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Perceptions and Expectations of Youth With Disabilities  (NLTS2)
NCSER 2007-3006
September 2007

Views of Secondary School

Research has demonstrated that the way youth feel about school can be related to their behavior and performance in school, outside of school, and in the years after leaving school (Albert et al. 2005; Finn 2006; Fredricks and Eccles 2006). However, little research has addressed the perceptions youth with disabilities hold of their experiences in secondary school. NLTS2 addresses this gap in the knowledge base by reporting the perceptions of youth with disabilities regarding academic challenges, interpersonal challenges, school safety, services and supports received at school, affiliation with school, and enjoyment of school.

  • On virtually all measures, positive views of school predominate, and strongly negative views are held by a minority of youth with disabilities.

  • The majority of youth with disabilities report not finding school particularly hard, and most report having no more than occasional problems completing homework, paying attention, or getting along with teachers or other students.

  • Most find school at least "pretty safe," and most report feeling at least "pretty much" a part of their school.

  • Almost half agree "a lot" that they receive the services and supports they need to succeed at school, and the majority report enjoying school at least "pretty much."

  • The most negative views (e.g., having daily problems at school, finding school "very hard," or not liking or feeling part of school "at all") are held by 1 percent to 11 percent of youth with disabilities across measures, with one exception—3 in 10 youth with disabilities report they do not become involved at school, even when they have the chance.