Academic journal article Exceptional Children

Nationwide Survey of Post Secondary Education Services for Students with Learning Disabilities

Academic journal article Exceptional Children

Nationwide Survey of Post Secondary Education Services for Students with Learning Disabilities

Article excerpt

Nationwide Survey of Postsecondary Education Services for Students With Learning Disabilities

ABSTRACT: Postsecondary services for students with learning disabilities vary a great deal from

campus to campus, and published guides to postsecondary education services are often

inaccurate and incomplete. A nationwide survey was conducted to investigate student service

provisions in 2-year colleges and 4-year colleges and universities. The purpose of the study was

to identify and catalog postsecondary education service goals and options for students with

learning disabilities, and to determine differences between the goals service providers have for

these students and services actually provided. The findings and their implications for service

providers at both high school and college levels are discussed. * Since passage of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and its accompanying 504 regulations, students with learning disabilities have been enrolling in postsecondary institutions in ever-increasing numbers (Brill, 1987; Garnett & LaParta, 1984; Mangrum & Strichart, 1984; Sedita, 1986; Vogel, 1985). Nonetheless, services provided for these students vary considerably from institution to institution (Cowen, 1983). This is problematic for special educators at the secondary level, who, in developing transition plans for their students, need to know the services postsecondary institutions are providing in order to prepare students to access those services. The variability of services may also be problematic for postsecondary institutions themselves. Many campuses are examining their own goals and services for students with learning disabilities and are in need of a comprehensive data base on promising trends in service delivery.

There are a number of guides to postsecondary education services for students with learning disabilities (c.f., Mangrum & Strichart, 1984; Skyer & Skyer, 1985; Slovak, 1986; Straughn & Colby, 1985). Information contained in some guides, however, is often inaccurate and incomplete (Cowen, 1986a, 1986b, 1986c). For example, some guides contain no information on community colleges, a common educational option for learning disabled students. Others lack the specificity to determine the extent to which institutions are going beyond minimum Section 504 regulations into more intensive service options such as the development of learning strategies and the remediation of basic skills. The present nationwide survey was conducted to investigate postsecondary options open to learning disabled students.

The purpose of the study was twofold. The first was to determine the availability of the types of services provided for students with learning disabilities. This information would be helpful for parents, high school teachers, and counselors in search of appropriate postsecondary education services. The second purpose was to examine whether schools that differ in their service provision goals (e.g., 504 access, compensatory learning strategies, and remediation of basic skills) also differ in the services they provide for their students with learning disabilities.

This information should be valuable to postsecondary education service providers who could then identify the goals commonly held by other institutions of comparable size and level (e.g., community colleges, 4-year colleges and universities), as well as determine which services are most commonly provided in pursuit of those goals. A final purpose was to determine whether there were differences in services provided by colleges large and small, 2- and 4-year, and suburban, urban, and rural.

METHOD

Participants and Instrumentation

Questionnaires were sent to members of the Association on Handicapped Student Service Programs in Postsecondary Education (AHSSPPE) who were designated as directors or coordinators of services for handicapped students. …

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