Practicing Evidence-Based Practices

  • Ruth Blennerhassett Eren
  • Pamela Owen Brucker


Public education in the United States has a history of local control in the development of curriculum and instruction. Although notable court decisions have led to more universal applications of educational policy and practices (Brown v. Board of Education 1954, Oberti v. Clementon 1993), it has been federal law that has resulted in significant changes in instruction. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA; Public Law 108–142), first enacted in Public Law 94–142, guaranteed the right of a free, appropriate public education for all children, regardless of the severity of their disability. The word “appropriate” resulted in the beginning of what we refer to today as differentiated instruction: instructional strategies that allow a child to learn and progress in an educational setting. The federal law, No Child Left Behind (NCLB; Public Law 107-110), enacted in 2001, contributed to this initiative and added a caveat that these differentiated instructional strategies needed to be grounded in scientifically based research. Indeed, the term “scientifically based research” has been noted to appear in NCLB 111 times (Deshler 2002). The federal government, in IDEA 2004, identified 13 eligibility categories. In order to receive special education services, a student must, through a multidisciplinary evaluation, meet the eligibility criteria established for one of the 13 categories. Since 1975, when PL94–142 was enacted, educational interventions for students receiving special education have expanded, particularly in disability categories with a high level of incidence such as speech and language disorders and learning disabilities. Low-incidence disabilities, such as mental retardation, visual impairments, and autism, have received less attention.


Special Education General Education Team Meeting Special Education Teacher Individualize Education Program 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Applied behavior analysis


Autism spectrum disorders


Council for Exceptional Children


Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 4th edition


Evidence-based practice


Individuals with Disabilities Education Act


Individualized education program


No child left behind


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ruth Blennerhassett Eren
    • 1
  • Pamela Owen Brucker
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Special Education and ReadingSouthern Connecticut State UniversityNew HavenUSA

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