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An Overview of Findings from the Special Education Elementary Longitudinal Study (SEELS) Dr. Mary Wagner Dr. Jose Blackorby SRI International OSEP Project.

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Presentation on theme: "An Overview of Findings from the Special Education Elementary Longitudinal Study (SEELS) Dr. Mary Wagner Dr. Jose Blackorby SRI International OSEP Project."— Presentation transcript:

1 An Overview of Findings from the Special Education Elementary Longitudinal Study (SEELS) Dr. Mary Wagner Dr. Jose Blackorby SRI International OSEP Project Directors Meeting Washington, DC July 17, 2007

2 SEELS: Focuses on individual student characteristics and experiences Generalizes to all students receiving special education ages 6 to 12 in as a group Generalizes to each disability category and each single-year cohort separately Addresses a comprehensive conceptual framework Uses multiple data collection approaches Is longitudinal—follows students for 5 years ( ) Addresses interests of multiple audiences and analytic purposes

3 SEELS sample 11,500 students ( per disability category 4,000 schools 7,000 teachers

4 Disability category distribution of SEELS sample (weighted) Percentage Learning disabilities41.5 Speech/language impairments32.7 Mental retardation8.8 Emotional disturbances5.9 Hearing impairments1.2 Visual impairments.4 Orthopedic impairments1.3 Other health impairments4.5 Autism1.5 Traumatic brain injuries.2 Multiple disabilities1.8 Deaf-blindness<1

5 Data collection components Parents –Telephone interviews (CATI) Students –Direct assessment of reading and math skills (Woodcock Johnson III, Standard Reading Passages) –In-person interview regarding attitudes toward school, friendships, and self-concept Mail surveys of: –Each student’s primary language arts teacher about curriculum, instruction, and student performance in that classroom –School staff best able to describe each student’s overall school program (often special educators) to describe program (e.g., settings, related services), accommodations, participation in state tests, and performance (e.g., days absent) –School principals regarding school characteristics and policies and aggregate measures of school performance

6 Data collection timing Data Collection Component Wave Wave Wave Wave Wave Parent interview √√√ Direct assessment/ student interview √√√ School surveys √√√

7 Web-based dissemination of: Overview reports –e.g., What Makes a Difference? Influences on Outcomes for Students with Disabilities Special topic reports –e.g., A National Profile of Students with Visual Impairments in Elementary and Middle Schools Data tables –All data items from all data sources and data collection waves, provided for all students with disabilities and those who differ in disability category, age, grade (for school surveys), gender, race/ethnicity, and household income Design documents and materials –e.g., data collection instruments

8 Today’s agenda Summarize the “headlines” for SEELS findings, Wave 1 through Wave 3 regarding: –Student characteristics –Parents’ expectations and involvement –Students’ out-of-school activities –General education participation –Classroom experiences –Academic performance –Social adjustment

9 Student characteristics: Functioning Each disability category contained students with a wide range of competencies in a variety of functional domains –Self-care skills –Functional cognitive skills –Communication skills –Additional disabilities

10 Self-care skills* scale scores *Skills include dressing and feeding oneself independently. Source: SEELS Wave 1 parent interview, 2000

11 Functional cognitive skills* scale scores *Skills include telling time on an analog clock, counting change, reading common signs, and looking up a phone number and using the phone. Source: SEELS Wave 1 parent interview, 2000

12 Ability to carry on a conversation Source: SEELS Wave 1 parent interview, 2000

13 Student characteristics: Demographics Students with disabilities were disproportionately likely to live in poverty and to differ from the general population in racial/ethnic background

14 Household income of students with disabilities and students in the general population Source: SEELS Wave 1 parent interviews, 2000; U.S. Bureau of the Census, Students with disabilities General population

15 Students’ racial/ethnic backgrounds Source: SEELS Wave 1 parent interviews, 2000

16 Individual and household characteristics of students with disabilities, by household income Source: SEELS Wave 1 parent interviews, 2000

17 Parents’ expectations and involvement The families of students with disabilities had high expectations for their children’s futures and worked hard to support their education and development

18 Parents’ expectations for the future educational attainment of students with disabilities Source: SEELS Wave 1 parent interviews, 2000

19 Parents’ expectations were: Highest for students with –Learning disabilities –Speech/language impairments –Visual impairments –Hearing impairments –High household incomes Lowest for students with –Mental retardation –Autism –Multiple disabilities –Deaf-blindness –Low household incomes Positively associated with –Higher grades –Higher test scores in reading –Being closer to grade level in reading and math –Higher likelihood of belonging to organized groups

20 Frequency of parents helping with homework Source: SEELS Wave 1 parent interviews, 2000

21 Frequency of parents reading to students Source: SEELS Wave 1 parent interviews, 2000

22 Parent involvement About 9 in 10 students with disabilities had parents who talked with them regularly about school. Students with disabilities were more than three times as likely as students in the general population to receive homework help frequently. Almost all aspects of parent involvement were lower for older students with disabilities (10 through 12 vs. 6 through 9). Students with emotional disturbances were among the least likely to be read to or helped with homework frequently. Parents who attended trainings or programs for families of children with disabilities provided higher levels of support for their children’s education. Of those who attended trainings, those who went to OSEP- funded Parent Training and Information Center program were more likely to provide very high support for learning at home than parents who went to other kinds of trainings.

23 Life outside the classroom Children with disabilities spent their out-of-school time in much the same ways as children in the general population.

24 Frequency of seeing friends outside of school Source: SEELS Wave 1 parent interviews, 2000

25 Friendship interactions About 9 in 10 students with disabilities had been invited to other children’s social activities in the past year. About one-fifth of students with disabilities interacted with others by on in chat rooms. About one-third of students with disabilities received phone calls from peers several times a week. Students with learning disabilities, speech/language impairments, emotional disturbances, or other health impairments had the most frequent friendship interactions. Students with autism were the least likely to interact with friends—12% did not interact with friends in any of these ways.

26 Participation in extracurricular activities Source: SEELS Wave 1 parent interviews, 2000, National Survey of America’s Families 1999.

27 Extracurricular activities About 3 in 10 students with disabilities took lessons or classes outside of school (e.g., art, music). Students with other health impairments were the most likely to take part in extracurricular group activities; those with speech/ language or orthopedic impairments were the most likely to volunteer. Students with mental retardation were among the least likely to take part in extracurricular activities. Students with disabilities from wealthier households and white students were more likely than less affluent or minority peers to take part in groups, take extracurricular lessons or classes, or volunteer.

28 General education participation Students with disabilities overwhelmingly attended regular schools (96%), and most were instructed in both general and special education classrooms.

29 Average percentage of classes taken in general education settings by students with disabilities Source: SEELS Wave 1 Student’s School Program Questionnaire, 2001

30 Language arts and nonacademic general education class participation of students with disabilities Source: SEELS Wave 1 Student’s School Program Questionnaire, 2001

31 General education participation makes a difference Independent of other differences between that were considered in the analyses, students with disabilities who spent more of their instructional time in general education classes: –Scored higher on passage comprehension tests and read considerably faster. –Had stronger math performance. –Tended to receive lower grades than less included students –Averaged fewer days absent from school and fewer disciplinary actions. –Were more likely to belong to extracurricular school or community groups.

32 Classroom experiences Instructional settings helped to shape the experiences of the students with disabilities in them in terms of: –Classroom composition –Activities and groupings –Accommodations and supports provided

33 Characteristics of students with disabilities in general and special education language arts classes Source: SEELS Wave 1 Language Arts Teacher Questionnaire, 2001

34 Adults in general and special education classrooms Compared with students with disabilities in general education classes, those in special education language arts classses were: –Less likely to have a fully credentialed teacher (83% vs. 90%). –More likely to have general and special eduators co-teaching. –More likely to have one or more adults in the classroom, in addition to their teacher(s). Almost all general education teachers (96%) who had students with disabilities in their class reported getting some form of support in working those students. Source: SEELS Wave 1 Language Arts Teacher Questionnaire, 2001

35 Teachers’ reports of frequent language arts activities of students with disabilities in general and special education language arts classes

36 Teachers’ reports of the participation of students with disabilities in general and special education language arts classes Source: SEELS Wave 1 Language Arts Teacher Questionnaire, 2001 General education Special Education Percentage who frequently:

37 Teachers’ reports of the participation of students with disabilities and other students in general education language arts classes Source: SEELS Wave 1 Language Arts Teacher Questionnaire, 2001 Other students in class Students with disabilities Percentage who frequently:

38 Accommodations and supports in general education classrooms Overall, 85% of students with disabilities in general education language arts classes received some form of accommodation or support; on average, six. Most often they were: –More time to take tests (60%) or assignments (58%). –Shorter or different assignments (37%) –Tests read to student (35%). –Modified tests (33%). –More frequent feedback from teachers. –Slower-paced instruction. Overall 64% of students with disabilities in general education language arts classes had teachers who said the support provided the student was “very adequate,” 29% said “somewhat adequate,” and 7% said “somewhat” or “very inadequate.” Source: SEELS Wave 1 Language Arts Teacher Questionnaire, 2001

39 Academic performance The academic performance of students with disabilities varied greatly within and across disability categories, but generally was low. –Reading comprehension –Mathematics calculation The academic skills of students with disabilities improved over time, but not enough to close the achievement gap with students in the general population. –Oral reading fluency –Letter-word identification

40 Reading comprehension scores of students with disabilities Source: SEELS Wave 1 Direct Assessment, 2001

41 Mathematics calculation scores of students with disabilities Source: SEELS Wave 1 Direct Assessment, 2001

42 Oral reading fluency rates of students with disabilities, 2001 and 2004

43 Changes in oral reading fluency In 2001, when more than half of students with disabilities were in fifth through seventh grades, on average, they read at a rate equivalent to students in the general population early in third grade. Oral reading fluency rates increased significantly—by an average of 33 words over 3 years. Yet, in 2004, half of students with disabilities were in eighth grade or above and still read at a rate equivalent to the average fourth-grade reader in the general population. Source: SEELS Wave 1 and Wave 3 Direct Assessments, 2001 and 2004

44 Letter-word identification average percentile rankings of students with disabilities, 2001 and 2004 Source: SEELS Wave 1 and Wave 3 Direct Assessments, 2001 and 2004

45 Social adjustment The social adjustment of students with disabilities generally mirrored that of students in the general population, with important exceptions. –Classroom behaviors –Getting along at school –Negative social adjustment

46 Teachers’ ratings of the classroom behaviors of students with disabilities and students in the general population Source: SEELS Wave 1 Language Arts Teacher Questionnaire, 2001

47 Parents’ reports of how well students with disabilities got along at school How well got along with: Source: SEELS Wave 1 parent interview, 2001.

48 Negative social adjustment of students with disabilities Source: SEELS Wave 3 parent interviews, 2004

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