The Repository @ St. Cloud State

Open Access Knowledge and Scholarship

Date of Award


Culminating Project Type


Degree Name

Educational Administration and Leadership, K-12: Ed.D.


Educational Administration and Higher Education


School of Education

First Advisor

Kay Worner

Second Advisor

Roger Worner

Third Advisor

David Lund

Fourth Advisor

James Johnson

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.


The increase in numbers of students with disabilities in American school districts has created the need to study options that have proven successful in meeting a variety of students’ educational achievement needs in regular education classrooms. The use of co-teaching as a methodology to help meet this need is a worthy research topic.

A mixed methods study was conducted seeking information from special education and regular education middle school teachers in a select Minnesota school regarding co-teaching effectiveness, challenges, and benefits to students. The study participants were selected because they utilized co-teaching methodologies.  The study may provide guidelines for teachers currently employing one of the six researched co-teaching models and for administrators contemplating the use of co-teaching models in the classroom in the future.

Statement of the Problem

Co-teaching methodology pairs a special education and general education teachers in the same classroom; this model was initially developed to provide instruction to students with disabilities in the regular classroom for a portion of their day rather than serving these students extensively in a resource room (Friend & Cook, 1995).

Between 2011-12 and 2017-18, students in public schools who received special education services increased from 6.4 million to 7 million (U.S. Department of Education, 2019). That increase in the number of students with disabilities created a need to study options that have proven successful in meeting a variety of students’ educational achievement needs in regular education classrooms.

Study Purpose and Overview

The purpose of the mixed methods study was to examine the effectiveness and challenges of co-teaching, the benefits to students, and the most frequently employed co-teaching model from the Friend and Cook research, 2010, as reported by special education and general education teachers in select Minnesota middle schools who have implemented a co-teaching model in their classrooms. The study also examined the perceived differences in challenges identified by each co-teaching member.

Key Findings

Significant findings from the survey included:

  • 62.5% of study participants perceived the Parallel Teaching model as very effective.
  • 93.8 % of study participants either agreed or strongly agreed that co-teaching had increased the academic achievement of special education students.
  • 93.8 % of study participants either agreed or strongly agreed that co-teaching allowed for increased opportunities to provide differentiated instruction.
  • 87.6 % of study participants either agreed or strongly agreed that a lack of planning time between co-teaching partners was a challenge.
  • The co-teaching model allowed teachers to differentiate instruction and reflect on what was beneficial to student achievement and to quality teaching.
  • Implementation of a co-teaching model requires advanced planning, training of teachers and scheduled time to meet during the school day and week.
  • Challenges occur when placing two teachers’ personalities together. It is essential to ensure that the teachers will be able to work together and truly want to be part of the co-teaching team.


I would like to thank my committee chairperson, Dr. Kay Worner and my committee members, Dr. Roger Worner, Dr. James Johnson, and Dr. David Lund. Thank you for taking the time and giving me constant feedback to help me finish my research. This would not have been possible without all of your help.

I would also like to thank my classmates in Cohort 7 at St. Cloud State University. Their support and willingness to help me throughout my research is greatly appreciated. Thanks to all of my past and present colleagues for the encouragement while I went through the program. I appreciated everyone reaching out to others for me and making contacts for me during this research. Lastly, thanks to my family and friends for everything that you have done during this journey.



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