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IES Grant

Title: A Secondary Analysis of the National Longitudinal Transition Study 2: Examining the Relationships between Expectations, Access and Postsecondary Life Engagement
Center: NCSER Year: 2010
Principal Investigator: Morningstar, Mary Awardee: University of Kansas
Program: Transition to Postsecondary Education, Career, and/or Independent Living      [Program Details]
Award Period: 07/01/2010 – 06/30/2012 Award Amount: $656,195
Type: Exploration Award Number: R324A100275

Purpose: Despite improvements in postschool outcomes for youth with high-incidence disabilities, longitudinal and other research studies demonstrate that successful postschool transitions in the areas of employment, postsecondary education, and engagement in the community continue to elude many youth receiving special education and transition services. In addition, prior research often uses overly simplistic and often dichotomous measures of postschool success that fail to capture the broad range of outcomes that students with high-incidence disabilities are likely to experience. Furthermore, the field lacks an understanding of important student and program level predictors that influence successful transition outcomes for students with high-incidence disabilities.

The purpose of this project is to use the National Longitudinal Transition Study-2 (NLTS2) dataset to develop a multi-dimensional model of postschool success and explore how program and student level variables are related to various outcomes, including student and parent expectations and postsecondary outcomes for students with high-incidence disabilities.

Project Activities: The researchers will conduct secondary analyses of the NLTS2 dataset to develop models of adult life engagement, parent postschool expectations, and student postschool expectations. The researchers seek to address four main lines of inquiry: building a model of adult life engagement, examining the relationships among predictors of parent and student postschool expectations, assessing the predictive relationship of expectations and student access to services on adult life engagement, and examining how the construct of adult life engagement changes over time for students with disabilities.

Products: The products from this study include publications and presentations on findings related to postsecondary outcomes for students with disabilities. These findings may be used to inform programs, policies, and interventions for students with disabilities.

Structured Abstract

Setting: The NLTS2 dataset includes data on students with disabilities from across the United States.

Population: The researchers will use the NLTS2 dataset, which includes a nationally representative sample of secondary students with disabilities. The researchers will focus on students with high-incidence disabilities.

Intervention: There is no specific intervention under investigation but the researchers will examine transition planning programs and special education services for students with disabilities and their relationship with postsecondary outcomes.

Research Design and Methods: The project is examining an extant database to address questions regarding the transition process for adolescents with high-incidence disabilities. Variables in the database related to employment, postsecondary education, independent living, social connections, and life satisfaction will be used to develop a model of adult life engagement. The researchers will also develop models to represent the constructs of parent and student postschool expectations and access to transition programs and planning. A variety of data analytic strategies will be used to explore relationships between the constructs for students with high-incidence disabilities.

Control Condition: There is no control condition.

Key Measures: The researchers use a number of key measures included in the NLTS2 dataset. These include measures of employment, postsecondary enrollment, community participation, life satisfaction, social connections, parent and student expectations, and access to transition programs and planning.

Data Analytic Strategy: The researchers will use a variety of data analysis strategies to answer the research questions. These strategies include confirmatory factor analysis to develop the model of adult life engagement and to test the relationships of access to transition programs and post-school expectations. Structural equation modeling will be used to determine the predictive qualities of expectations and access to school programs on adult life engagement. Other statistical methods will include exploratory factor analyses, latent growth curve modeling, and longitudinal structural equation modeling.

Products and Publications

Trainor, A. A., Morningstar, M. E., Murray, A., & Kim, H. (2013). Social capital during the postsecondary transition for young adults with high incidence disabilities. Prevention Researcher, 20 (2), 7–10.

Morningstar, M.E., Trainor, A. A., & Murray, A. K. (in press). Examining outcomes associated with adult life engagement for youth adults with high incidence disabilities. Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation.

Trainor, A. A., Morningstar, M. E., & Murray, A. K. (in press). Characteristics of transition planning and services for students with high-incidence disabilities. Learning Disabilities Quarterly.