Factors Affecting the Rate of Progress For Students With Specific Learning Disabilities

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education

First Advisor

Hollie Gabler Filce

Advisor Department

Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education


This study examines the affect of time spent in special education on the rate of progress for students in Mississippi with special education rulings of Specific Learning Disabilities. Socioeconomic status, race, and the school's percentage of disproportionate eligibility for special education services of minority students were examined for predictive effect. The results indicate that students with special education rulings served in special education classrooms for less than 21% of the day and students served in a special education classroom for more than 21% but less than 69% showed a greater rate of progress than students with special education rulings receiving no instruction in a special education classroom. The rate of progress was based on a comparison of scores collected from three administrations of the Mississippi Curriculum Practice test. However, even with a higher rate of progress the students with special education rulings were not performing at the same rate as the students in general education. The school's percentage of disproportional identification of minority students for special education services and socioeconomic status were identified as predictors of a greater rate of progress. The findings supported the need for consistent, appropriate inclusion practices, strategic staff development, and more established reliability for the testing instruments.