Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

Kenneth Newton

Committee Members

Gerald Pascal, William Jenkins, Luke Ebersole, Harold Holloway


The number of Special Education classes for the educable mentally retarded has increased tremendously during the past several years. Implicit within this expansion is the assumption that for the educable mentally retarded such placement offers an environment superior to any other type of placement. In this environment the child is expected to gain greater benefits academically, socially, and perhaps even emotionally. There is some evidence to support this belief, but there have been few studies investigating the differences that result from placing a child in a special class rather than retaining him in a regular class.

The present attempt of offer schooling to all the children of all the people to the full extent of their potential is indeed a far cry from the conditions that existed in this country during parts of the previous century. It has been only approximately one hundred years since the first compulsory school attendance law in the United States was enacted by the Massachusetts legislature requiring children between the ages of eight and fourteen to attend school for not less than twelve weeks each year. Eventually all the states enacted compulsory attendance laws, but many "exceptional" children were excluded from the laws up until the time of World War II. Among the various handicapped children, the mentally handicapped were the last to be accepted into the schools (Bowers, 1954). Presently, all the states have enacted legislation dealing with special education and almost all have provided financial reimbursement for such placement (Erickson, 1958).

The increasing number of classes and the increasing number of children in such classes are naturally increasing the overall cost of the educational program. Thus it is important that we have a more thorough understanding of these classes, the children that are in them, and the results of placement within these classes. An over-view of the work that has been done in this area will be given before proceeding with the current study and its findings.

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