Do Kansas schools address multicultural needs of exceptional students in transition practices? A survey of special educators in grades 9-12 with direct experience in transition planning for culturally and/or linguistically diverse student



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Kansas State University


Since 1990, IDEA has required a transition-focused IEP for adolescents with special needs. There have been limited data on whether culturally and/or linguistically diverse (CLD) students in Kansas were receiving transition services to mitigate or remedy their marginalized, disenfranchised, and dis-empowered status. This study examined transition practices for CLD students with special needs in Kansas. The hypothesis tested was that Kansas schools address the multicultural needs of exceptional students in transition practice. There were two research questions. First, do considerations of multicultural needs figure into transition practices in Kansas schools? Second, are multicultural needs taken into account to a greater extent in certain areas of transition? A review of research literature yielded multicultural considerations relevant to the five domains of transition: 1) self-care, domestic living; 2) recreation and leisure; 3) communication and social skills; 4) vocational skills; and 5) community participation skills. An Internet survey with 22 Likert items covering these multicultural needs and concerns was administered via e-mail. A total of 582 valid e-mail addresses were used, comprising contact information developed from a sample frame of a KSDE database of resource-room teachers. The survey e-mail and follow-up were sent to every contact, covering 190 of the 293 unified school districts of Kansas. The completed sample was 178, for a response rate of 30.58%. Data were analyzed from the 93 participants whose responses indicated experience as caseworkers in the past three years on transition-focused IEP teams for at least one student in any of the three CLD groups of interest in the present study—African Americans, Native American Indians, or Hispanic/Latinos. Means and standard deviations were calculated for the frequencies of choices on the 22 Likert items. Pearson's chi-square testing was used to determine significance. Survey results indicated that on 17 of 22 items there was 80% or higher agreement among caseworkers that their school communities were addressing the multicultural needs and concerns of students and families in transition practices. Discussion includes participants' comments. Recommendations are given to increase the roles of cultural and linguistic heritages in transition in Kansas schools, especially in the skill-areas of community participation and communication-and-social skills.



Transition, Multicultural transition, Culturally and linguistically diverse, Disabilities, Post-secondary, Empowerment

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Doctor of Education


Department of Special Education, Counseling and Student Affairs

Major Professor

Warren J. White