Newman, L. A., & Madaus, J. W. (2015). An analysis of factors related to receipt of accommodations and services by postsecondary students with disabilities . Remedial and Special Education , 36 (4), 208–219.

Journal Article

Newman, L. A., & Madaus, J. W. (2015). An analysis of factors related to receipt of accommodations and services by postsecondary students with disabilities. Remedial and Special Education, 36(4), 208–219.


Attention problem; Autism; Emotional/Behavioral disability; Hearing impairment (including deafness); Intellectual disabilities; Learning disabilities; Multiple disabilities; Physical disability; Postsecondary; Speech/Language disability; Student survey; U.S. context; Visual impairment (including blindness)




This study analyzed secondary data regarding use patterns of disability-related services, including academic accommodations; accommodations were not further individually specified. The researchers compared various factors, including type of postsecondary institution (two-year college, four-year college, and career and technical education programs), and their association to receiving accommodations, modifications, or services.


An extant longitudinal dataset from the second National Longitudinal Transition Study (NLTS2) was examined; the data from participants who attended postsecondary education programs including two-year and four-year institutions and career and technical education schools within that dataset numbered approximately 2,470. The data were drawn from students with complete data samples from NLTS2's Waves 2, 3, 4, and 5. Additional demographic information describing the population of students with disabilities was reported in the study's results, including gender, race/ethnicity, family income, and disability category. Students were from all of the federal categories of disabilities, with about 70% of them being students with learning disabilities.

Dependent Variable

Participating students' data included self-report of receiving accommodations and other services to support disabilities in postsecondary education programs, and collected through phone interviews or paper surveys. Additional independent variable data were provided to NLTS2 by students, students' parents, and school personnel. The data analyses examined the relation between postsecondary accommodations and 1) various student characteristics, such as demographics and disability categories, 2) secondary education, such as academic performance and transition planning, and 3) students' self-determination skills, postsecondary major field of study, and similar aspects.


The researchers reported about student characteristics serving as facilitators or barriers to seeking and receiving accommodations in various postsecondary settings. The overall incidence of accommodation use included that 15% of students with disabilities used "accommodations and other disability-specific services" (p. 213) in career and technical education, 22% used them in four-year colleges, and 25% did so in two-year colleges. According to odds ratios that the researchers calculated, some factors were associated with higher receipt of accommodations: students in two-year programs who had participated in transition planning in high school were more likely to receive academic support services including accommodations. Further, students in two-year and career and technical programs whose transition plans specified accommodations needed in postsecondary education were more likely to receive them. Also noted was that "only 64% of secondary students with disabilities received transition planning education" (p. 216). Students with apparent and observable disabilities -- sensory disabilities, mobility/orthopedic impairments, and multiple disabilities -- more commonly received accommodations than students with less-visible disabilities, such as learning disabilities, particularly at two-year and four-year institutions. Students with attention-related disabilities at four-year institutions were more likely to be provided accommodations than students who did not have this disability type. Students with lower income family origins were less likely to receive disability-related services than their peers from higher income families. Some factors were associated with not receiving accommodations, including students in two-year programs who scored higher on the self-realization subscale, which measured "confidence in ... abilities and knowing how to make up for limitations" (p. 215). The researchers offered advice on how postsecondary institutions could make use of these patterns to further encourage postsecondary students with disabilities to access accommodations and other supportive services. Limitations of the study were reported, and future research directions were suggested.