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Adolescence, Education -- Social aspects -- United States, Inequality, People with disabilities -- Social conditions -- Research


Placement of some students into the courses needed only for high school graduation and others into those that prepare them for college constitutes academic stratification. This study uses data from the Education Longitudinal Study of 2002 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. Results indicate large disparities in completion of college preparatory coursework, especially in math, science, and foreign language, even net of students’ academic preparation for high school and their cognitive and noncognitive skills. The evidence supports the possibility that school processes contribute to the poorer course-taking outcomes of students labeled with learning disabilities.


This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in American Educational Research Journal. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in American Educational Research Journal, 2013 August ; 50(4): 656–682.

*At the time of publication Dara Shifrer was affiliated with Rice University

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