is critical. By using a combination of instructional practices in daily instruction and teaching to the whole child, all students will be given the opportunity to learn and be given the supports needed in order to increase concept learning, academic achievement, and self-efficacy. Thus, special education learners within the inclusion setting for mathematics can develop psychological strengths which will carry into the later stages of human development.