Adolescents with and without learning disabilities make the transition to middle school

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Teaching and Learning

First Committee Member

Sharon Vaughn - Committee Chair


The purpose of this study was to describe how students with and without learning disabilities fared academically and socially during the transition from elementary school to middle school. Participants were 14 students who were instructed in a sixth grade inclusive elementary classroom before making the transition to middle school. Students' academic and social data were collected four times across two consecutive school years: Fall and Spring of their 6th grade elementary year and middle and end of their 7th grade middle school year. Participants were also individually interviewed regarding their perspective on making the transition from elementary to middle school.Examination of social, academic, and interview data revealed that on the whole, the students with learning disabilities and the non-learning disabled students fared well during the elementary to middle school transition. The findings which supported the transition as a positive experience were: (a) average scores from both groups of students on measures of self-concept and friendship quality, (b) both groups of students' academic scores were below the comparative samples, but students' raw scores slightly increased from sixth to seventh grade, and (c) as a group, students' perceptions of the middle school transition were positive.


Education, Special; Education, Secondary

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