Postsecondary Transition and English Learners with Disabilities: Data from the Second National Longitudinal Transition Study

WCER Working Paper No. 2014-04

Audrey A. Trainor, Angela Murray, and Hyejung Kim

August 2014, 22 pp.

ABSTRACT: Although English Learners (ELs) constitute one of the fastest growing subpopulations in U.S. schools, little is known about the postschool outcomes of ELs who are also students with disabilities (ELSWD). This descriptive study examines a nationally representative sample of ELSWD through a secondary analysis of the National Longitudinal Transition Study (NLTS2). Descriptive statistical analyses were used to identify ELSWDs' sociodemographic characteristics, education and transition program characteristics, and postschool outcomes, as compared to their non-EL peers with disabilities included in the NLTS2. Results confirmed disproportionate identification by race/ethnicity for Latinos and European American as ELSWD. Findings also illustrated alignment between transition planning and courses taken, yet postschool employment was significantly lower for ELSWD. Implications for research include the need to develop methods that address ELSWD disproportionality in high school and transition outcome variables unique to this population. Implications for practice include the need to develop teacher preparation programs that apprise secondary special educators of ELSWD characteristics and their transition-related preferences, strengths, and needs.

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keywords: English language learners with disabilities, NLTS2, high school, postsecondary transition, employment.