Orientation for students with learning disabilities: To plan or not to plan
AuthorRichards, Ann M.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractWhen enrolling in a postsecondary institution, students with learning disabilities (LD) often move from an environment where they were carefully guided to a setting where they are expected to achieve on their own (Brinckerhoff, Shaw, & McGuire, 1992; Dalke & Schmitt, 1987; Ryan & Price, 1992). Though students with LD are usually provided with transition services, most are unprepared for this transition and need assistance in navigating through the continuum of Programs and services provided by institutions of higher education (Aune, 1991; Brinckerhoff, 1996; Siperstein, 1988; Vogel & Adelman, 1992). The purpose of this program evaluation study was to investigate the effectiveness of one such program, the New Student Experience (NSE) which was a specialized orientation program designed for entering college students with learning disabilities. A utilization-focused program evaluation model, which includes ultimate, intermediate, and immediate outcome goals (Patton, 1986) provided the framework for this study. The ultimate outcome goal of the study was to investigate if participation in the NSE had an effect on participants' academic achievement (i.e., grade point average (GPA) and retention) during their first year at college. Also investigated were the intermediate and immediate outcome goals designed to determine if these students and the education specialists involved in the NSE perceived the strategies and information presented during the NSE as valuable and if the students reported implementing them. Using an ex post facto criterion group design, the participant group (N = 22) was compared on academic achievement to a sample of freshmen students with LD ( N = 22) matched on gender and high school GPA and SAT or ACT scores. In analyzing the intermediate and immediate outcome goals, qualitative and quantitative methods were employed with information gleaned from several questionnaires and interviews given to the participants and the educational specialists involved in the NSE. Results for the ultimate outcome goal showed no differences between the intervention and comparison groups on GPAs earned during the first two semesters at college or retention in the university for the second and third semesters. Results which addressed the intermediate and immediate outcome goals indicated that participants' and education specialists' perceived the information and strategies presented at the NSE as valuable for transition into college. Participants also reported applying some of the strategies and information presented during the NSE. This program evaluation study provided an exploration into the effectiveness of specialized orientation programs for students with LD and called attention to the importance of evaluating these initial transition activities for the purpose of informing practice.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Specia Education, Rehabilitation, and School Psychology