An analysis of school district demographic and dispute factors affecting services for students with autism spectrum disorder

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Mary Loyd White (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Marilyn Friend

Abstract: The purpose of this study was to examine the educational services for students with autism in school districts (N = 115) in North Carolina to identify the characteristics and variables that contribute to positive student outcomes. This study used a secondary analysis of data from various resources across the state. Variables included number of students with autism, prevalence, median personal income, student achievement composite scores, population demographics (urban versus rural), and rate of dispute (state complaints and mediations). Between 2006 and 2010, the mean percentage of growth in North Carolina for students with autism (M = 82.23%) was greater than that of the total student population during the same time period (M = -1.55%). Multiple regressions were used to measure the effect of income on proficiency scores and prevalence; correlational analyses were used to examine the relationship between district variables. Although a district's median income was related to the percentage of students with a composite proficiency score on statewide testing in grades 3 through 8 for the total population it did not have the same effect on students with autism. A moderate association existed between the percentage of students identified with autism and the district's level of median personal income. For every thousand-dollar increase in median income, there was a .028 increase in the percent of autism prevalence. Only a mild relationship existed between the rate of dispute and median personal income for each district and little difference existed between dispute and other district-level variables. The findings of this study provide direction for research and valuable insight for special education administrators at the state and district level as they face an increasing number of students with autism who have unique educational needs. Specifically, the results suggest that student proficiency scores for students with autism are not related to a district's median personal income, but income is related to the amount of dispute as well as a district's prevalence rate.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2012
Autism, Specialized education services,
Autistic children $x Education $z North Carolina
Autistic children $x Services for $z North Carolina

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