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Such discussions also called for students to learn in age appropriate settings, heterogeneous groupings, and in natural proportions.

What does natural proportion mean?

The proportion of all people with disability labels in the general population is about 13% to 15%. People with the most severe disabilities represent less than 1% of the general population. When students with disability labels attend their home school, there is generally a natural proportion represented. School buildings should consider the natural proportion when assigning students to classrooms. Classrooms which consider the natural proportion will not have more than 15% of its members who have disability labels and no more than one of these students will have a label of severe disabilities.

What is an age-appropriate placement?

An age-appropriate placement refers to the general education classroom for students who are the same chronological age. For preschool-aged children, age-appropriate placements are the settings in which other children of their same chronological age attend.

What are homogeneous and heterogeneous groupings?

Homogeneous groupings refers to the practice of arranging instructional groups of children and youth based on an identified label. This practice is utilized in general education when children and youth are placed in "tracks" such as "basic," "average" and "accelerated." In special education, homogeneous groups are frequently formed based on disability labels. The premise behind the use of homogeneous groupings is that children and youth who are perceived to experience the same difficulties with learning should be taught together.

Heterogeneous groupings refers to a practice of arranging instructional groups to ensure that children and youth of diverse abilities are represented in each classroom and/or activity. The premise behind the use of heterogeneous groups is that children and youth of various abilities, talents and gifts benefit from learning together, by teaching and learning from one another.

Children and adults interacting
Photo courtesy William Bronston, M.D.
Woman and children at a table
Photo courtesy William Bronston, M.D.