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National Center on Secondary Education and Transition: Creating opportunities for youth with disabilities to achieve successful futures.

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General Instructional Strategies

Accommodations for Students with Disabilities in High School (January 2002)
NCSET Issue Brief
NCSET's Issue Briefs examine current challenges in secondary education and transition. The issue addressed is that fewer students with disabilities in middle schools and high schools use accommodations than students with disabilities in elementary schools. Written by Martha Thurlow of the National Center on Educational Outcomes.

Alternative Schools and Students With Disabilities: Identifying and Understanding the Issues (October 2004)
NCSET Information Brief  
This brief outlines the responses of state directors of special education to a telephone survey about major issues regarding students with disabilities and alternative schools in their states. Resources for further information are also provided.

An Effective Model for College Students With Learning Disabilities and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders (February 2004)
NCSET Research to Practice Brief
College students with learning disabilities and attention deficit hyperactivity disorders who participate in the Virginia Commonwealth University Supported Education Model tend to stay in school and progress in their educational programs, according to a study conducted by the Virginia Commonwealth University Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Workplace Supports. This brief describes the VCU Supported Education Model and results of the study.

Bridging the Digital Divide in Post-Secondary Education: Technology Access for Youth with Disabilities (December 2002)
NCSET Information Brief
Computer access has the potential to help people with disabilities complete coursework independently, participate in class discussions, communicate with peers and mentors, access distance learning courses, participate in high tech careers, and lead self-determined lives. This brief was designed for secondary and postsecondary educators and administrators, employers, individuals with disabilities, and parents. It outlines the challenges youth with disabilities face in gaining access to technology, and provides specific recommendations for achieving greater technology access.

Creating Environments That Work for All Youth: Increasing the Use of Evidence-Based Strategies by Special Education Teachers (December 2006)
NCSET Research to Practice Brief
With a goal of increasing the use of evidence-based practices in special education programs and improve student outcomes, a research demonstration project was developed through a unique partnership of special educators, parents, administrators, and investigators. This brief reports on the method, implementation, and initial findings from this project.

Cultural and Linguistic Diversity: Implications for Transition Personnel (October 2005)
NCSET Essential Tool
This Essential Tool summarizes current research about transition issues and Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CLD) youth with disabilities. It also offers information on how transition personnel can effectively support these youth by building on their strengths and enhancing natural supports available within their families and communities. Also included are numerous practical tools, and information on further resources.

The Emergence of Psychiatric Disabilities in Postsecondary Education (September 2004)
NCSET Issue Brief  
An unprecedented and growing number of postsecondary students report psychiatric disabilities. This brief provides a brief definition of the issue and an outline of the primary barriers such students face in completing postsecondary education. The brief also offers strategies for postsecondary professionals, recommendations, and further resources.

Enhancing Academic Achievement and Transition Outcomes Using Technology (September 2005)
NCSET Information Brief  
It is critical that innovative curricula emerge that combine standards-based academics with transition planning to facilitate access to general education, including multiple-outcome measures and learning supports. In response to this challenge, the Nisonger Center at Ohio State University (OSU) developed a standards-driven, computer-based curriculum for students with disabilities in grades 8 through 10. This brief describes the curriculum and the principles behind it.

Handbook for Implementing a Comprehensive Work-Based Learning Program According to the Fair Labor Standards Act (3rd ed.) (February 2005)
NCSET Essential Tool
By following the information and examples in this manual, school personnel can proceed with confidence to operate effective work-based learning programs consistent with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Sample forms, agreements, and supporting documentation required under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and FLSA are included in the examples whenever possible. This document also includes contact information for offices and personnel of the U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division and organizations involved in planning and delivering transition services for youth with disabilities, as well as information on Supplemental Security Work Incentives available to transition-aged youth with disabilities.

High Schools With Authentic and Inclusive Learning Practices: Selected Features and Findings (July 2003)
NCSET Research to Practice Brief
This brief outlines the major findings of a research study conducted by the Research Institute on Secondary Education Reform (RISER) on authentic and inclusive learning practices at four high schools. Authentic learning practices involve students in using disciplined inquiry to construct in-depth knowledge for themselves and others, and inclusive learning refers to the use of developmentally and individually appropriate accommodations and supports. The brief also discusses the implications and challenges presented by the study's findings.

In Their Own Words: Employer Perspectives on Youth with Disabilities in the Workplace (September 2004)
NCSET Essential Tool

It is essential for educators, transition specialists, workforce development professionals, family members, and youth to understand employers' needs, circumstances, and perspectives as they establish work-based learning experiences. This publication features the experiences of employers in their own words. Eleven employers from various fields write about how they became involved in providing work experiences for youth with disabilities, what made it work, and what they recommend to individuals or organizations representing youth.

Increasing Rates of School Completion: Moving from Policy and Research to Practice (May 2004)
NCSET Essential Tool
This cutting-edge manual for educators, administrators and policymakers describes eleven proven interventions for increasing school completion among youth with disabilities. The interventions selected are only those that include research or evaluation designs and were published between 1988 and 2003. Also included are reproducible handouts containing current statistics and information on dropout, a concise literature review, and information on related Web sites, journal articles, publications, and organizations.

Increasing School Completion: Learning from Research-Based Practices that Work (August 2004)
NCSET Research to Practice Brief  
This brief identifies and describes five research-based practices proven effective in increasing rates of school completion. The practices utilized random samples or comparison groups and had statistically significant results for the treatment group on the variable of enrollment status.

Motivating Youth with Disabilities to Learn in the Science Classroom (April 2004)
NCSET Information Brief
This brief provides teachers with strategies for motivating students with diverse learning styles, including students with disabilities, in science courses and programs. These strategies include use of case studies, analogies, lab-based education, storytelling, modeling, and role-playing. The brief also includes resources for further study.

Never Too Late: Approaches to Reading Instruction for Secondary Students with Disabilities (May 2002)
NCSET Research to Practice Brief
This Research to Practice Brief addresses the problem of children, including students with disabilities, not learning to read proficiently in the primary grades. In this brief, two approaches developed to improve the reading skills of secondary students with learning disabilities are explored.

Students with Disabilities who Drop Out of School: Implications for Policy and Practice (July 2002)
NCSET Issue Brief
Amid new school accountability policies and stiffer promotion and graduation requirements, what interventions work to lower an unacceptable high dropout rate for students with disabilities? Using research-based information, this Issue Brief defines the problem and articulates proven intervention strategies.

Teaching for Understanding (November 2003)
NCSET Research to Practice Brief
While traditional lectures, exercises, and drills may help students memorize facts and formulas and get the right answers on tests, this time-honored style of teaching does not help students achieve the depth of understanding they need to understand complex ideas and apply knowledge in new settings or situations. This Research to Practice Brief outlines research regarding an approach called “teaching for understanding,” which strives to engender in students a depth of understanding on academic topics that enables them to apply the knowledge in various settings. Suggestions and resources for application of this approach are also provided.

Teaching Social Skills (October 2004)
NCSET Information Brief  
This brief outlines the importance of social skills education for youth with disabilities, identifies specific skills needed by youth, provides guidance for choosing and implementing social skills programs, and offers information about creating a positive school climate that fosters the development of social skills.

Transition Planning: Community Mapping as a Tool for Teachers and Students (April 2005)
NCSET Research to Practice Brief
Community mapping can acquaint teachers and students with a community's culture, resources, transition needs, and assets. This brief describes the research base for community mapping and provides an outline of the roles, responsibilities, and materials involved in the community mapping process. It also provides examples and further resources for engaging in community resource mapping.

Universal Design for Learning: A Strategy to Support Students' Access to the General Education Curriculum (December 2002)
NCSET Information Brief
The IDEA amendments of 1997 require that students with disabilities have the opportunity to participate and progress in the general curriculum in public education systems. Universal Design refers to the design of flexible classroom materials and activities, including use of technology, to facilitate the achievement of learning goals by students with widely varying abilities. This brief describes principles of Universal Design and provides information about Universal Design resources.

Universal Design for Learning and the Transition to a More Challenging Academic Curriculum: Making it in Middle School and Beyond (April 2005)
NCSET Parent Brief
This brief describes universal design, a process for creating environments that support the learning of students with diverse abilities, styles, and needs. In universal design, versatility is built into the environment from the start. Further resources are also provided.

What Algebra and Biology Students Have to Say About Universal Design for Learning (October 2005)
NCSET Research to Practice Brief
This brief outlines the findings of a study of whether universal design for learning (UDL) improves how students with mild disabilities perform in general education. The study's findings illustrate how students perceive individual interventions anchored by three key UDL principles--multiple ways of representing course content, multiple options for student expression and control, and multiple options for engagement and motivation. These individual interventions were used in standard-track high school algebra and biology classes.

Work-Based Learning and Future Employment for Youth: A Guide for Parents and Guardians (October 2003)
NCSET Information Brief
Setting high expectations early in life is an important step in order for youth to develop the skills to succeed in the future. This guide for parents and guardians of youth with disabilities outlines how work-based learning helps youth identify interests, strengths, skills, and needs related to career development. Specific examples are provided, as well as further resources.

Instructional Strategies for Reading

Collaborative Strategic Reading (CSR): Improving Secondary Students’ Reading Comprehension Skills (July 2002)
NCSET Research to Practice Brief
Reading comprehension skills can be successfully taught to struggling readers, including secondary-age students with learning disabilities and those who are English Language Learners. In this Research to Practice Brief, specifics of Collaborative Strategic Reading (CSR) implementation in the classroom are described, with references to further resources.

Creating Environments That Work for All Youth: Increasing the Use of Evidence-Based Strategies by Special Education Teachers (December 2006)
NCSET Research to Practice Brief
With a goal of increasing the use of evidence-based practices in special education programs and improve student outcomes, a research demonstration project was developed through a unique partnership of special educators, parents, administrators, and investigators. This brief reports on the method, implementation, and initial findings from this project.

Improving Word Identification Skills Using Strategic Instruction Model (SIM) Strategies (December 2002)
NCSET Research to Practice Brief
Students with learning disabilities often move into secondary education with elementary-level reading skills, including an inability to readily decode unfamiliar words. As a result, they have difficulty with content-area classes, such as history and science, in which grade-level reading is required. This brief, written for general education teachers, special education teachers, and school administrators, focuses on the Word Identification Strategy component of the Strategic Instruction Model (SIM) (Deshler & Schumaker, 1988), and reviews research showing the effectiveness of this strategy for secondary students with disabilities.

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National Center on Secondary Education and Transition
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This page was last updated on January 12, 2022.