The incentive structures existing in 22 mainstream classes enrolling 31 triads of students labeled as low achieving, average achieving, and learning disabled (LD) were observed on 10 occasions. Results indicated that incentive structures were composed of two components, which were labeled academic engagement and behavioral management. Also, students labeled as LD engaged in intermediate amounts of content-related processes relative to students labeled as low and average achievers, but teachers engaged in more behavioral management with students labeled as LD than with either of the other two groups. The data are discussed in terms of different patterns of behavior among students labeled as LD and low achieving and their implications for classification of children for special education.
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