Students Transition with Learning Disparities

A study of Primary Research Disabled Students Transition to Post-secondary Education
Table of Contents
1.0 Introduction 3
1.1 Problem Statement 3
1.2 Thesis Outline 4
2.0 Literature Review 5
3.0 Discussion 11
4.0 Conclusion & Recommendations 13
5.0 Recommendations 13
6.0 References 14
List of Tables
Table 1: Expenditure on Education: Comparison of Secondary and Post Secondary 4
According to the United States Department of Education (USDE, 2005) in most of the jurisdictions, `Secondary Education` in the United States refers to the last six or seven years of statutory formal education on the other hand the `Post-secondary Education` is otherwise known as the university or college education, mostly of 4-years of study. However, the process of education though fundamental is easy for some and difficult for others (Adelman, 2006) others who have learning disability (Bailey, 2003). Learning disability as opined by Bangser (2008) is a categorization of the various learning disorders of the students in which they feel difficulties in learning in particular manner. Sittiprapaporn (2012) states regarding to this issue that there are several effective methods of transitions that can make transition successful from high school to the post-secondary studies. Analyzing the severity and intensity of their disability, individuals can easily imply the best interventions to inculcate strategy that can foster their future. However, interventions could be simple and complex.
Problem Statement
According to Gray (2008) as time continued, schooling became a cultural tradition with which society had much to gain. It was, and still is, an economic investment. Education is a business those who provide education seek profit from their efforts, just like any other industry. The opinion of the author is a clear indication to argue that the focus is more on education as a business rather than on paying equal emphasis on the right of education as in any business the general criteria is to invest on those who give returns.
This motivated this thesis to further explore into the investments made by in the education at varied levels (Table-1).
Table 1: Expenditure on Education: Comparison of Secondary and Post Secondary
Total Expenditure
Till Secondary School
Post Secondary
Million USD
% of Total
Million USD
% of Total
Source: Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2011 (Education p. 143)
As can be seen in the above table it is evident that when the percentage of expenditure is compared among secondary and post-secondary education in the United Nations gradually the focus is more shifted to post-secondary education rather than the secondary education. When these statistical figures are contrasted with the opinion of Gray (2008) it can be presumed that education is becoming more as an economic investment. However when contrasted with the number of students at secondary with post-secondary education higher number of enrolments can be seen in secondary education rather than post-secondary education this is a clear indication of the dropout rate. This thesis views this dropout rate as transition from secondary to post-secondary education with a view of learning disability of the students and furthers to study the primary literary evidences in this area.
Thesis Outline
This thesis is divided into three parts. The initial part `the introduction` having provided a background and justified the conduct of a research stating an appropriate problem will further to present literary evidences of primary researches that focused on varied aspects of learning disabilities and students transition to higher education. This is followed by analysing the literary evidences in the third part to derive conclusions and provide related recommendations in the last and fourth section.
Literature Review
Transition from secondary to post-secondary education depends on successful completion of secondary education. In this regard Geary (2008) informs that there is massive difference in current learning methodology of this contemporary society and what exactly students must learn innately. The current set of standards of learning makes some unrealistic goals for students to accomplish. However Keil (2008) states that students are not fundamentally encouraged to learn the skills of post-secondary education in their schools. Hence, the provided information and learning curriculum is no use of students if they don`t realize the need of them. Moreover, the higher class or higher grade students move the harder lessons and information provided to them that make them feel hard to learn. This is the evidence that the learning disabilities observed in the cases when students moves to the higher grades.
Under the given and discussed backdrop this paper is of the opinion that for a person it is imperative to possess a post-secondary education degree. This might be effortless for students above average levels but for students with learning disabilities it might be a tough task. Thus this paper in the broadest sense, considering higher education as essential for the renewal of the student as they move away from one phase to another in their lives furthers to examine primary researches that discussed and evaluated learning disabilities and measured their implication and suggested policy frameworks and program interventions. The idea is to arrive at appropriate conclusions and suggest related recommendations from the literary evidences. Such that indicative issues related to transition of high school students to post-secondary education can be identified.
Research by Achieve (2011), ACT and others, including the Common Core State Standards Initiative, provides some details that students of the high school grades need to cover a set of four core mathematics to get succeed for post secondary education — covering Geometry Advanced Algebra and data, statistics content and probably — including four years of rigorous English aligned with college- and career-ready standards.
In this regard investigation and inquiry by this research into primary sources of education indicating learning disparities was found to be as early as 1980s. This is evident from the research finding of Boyer (1983) who a report published in United States in the years of 1983 by Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching explored some disturbing gap between the academic results of American High schools and fundamental educations students getting for moving higher grades or perform as adults. Boyer mentioned detail shows that the students of the American high schools scored the lower scores in the comprehensive test and civic test and mathematic test as compared to other countries` students. The research findings of Boyer can be considered as a base for inquiry into learning disabilities wherein the results are more generalized than being specific. However, having gained the basic insight from this report that the high school students in the US are facing learning disability this research furthers to inquire into other primary literary evidences that focused on specific indications with more specific area.
The research of Abreu-Ellis (2007) conducted a survey in Ontario school setting focusing on the challenges faced by the students in procuring admission in the University of Ontario. The idea of the researcher was to find `how students with learning disabilities made sense of their experiences in post-secondary education?`
The research employed 6-students with learning disabilities who were in the line to be graduated and identified two key challenges: firstly they had to cope with `parental separation` and secondly `learn to become more independent`. The research recommended that the faculty and mentors are required t have professional training to understand the learning disabilities and tackle it precisely applying best strategies to eliminate the disgrace of learning disability in our society and for that purpose institutional and federal funding is very imperative.
On the other side Bangser (2008) found that `students who got promoted to the post secondary education experienced to play a role to in exploring essential supports`. As the research also found that technology would help the students more it recommended that the entire process of the transition must include the funding for the latest technology as well as the time allocation of the students to get accustomed with the technology.
The in-depth interview conducted by Chaplin (2011) with 7-graduates, 4-parents and 4-teachers of a private school (name not disclosed) in the southwest region of the US found that there are several vital ingredients and factors for making the transition of the students a successful step such as support of their parents, proper learning materials, proper environment support, high level motivation, readiness for attending the class and grasp new skills, hard work and some others. The recommendations included having proper time for research, essay writing, utilizing time for completing homework are some vital endeavors that make transition successful.
The qualitative research of Marshak et al., (2010) conducted in 16 samples researched the concept from the different view point. The basic approach of the study was services provided by the secondary high schools to the students which is authorized and ordered by the legislators to provide the equal services to the disabled students for making their transition to post secondary schools successful. The result was really terrifying that the disabled students were not getting the required services. According to the finding of the research there are five core themes: (a) identity issues, (b) willingness to curb the negative social responses, (c) insufficient knowledge, (d) perceived quality and significance of services, and (e) negative experiences with faculty.
The research of Kerri (2010) employing 8-participants matriculated in a community college. All of the participants were diagnosed to be having learning disabilities. The study explored some facts regarding the choice of the college where all students including the disabled students had to choose the college here the disabled students completely on their own had to navigate the college without any assistance on the crucial time period of admissions without any mentioned reasonable reasons. However, the recommendations were there that all disabled students must have more opportunities to get the proper navigation in college choice process and there must be group counseling for disabled students alongside the other students`.
Papay & Bambara (2011) also supported and produced the supporting results through their web survey in which they selected 8-program coordinators from the post secondary education (PSE) program in order to ensure that the results of the survey would give the required details. The result states that (a) available chances of the PSE programs to the ID (Intellectual disparities) students is limited to those students who enrolled in the district schools that fund and manage all the PSE programs are not open for all aspirants, and (b) though some of the ID students appear in the classes where classes are properly conducted and the learning materials are appeared to be same with the learning abilities of the students.
The research of Calefati (2009), who conducted a case study on the `intellectual disability` (Down Syndrome) on student named Katie Apostolides student of the Mount Aloysius explored that `new approach and programs funded by federal can aid to the disabled children`. The research was totally based on the thematic analysis and used purposive sampling i.e. non-probability. The research ended with the result that disabled students would be getting proper education and learning through the ICE kind of programs to get the proper platform to make their career and get job in the landscaping and food service sectors until their age completed the federal program limited age.
The case study research of Michael (2009) employing purposive sampling examined the experiences of students with LD in their transition into a postsecondary learning environment and found that their experiences were perceived as difficult yet were also seen as successful. This research can be considered as a good example to state that if motivated in a right directions the students with LD can be facilitated for a result oriented transmission.
As can be seen above varied researchers viewed learning disparities from varied perception. They range from institutional responsibility to individual commitment. Each of the research done in a live environment is indicative of the level of the issues. Very few institutes at the secondary level seems to be actively involved in helping the students with learning disability there are few institutes committed in promoting students with disabilities for their transition to university and college education. When contrasted with the statistics discussed in the initial section it can be assumed that education has turned to be a business anticipating returns for investments.
This particular section will thoroughly discuss each finding that found in the previous chapters during the research.
From the findings of Bangser (2008) it can be assumed that there is a need to inculcate the skills of `self-determination` and `self-advocacy` in the high school such that the transition of the students can be facilitated. However the case of Apostolides, as discussed by Calefati (2009) is a perfect example of the so found self-determination of the individual. As not all the students can be anticipated to be having that kind of self-advocacy there is a urgent need for commitment from the institutions wherein the students can be helped to overcome learning disabilities. The self-confidence and motivation from the management of the institute like that of Apostolides can be helped for successful transit from secondary to post-secondary education. This is evident from the discussions of the author who states that: Apostolides got the chance to learn with their peer instead of having a special class with other disabled persons. Moreover, she always got support whether in or outside of the classroom whenever she felt that classroom instructions are not proper for higher requirements. This education approach was continued for the Apostolides when she got admission to the Massachusetts`s Becker College thereafter at central Pennsylvania`s Mount Aloysius.
In furtherance to the commitment of the individual and the institutes the research of Abreu-Ellis (2007) is a clear indication of the urgent need for the post-secondary institutes to work in partnership with the K-12 administrators and the teachers such that transition can be better facilitated.
Lack of facilities to students in one situation and students not using the facilities are also seen in the discussed researches. If the studies of Marshak et al., (2010) indicated that though institutes were providing related facilities to disabled students for their transition, the students on other hand were found to be not availing the facilities. In contrast the research findings of Papay & Bambara (2011) is a clear indication that institutes under the pretext of technical difficulties were indicating their disability in including the disabled students and help them to transit for higher education. The research of Papay & Bambara (2011) is a clear indication of disparity in providing the needed education to the people with learning disparities. Though the indications are towards technical reasoning, only by overcoming such restrictions can the institutes of secondary education can help the students and facilitate them for their transition.
On the other hand the research of Kerri (2010) provides an interesting insight to the institutes at both secondary and post-secondary education. The recommendations indicating that the inclusion of disabled students with the regular stream will help them learn fast furthermore involving them in the `choice process` is also a good recommendation. From the research of Michael (2009) it can be argued that these results will deliver some insights of the students` requirements with LD and let the administration of both post secondary and secondary schools to develop mechanism for improving the teaching skills of the faculty and increase probability of the transition success.
Conclusion & Recommendations
Almost all of the primary researches indicated and discussed have provided the perceptions and voices of students with learning disabilities as they transition to post-secondary education. Each of the research discussed also provided a better insight of varied challenges faced by the students and also identified the gap and indicated to a higher degree of emergent themes wherein a further research was invited to explore into the experiences of the students on their transition to college more importantly for their success in a new environment of post-secondary education. As a single line conclusions this theses is of the opinion that policymakers and administrators are facing choices in structuring interventions to promote successful transitions from high school for the students at secondary level. Unless done there is a chance to assume that the education is becoming a business wherein there is an anticipation of gains from the investment made.
Though the government and voluntary organisations reports indicate that there are numerous and promising approaches available to support students` preparation for successful transition to post-secondary education as demanded by the workforce community and the economy of the nation there still seems to be a dearth of transition difficulties for the disabled students at individual level. The office of the disability services needs to terminate the institutional barriers in order to assist the students to conquer their personal barriers as indicated by Marshak et al., (2010). There is also a need to increase the intensity of the strategies and effectiveness of the prevalent approaches, proper concentration need to be given on relevant, rigor and effective learning curriculum of high school moreover, for the students who already traditionally encountered the learning barriers for transiting to the post secondary school.
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