Skills, standards, and disabilities: How youth with learning disabilities fare in high school and beyond
Learning disabled youth in the Child and Young Adult samples of the NLSY79 are more likely to graduate from high school than peers with the same measured cognitive ability, a difference that cannot be explained by differences in noncognitive skills, families, or school resources. Instead, I find that learning disabled students graduate from high school at higher rates than youth with the same cognitive abilities because of high school graduation policies that make it easier for learning disabled youth to obtain a high school diploma. The effects of these graduation policies are even more remarkable given that I find evidence that learning disabled youth have less unmeasured human capital than observationally equivalent youth as after high school they are less likely to be employed or continue on to college and earn less than their observationally equivalent non-learning disabled peers.
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