The postschool outcomes of students with mild intellectual disability: does it get better with time?


  • E. C. Bouck

    Corresponding author
    1. Educational Studies, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, USA
    • Correspondence: Dr Emily C. Bouck, Educational Studies, Purdue University, 5146 BRNG Hall, 100 N. University St., West Lafayette, IN 47907, USA (e-mail:

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Although students with mild intellectual disability (MID) present unique educational needs and considerations, in research and in practice, they are sometimes aggregated with students with learning disabilities and emotional disorders and considered mild disabilities or aggregated with students with moderate/severe intellectual disability and labelled as intellectual disability.


This study is a secondary analysis of the NLTS2 data to understand the immediate (i.e. within 2 years) and longer-term outcomes (i.e. within 4 years, within 6 years and within 8 years) of secondary students with MID. Frequency distributions and a significant test were conducted to analyse data from the NLTS2.


Students with MID struggled with postschool success when considering employment, postsecondary education, and independent living. Across the span of time since graduation (i.e. within 2 years, within 4 years, within 6 years, and within 8 years), a lack of consistent pattern existed, in general, for these students with regards to outcomes. Students did not necessarily improve or decline in their outcomes the longer they were out of school.


The postschool outcome data warrant critical examination of the factors contributing to the poor outcomes. The field needs to systematically understand what schools can control with regards to improved outcomes for students with MID – particularly employment regardless of the length of time out of school and independent living as the time since school exit increases – and then implement such practices.