College Students with Learning Disabilities in Mathematics : Are They Struggling to Achieve in the Postsecondary Education Setting




Featherston, Larry Wayne

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According to the U.S. Department of Education (2002), there are approximately 1,669,000 students with disabilities at the postsecondary educational setting. Of these, 29.4% have an orthopedic or mobility impairment, 17.1% have a mental illness, 15.1% have a systemic illness or impairment, 11.9% have a visual or hearing impairment, 6.4% have attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and 5.0% have a learning disabilities. While there are approximately 75,000 with learning disabilities or attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, current research has focused on students with learning disabilities as a homogenous group. There is limited research on how well students with learning disabilities in mathematics achieve academic success at the postsecondary level. This study will examine academic achievement scores for a group of 70 college students with diagnosed learning disabilities in mathematics attending a south-central, public, four-year university between 2000 and 2004. Using an ex post facto or retrospective study design for Phase I of the study, students with learning disabilities in mathematics will be compared to the universities general undergraduate student population. Analysis will also be conducted to determine if differences exist between students with only a mathematics disorder and those with mathematics and additional learning disabilities. Relationships will be examined between (a) demographic characteristics (age, gender, and race), (b) overall college Grade Point Average, (c) overall math course Grade Point Average, and (d) ACT Composite and ACT Math scores. Qualitative and quantitative methods of data gathering will be used as a follow-up to help explain and give meaning to the initial results in Phase I. This study will also examine and compare the convergent and discriminate validity of the Self-Efficacy Scale (SES) and the Social Adjustment Scale II (SAS-II).

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