Newman, L. A., Madaus, J. W., Lalor, A. R., & Javitz, H. S. (2019). Support receipt: Effect on postsecondary success of students with learning disabilities . Career Development and Transition for Exceptional Individuals , 42 (1), 6–16.

Journal Article

Newman, L. A., Madaus, J. W., Lalor, A. R., & Javitz, H. S. (2019). Support receipt: Effect on postsecondary success of students with learning disabilities. Career Development and Transition for Exceptional Individuals, 42(1), 6–16.


Calculation device or software (interactive); Educator survey; Extended time; High school; Individual; Learning disabilities; Multiple ages; Postsecondary; Student survey; U.S. context




All academic supports and services were identified and incidence of use were reported in this extant dataset. Supports consisted of disability-specific supports—accommodations and modifications—and universally-available (to all students) supports and services such as tutoring. Accommodations use patterns in postsecondary education, and their associations with academic perseverance and program completion, were examined. Specific accommodations were identified in the dataset, and their incidence rates were reported in the Findings section.


An extant dataset was provided on a sample of 220 youth in the U.S. who received special education services for learning disabilities and reported attending a 2- or 4-year postsecondary program. The data were collected in the National Longitudinal Transition Study 2 (NLTS2). Approximately 33% of the study sample were reported to have co-occurring attention problems (ADD or ADHD). Demographic data such as age, sex (male/female), race/ethnicity, and family of origin household income were reported, along with other characteristics such as students' reading comprehension and mathematics calculation skills, from scores from high school on the Woodcock-Johnson, Third Edition (WJ III; Woodcock et al., 2001). The participant sample was reported to be nationally representative of all young adults with learning disabilities in postsecondary education in the identified time frame. Additional information about the NLTS2 population was also provided.

Dependent Variable

The extant dataset from the National Longitudinal Transition Study 2 (NLTS2) project was collected during the period 2001–2009. The correlations that were explored include the usage patterns of supports and services, including accommodations, and participants' postsecondary academic performance, as reported in the dataset, and coded by the researchers. Postsecondary academic performance was operationalized as academic persistence to program completion, including number of credits earned, as part of a propensity analysis.


The participant sample of postsecondary students with learning disabilities were provided with disability-specific supports at the rate of about 26%; that proportion consisted of 24% receiving accommodations and 2% receiving modifications. Participants reported that, during high school, about 88% of them had received accommodations and 58% had received modifications. In contrast, about 53% of participants were provided with universally available supports in postsecondary education. In all, participants who were provided any support or service—including those available to all students and to only students with disabilities—comprised about 56% of the sample. Only about 11% accessed only disability-specific supports. The researchers noted that most participants did not disclose their disabilities, and chose instead to access academic supports available to all postsecondary students. The participant sample used extended time on course exams at a rate of 22%; other less frequently-used accommodations were calculators during exams and individual administration of exams in a separate setting. About 77% of the participant sample who had received any supports—accommodations, modifications, or universally-available services—continued or completed their postsecondary education; about 50% of participants who did not receive any supports continued or completed their postsecondary education. The number of participants who used only accommodations or modifications was too small to calculate perseverance rates.