Master's Theses


Advanced Education Programs

Degree Name

Education Specialist (Ed.S)


The transition from high school to adulthood for the disabled has become a required process under federal and state laws, and includes the process of making postsecondary education choices. This study compared postsecondary plans of 104 high school graduates with learning disabilities (LD) and emotional disturbance (ED). Disability severity was measured by minutes of special education service time received each week while in high school. The hypothesis was that with increased levels of disability, the student would be more likely not to seek further postsecondary education, and less likely to go on to a four-year university. Students with LD were expected to be more likely to seek a “hands on” experience and avoid the traditional academic lecture setting. Students with ED were expected to be even less likely to pursue any type of postsecondary education including vocation/technical programs. Results found that there was little difference between LD and ED students in the distribution of their postsecondary plans. On the average, 49% sought no further education of any type, while 28% chose vocation/technical programs and 23% chose a two or four-year university. No statistically reliable effects were found between disability severity and postsecondary plan, though a post hoc analysis found a non-significant increase in students’ decisions not to seek postsecondary education with increasing disability severity.


Stephen Kitzis

Date of Award

Summer 2004

Document Type

Thesis - campus only access


© 2004 Toni Marie Alstrom


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