Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education



First Advisor

Dr. Kathy Grover

Second Advisor

Dr. Sherry DeVore

Third Advisor

Dr. Stewart Pratt


Students with emotional and behavioral disabilities experience poor post-secondary outcomes despite the existence of research-based best practices to improve outcomes (Freeman et al., 2019; Mitchel et al., 2019). Research signifies this population as underserved and under-identified (Barnett, 2012). Additionally, funding best practices indicate student outcomes should be considered when allocating resources (Chartrand, 2019). The purpose of this mixed methods study was to consider both inputs and outcomes for graduates with emotional and behavioral disabilities (EBD) and graduates with significant cognitive impairments (SCI) in a rural northwest Arkansas district and the fiscal allocation for both populations. A comparison of quantitative post-secondary outcome data informed the creation of qualitative interview questions. Interviews were conducted with both district and state-level professionals. Analysis of interview responses revealed themes of needs-based support and systemic work. The findings of this study revealed a significant discrepancy does not exist between post-secondary outcomes for graduates with EBD and graduates with SCI. However, graduates with EBD performed poorly when compared to other graduates with IEPs. Data also revealed District A expended more resources for students with SCI. The conclusions of this study surrounding equity and adequacy of services across disability categories and the tracking of post-secondary outcomes have important implications for district and state-level leadership.


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