Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Julia Bryan


The purpose of this descriptive study was to investigate the relationship between diploma status, disability status, family configuration, socio-economic status, IQ function, race, participation in a career development program coordinated by the school counselor, and post-secondary educational plans among students with learning disabilities. A further purpose of this study was to assess the educational experiences of students with learning disabilities relative to their post-secondary educational outcomes. to explore these questions, this study used a constructionist theoretical framework as a implemented in Social Cognitive Career Theory. The participants for this study included high school graduates from the years 2001 through 2007 from a rural high school in the southeastern United States. The majority of participants included students who were economically disadvantaged, African-Americans, and first-generation college students. Results indicated that a career development program coordinated by the school counselor made a significant difference in post-secondary educational plans of students with learning disabilities included in the study. Qualitative results based on student interviews revealed perceived barriers, strategies for coping with a stigmatized identity, preferred teacher attributes, and the importance of a supportive and positive educational infrastructure for building self-efficacy and increasing the likelihood of post-secondary educational planning of students with learning disabilities.



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