Academic attainment of students with disabilities in distance education

Richardson, John T. E. (2014). Academic attainment of students with disabilities in distance education. Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability, 27(3) pp. 291–305.

URL: http://www.ahead.org/publications/jped/vol_27/no3t...

Abstract

This investigation compared attainment in 196,405 students with and without disabilities who were taking courses by distance learning with the U.K. Open University in 2009. When the effects of demographic variables were statistically controlled, students with mental health difficulties showed poorer course completion than nondisabled students; students with restricted mobility showed poorer course completion and lower pass rates than nondisabled students; students with unseen or other disabilities showed lower pass rates than nondisabled students; and students with dyslexia or other specific learning difficulties showed lower pass rates and poorer grades than nondisabled students. In addition, the presence of additional disabilities led to poorer attainment in different respects in students who were blind or partially sighted, students who were deaf or hard of hearing, students with impaired speech, and students with unseen disabilities. Accommodations to support disabled students in distance education need to be focused on different groups of students with particular disabilities.

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