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ERIC Number: ED551965
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 190
Abstractor: As Provided
ISBN: 978-1-2678-4900-7
The Impact of Graduate First Project on Students with Disabilities: Perceptions of Key Personnel
Foley, Tamera Garrett
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Capella University
The Graduate First initiative was implemented to address the dropout crisis among students with disabilities in the state of Georgia, who continue to demonstrate a rate of attrition twice that of their non-disabled peers (Georgia Department of Education [GA DOE], 2010). This mixed method case study explored the perceptions and experiences of a sample of 20 Graduate First collaboration and graduation coaches and other key school personnel involved with the program, as well as the county and school level graduation and dropout data. Qualitative results revealed a general perception of effectiveness of the Graduate First initiative, which provides additional attention and data driven methods for meeting the needs of the at-risk student population, particularly students with disabilities. Key elements perceived to contribute to the success of the initiative included attendance tracking and rewards to keep the students in school, individual attention and tutoring, and the use of self-determination and student-led IEPs; whereas, factors perceived to contribute to the attrition of students with disabilities included frequent academic failures, multiple retentions resulting in being overage, a college preparation focused school curriculum lacking vocational options, and the negative effects of disability labels on student expectations. Participants described the frustration and discouragement of students with disabilities, who reportedly feel overwhelmed with the academic rigor and failing to succeed, leading to dropping out of school. County and school level quantitative data demonstrated an improvement in the graduation rates, particularly among students with disabilities, but continued to evidence increases in student dropout rates in grades 9-12, with a noticeably higher dropout rate among the students with disabilities at the case study school, despite intervention efforts, suggesting the need for further investigation. Findings of the study contribute to potential new directions in addressing the the dropout rate problem among this population. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Secondary Education; Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Georgia