Understanding the Frequency of Academic Accommodation Use by College Student-Athletes with Disabilities

Lovelace, Shelly, Education - Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Pullen, Paige, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia

The transition from high school to college can be difficult for students with disabilities as they navigate new regulations for receiving and using academic support in their courses. Student-athletes with disabilities face additional obstacles to success including competing time commitments, negative stereotypes, and high performance expectations. In order to support these student-athletes academically, many Division I schools offer learning specialists to assess students’ needs, develop academic interventions, and coordinate services, including students’ use of academic accommodations. The current study used an online survey of student-athletes with disabilities to examine the following research questions: (1) Which academic accommodations do college student-athletes with disabilities receive most often? (2) How often do college student-athletes choose to utilize accommodations approved by their school in their courses? and (3) Which factors contribute to variation in accommodation use by college student-athletes with disabilities? Results indicated that student-athletes reported receiving accommodations for a less distracting environment for test-taking, extra time on exams, a copy of peer or professor notes, and the use of assistive technology. Across each of these accommodations, most student-athletes with disabilities reported using the support in every class/test or not at all. Regression analyses revealed student-athletes with disabilities in later years of college reported using the less distracting environment, extra time, and peer notes accommodations less often than student-athletes in earlier years of college. Similarly, whether or not student-athletes with disabilities played revenue sports (football and basketball) uniquely contributed to the reported variation in use of extra time and peer notes accommodations. Class designation (STEM and social science) was only found to uniquely contribute to student-athletes’ reported variation in use of the extra time accommodation. The implications of these findings, limitations of the study, and directions for future research are also discussed.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
student-athletes, special education, disabilities, accommodations
All rights reserved (no additional license for public reuse)
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