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Those of us involved in education – administrators, teachers, parents, students, specialists, policy makers and researchers – must decide on the level of rigour that will take place in our classrooms. Decisions based on the least dangerous assumption (LDA) are providing outstanding results. Donnellan (1984) famously wrote that “we should assume that poor performance is due to instructional inadequacy rather than to student deficits” (p 142). This philosophy has been the foundation of recent research into the access available to the general curriculum and practice in the classroom by individuals who have a wide range of ability levels. As a result, these studies have repeatedly yielded data showing students with a range disabilities can make gains in a variety of areas including grade-aligned content. This keynote presentation will highlight important criteria to promote LDA including: evidence-based practices with scientifically researched curricula and materials, differentiated instruction that maintains rigour, consistent data capture, and decision making standards-based instruction. Throughout this presentation, specific studies conducted to reinforce these criteria when LDA has been the foundation for this work will be highlighted. Special education has a rich history in advocating for the individual needs of students with disabilities. As we move into the rigour of providing standards-based instruction, we see how much more they are capable of, as well as an opportunity to increase quality of life. - See more at:


Epping, Australia

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This document was published with permission by the conference organizers. It was originally published by theSuccessful Learning Conference.