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Facts from NLTS2: General Education Participation and Academic Performance of Students With Learning Disabilities

NCSER 2006-3001
July 2006

Instructional Settings of Academic Courses

Most secondary school students with learning disabilities (94 percent) take at least one class in a general education setting in a given semester, with 80 percent taking one or more academic courses in a general education setting.5

Students with learning disabilities are more likely to take academic courses in a general education setting in 2002 than they were in the past. Enrollment in academic general education courses is 10 percentage points higher than the rate in 1987.6 Students show a corresponding 12-percentage-point decline in taking those courses in special education settings.

Secondary school students with learning disabilities are about equally likely to take language arts in general education and special education settings. However, math is more likely to be taken in general education settings (62 percent vs. 43 percent), as are science (74 percent vs. 29 percent), social studies (71 percent vs. 32 percent), and foreign language courses (90 percent vs. 9 percent).

5 NLTS2 school data were collected in spring 2001; students were ages 14 through 18. Data were obtained through mailed surveys of teachers of students' general education academic classes (for those with that type of class) and of school staff members most knowledgeable about students' special education classes and overall school programs. Unweighted sample sizes for students with learning disabilities range from 366 to 548.
6 Statistical signifi cance was determined by two-tailed F tests. Only differences between groups that reach a level of statistical signifi cance of at least .05 are mentioned in the text.