ERIC Number: ED494920
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2005-Jun
Changes over Time in the Early Postschool Outcomes of Youth with Disabilities. A Report of Findings from the National Longitudinal Transition Study (NLTS) and the National Longitudinal Transition Study-2 (NLTS2)
Wagner, Mary; Newman, Lynn; Cameto, Renee; Levine, Phyllis
Background: Since the early 1980s, when A Nation at Risk sounded a clear warning about the condition of American education, there have been extensive federal, state, and local efforts to improve schools for all students, including broad policy initiatives intended to change the school experiences of students with disabilities and improve their outcomes both during school and in their postschool years. Two studies by the U.S. Department of Education provide documentation of changes experienced since the mid 1980s by secondary school students with disabilities as they transition to young adulthood. Purpose: To assess change between 1987 and 2003 in the early postschool outcomes (i.e. postsecondary enrollment, employment, engagement in the community, living arrangements, and social involvement) of youth with disabilities. Changes also are described for youth with disabilities who differed in their school-exit status, age, gender, household income, and race/ethnicity. Study Sample: The National Longitudinal Transition Study (NLTS) included a nationally representative sample of 14,000 youth receiving special education, ages 15 through 23 in the 1985-86 school year. The National Longitudinal Transition Study-2 (NLTS2) includes a nationally representative sample of 11,276 youth who were ages 13 through 16 and receiving special education services in seventh grade or above in the 2000-2001 school year. This report focuses on the subset of youth represented in NLTS and NLTS2 who had been out of high school up to 2 years in 1987 or 2003. Analyses include the age group of out of school youth that was common to the studies at those time points: youth ages 15 through 19. The two samples are weighted to have the same distribution of these age groups. Research Design: Descriptive; Correlational; Longitudinal; Other Quantitative. Data Collection and Analysis: Information reported here is drawn from the first wave of parent telephone interviews conducted for NLTS youth in 1987 and the second wave of parent/youth interviews conducted for NLTS2 youth in 2003. NLTS2 telephone interviews were conducted with parents and with youth who were reported by parents to be able to respond to questions about their experiences, either over the phone or through a mailed written questionnaire. Findings: By 2003 there were significant increases in youth with disabilities' postsecondary education enrollment and employment rates. There also was an increase in participation in organized community groups. Despite the positive changes, other changes were disconcerting: the sizable increase in the proportion of youth with disabilities who had been fired from a job or arrested. In addition, there was no real change in earnings over time when wages were adjusted for inflation. There were differential changes in outcomes across disability categories, continued limitations for youth from households with lower income, and decreasing but persistent racial/ethnic differences. Conclusion: The age groups included in NLTS and NLTS2 and the timing of data collection in the two studies permit one more comparison between youth with disabilities represented in the two studies--when youth were ages 18 through 21 and had been out of high school up to 4 years. Analyses of those cohorts, to be presented in future reports, will reveal the ways in which the changes in the early postschool outcomes of youth with disabilities documented in this report evolve as youth continue into early adulthood. Citation: Wagner, M., Newman, L., Cameto, R., & Levine, P. (2005). Changes over time in the early postschool outcomes of youth with disabilities. A report of findings from the National Longitudinal Transition Study (NLTS) and the National Longitudinal Transition Study-2 (NLTS2). Menlo Park, CA: SRI International. The following are appended: (1) Sampling, Data Collection, and Analysis Procedures: NLTS Wave 1 Parent Interview/Survey and NLTS2 Wave 2 Parent-Youth Interview/Survey; and (2) Unweighted Sample Sizes. (Contains 38 exhibits and 2 footnotes.)
Descriptors: Racial Differences, High School Students, Middle School Students, Politics of Education, Income, Employment, Exhibits, Disabilities, Age Differences, Outcomes of Education, Education Work Relationship, Postsecondary Education, Youth, Educational History, Educational Policy, Educational Change, Change Strategies, Enrollment Trends, Employment Level, Social Networks, Gender Differences, Family Income, Longitudinal Studies, Special Education, Wages, Citizen Participation
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Postsecondary Education
Sponsor: Special Education Programs (ED/OSERS), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: SRI International, Menlo Park, CA.