By and large, students with learning disabilities exhibit poor performance in certain regions of academic curricula while also showing average or above-average performance in other areas (Bowen & Rude, 2006). Due to the common characteristics exhibited by students with learning disabilities, it is quite common for such students to exhibit lower academic performance than non-disabled students. Some of the primary characteristics presented by students with learning disabilities include: trouble maintaining attention regardless of distractions; inadequate memory and learning strategies; poor reading skills and poor sense of motivation for academic activities (Graves & Ward, 2012).
Learning disabilities typically manifest themselves differently in students at various education levels such as elementary and high schools. In elementary school, students with learning disabilities exhibit poor motor skills, attention and typically show difficulty learning basic skills. However, at the high school level, learning disabilities are exhibited through emotional difficulties on top of the normal emotional issues associated with adolescence (Bowen & Rude, 2006). These students also contend with inflexible academic demands since high school education is dependent on learning and reading from textbooks and passing standardized tests. On average, a high school student with learning disability has a reading and learning capacity of a third- to fifth-grade level and possesses inadequate study strategies. Therefore, requiring students with learning disabilities to perform as well as non-disabled students on standardized tests is unreasonable.
For high school students with learning disabilities, academic success may seem like an unattainable fete. Although learning disabilities are the most common among high school students, other forms of disabilities, including, physical, emotional instability and mental disability are also quite