School & District Management

A Snapshot of Secondary School Students With Mental Retardation

By Christina A. Samuels — July 30, 2009 1 min read

Secondary school students with mental retardation are significantly more likely to take their courses in a special education setting, with a curriculum that is modified to some degree, according a recent fact sheet based on a long-running federal study.

In 2000, the federal government started a 10-year study of 12,000 teenagers receiving special education services, following them as they moved into adult roles in society.That study, called the National Longitudinal Transition Study-2 (the first NLTS ran from 1985 through 1993) has yielded more than two dozen fact sheets and reports, including the most recent one, on students with mental retardation and their experiences in secondary school.

The fact sheet makes no conclusions, it just offers a snapshot of different pieces of information, including how often students with mental retardation experience modified curricula (about 72 percent of them do); how many take vocational courses (about 78 percent in a given year), and their test scores and grades (about 45 percent reported receiving mostly C’s and D’s, but 99 percent scored below the norm in standardized academic tests.)

Similar reports exist for students with autism, learning disabilities, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

A version of this news article first appeared in the On Special Education blog.