Study Group

Special Education and Postsecondary Outcomes

This study is designed to address the glaring shortage of research linking the high school experiences of special education students to these measures of postsecondary success. Currently, there are only two existing, large-scale studies (both about 20 years old) that provide credible estimates of these relationships (Heal and Rusch, 1995; Wagner, 1991), and these studies come to somewhat contradictory conclusions.

Other studies in the existing literature are either case studies with very small sample sizes or larger-scale studies that do not account for baseline measures of student achievement or family characteristics that could confound the relationships between high school experiences and postsecondary outcomes. Given the “postsecondary success gap” between students with disabilities and other students, we need much more convincing evidence about effective interventions for special education students that could improve their postsecondary outcomes.

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Theobald, R., Goldhaber, D., Gratz, T., & Holden, K. (2019). Career and technical education, inclusion, and postsecondary outcomes for students with learning disabilities. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 52(2), 109-119.
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Theobald, R., Goldhaber, D., Gratz, T., & Holden, K. (2020). High school English Language Arts teachers and postsecondary outcomes for students with and without disabilities. Journal of Disability Policy Studies, 1-13.
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Theobald, R., Plasman, J., Gottfried, M., Gratz, T., Holden, K., & Goldhaber, D. (2019). Sometimes less, sometimes more: Trends in career and technical education participation for students with disabilities. CALDER Working Paper No. 220-0819.


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