Term of Award

Fall 2005

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Curriculum Studies (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Department

Department of Curriculum, Foundations, and Reading

Committee Chair

Ming Fang He

Committee Member 1

Dorothy A. Battle

Committee Member 2

Theodore Pikes

Committee Member 3

William Reynolds

Committee Member 4

Saundra Nettles

Abstract

During the last three decades, public schools have positively contemplated the concepts of mainstreaming, least restrictive environment and inclusion and have begun to serve more students with disabilities in K-12 general edcuation classes (Hicks-Coolick & Kurtz, 1996). There has been a corresponding increase in the number of students with disabilities who attend college and universities. However, at the postsecondary level, issues of educating students with disabilities are often different than those affecting K-12 education, and the instructional climate is much more challenging. Therefore, this trend calls for a more systematic method of assessing needed accommodations for diverse learning needs. The purpose of this study was to explore the impact of labeling, legislation, and accommodations on the postsecondary academic success of African-American students with learning disabilities (LD). An in-depth analysis of the academic interventions and accommodations that postsecondary students with LD received that contributed to their academic success and barriers that LD students experienced in accessing an appropriate postsecondary education were identified. The participants of this study were three African-American students who were classified as LD and attend Albany State University (ASU), a small public historically Black University (HBCU) in Southwest Georgia (SOWEGA). Participants were interviewed using a two-part survey questionnaire associated with postsecondary success. The interviews were tape recorded to ensure accuracy of description of students' educational experiences. Further, each participant was observed in an academic setting. Interviews, observations, and field notes were coded and organized. Through questioning the data and reflecting upon the research objectives, interviews, educational records, and observations, emergent themes relevant to academic interventions and accommodations that the three postsecondary students with LD received that contributed to their academic success were obtained and interpretations were discussed with participants. By revealing the academic interventions and accommodations that contributed to their academic success, as well as identifying barriers and issues that they experienced in accessing an appropriate postsecondary education, it is hoped that faculty and staff who work in institutions of higher learning will take into consideration the suggested recommendations for increasing the success of students with LD on their campus. Specifically for the participants, their stories will help other students with LD to examine their personal and professional lives. Finally, findings of this study will offer practical implications for educators to improve instruction and create equal opportunities for students with LD.

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