Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Comparing disabled students’ entry to higher education with their non-disabled peers — barriers and enablers to success

an article by Mike Wray (York St John University, UK) published in Widening Participation & Lifelong Learning Volume 14 Issue 3 (Winter 2012-13)


Statistical evidence and qualitative research from within higher education (HE) in England suggests that disabled people underachieve in comparison to their non-disabled peers and that they face a range of barriers that militate against their success throughout their educational journey.

This article discusses a research project that utilised focus groups to compare the experiences of disabled HE learners with their non-disabled peers and compared the reported experiences of learners who had entered HE with those that had decided not to pursue this path.

Disabled learners in this study did report significantly more difficulties in their progression to HE than the non-disabled learners who were interviewed. However, both groups of learners also encountered a number of enabling factors that assisted their educational progress.

Findings from learners who decided not to enter HE also reinforced these assertions. The research begins to answer the critique of previous studies by providing comparison groups and will assist practitioners in implementing evidence-based practice in supporting disabled learners to progress to HE.

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