AN INVESTIGATION OF THE ACADEMIC PREPARATION OF STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES PLANNING TO ATTEND A FOUR YEAR COLLEGE OR UNIVERSITY
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The purpose of this study was to examine the academic preparation of students with disabilities who plan to attend a four year college or university upon graduating from high school in the Participating School System. The study employed a measure of high school academic course rigor developed by Horn and Kojaku (2001) to measure the academic preparation of the 2008 school system's graduating class who planned to attend a four year college or university. Students were assigned one of four levels of rigor based on the courses completed for graduation. The study also examined the demographic, grade point average and time in special education for the participants. Descriptive statistics were used to describe the population.
A transcript analysis was completed on each student with an IEP (47) in the Participating School System class of 2008 who indicated plans to attend a 4 year college. The student participants were assigned a level of rigor ranging from rigorous (most challenging), to mid-level I, mid-level II, and core curriculum or below (least rigorous). The study revealed the majority of students did not meet the rigorous standard and completed courses that qualified for core curriculum or below. Six students qualified for mid-level I and four students mid-level II. One student met the rigorous standards. Additional findings indicated that (a) there was no difference between males and females in terms of level of course rigor or cumulative GPA; (b) there was no significant difference in the level of course curriculum as a function of ethnicity (Hispanic non-Hispanic); (c) White participants and Multiracial participants had significantly higher GPAs than those in the Other racial category; (d) Black/African American participants did not differ on GPA from the other three groups; (e) Hispanic or Latino students had significantly lower GPAs than non-Hispanic or Latino students; (f) White participants and Multi-racial participants were significantly more likely to take classes at the core or higher level than Black/African American and Other race students; (g) the students in this sample were unlikely to have taken AP classes or honors classes, but likely to have taken support classes; and (h) the students in this sample spent the majority of their high school class time in general education classes rather than special education classes. The findings emphasized the need for high school counselors and special education teachers to encourage students with disabilities who are planning to attend a 4 year college or university to take a more rigorous curriculum in order to prepare them for degree attainment