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Facts From NLTS2: School Behavior and Disciplinary Experiences of Youth With Disabilities

NLTS 2200603
March 2006

Students' Behavior at School

Teachers were asked to indicate how well 7th- through 12th-grade youth with disabilities "control their behavior to act appropriately" and how frequently they argue and fight with others in class.4 Most secondary-school-age students with disabilities do not exhibit problem behaviors at school (figure 1). Teachers report that about one-third control their behavior to act appropriately in class "very well," and an additional 46 percent do so "well." More than half (55 percent) are reported "never" to argue in class, and four out of five have teachers who report they "never" fight with others in class.

Although many are reported to behave appropriately, some display problem behaviors at school. According to teacher reports, almost one in five students with disabilities control their behavior to act appropriately in class "not very well" or "not at all well." Somewhat more youth appear to engage in arguing with others in the class. For example, teachers report that 38 percent argue "sometimes" and 7 percent do so "very often." One in five also are reported to fight in class, with 17 percent "sometimes" fighting with others and 3 percent fighting "very often."

4 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. Classroom behavior ratings combine responses from these two surveys to include behavior in both general education and special education classes; unweighted sample sizes for various behavior rating items range from 4,646 to 5,473.