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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Exit From Special Education: Part of the Continuum of Services or Just a Pipe Dream? A Study on the Characteristics of Students who Exit Special Education
by Garcia, Arvin, Ed.D., California State University, Long Beach, 2017, 114; 10284945
Abstract (Summary)

Many students remain eligible for special education for the duration of their educational history, and fewer of them ever exit special education. These services endure for many students with limited procedures and opportunities to reintegrate and exit. In fact, they remain eligible even when data reveals their needs can be best met in the general education setting (Powell-Smith & Stewart, 1998). Consequently, research reveals that only as few as 2-6% of students in special education actually ever exit (Lytle & Penn, 1986). In the special education pipeline, factors for the disproportionate rates of students of color identified into special education have been widely researched. However, the factors that may be attributed to these students of color staying in special education indefinitely are unclear. As a result, there exists a gap in the research in regard to the disproportionality of exit for students of color. The purpose of this quantitative study was to examine whether disproportionality exists in the number of students that exit from special education. Furthermore, this dissertation will explore the intersections of race and dis/ability through the Dis/ability Critical Race Studies (DisCrit) Theoretical Framework.

A TK-12 large urban school district in the County of Los Angeles provided the secondary data set for this study. The data set included all students within the district eligible for special education services and those who exited from the years 2011-2016. The secondary data set allowed the researcher to explore the specific characteristics of students who are in special education and those who exit. Frequency data were explored and student demographic information was compiled to reveal characteristics of students that exited compared to the total special education population. This data was utilized to hypothesize whether disproportionality exists in the number of students that exit special education. Additionally, this dissertation explored the relationship among variables by conducting Pearson’s correlations, chi-square tests, t-tests, and a logistic regression. An analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) was also utilized to determine whether a statistically significant effect of ethnicity exists on duration of time in special education, when controlling for disability at the time of exit and socio-economic status (measured by lunch eligibility).

Results from the secondary data set analysis revealed that grade span, English language level, disability, and ethnicity are significant predictors for special education exit. Furthermore, students in elementary span grades, English speaking students, students identified with non-subjective disabilities, and White and Asian students are significantly more likely to exit from special education. Disproportionality in African American students that exit compared to other ethnic groups was found. Additionally, duration was measured as the number of days between initial IEP and exit IEP. For students that exit, the mean duration of time in special education for males, secondary students, English speakers, students on Full Pay lunch eligibility, and those with subjective disabilities was found to be significantly higher. Results from the ANCOVA revealed that the difference in the mean duration of days in special education for Caucasian students was lower than that for Latino and African American students. When controlling for Disability Class and SES, Caucasian students who exit special education appear to exit sooner than African American and Latino students who exit. Therefore, this study revealed that there was a significant effect of ethnicity on the duration of time in special education when controlling for Disability Type and SES (Lunch Eligibility). The findings of this dissertation may lead educational leaders to develop policies and procedures for increasing the numbers of student who exit from special education, particularly for students of color. Furthermore, this dissertation sheds light on the importance of the relationship that exists between race and dis/ability.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Hansuvadha, Nat
Commitee: Jackson, Jay, Pavri, Shireen
School: California State University, Long Beach
Department: Educational Leadership
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 78/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational leadership, Special education
Keywords: Dis/ability critical race studies, Exit, Reintegration, Students of color, Underrepresented minorities
Publication Number: 10284945
ISBN: 978-1-369-86201-0
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