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


Students identified with learning disabilities experience markedly lower levels of science and mathematics achievement than students who are not identified with a learning disability. Seemingly compounding their disadvantage, students with learning disabilities also complete more credits in non-core coursework—traditionally considered nonacademic coursework—than students who are not identified with a learning disability. The Education Longitudinal Study of 2002, a large national dataset with both regular and special education high school students, is utilized to determine whether credit accumulation in certain types of non-core coursework, such as technology and communications courses, is associated with improved science and math course taking outcomes for students with learning disabilities. Results show that credit accumulation in technology and communications coursework uniquely benefits the science course taking, and comparably benefits the math course taking, of students identified with learning disabilities in contrast to students who are not identified with learning disabilities.


This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Journal of Special Education Technology. 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 Journal of Special Education Technology 2010 September ; 25(3): 65–77.

*At the time of publication Dara Shifrer was affiliated with The University of Texas at Austin

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