Growth and gaps in mathematics achievement of students with and without disabilities on a statewide achievement test

Joseph J. Stevens, Ann C. Schulte, Stephen Elliott, Joseph F T Nese, Gerald Tindal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Scopus citations


This study estimated mathematics achievement growth trajectories in a statewide sample of 92,045 students with and without disabilities over Grades 3 to 7. Students with disabilities (SWDs) were identified in seven exceptionality categories. Students without disabilities (SWoDs) were categorized as General Education (GE) or Academically/Intellectually Gifted (AIG). Students in all groups showed significant growth that decelerated over grades as well as significant variability in achievement by student group, both at the initial assessment in Grade 3 and in rates of growth over time. Race/ethnicity, gender, parental education, free/reduced lunch status, and English language proficiency were also significant predictors of achievement. Effect size estimates showed substantial year-to-year growth that decreased over grades. Sizeable achievement gaps that were relatively stable over grades were observed between SWoDs and students in specific exceptionality categories. Our study also demonstrated the importance of statistically controlling for variation related to student demographic characteristics. Additional research is needed that expands on these results with the same and additional exceptionality groups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)45-62
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of School Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2015



  • Accountability testing
  • Achievement gaps
  • Exceptional children
  • Mathematics achievement growth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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