Equity or Marginalization?: The High School Course-Taking of Students Labeled With a Learning Disability

Equity or Marginalization?: The High School Course-Taking of Students Labeled With a Learning Disability

Issue/Topic: Equity; High School--College Readiness
Author(s): Callahan, Rebecca; Muller, Chandra; Shifrer, Dara
Organization(s): Rice University; University of Texas
Publication: American Educational Research Journal
Published On: 1/1/2013

Educational stratification and differences in opportunities to learn are apparent though course-taking during high school with consequences throughout the life course. While research has looked at inequity in high school course-taking for students of color, students of low socioeconomic status, first generation college goers, and by gender, little attention has been paid to students labeled with learning disabilities.

To investigate whether students labeled with learning disabilities complete fewer academic courses by the end of high school compared to their peers who are not labeled, when both cohorts have similar backround characteristics, early high school experiences, achievement, attitudes, and behaviors


Policy Implications/Recommendations:

Research Design:
The study estimates the specific impact of learning disability labels by comparing course selection of LD and non-LD students; and uses multivariate analyses to determine whether differences persist after accounting for socio-economic backgrounds, academic histories, and early high school experiences.

10,670 spring-term 10th graders in 540 public schools surveyed in the Education Longitudinal Study of 2002

Year data is from:
2002 and 2004


Data Collection and Analysis:
National, student-level data are used that include measures of the disability label; sociodemographic backround; early high school attitudes, behaviors, and achievement; and course taking. Then comparisons are made between labeled and nonlabeled students that are comparable by those measures.

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