Learning Disabled During the Course of a Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

Learning Disabled

During the course of a child's school years they will learn to define themselves as a person and shape their personality, sense of self-concept and perception of their potential for achievement for life (Persaud, 2000). Thus the early educational years may be considered one of the most impacting and important with regard to emotional, social and cognitive development for students of all disabilities. Labeling is a common by-product of educational institutions, one that has been hotly debated with regard to its benefits and consequences by educators and administrators over time. There are proponents of labeling and those that suggest that labeling may be damaging to students in some manner.

Students who are labeled at the elementary and middle school level as learning disabled may face greater difficulties achieving their true potential in part due to a decreased sense of self-esteem, self-concept and personal achievement (Persaud, 2000). The intent of this study will be to examine the extent that labeling has on student achievement early on and later in their academic career. Specifically, the aim of this study will be to assess whether or not labeling students as "learning disabled" may negatively impact a students potential for achievement and success throughout their educational career and later in life.

The researchers will attempt to verify whether or not the label of 'learning disability' has a deleterious impact on a students overall chances for success throughout their academic career. To achieve this objective the researchers will conduct a qualitative examination related to academics and student labeling. The study will incorporate use of a literature review and questionnaire geared toward gathering information regarding student self-perception, achievement and teachers' perceptions of students that are labeled as learning disabled.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this study is to examine the effects of high incidence disability labels, particularly the label 'learning disability' on student's potential for academic achievement and performance. There are numerous studies that have explored the effects of high incidence disability labels, with various outcomes. In a study conducted by Clark (1997) evidence suggests that student's labeled 'learning disabled' were more often expected to fail than students that were not labeled.

In another study conducted by Clark and Artiles (2000) finding suggested that within the United States teachers are more likely to provide rewards to learning disabled students regardless of their effort levels or achievements, suggesting that overall they expect less from these students. This possibly leads to the notion that lower expectations and achievement will result because students that are labeled are not as likely to be pushed as hard as other students.

Other studies such as those conducted by Shepard and Brown (1998) suggest that a need exists for students to engage learning disabled students more often in every day activities, and that at present a lack of ownership within a teaching setting may lead to inclusion programs that are poorly implemented.

Yet other research suggests that labeling can result in lower expectation and goal settings, a decreased effort from students and a general decline in academic success as well as the potential for success in students labeled as 'learning disabled'.

Research Question

The primary intent of this study is to examine the impact that labeling has on students, particularly with regard to their academic achievement and overall performance during their academic careers. As such, this study will examine the following research question:

Are there effects (including academic achievement and performance) of teachers' use of labeling such as 'learning disability' on students with learning disabilities?"

Based on information acquired from the preliminary literature review and knowledge of student populations in general, the researchers have developed a preliminary hypothesis to be tested:

Hypothesis 1: There are negative effects when teachers label students as learning disabled, including academic achievement and performance-based consequences.…

Sources Used in Document:


Beilke, J.R. & Yssel, N. (Sept., 1999). "The chilly climate for students with disabilites in higher education." College Student Journal, Retrieved October 19, 2004 from LookSmart. Available: http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles.mi_m0FCR/is_3_33/ai_62839444/pg_3

Clark, M. (1997). "Teacher response to learning disability: A test of attributional principles." The Journals of Learning Disabilities, 30 (1), 69-79. Retrieved Oct 4, 2004 from LDOnline. Available:


Clark, M. And Artiles, A. (2000). "A cross-national study of teachers' attributional patterns." The Journal of Special Education, 32(2), 77-99.

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