Students with disability : data collection for reporting in New Zealand universities : a thesis presented in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Philosophy in Rehabilitation at Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand

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Massey University
The Ministry of Education in New Zealand has dedicated funding to increase the participation of people with disability in tertiary education. However there has been no standardised system in place for defining disability, categorising impairment, or collecting, maintaining and reporting data about tertiary students with disability, in order to determine the eventual impact of this initiative. The present study utilised a cross-sectional survey in a single stage sampling procedure, to gather information from the eight New Zealand universities regarding definitions of disability and categories of impairment used to collect data, as well as the source of data collection and numerical characteristics of the population. Data collected showed a steady increase in the population of university students with disability from 3,039 in 1998 to 4,358 in 2000. However the findings were consistent with the evidence in the literature review that it is currently not possible to know the real number of these students because of the differences in data collection and reporting across institutions. These findings indicated that data was not sourced in the same way across institutions. Furthermore, information was kept in segregated databases in some institutions, which did not all have a means of exchanging data with their general student record system. The Ministry of Education's reporting template introduced in 2001 was found to provide only a partially standardised framework for reporting on data. There must also be a systematic method of collecting and maintaining data across tertiary institutions, including clarification of the sets of students to be counted, so that all institutions are counting students in the same way. The present study identified confusion in language and definitions, with the terms impairment, disability, illness and injury being used interchangeably. The International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health was suggested as providing a practical functional model for data collection, which could be used as a platform for establishing definitions and clarifying the language around disability and impairment, as well as providing an international standard for establishing consistency.
New Zealand College students disabilities, Disability evaluation -- Classification, Identification