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What do High School Students Think About Co-Teaching in Science Classrooms?

Shantha Preston-Smith, Margaret E. King-Sears, Anya S. Evmenova, Pamela Hudson Baker


For graduation, high school students with learning disabilities and other high-incidence disabilities need sufficient science credits. For many students, their success is dependent on how well they learn in co-taught classes. However, students seldom have a voice about co-teaching in science. In this study, high school students with and without learning disabilities and other high-incidence disabilities provided their perspectives about co-taught science classes. Disproportionate stratified random sampling was used to select students from 17 co-taught science classes. Ninety-nine students completed the Co-Teaching Student Questionnaire (CTSQ) about science co-teachers’ roles and level of agreement with statements about co-taught instruction. Additionally, students’ written responses about co-teaching benefits and suggestions for improvement were analyzed. Results indicated similarities and differences in perceptions from students with and without disabilities. More than half of all students accessed both co-teachers when they needed help, and almost all students agreed the teachers seemed comfortable sharing responsibilities when co-teaching. Students were divided about whether co-teachers distributed tasks evenly. A benefit noted in qualitative themes was having support and help from co-teachers, whereas an improvement was ensuring special educators had sufficient science content knowledge. Implications for practice and future research, including eliciting and using students’ perspectives, are presented.

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co-teaching; science; student perceptions

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