Major Disparities in the Transition Plan for Special Education


The learning process takes place through an interactive process targeting an individual. Therefore, learning is a very complex process. A large body of literature indicates that individuals have different learning styles and preferences. Lifelong learning encompasses the acquisition and updating of all kinds of learning from pre-school years to post-retirement years. However, there are special cases for students with learning disabilities. Several disparities exist in the process of integrating this group into the institution of higher learning. Among the noted disparities include insufficient support and structure for integration, biased selection process, and little psychological support. This research proposal paper attempts to identify these disparities and recommend sustainable policy-based solutions.

In the current education environment, those considered to have a high ability to memorize and analytical capabilities have benefited from aspects of the learning system. This category of students has the ability to do better in ability tests, learn fast when they are taught courses alongside other students with very low test results (Skinner & Lindstrom 2003). They are, therefore, able to perform better on achievement tests that are used in these restricted kinds of learning. However, the same institutions have students with learning disabilities who find it difficult to fit in new learning environments. Daviso, Denney, Baer & Flexer (2011) assert that “students with LD, postsecondary education goals are highly correlated with participation in mainstream academics” (p.89). They found that “participation in more challenging academic programming was related to passing high school graduation tests, which, in turn, was a strong predictor for postsecondary education for students with LD” (p. 89).

In order to remain relevant in the fast evolving knowledge world, an individual has to undergo a continuous basis strive to acquire knowledge from all spheres of his/her life (Madaus & Shaw 2006). The lifelong learning process should thus be void of learning bias and provide opportunity to peoples with all different kinds of learning styles (Flexer & Baer 2008). The biasness in the learning process may lock certain learners from the system. For example, learners with practical disabilities may occasionally be “iced out” of the system because the system does not guarantee them the opportunity to acquire knowledge (Goldberg, Higgins, Raskind, & Herman 2003). The consequence is that career paths may be barred to academically talented persons who potentially could stand to make enormous contributions (Thompson, Fulk & Piercy 2000).

According to Dunn, Chambers, and Rabren (2004), the lifelong learning process is a desirable criterion for gauging the learning process as it trains individuals to fit in their career paths through provision of desired set of skills they need to survive in the dynamic job market. Having and attaining lifelong learning is important particularly with the current financial challenges facing many families across the globe with students having LD problems (Baer, Flexer, Beck, Amstutz, Hoffman, Brothers, Steltzer, & Zechman 2003). The job market is structured in such a way to accommodate those without LDs. As a result, lifelong learning in individuals enhances their employability even when such individuals have low formal education than for persons with LD (Greene & Kochhar-Bryant 2003).

Learned abilities are skills individuals develop throughout their education life and can relate to a variety of circumstances. For instance, the ability to coordinate multiple tasks (Harvey 2002). Thus, students who lack this ability often find it difficult to integrate in higher learning institutions and job market. The most affected are females who have to fight against gender biasness and unsupportive educational authority system (Coutinho, Oswald, & Best 2006). Little efforts have been put in place to change this. In cases where efforts are in place, there are scanty policies implemented by relevant authorities. This research proposal attempts to identify these disparities and generate a sustainable policy based solution to reverse the worrying trend.

Research Objectives

The objectives for this study are as follows:

  • To understand the social institutions in place to cater then female adults with LD for transition into higher learning institutions
  • To examine the internal and external transition models within the education system of Riyadh City.
  • To determine existence of transition objectives and their effectiveness for female adults with LD within Riyadh.
  • To examine a number of policy proposals to manage the transition process and major challenges over the last decade.

Research Aim

The aim of this research is to examine the major disparities in the transition plan for young students with learning disabilities: female secondary school students with learning disabilities in Riyadh City of Saudi Arabia.

Research Questions

The main research questions to be addressed are:

  • What is the main challenges facing female adults with LD in their quest for attaining higher education
  • How supportive is the education system towards female adult students with LD in their quest for higher education
  • What policy and intervention models can the authority institute to handle these disparities noted

Research Hypotheses

Below is the null and alternative hypothesis based on the research problem:

  • H1o. There is no link between successful transition polices for female students with learning disabilities and their performance
  • H1a. There is a link between successful transition polices for female students with learning disabilities and their performance

Research Methodology

This study will use a systematic quantitative research method in collecting data. Reflectively, Non-experimental quantitative research design determines existing or perceived relationship between dependent and independent variables of any given study population (Huck 2000). The study opts for Quantitative and data collection method since it is economical on time, finance, and energy unlike qualitative method which may not be economical especially when the sample size is put into picture.

Target Population and Sample Size

The population targeted by this study includes 40 female secondary students with learning disabilities randomly picked in six schools. To generate the sample size for this study population, the research will adopt the formulae created in 1972.

Sampling Formula

n=N/ (1+N (e2))


  • n = sample size
  • N= Target population
  • e= Degree of freedom
  • n=140/ (1+140*0.052)
  • n=140/1.35
  • n= 103.7037

The target population is 40 female students with learning disabilities in six schools within Riyadh City of Saudi Arabia. From this population, random sampling will be applied and questionnaires with close ended questions given to each.

Data Sources and Rights of the Participants

Primary data will be used in addressing each research question. Primary data collection method includes use of observation, questionnaires (both close ended and open ended), interviews, and focus discussion groups. The study opts for close ended questionnaire in data collection since it is economical on time, finance, and energy unlike qualitative method which may not be economical especially when the sample size is put into picture.

Validity and Accuracy

A pilot study will be carried out in one of the six schools which represent 17 percent of the population of the study. This is necessary as a precaution against using a data collection tool in full research before determining its relevance and efficiency. After the pre-testing procedure, the most appropriate research tool (questionnaires) will be embraced in the study.

Data Collection Procedure

In the collection of data procedure, the research will adopt a drop and pick module for the sample population. Each respondent will be given a time frame of a week to respond to questions in the questionnaire. Where necessary, further clarification will be accorded to participants.

Data Analysis

The collected quantitative data will be coded and passed through Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version seventeen. In the process, cross tabulation will be used to compare and contrast perception on transition and actual position of the same in UAE. In order to quantify relationship between the independent and dependent variable, ANOVA will be essential besides figures, charts, and tabular representation of correlation analysis.

Legal Issues

Before commencing data collection process, the researcher will have to get permission from the relevant authority in the six institutions of learning. Confidentiality and winning trust of the target population determines the success of a research project. Therefore, the study will endeavor to keep the names of research targets as confidential as possible.


Conclusively, this research paper will largely depend on quantitative data collected via use of close ended questionnaires. The target population will be contacted through physical interaction. The study attempts to identify major disparities in the transition plan for young students with learning disabilities: female secondary school students with learning disabilities in Riyadh city of Saudi Arabia.

Research Time Line

Research Time Line


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Madaus, J., & Shaw, S. (2006). The Impacts of IDEA 2004 on Transition to Collage for Students with Learning Disabilities. Learning Disabilities Research & Practice, 21, 273-281.

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Thompson, J. T., Fulk, B. M., & Piercy, S. W. (2000). Do individualized transition plans matching the post school projections of the students with learning disabilities and their parents? Career Development for Exceptional Individuals, 23, 3-25.