Florida high school exit survey finds students with disabilities better prepared for life after graduation than students without disabilities

iStock_000004896500XSmallSchool districts are doing a better job helping students with disabilities to form and meet career goals than they are with students who do not have disabilities, says a new study on post-school outcomes for students with multiple retardation or multiple disabilities.

Districts should study the career awareness and self-determination programming they are offering to students with disabilities to determine how to infuse the most effective components into the general education curriculum, says the study in Career Development for Exceptional Individuals.

Seventy-eight percent of students with disabilities reported their school prepared them for what they wanted to do after high school, compared with 70% of students without disabilities, the researchers report.

Over 2 school years, 2,520 student surveys from 40 school districts in Florida were collected, half from students with disabilities and half from students without disabilities. The Florida High School Exit Survey items covered questions related to employment, post-secondary education and training, daily living, quality of life, in-school experiences and school-based work experiences. Surveys were distributed in February 2007 and 2008.

Survey suggestions

Survey findings suggest that students with disabilities feel better about knowing what they want to do after high school and how to achieve their goals, but have few interactions with friends in social activities. Conversely, students without disabilities feel better prepared academically and participate more with friends but are not sure what they want to do when they graduate, the authors write.

“The High School Experience: What Students With and Without Disabilities Report as They Leave School,” by Jeanne Repetto et al., Career Development for Exceptional Individuals, Volume 34, Number 3, pp. 142-152.

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