Exploring faculty perceptions of dual credit students with non-apparent disabilities at a southwest community college : a single instrumental case study.

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Dual credit programs, which allow high school students to enroll in college courses for high school and college credit, provide students with incredible opportunities to jump-start their collegiate experiences. However, despite expanding program availability and federal laws ensuring equal access to students with disabilities, a significant problem exists with equal access for students with non-apparent disabilities in dual credit programs. Disparate laws and services offered to students with disabilities at the secondary and postsecondary levels exacerbate this problem. The lack of research on the experiences of dual credit students with non-apparent disabilities and the inclusion of students with disabilities in dual credit programs in the United States further exacerbate this problem (Freeman-Green et al., 2018). Ultimately, this problem often creates confusion, frustration, and barriers for dual credit students with non-apparent disabilities.

This problem of practice outlines a single, instrumental case study design that sought to explore faculty perceptions of dual credit students with non-apparent disabilities at a large community college in the southwest United States and to understand what dual credit faculty identify as challenges and effective practices for dual credit students with non-apparent disabilities at a large community college in the southwest United States. Qualitative data collection included semi-structured interviews, documents, and archival records. Data analysis utilized thematic analysis and framework analysis to answer the research questions.

The findings of this single, instrumental case study indicated that requesting accommodations through the institution’s disability services office, utilizing available resources, and early notice to professors of the student’s accommodations are effective practices for academic success for dual credit students with non-apparent disabilities. Furthermore, this study revealed that communicating with students about their accommodations, emphasizing the accommodations process, and balancing flexibility with academic rigor are effective practices that may reduce barriers to equal access for dual credit students with non-apparent disabilities. Ultimately, this research study fills a significant gap in the existing research and provides insight into the unique experiences of teaching dual credit students with non-apparent disabilities in a community college setting.

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