Advanced Reading Comprehension Expectations in Secondary School: Considerations for Students with Emotional or Behavior Disorders
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The debate around recent implementation of the Common Core Standards (CCSS) has perplexed many policy makers, practitioners, and researchers; yet there remains broad agreement for the need to improve reading outcomes and college and career readiness for all students, including students with disabilities. One of the most vulnerable populations with disabilities in terms of college and career readiness is students with emotional disorders (ED). A considerable percentage of students with ED encounter unfavorable academic and long-term outcomes, often due to reading difficulties and behavioral variables that impede learning. To date, the impact of rising expectations in reading on the education of students with ED has been absent from this conversation about CCSS. In this article, we consider the implications of new reading expectations in the critical period of Grades 6-12 for students with ED. First, we summarize grade level expectations of the standards. Then, we describe the characteristics and underachievement of students with ED. Next, we evaluate challenges in meeting the expectations based on extant research, and provide recommendations for practice based on the intervention literature. We conclude by prioritizing a research and policy agenda that advocates for increasing the likelihood of success in reading for students with ED in middle school and high school.