Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Educational Studies

First Advisor

John Kregel


Perceptions of college Disability Support Services (DSS) and school system personnel regarding emerging best practices, adequacy of preparation of students with disabilities to access accommodations in college, and communication across systems were examined in this study. Once in college, students with disabilities have a lower rate of completion/success than their peers. Accommodations promote success in college, yet students with disabilities are not accessing them, thereby reducing their success. Adequacy of student preparation to access accommodations and communication across systems affects the access of accommodations by college students with disabilities. This study is qualitative, with 43 participants. It includes DSS personnel from five, four-year and five, two-year colleges/universities and transition personnel from five public school divisions in Virginia. Snowball sampling and a guided interview format were used. Rigor was addressed through triangulation, including document and web review. Results indicate that differences between the ADA and IDEA require students, teachers, and parents of students with disabilities to have knowledge of students’ rights and responsibilities under the ADA to prepare them for accessing accommodations in college. Students were more likely to be prepared when they had knowledgeable and supportive parents, transition teams, and teachers/case managers. Characteristics of individual students also help determine the effectiveness of student preparation. School system participants feel they have lack of access to students with disabilities transitioning to college to effectively prepare them for accessing accommodations in college. They also lack feedback about preparation effectiveness. Participants believe additional communication is needed. Existing communication is directional with school system staff making requests of DSS staff. There is also need for additional college outreach to school systems and a structure for ongoing communication is desired. It is recommended that best practices in preparation and communication be identified, knowledge of transition teams/parents be improved, and usefulness of the Summary of Performance be determined. Development of a system for students with less severe disabilities for transition preparation and a system for increased feedback and communication between systems personnel is needed. The VDOE and SCHEV should work to improve avenues for joint preparation and develop goals and an action plan for implementation.


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Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

December 2009

Included in

Education Commons