Education Week - Diplomas Count - Issue 34, 2015 - (Page 5)

In College, Students Face Choice: Seek Help or Go It Alone? Many students prefer to keep their disability status to themselves Aurora, Colo. O n paper, it looks simple. But Stefanie Smith's individualized education program can't really capture what it feels like to spend an entire school day on a college-admissions test that is only supposed to take four hours. It doesn't convey the anxiety that her dyslexia might trip her up on the driving test and she will have to continue to rely on her mother for rides. Or the joy of discovering that German is a phonetic language and that she could read an entire novel-Homo Faber by Max Frisch-in a language other than the one that has been making her head ache since she first figured out she was the only one in her kindergarten class who could not yet spell her own name. Mostly, the iep contains statements: brief, declarative, and stark. "Stefanie," reads the document, "will attend a four-year college or university and study finance or business." "I helped [my sister] move into her dorm when I was a sophomore," said the subject of the iep, who is now an 18-year-old senior at Grandview High School in the 54,500-student Cherry Creek district near Denver. "I said, I really want to go to college." At one time, a wish like that might have remained unfulfilled. As recently as 1995, just over a quarter of students with disabilities had enrolled in postsecondary education within four years of graduating from high school. But between 1990 and 2005, college-enrollment rates for students with disabilities increased by 19 percentage points, according to data from two federally funded studies that tracked post-school outcomes for youths with disabilities. By contrast, during that same period, overall college-enrollment rates increased just 9 percentage points. The federal data show 67 percent of all youths and 60 percent of those with disabilities enroll in college within eight years of leaving high school. OFF THE RADAR Who are those students and what happens once they leave school? It's not always easy to say. When children are younger, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act places the onus on the elementary or secondary school to identify, evaluate, and serve students with special needs. But in postsecondary education, the onus is on the student to identify him- or herself as having special needs and to seek assistance. The problem is, once students reach college, most (63 percent) no longer consider themselves disabled, according to the longitudinal study data. The nondisclosure rate is even higher for students with learning disabilities like Stefanie's. Those students make up the single biggest category of secondary and postsecondary students with disabilities and 69 percent no longer consider themselves disabled once they reach college. Although Jacquelyn Smith is quick to say her dyslexia is less severe than that of her younger sister Stefanie, she also had an iep in high school. But when she graduated from Grandview, in spring 2012, Jacquelyn left it behind. "I rebelled against it," said the older sister, who is now 21. "I didn't want it to hold me back. I think I wanted to see if I could do it on my own." Metropolitan State University of Denver, known for its inclusivity, has a "modified open enrollment" policy and Jacquelyn had been accepted, with a 2.7 high school gpa and an act score of 17 out of 36. Although she had qualified for extended time, she said she had filled in the bubbles randomly and finished early, rushing to go hang out with friends. The acceptance letter did come with a caveat: Jacquelyn had been admitted on the condition that she successfully complete the university's Summer Scholars Program, which targets those on the cusp of meeting university-entrance requirements, regardless of whether they have a disability. STUDY STRATEGIES In a paper presented this spring at the American Educational Research Association's annual conference, researchers used the longitudinal data to contrast the college-completion rates of two groups of students with learning disabilities and two groups of students who were deaf or hard of hearing. For each disability category, both groups were similar but for one exception: One group obtained disability-specific assistance, which students can receive only if they tell their college of their disability. The other did not. The researchers found no significant difference between the assisted group and those who were on their own for students with learning disabilities, although they did find one for students who were deaf or hard of hearing. But what did make a difference for students with learning disabilities were the types of supports available to them and nondisabled students alike-supports such as tutoring, PAGE 6 > Jacquelyn Smith, right, a senior at Metropolitan State University of Denver, helps her younger sister, Stefanie Smith, get ready for her high school prom in Aurora, Colo. Both sisters have dyslexia and made plans for college after high school. But only Stefanie is choosing to request study accommodations for her disability. DIPLOMAS COUNT 2015 s 5 Ellen Jaskol for Education Week By Holly Yettick

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - Diplomas Count - Issue 34, 2015

Education Week - Diplomas Count - Issue 34, 2015
After Special Ed., Path Is Less Certain
DATA OVERVIEW: Students with Disabilities In School and Work
BY THE NUMBERS: Hearing Impairment
Md. Senior Opts For University Geared To Students With Hearing Impairments
In College, Students Face Choice: Seek Help or Go It Alone?
BY THE NUMBERS: Emotional Disturbance
At Lab School, Pennsylvania Student Prepares for Career In Culinary Arts
After K-12, Students Must Be Self-Advocates
BY THE NUMBERS: Specific Learning Disability
On Road to College, Georgia Student Learns To Speak for Herself
For Job-Oriented Students, Work Experience Is Critical
Discipline Policies Push Students Off College-and-Career Path
Budding Politician Sets Sights on College
State Diploma Requirements Vary
Common Core: Will Bar Rise For Students With Disabilities?
BY THE NUMBERS: Intellectual Disability
In Virginia, Jobs Enable Twin Brothers To ‘Walk Taller’ After High School
Graduation Rates Reach New Highs, But Gaps Remain
TABLE: Graduation Rate Tops 80 Percent
State-by-State Data

Education Week - Diplomas Count - Issue 34, 2015