DIFFERENCES IN COLLEGE-READINESS RATES FOR STUDENTS WHO WERE ENROLLED IN SPECIAL EDUCATION IN TEXAS: A MULTIYEAR, STATEWIDE INVESTIGATION
Holden, Catherine N.
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Purpose The purpose of this journal-ready dissertation was to examine the extent to which college-readiness rates of Texas high school graduates differed by disability category and by economic status for students who qualified for special education services. The first purpose was to analyze the degree to which differences were present in college-readiness rates by disability category of Texas high school graduates who qualified for special education services. A second purpose was to determine the extent to which differences were present in college-readiness rates by economic status of Texas high school graduates who were Learning Disabled. Finally, a third purpose was to examine the degree to which differences were present in college-readiness rates by economic status of Texas high school graduates who were Emotionally Disturbed. Each of these three research studies involved an analysis of three years of Texas statewide data. As such, the extent to which consistencies were present in the college-readiness rates of these groups of students was ascertained. Method In this causal-comparative research design, archival data were obtained and analyzed from the Texas Education Agency Public Education Information Management System for the 2008-2009 through the 2010-2011 school years. Inferential statistical procedures were calculated to determine whether differences were present in reading, mathematics, and both subjects college-readiness performance among four groups of students who were enrolled in special education (i.e., Learning Disability, Emotionally Disturbed, Other Health Impaired, Speech or Language Impaired); for students who were Learning Disabled by their economic status; and for students who were Emotionally Disturbed by their economic status. Findings The college-readiness rates in reading and mathematics for students who were Learning Disabled were statistically significantly higher than the college-readiness rates for students with an Emotional Disturbance, Other Health Impairment, or a Speech or Language Impairment. Students who had an Other Health Impairment had higher college-readiness rates in both subjects than the other three disability categories. For students with Learning Disabilities, very low college-readiness rates were present. For students with an Emotional Disturbance, not a single student with an Emotional Disturbance met the college-readiness standard in reading, mathematics, and both subjects.