REL West Research Digest: November 2015

By REL West


Nationwide, students with disabilities drop out of school at higher rates and graduate at lower rates than students in the general education population. And research indicates that students who fail to graduate from high school are more likely to experience unemployment, underemployment, poverty, health problems, and incarceration than students who earn a diploma.

REL West researchers realized that, while there was ample information on the high school outcomes of students with disabilities grouped together as a single population, there was scarce literature available about how outcomes vary across the different subgroups of students in special education.

Recently, REL West researchers conducted research with state and district partners, analyzing student data to gain a better understanding of students with different kinds of disabilities.

The work has taken place through three REL West alliances — one focused on Utah students, one focused on Nevada students, and one focused on English learner students across multiple states — and is summarized in this Research Digest.

 Some Key Findings for Utah

  • Students with a specific learning disability graduated at a lower rate than their general education classmates
  • Students with autism, multiple disabilities, or intellectual disability had dropout rates lower than those of general education students and students with disabilities as a group
  • Among students with intellectual disability, the percentage of those retained after four years was nearly as high as the percentage of those who graduated

Resource Details

Product Information

Copyright: 2015
Format: PDF
Pages: 4
Publisher: WestEd