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Keywords:

  • education;
  • intellectual disability;
  • moderate/severe;
  • post-school outcomes;
  • secondary

Abstract

Background  A conversation currently exists regarding secondary curriculum (e.g. academics, functional) for students with moderate/severe intellectual disability (ID) without a large research base connecting curriculum to outcomes.

Method  This study represented a secondary analysis of the National Longitudinal Transition Study-2 (NLTS2) data to understand in-school curriculum and educational programming for secondary students with moderate/severe ID as well as the relationship between curriculum and students' post-school outcomes. Statistical procedures such as frequency distributions, a significance test and logistic regression were utilised to analyse secondary data from the NLTS2.

Results  The results suggest the majority of students with moderate/severe ID received a functional curriculum as well as instruction in core content areas; however, their instruction primarily occurred in pull-out educational settings. The students also reported low rates for the post-school outcomes examined (i.e. independent living, employment and post-secondary attendance). Finally, curriculum (functional vs. academics) was not related to any post-school outcome examined (e.g. independent living, employment).

Conclusions  The data suggest additional research is needed to understand what factors impact post-school outcomes for students with moderate/severe ID. Yet – and regardless of the lack of impact – additional work is needed to help students achieve better post-school outcomes, including further examination of curriculum and instructional environments.