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Regional Educational Laboratory Program

School mobility, dropout, and graduation rates across student disability categories in Utah

This report describes the characteristics of students with disabilities in Utah public schools, and presents the single-year mobility and dropout rates for students in grades 6–12, as well as the four-year cohort dropout and graduation rates, for students who started grade 9 for the first time in 2007/08 and constituted the 2011 cohort. Results are reported for students with disabilities as a group and then further disaggregated by each of the disability categories. Using statewide administrative data, the research team found that, as a group, Utah students with disabilities had poorer outcomes than their general education classmates, but outcomes varied by disability category, highlighting the heterogeneity among students with disabilities. Results indicate, for example, that students with emotional disturbance, multiple disabilities, intellectual disability, traumatic brain injury, or autism were at greatest risk of failing to graduate during the four-year high school time frame, with graduation rates below 50 percent. Students with autism, multiple disabilities, or intellectual disability had dropout rates lower than those of general education students and students with disabilities as a group but also had low graduation rates and the highest retention rates after four years. In contrast, students with hearing impairment/deafness had four-year graduation rates roughly on par with general education students. By disaggregating the various student outcomes by disability category, educators and policymakers gain new information about which students with disabilities are most in need of interventions to keep them on track to receive a high school diploma.
Publication Type:
What's Happening
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Publication Date:
November 2014