A r c h i v e d  I n f o r m a t i o n

To Assure the Free Appropriate Public Education of all Children with Disabilities - 1995

Students with Disabilities Exiting Educational Programs

In 1992, OSEP began changing the way it collected data on students with disabilities exiting educational programs. Since 1984-85, OSEP had collected data from States on the number of students age 14 and older exiting the educational system by age and disability. In 1992, OSEP distributed to the States a revised data format along with the format used since 1984-85. States and Outlying Areas were allowed to choose which format to complete. Twenty-two States used the new form in 1992-93. The 1992-93 exiting data are reported in this section. For the 1993-94 exiting data, which will be reported in the 18th Annual Report to Congress, the new format will be mandatory for all States.

The revised format collects data on students exiting special education, not the educational system. Exit categories in the revised format include:

Data on three of these categories--returned to regular education, died, and moved--were not collected in the past.The definition of the "dropped out" category was revised.Twenty-eight States and Outlying Areas reported data using the new format.5

In addition to introducing new exit categories, OSEP will also analyze exit data differently. Rather than basing percentages on the total number of students with disabilities exiting the educational system as in past years, percentages will be based on the total Part B and Chapter 1 (SOP) child count for students 14 and older. For example, in the past the total number of students with disabilities graduating with a diploma would be divided by the total number of students with disabilities exiting the educational system. Now, the total number of students with disabilities graduating with a diploma will be divided by the total number of students with disabilities age 14 or older. The annual rates at which students with disabilities 14 and older exit through particular bases (e.g., an annual graduation rate or annual dropout rate) will also be reported.

Because some States used the optional new format to report exiting data, and some used the old format, national totals could be computed only for those categories that remained unchanged from previous years. These include graduation with a diploma, graduation with a certificate, and reached maximum age for services.As shown in table 1.9, in 1992-93, 7.2 percent of all students with disabilities age 14 and older graduated with a diploma.Students with deaf-blindness (11.8 percent), visual impairments (10.2 percent), or traumatic brain injury (9.7 percent) were most likely to graduate with a diploma. Students with autism (2.3 percent) and multiple disabilities (4.1 percent) were least likely to graduate.While these percentages are based on all students with disabilities age 14 and older served under IDEA and Chapter 1 (SOP), the number of students with traumatic brain injuries, autism, and multiple disabilities is quite small. As a result, percentages may be subject to frequent change as the exit status of a few students can alter the national percentage of students with these low incidence disabilities in each exit category.


TABLE 1.9 Number and Percentage of Students 14 and Older Exiting Educational Programs, by Disability: School Year 1992-93a/
                    Graduated     Graduated      Reached     Child                        with         with         Maximum     Count                       Diploma     Certificate       Age        14+
---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Specific learning  disabilities           8.0           2.0           0.1      869,769                     (69,309)      (17,156)        (746)  Speech or language  impairments            7.8           1.1           0.3       45,297                      (3,516)        (514)         (116)   Mental retardation     5.4           4.8           1.1      234,676                     (12,718)      (11,305)       (2,662)       Serious emotional  disturbance            5.8           1.4           0.3      181,031                     (10,411)       (2,474)        (583)       Multiple  disabilities           4.1           3.1           1.8       36,416                      (1,494)       (1,116)        (642)        Hearing impairments    8.7           3.1           0.2       21,245                      (1,851)        (660)          (41)                 Orthopedic  impairments            9.0           2.6           0.7       16,094                      (1,451)        (421)         (117)         Other health  impairments            8.2           2.8           0.3       22,207                      (1,815)        (627)          (65)          Visual impairments    10.2           3.0           0.4        8,504                       (872)         (260)          (31)          Autism                 2.3           2.2           1.2        4,947                       (114)         (110)          (62)         Deaf-blindness        11.8          11.1           3.1          575                       (68)          (64)           (18)           Traumatic brain  injury                9.7            1.3           0.7        1,886                      (182)          (25)           (13)        ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- All disabilities      7.2            2.4           0.4                    (103,801)      (34,732)      (5,096)   1,442,647 
a/Percentages presented in this table are calculated based on the total number of students with disabilities age 14 and older. They are not comparable to percentages presented in previous Annual Reports to Congress.

Source: U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education, Data Analysis System (DANS).


Certificates of completion or modified diplomas were earned by 2.4 percent of students with disabilities age 14 and older exiting the special education system.Certificates of completion or modified diplomas were most prevalent among students with deaf-blindness (11.1 percent) and those with mental retardation (4.8 percent).Relatively few students with disabilities--5,096 or .4 percent--exited by reaching 22, the maximum age for services.

Table 1.10 shows the percentage of students with disabilities 14 and older (based on the IDEA child count) graduating with a diploma or certificate each year for the past five years. The graduation rate for students with disabilities as a whole has been essentially unchanged over the past five years. Rates for students with mental retardation are slightly higher than those for students with learning disabilities or serious emotional disturbance.


TABLE 1.10 Percentage of Students with Disabilities 14 and Older Graduating with a Diploma or Certificate: School Years 1988-89 to 1992-93
                    1988-89    1989-90    1990-91    1991-92    1992-93
---------------------------------------------------------------------------- All Disabilities     10.66      10.61      10.38       9.99      10.16        Specific Learning    10.20      10.44      10.03       9.94      10.11 Disabilities  Speech or Language   13.05       9.91      13.42       8.44       9.12 Impairments  Mental Retardation   11.73      12.09      11.66      11.29      11.31  Serious Emotional     8.82       8.22       7.95       7.49       7.94 Disturbance  Other Disabilities   13.58      12.79      12.96      12.64      12.59   

Source: Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs, Data Analysis System (DANS)


For those bases of exit that appear on only one of the two formats, State estimates are included in the appendices, but no national totals are reported.In addition, because the old and revised formats use different definitions for the category "dropout," national dropout rate estimates could not be reported this year.


5 Palau did not submit data on students exiting educational programs.
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