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Exploring the Relationship Between Inclusion and the Secondary School Outcomes of Transition-Age Youth with Moderate to Severe Disabilities Open Access

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Despite an increased focus on inclusion of students with disabilities in the general education classroom, there is still little research regarding the relationship between inclusion and outcomes for certain subgroups, such as transition age youth who participate in alternate assessments. This study conducted a secondary analysis of a subset of the National Longitudinal Transition Study-2 (NLTS-2) and utilized Pearson's Product Moment Correlation and Chi Square test of Independence to examine the relationship between inclusion and in-school outcomes such of academic achievement, social interaction with peers, graduation, and graduation with a diploma for the participant group. Relationships between inclusion and academic and social outcomes for the participant group, as well as how the student characteristic subgroups of gender, race/ethnicity, and low-income status influenced outcomes within the participant group were examined. The analysis found some significant correlations that suggest further exploration. First, in the analysis of inclusion and academic achievement there was a significant but weak correlation between inclusion and academic achievement for Hispanic or Latino transition-age youth with moderate to severe disabilities. Second, in the analysis of inclusion and social outcomes there was a significant relationship for both female youth with moderate to severe disabilities and low-income youth with disabilities. Third, in the analysis of inclusion and graduation there was a significant relationship for the sample as a whole as well as for the student characteristic subgroups of Hispanic or Latino transition age youth with moderate to severe disabilities and low-income youth with moderate to severe disabilities. Finally, in the analysis of inclusion and graduation with a diploma there was a significant relationship for sample as a whole. Despite limitations in the sample and method of analysis the findings suggest possible relationships between inclusion and students with moderate to severe disabilities and some outcome measures. Recommendations for future research as well as policy and practice are discussed.

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