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ERIC Number: ED526242
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Nov
Pages: 92
Abstractor: ERIC
Secondary School Programs and Performance of Students with Disabilities: A Special Topic Report of Findings from the National Longitudinal Transition Study-2 (NLTS2). NCSER 2012-3000
Newman, Lynn; Wagner, Mary; Huang, Tracy; Shaver, Debra; Knokey, Anne-Marie; Yu, Jennifer; Contreras, Elidia; Ferguson, Kate; Greene, Sarah; Nagle, Katherine; Cameto, Renee
National Center for Special Education Research
Since 1982, the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) has periodically surveyed the status of curricula being implemented in America's high schools and the course-taking patterns of high school students, as identified from their transcripts. Data from the High School Transcript Study (HSTS), conducted in conjunction with the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), serve a valuable accountability function in that they can capture course-taking patterns at a time when major curriculum changes or educational policy initiatives are being implemented. Although for many years, this important data source did not provide information on students with disabilities, the most recent report from 2009 (Nord et al. 2011) takes a cursory look at this important population, providing information on credits earned overall and in core academic, other academic, or nonacademic courses; and average GPA. However, many questions remain unanswered about the school programs and performance of students with disabilities. For example, the extent to which students took their courses in general education or special education settings is unaddressed, as are the wide-ranging differences in the school programs of students who differ in the nature of the disability that qualifies them for special education services. The National Longitudinal Transition Study-2 (NLTS2) provides a unique source of information on these and other important questions for students with disabilities. The study addresses questions about youth with disabilities by providing information over a 10-year period about a nationally representative sample of secondary school students with disabilities, including information that details for policymakers, educators, parents, and students a national picture of what courses students with disabilities took in high school, in what settings, and with what success in terms of credits and grades earned. This report describes course taking primarily through the lens of course credits earned. To progress toward graduation, students need not only to take a particular distribution of courses but also to meet the performance standards for those courses, resulting in earned credits. Specifically, this report addresses the following questions for students with disabilities who attended typical high schools: (1) How many credits did students with disabilities earn during high school and in what types of courses?; (2) What proportion of credits did students with disabilities earn in general and special education settings?; (3) What grades did they receive in their classes?; (4) How did the high school credit-earning and grade-performance experiences of students with disabilities compare with those of their peers in the general population?; and (5) How did the high school credit-earning and grade-performance experiences differ for students who differed in disability category, demographic characteristics, grade levels, and school completion status? This report is organized to provide information collected from high school transcripts on the credit-earning and grade-performance experiences of students with disabilities as a group in typical high schools. Overall, students with disabilities spent various lengths of time in high school. The majority completed their high school programs, and their transcripts usually included 4 or more years of course taking. Others (approximately 22 percent) did not complete high school (i.e., they had dropped out or had been permanently expelled), which frequently resulted in their having fewer than 4 years of course taking. Because the overall intent of NLTS2 is to describe the experiences of the population of students with disabilities as a whole, including both those who eventually completed their high school programs and those who did not, each chapter of this report begins by presenting the experiences of students with disabilities as a group, independent of their high school completion status. The final portion of each section in the chapters then distinguishes the credit-earning experiences of students with disabilities by high school completion status, presenting data separately for those who did and did not complete high school. NLTS2 Sampling, Data Collection, and Analysis Procedures are appended. (Contains 36 tables, 2 figures and 57 footnotes.)
National Center for Special Education Research. 400 Maryland Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20202. Tel: 800-437-0833; Fax: 202-401-0689; Web site:
Publication Type: Numerical/Quantitative Data; Reports - Research
Education Level: High Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: National Center for Special Education Research (ED)
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: National Assessment of Educational Progress; National Longitudinal Transition Study of Special Education Students
IES Funded: Yes