Why Students With Disabilities are More Likely to Drop Out

Access to education and the level of education attained can affect participation in other key life areas, including employment and the ability to achieve economic independence. Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ 2018 Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers (SDAC) shows people with disabilities are more likely to have a lower level of educational attainment and are more likely to drop out once enrolled in higher education.

Insufficient Supports for Students

This trend is driven by a variety of complex factors, but one of the biggest contributors is a lack of sufficient learning supports for students with disabilities or ongoing health conditions. This includes both individualised reasonable adjustments and institution-level learning supports, the latter being available to all students. 

These supports are important for improving outcomes for students with disabilities or ongoing health conditions in terms of their engagement with, and completion of, tertiary education. 

How Both Supports Can Help Close the Gap

Reasonable adjustments help improve education outcomes by making appropriate changes to learning and assessment formats to suit the student’s needs. For example, oral instead of written presentation, making a note-taker available in class and providing extended time for students to complete exams. Reasonable adjustments should be tailored and reflect the diverse needs of students as well as the various learning environments in tertiary education. 

A student’s access to reasonable adjustment supports often depends on the disclosure of their illness or disability. This can be problematic as some students can be concerned about the reputational risks that accompany such disclosure. For this reason, improving institution-level supports can also be an important way to improve accessibility and produce inclusive learning environments without necessitating disclosures of disabilities or illness.

Accessibility Teams Need the Right Tools and Support

Without the right tools and resources, effectively implementing and managing the day-to-day provision of both reasonable adjustments and institution level supports can be overwhelming for campus accessibility and equity teams. Technology and systems that can streamline and eliminate manual processes involved in providing these supports are essential to delivering them effectively. 

For example, Databee designed Student Assist to simplify data management and remove the need to navigate multiple systems with a clever all in one and easy to use solution. This includes Learning Access Plan management, job services and appointment management, recording recommendations for teaching adjustments assessment and examination adjustments, and arranging placement support and referrals for other learning support.

What to Look for in Accessibility Tools and Systems

Students and disability services staff often judge the effectiveness of learning supports differently. For this reason, any technology and tools used for the provision of learning supports must be designed to be able to adapt tasks and spaces to support individual students and recognise and respect differences in student needs.

Student Assist is designed by end-users with student-facing experience, making it an effective system in supporting the day-to-day management of tertiary education accessibility and equity services. The system is designed to complement existing systems in a way that positively impacts student outcomes.

Request a Demonstration of Student Assist

Get in touch with our team today to find out more about Student Assist. Request an online demonstration by contacting us online or calling our office on +61 8 9401 8450.
We’re currently offering Databee Student Assist within our Early Adopters Program, where universities and higher education institutions have the opportunity to contribute to the functionality and ongoing improvement of Student Assist in exchange for significant discounts on the service.

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Monique Wise