Registering for Disability Related Services and Academic Outcomes of College Graduates

This project was completed in 2007.

We recently completed an archival study looking at the relationship between standardized grades of 9406 recent Dawson College graduates with and without disabilities and their perceptions of academic obstacles and facilitators.

Findings

We found that while many graduates self-identified as having a disability, many did not register with the college to receive disability related services. Based on the findings, we estimate that 10% of Dawson graduates have a disability and that 70% of them did not register for disability related services. We also encountered a serious confound: graduates who participated in the research, whether they had a disability or not, had higher grades than graduates who had not completed any college questionnaires, a finding which needs to be taken into account when interpreting survey findings. That said, our results point to certain aspects of the college experience, many of which are within the control of the colleges, being associated with superior performance. But, in the final analysis, it was the learner's level of motivation and study habits which most closely related to high grades upon graduation. For graduates with disabilities, disability related support services off-campus also related to higher college exit grades.