ERIC Number: EJ1088850
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Mar
Graduation Rates of Students with Disabilities: Issues and Implications for District Accountability
Elbaum, Batya; Myers, Nicholas D.; Rodriguez, Raymond J.; Sharpe, Sheree T.
Journal of Special Education Leadership, v27 n1 p3-12 Mar 2014
Following the reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA, 2004), states were required to develop a State Performance Plan (SPP; U.S. Department of Education, 2011) addressing 20 accountability indicators for students with disabilities, ages 3 to 21. First and arguably foremost among these is Indicator 1, the ''percent of youth with IEPs [Individualized Education Programs] graduating from high school with a regular diploma'' (Office of Special Education Programs [OSEP], 2012). Reasons for the prominence of this indicator are well-known. Graduation from high school is a predictor of many critical outcomes in adulthood, including psychosocial well-being (Liem, Dillon, & Gore, 2001), physical health (Freudenberg & Ruglis, 2007; Winkleby, Jatulis, Fran, & Fortmann, 1992), longevity (Molla, Madans, & Wagener, 2004), employment (National Center for Education Statistics [NCES], 2002), and earnings (U.S. Census Bureau, 2011). However, district-level reporting requirements of the State Performance Plan do not take into account key factors that are known to affect graduation rates and that are beyond the control of individual school districts. An analysis of four years of accountability data from a large southeastern state showed that district differences in graduation rates for students with disabilities were highly related to sociodemographic factors including district poverty, the percentage of students with disabilities who were Black or African American, and the percentage of students with disabilities who were Hispanic. Differences in graduation rates were not related to district size. This article discusses the study's findings and implications for district accountability and offers recommendations for district administrators.
Descriptors: Graduation Rate, Disabilities, Accountability, Federal Legislation, Educational Legislation, Equal Education, Individualized Education Programs, High School Graduates, Predictor Variables, Educational Indicators, School Districts, Demography, Poverty, African American Students, Hispanic American Students, School District Size, Socioeconomic Background, Special Education, Hierarchical Linear Modeling, School Administration
Council of Administrators of Special Education. Fort Valley State University, 1005 State University Drive, Fort Valley, GA 31030. Tel: 478-825-7667; Fax: 478-825-7811; Web site: http://www.casecec.org
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: High Schools; Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Individuals with Disabilities Education Act