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Teachers' attitudes and beliefs during the special education referral process

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Teachers' attitudes and beliefs during the special education referral process
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Includes bibliographical references.
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Vita.
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TEACHERS' ATTITUDES AND BELIEFS DURING THE SPECIAL EDUCATION REFERRAL PROCESS












By

JON MICHAEL DOWNS


A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE DEPARTMENT OF COUNSELOR EDUCATION OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA


2003





























Copyright � 2003

By

Jon Michael Downs

























This dissertation is dedicated to Danielle.
I am nothing without you.














ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I would like to take this opportunity to extend my immeasurable appreciation and thanks to the people who helped me throughout my journey through graduate school and this dissertation. First, I would like to thank the person who was my guide for most of this trip before moving on to greener pastures (retirement) and many golf greens, Dr. Joe Wittmer. From the time I began the journey for my M.Ed. and Ed.S., Dr. Wittmer always had his door and ears open and he was generous with his time, wisdom, and honesty. Without his encouragement and research ideas, this dissertation would not have been possible. When I make the transition into Counselor Education, his daily professionalism will serve as a template to what I hope to become.

Second, I would like to thank Dr. James Pitts, who was brave and generous

enough from the day that I decided to go for the Ph.D. to step in as my committee chair after Dr. Wittmer retired. He has helped to make this transition seamless and smooth; and for this I am very thankful. I would like to thank him for his patience, support, and guidance.

Third, I would like to thank the rest of my committee members: Dr. Sondra

Smith, Dr. Holly Lane, and Dr. Larry Loesch. They have been very helpful, supportive, and flexible along my journey, especially when I was writing from 1,100 miles away. Their understanding and accommodating ways were crucial to finishing this project. Fourth, I would like to thank all of those who provided professional opinions, assisted me









in the collection of my data, and lent a helping hand. This would include Rob Ice, Amy Archino, Dr. Diane Thompson, Linda Durrance, Emily Guenther, Debbie Guenther, Sandy Pipkin, Amy Stafford, Katie Culver, Jennifer VanValkenburg, Natalie Arce, the Gardner Family, and Joe and Doris Corbin.

Fifth, I would like to thank my family for supporting me in my educational endeavors. Specifically, I would like to thank John and Susan Downs, Kelly Downs, Robert and Sandra Symons, Buck and Kathy Reid, Beverly Repka, and Johnstone Reid.

Finally, I would like to thank someone who is first, my best friend, and second my wife, Danielle. Without her motivation (see "nagging"), unconditional support, and professional advice, this dissertation would not have been possible. She sets the standard by which professional excellence is measured, and that I could only hope to live up to. I thank her for challenging me every day of my life!














TABLE OF CONTENTS
page
A CKN OW LED GEM EN TS ............................................................................................. iv

ABSTRA CT ....................................................................................................................... x

CHAPTER

1 INTRODUCTION ..................................................................................................... I

Education Referral for Exceptional Students ............................................................. 4
Rationale for Study .................................................................................................... 5
Purpose of the Study .................................................................................................. 7
Research Questions .................................................................................................... 8
Theoretical Overview .................................................................................................. 9
Definitions of Term s .................................................................................................. 10
Overview of Dissertation ........................................................................................... 15

2 REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE ............................................................... 16

Disproportionate Representation of Minorities in Special Education:
A Brief History ........................................................................................................ 17
Special Education Referral Process .......................................................................... 22
Teacher Attitudes and the Referral Process ........................................................... 24
Sum m ary ...................................................................................................................... 34

3 M ETHODOLOGY .................................................................................................. 35

Population .................................................................................................................... 35
Sam pling Procedure ................................................................................................. 36
Developing the Student Vignettes ............................................................................. 39
Determ ining the U se of the K -BIT Score .............................................................. 40
Determ ining Socioeconom ic Status ......................................................................... 41
Determ ining Classroom Behavior .......................................................................... 41
Determ ining the Use of N am es ................................................................................ 42
Statistical Hypotheses ............................................................................................... 43
Data Analysis ................................................................................................................ 44

4 RESULTS ...................................................................................................................... 47

Participants ................................................................................................................... 47
Hypothesis #1 ................................................................................................................ 47


vi









Hypothesis #2 ................................................................................................................ 49
Hypothesis #3 ................................................................................................................ 49
Hypothesis #4 ......................................................................................................... 50


Hypothesis #5 ................................................................................................................ 51
Teacher Suggestions and Comm ents ........................................................................ 51

5 DISCU SSION .......................................................................................................... 62

Study Hypotheses M ain Findings ............................................................................ 63
Study Lim itations ..................................................................................................... 70
Practical Im plications ............................................................................................... 71
Future Research ........................................................................................................ 72
Special Education Process ..................................................................................... 73
Teacher's Com m unication with Parents ................................................................ 74
Perceptions of the School Counselor ..................................................................... 74
N orm ing of Student Behavior ............................................................................... 75
Sum m ary ...................................................................................................................... 76

APPENDIX

A PERCENTAGE OF STUDENTS AGES 6 TO 21 SERVED UNDER THE
INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITES EDUCATION ACT (IDEA) IN THE
2000-2001 SCHOOL YEAR ................................................................................. 77

B REFERRAL PROCESSES IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS BY SCHOOL DISTRICT,
YEAR, AND REFERRAL PROCEDURES ........................................................... 80

C IRB APPROVAL OF PROTOCOL ........................................................................ 87

D INFORM ED CON SENT ....................................................................................... 88

E TEACHER IN STRUCTION S .................................................................................. 90

F DEM OGRAPHIC IN FORM ATION ........................................................................ 91

G STUDENT PROFILES USED IN THIS STUDY ................................................. 92

REFEREN CES ................................................................................................................ 109

BIOGRAPH ICAL SKETCH ........................................................................................... 117














LIST OF TABLES


Table png

3.1 Cell properties for the study variables to determine sample size ...................... 38

3.2 Names associated with the 16 bogus student profiles ........................................ 45

4.1 Descriptive statistics for the study participants ................................................. 48

4.2 Paired sampled t-tests for responses to student vignettes ................................. 49

4.3 Number (N), mean (M), and standard deviation scores for the dependent
variable "Referring to Special Education" ..................................................... 50

4.4 Analysis of variance for the dependent variable "Referring to Special Education" ............................................................................................................ 52

4.5 Number (N), mean (M), and standard deviation scores for the dependent variable "Requesting a Formal Conference with the Parent ........................ 53

4.6 Analysis of Variance for the dependent variable "Requesting a
Formal Conference with the Parent" ............................................................... 54

4.7 Number (N), mean (M), and standard deviation scores for the dependent
variable "Referring to the School Counselor" ............................................... 55

4.8 Analysis of Variance for the dependent variable "Referring to the
School Counselor" .......................................................................................... 56

4.9 Number (N), mean (M), and standard deviation scores for the dependent
variable "Take no Action" .............................................................................. 57

4.10 Analysis of variance for the dependent variable "Take no Action" .................. 58

4.11 Higher-order themes and raw-data themes of teacher comments and
suggestions ..................................................................................................... 59

A.1 Percentage of students served by disability and ethnicity in the
U nited States .................................................................................................... 77








A.2 Percentage of students served by disability and ethnicity in the
State of Florida .............................................................................................. 79

B.1 Referral process for Spring Branch Independent School; Houston, TX ............ 81

B.2 Referral process for Fort bend Independent School District; Sugar Land, TX ....... 81 B.3 Referral process for Stamford public schools; Stamford, CT ............................ 82

B.4 Referral process for Alachua county schools; Gainesville, FL ......................... 82

B.5 Referral process for South Sanpete school district; Miami, UT ........................ 83

B.6 Referral process for Charlotte county public schools; Port Charlotte, FL ...... 85














Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfilment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy TEACHERS' ATTITUDES AND BELIEFS DURING THE SPECIAL EDUCATION REFERRAL PROCESS By

Jon Michael Downs

December 2003

Chairperson: James Pitts
Major Department: Counselor Education

Overrepresentation of minorities in special education programs has been an issue for many years (Dunn, 1968) and it continues to this day. Consequently, there is a need for research examining the root of this issue. The general objective of this dissertation was to identify if a student's gender, race, socioeconomic status (SES), or classroom behavior played a significant role when the teacher referred the student to begin the special education process. Also, these variables were examined in this study to identify what impact they had on teachers requesting a formal conference with the student's parent, referring the student to the school counselor, and taking no action.

The findings of this study found no significant differences in teachers' attitudes toward a student's race, gender, SES, or classroom behavior when referring the student to special education, requesting a formal conference with the parent, or taking no action with the student. A significant main effect for behavior was found when the teacher was








referring a student to the school counselor. That is, students were more likely to be referred to the school counselor when they had acting-out behaviors versus non-actingout behaviors. A significant interaction of gender, race, and classroom behavior was also found when a teacher referred a student to the school counselor. Caucasian girls, when acting out were most likely to be referred to the school counselor, when not acting out they were least likely to be referred to the school counselor. African American girls, not acting out were most likely to be referred to the school counselor. Although future research is warranted in the special-education process, this study implies that teacher referral practices are not a factor in the overrepresentation of minorities in specialeducation programs. Implications of the results are discussed, as well as future research considerations.














CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION

The field of Special Education in the United States has grown tremendously over the past 30 years. The impetus began in 1975 when President Gerald Ford signed "The Education for All Handicapped Children Act" also known as Public Law 94-142 (PL 94-142). This law guarantees children, regardless of ability, a free and appropriate public education (FAPE). In 1997, President William Clinton signed the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The objectives of IDEA are to (a) guarantee the rights of children and parents, (b) appraise and ensure the effectiveness of efforts to educate children with disabilities, (c) ensure that every child continues to receive a FAPE, and

(d) meet every child's unique needs (IDEA Practices, 1999). These laws and regulations are vitally important because of the number of children affected by special education processes today. According to the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP, 2001), there were 5.76 million children ages 6-21 being served under IDEA during the 2000-01 school year in the 50 United States and the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. These numbers account for approximately 8.75 % of the children ages 6-21 residing in the United States.

The tremendous growth in the number of students in special education and

Exceptional Education Student (ESE) programs has had a major impact on the role of the school counselor. Unfortunately, biases toward exceptional students may exist within a school setting. Such biases not only affect the ESE referral process, but can also








influence the classroom, student-teacher relationships, the relationship a school has with the community, and the overall school atmosphere. While the American School Counselors Association (ASCA) believes a school counselor's role in the ESE referral process should be limited, ASCA also strongly urges school counselors to be advocates for all students (ASCA, 1999). In a circumstance where biases exist that adversely affect students, it may be the school counselor who can assist in identifying those biases and thus be the professional expected to develop and implement interventions in an effort to rid the specific school of that problem.

In particular, racial imbalance in special education has long been a concern of professional educators (Dunn, 1968). The early writings of Dunn and others concerning racial imbalance are viewed as the original battle cries for legislation that so profoundly affect special education today. Dunn (1968) argued that there was disproportionate representation of minority and economically disadvantaged students being placed in classes for the educable mentally retarded. Importantly, Lanier (1975) found that the race of a student was a significant determinant of teacher referrals for students to educable mentally retarded (EMR) programs. In addition, he found that African American students were referred to EMR significantly more often than were Caucasian students. Considerable additional evidence exists indicating that a student's race plays a significant role in referral to special education programs (Bahr, Fuchs, Stecker, & Fuchs, 1991; Oswald, Coutinho, Best, & Singh, 1999; Lietz & Gregory, 1978; Shinn, Tindal, & Spira, 1987).

According to the 2000 United States census, African American students ages 6-21 are 2.75 times more likely to be in mental retardation programs and 1.8 times more likely








to be in emotionally disturbed programs than Caucasian students. In addition, while African American students represented 20.3% of all students with disabilities, they only represented 14.5% of the student population (OSEP, 2001). Thus, a large discrepancy exists between the percentage of African American students classified as mentally retarded (34.2 %) and developmentally delayed (30.5 %), compared to the percentage of African American students in the general population (14.5 %) . No other race/etlnicity data given in the 2000 census revealed this discrepancy in disability enrollment; Caucasian, Hispanic, and Asian/Pacific islander students were all underrepresented in ESE programs (OSEP, 2001).

Teachers often have been criticized for having biases in referring children for ESE programs (e.g., Bahr, Fuchs, Stecker, & Fuchs, 1991; Lanier, 1975; Shinn, Tindal, & Spira, 1987; Tobias, Cole, Zibrin, & Bodlakova, 1982). For example, researchers Shinn, Tindal, and Spira (1987) found ethnicity and gender to be causative factors, resulting in larger percentages of African American males being referred for special education. However, some researchers have found that teachers do not exhibit biases (Pernell, 1984; Tobias, Cole, Zibrin, & Bodlakova, 1982). In particular, Tobias, Cole, Zibrin, and Bodlakova (1982) found, after presenting constructed case studies to 199 teachers from diverse backgrounds, that there was no difference in teacher ESE program referrals based on student ethnicity. Other researchers also have found that teachers are accurate in their initial assessment when referring students for special education (Cullen, & Shaw, 2000; Gerber & Semmel, 1985; Shinn, Tindal, & Spira, 1987).








Exceptional Student Education Referral While in general the special education process is guided by the IDEA (IDEA

Practices, 1999), specific features, names of programs, and steps in the process vary from state to state and county to county. More detailed data concerning this process are presented in Chapter 2 and where the process specific to a school district are given. Following are the general steps in the procedure.

The pre-referral process of a student to ESE programs is used by school districts as a screening process to decrease the number of inappropriate referrals that lead to formal testing, to give students all the opportunity to succeed in a least-restrictive environment (LRE), and to cut costs in special education services (Nelson, Smith, Taylor, Dodd, & Reavis, 1992; Peca, 1989; Wood, Lazzari, Davis, Sugai, & Carter, 1990). Pre-referral systems are supported by most state-run educational agencies and exist to provide another option for teachers. The percentage of students referred for evaluation who are actually placed in ESE programs is approximately 68% (Ysseldyke, Vanderwood, & Shriner, 1997) A student is referred to the pre-referral team so ideas and perspectives can be used to develop interventions with the objective of increasing a student's classroom achievement without placement in a special education program. (Lieberman, 1982). After the interventions have been implemented, the pre-referral team determines if they were effective. If the interventions are determined to be effective, then the teacher continues the interventions. However, if the interventions are not successful, the student likely will be referred for further evaluation for possible placement in a special education program (Ortiz & Garcia, 1988).








Once the pre-referral team recommends that the student be evaluated for

placement in special education programs, parental consent is needed before a student can be evaluated by a school psychologist. After the parent gives consent for evaluation, a school psychologist will examine the history and problems the student is having and evaluate him or her accordingly. After the evaluation is completed, the school psychologist will write a report and make recommendations based on these findings. Another educational team will meet with the parent to go over the results of the evaluation. Once the results are interpreted and recommendations are offered, the student may be placed in a variety of settings (i.e., full-time special education class, part-time resource room, self-contained classroom, full-time regular education classroom). No placement can be made unless the parent signs off on it. If the parent and other team members agree on the student receiving some type of special education services, an Individual Education Plan (IEP) is drafted. This IEP will set individual and measurable curriculum goals to assist the student where he or she needs it the most. The IEP can be updated or changed anytime a teacher or parent feels it is necessary, as long as the parent consents to the changes. The IEP must be updated at least once every year.

Rationale for Study

Biases and stereotypes are evident concerning all races, genders, and income levels (James, 1975; Kohatsu et al., 2000; Kowalski & Lo, 2001; Mayovich, 1973; Zeligs, 1950). Data reveal that many people have biases of which they are unaware; and that such biases shape their decisions, actions, and language (Pattniak & Panigrahy, 1987). Further, many of the biases evident in society are perpetuated by cultural influences (Tan, Tan, Avdeyeva, Crandell, Fukushi, Nyandwi, Chin, & Wu, 2001)








including exposure to various media representations of various cultural groups (Cothran, 1950; Gorham, 1999; James, 1975; Knight & Giuliano, 2001; Oliver, 2001). Data reveal that most people do not identify themselves as having intentional biases (Dovidio & Gaertner, 2001).

Biases can be overcome by adapting to change; and by changing values,

knowledge, and ethical standards through thoughtful reflection on arguments and facts (Ayres, 1973; Chang, 2001; Zeligs, 1950). Biases and stereotypes can exist against similar peoples and are equally unfair (Fischlnayr, 2002). However, most biases exist against people who are different, such as a different race, religion, or language of origin (Freeman, 1998). Unfortunately, biases found in the general population also appear to be evident within the teaching profession.

Recent evidence suggests that Caucasian females continue to dominate the field of teaching in public schools (Department of Education [DOE], 1997). Nationally, during the 1993-1994 school year, women composed 73% of public school teachers. Further, 87% of all public school teachers were white (DOE, 1997). For example, in the State of Florida for the 2000-2001 school year, Caucasians composed 75% of all elementary school classroom teachers and 90% of all elementary school teachers were female (Florida Department of Education, 2001). Researchers have found that some teachers are more likely to identify children for special education who are not of the same ethnicity (e.g., Pernell, 1984; Tobias, Cole, Zibrin, & Bodlakova, 1982), view students who are different from themselves as abnormal, and assign stigmas to those students (Minow, 1990). As a result, it has been suggested that larger percentages of males and African Americans are referred for special education programs (Shinn, Tindal, & Spira, 1987).








Researchers have found that some teachers are accurate in predicting special

education placement for referred students (e.g., Cullen & Shaw, 2000). In addition, others have found that if a student is referred for special education testing and evaluation, there is a high probability that they will be placed in an ESE program (Ysseldyke, Vanderwood, & Shriner, 1997). While such problems exist, other researchers believe that the basis for overrepresentation of minorities in ESE programs is the result of standardized testing bias (e.g., Maheady, Jussim, & Eccles, 1997; Reilly, 1991). Others believe that some incentives to gain special education financing and increase a school's standardized test scores by being able to withhold the special education student test results (Agbenyega & Jiggets, 1999) are the base for existing problems of overrepresentation of minorities in ESE programs.

Purpose of the Study

The overrepresentation of minorities in many special education programs in the United States is no longer subject to debate because evidence supports it as fact. Thus, the real issue is why is it occurring and what will be done as a result (Patton, 1998)? The purpose of this study was to determine what role, if any, the variables of students' race, gender, and socioeconomic status played in the process of teacher referral for special education evaluation.

Poverty indicators and socioeconomic impact are correlated with special

education placement (Agbenyega & Jiggets, 1999: Blair & Scott, 2002). When educators associate variables such as race (Barona, Santos de barona, & Faykus, 1993; Cecil, 1988), gender (Taylor, Gunter, & Slate, 2001) and socioeconomic status (Tauber, 1998) with








low achievement, educational ability, and behavior problems, educators begin to play a role in the way students are spoken to and treated (Good, 1987).

As noted, the special education referral process in many schools involves the school counselor (Carpenter, King-Sears, Keys, 1998; Fairchild, 1985; Quigney & Studer, 1998; Skinner, 1985). The school counselor's role in the referral process may be as a leadership or consultant (Carpenter, King-Sears, Keys, 1998; Quigney & Studer, 1998). However, regardless of the school counselor's role in the referral process, if existing bias affects the way teachers refer students for special education programs, school counselors need to be aware of it because it profoundly also affects their role as student and parent advocate (ASCA, 1999; Van Hoose, 1975; Van Hoose & Pietrofesa, 1971). A properly trained counselor will be able to consult with the teachers and administration in identifying these biases and provide strategies to assist them with these issues (ASCA, 1999; Fall, 1995; Osterweil, 1987; Schmidt, 1999)

For this study, a sample of elementary school teachers from the State of Florida responded to surveys that included bogus profiles of students. These bogus profiles differed only in the variables of student race, gender, classroom behavior, and socioeconomic status. The teacher respondents were asked to indicate how likely he or she would have (a) referred the student to appropriate personnel to begin the process for evaluation by a school psychologist to determine special education placement,

(b) referred the student to the school counselor, (c) requested a parent conference, or (d) take no action.

Research Questions

The following research questions were addressed in this study:








1. In general, what are teachers attitudes toward referring a student to the special
education process or to the school counselor, toward requesting a formal parent
conference; and taking no action or making no referral?

2. How is race, socioeconomic status, gender, or classroom behavior of students,
associated with teacher judgments to refer students to the special education
referral process?

3. How is race, socioeconomic status, gender, or classroom behavior of students,
associated with teacher judgments to refer the students to school counselors?

4. How is race, socioeconomic status, gender, or classroom behavior of students,
associated with teacher judgments to request parent/teacher conferences?
5. How is race, socioeconomic status, gender, or classroom behavior of students,
associated with teacher judgments to take no action?

Theoretical Overview

These research questions were written to address the role that the variables of

student race, gender, socioeconomic status, and classroom behavior played in pre-referral processes of children to ESE programs. The intent of this study was not to reveal whether or not teachers were intentionally racist, sexist, or biased in any shape or form. Rather, it was to discover to what extent, if any, some teachers possess these attitudes that may be explained by the Social Learning Theory (SLT) (Bandura, 1977).

Albert Bandura (1977) developed SLT. He believed that human behavior is

"learned observationally through modeling: from observing others one forms an idea of how new behaviors are performed, and on later occasions this coded information serves as a guide for action" (p. 22).

Bandura posited that behaviors may only be absorbed through modeling if the

model is someone who commands attention, and is looked upon highly and frequently by the observer (Bandura, 1977). For example, parents are important models in the development of behaviors and values for children. Bandura also believed that the








modeling influence does not always have to be a person, but can be a strong model of behavior. In the mid-1970s, Bandura noted that "this is nowhere better illustrated than in televised modeling. The advent of television has greatly expanded the range of models available to children and adults alike" (Bandura, 1977, p. 24). This concept is essential to understanding how television and other media plays a large role in maintaining and portraying stereotypes of age, race, and gender (Coltraine & Messineo, 2000; Harwood, 2000; McCarthy & Jones, 2001; Ward, 2002). Teachers are no different from others in society in the ways that social learning influences their behaviors, thoughts, and actions. Teacher attitudes toward race, gender, and socioeconomic status may in turn influence grading procedures, classroom management, referral processes, and other procedures in a school setting. It is important to understand the role that SLT plays in the development of attitudes and behaviors; particularly as they manifest in recommehding children for placement in special education programs.

Definitions of Terms

The following definitions have been adapted from 1997 IDEA Final Regulations Glossary and Definitions.

Exceptional Student Education (ESE), often referred to as special education, is specially designed instruction, provided at no additional cost to the parents, to meet the unique needs of a child. It includes instruction in the classroom, home, at school, and other settings. It also may include speech and language services, travel, training and vocational education.

A child with a disability is a one evaluated as having mental retardation, a hearing impairment including deafness, a speech or language impairment, a visual impairment








including blindness, serious emotional disturbance, an orthopedic impairment, autism, traumatic brain injury, another health impairment, a specific learning disability, deaf-blindness, or multiple disabilities, who by reason thereof, may need ESE services.

An Individualized Education Plan (IEP) is the document developed at an IEP meeting that sets the standards by which subsequent ESE services are deemed appropriate.

Consent means that a parent has been informed of all information relevant to the

issues being questioned. Consent is to be given in the parent's native language to assure their understanding of the matter. Consent is given once the parent understands the process and agreed (in writing) to the activities that will take place. Parents are notified of their rights; and understand that consent is not mandatory, is only given when they feel it is appropriate, and can be revoked at any time.

Placement defines the educational placement of a child with a disability. Placement also is a decision made by a group of people, most importantly the parents, who have knowledge of the student and understand evaluation outcomes. Placement is made by conforming to the guidelines of the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE), is determined annually, is based on the student's IEP, and if possible, allows the child to stay in the same school he or she would attend regularly.

A Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) is the goal that to the greatest extent

possible, children with disabilities are educated with children who are nondisabled; and that removal from the regular education classroom is only done if services that the exceptional student needs cannot be offered in a regular education setting








The Local Educational Agency (LEA) is the governing board in the county, town, city, or school district in which the school is located. LEA's vary in each state; however, the overall purpose of the LEA is to administer schools in its jurisdiction.

The following definitions are for the thirteen disability categories in which students can be served in the IDEA. The most recent category added, Developmental Delays

(DD), can only be applied to children ages 3 through 9. Using the DD category is optional for LEA's and states (OSEP, 2001)

A Specific Learning Disability (SLD) is a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language (spoken or written) that may exhibit itself in a flawed ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, or to do mathematical calculations; including conditions such as perceptual disabilities, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia, and developmental aphasia. An SLD does not include learning problems that are the result of visual, hearing, or motor disabilities, mental retardation, emotional disturbance, or environmental, cultural, or economic disadvantage.

A Speech or Language Impairment (SI or LI) is a communication disorder (such as stuttering, impaired articulation, a language impairnient, or a voice impairment) that unfavorably affects a student's educational performance.

Mental Retardation (MR) is defined as significantly subaverage general intellectual functioning, existing along with deficits in adaptive behavior; and manifested during a developmental period that affects a student's educational achievement harmfully.

An Emotional Disturbance (ED) is a condition exhibiting one or more of the following characteristics over a long period of time, and to a marked degree that








adversely affect a child's educational performance: (a) an inability to learn that cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory, or health factors; (b) an inability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers and teachers; (c) inappropriate types of behavior or feelings in normal circumstances; (d) a general pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression; or (e) a tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal or school problems. An ED can include schizophrenia. The term does not apply to children who are socially maladjusted, unless it is determined that they have an emotional disturbance.

A student with Multiple Disabilities has concomitant impairments (such as mental retardation-blindness, or mental retardation-orthopedic impairment), the combination of which causes severe educational needs that cannot be accommodated in special education programs that address only one of the impairments. The term does not include deafblindness.

A Hearing Impairment (HI) is a reduction in hearing (which may be permanent or irregular) that affects a child's educational performance, but is not included under the definition of deafness.

A severe Orthopedic Impairment (01) adversely affects a child's educational performance and includes impairments caused by congenital anomaly, impairments caused by disease, and impairments from other causes (e.g., cerebral palsy, amputations, and fractures or bums that cause contractures).

A student diagnosed as having an Other Health Impairment (OHI) has limited

strength, vitality or alertness, including a heightened alertness to environmental stimuli, that results in limited alertness with respect to the educational environment; and that








affects the student's educational attainment negatively. It may include asthma, attention deficit disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, diabetes, epilepsy, a heart condition, hemophilia, lead poisoning, leukemia, nephritis, rheumatic fever, or sickle cell anemia.

A Visual Impairment (VI), including blindness, is a deficit in vision that even with correction, affects a child's educational performance adversely. A VI includes both partial sight and blindness.

Autism is a developmental disability significantly affecting communication and

social interaction and is generally evident before age 3. It affects a student's educational performance. Autism has characteristics including repetitive activity and stereotyped movements, resistance to environmental change or change in daily routines, and/or unusual responses to sensory experiences.

Deaf-Blindness involves concurrent hearing and visual impairments, the combination of which causes such difficult communication and other developmental and educational needs that they cannot be accommodated in ESE programs solely for students with deafness or blindness alone.

A Traumatic Brain Injury is an acquired injury to the brain caused by an external physical force, resulting in total or partial functional disability or psychosocial impairment (or both) that affects a student's educational performance adversely. The term applies to open or closed head injuries resulting in impairments in one or more areas, such as cognition; language; memory; attention; reasoning; abstract thinking; judgment; problem-solving; sensory, perceptual, and motor abilities; psychosocial behavior;








physical functions; information processing; and speech. The term does not apply to brain injuries that are congenital or degenerative, or to brain injuries induced by birth trauma.

A student with Developmental Delays (DD) is between the ages 3 and 9. The student is experiencing developmental delays (as defined by the State and as measured by appropriate diagnostic instruments and procedures) in one or more of the following areas: physical development, cognitive development, communication development, social or emotional development, or adaptive development.

Overview of the Dissertation

The remainder of this dissertation was organized into four additional chapters and appendices. Chapter 2 contains a literature review of research relevant to this study. In Chapter 3 the methodology is presented. Chapter 4 contains the results of the investigation. Chapter 5 contains the summary, conclusions, and recommendations.













CHAPTER 2
REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE Introduction

This chapter provides a brief overview of the study followed by a review of the related literature. The related literature section of this chapter consists of the following topics: a) brief overview of the study, b) review of related literature, c) special education referral process, and d) teacher attitudes and the referral process.

Brief Overview of the Study

One purpose of this study was to examine teachers' attitudes and beliefs when referring elementary school students for possible placement in special education programs. Another purpose of this study was to identify teachers' beliefs as either contributing to the problem of over-enrollment of minorities in special education programs; or to establish the fact that there is no relationship between teachers' beliefs and such disproportionality in America's schools. The study aimed to answer the following specific questions: "What would occur in a referral to special education placement process if the variables of student socioeconomic status (SES), race, gender, and classroom behaviors were held constant?" For example, would teachers' attitudes about referrals differ in regard to students who come from the same SES, have the same IQ, and behave the same in the classroom, but differ in only race and gender? By controlling for these variables, the study could attempt to determine if the students' SES, race, gender, and classroom behavior influence teacher's referral choices.








Disproportionate Representation of Minorities in Special Education: A Brief History

Lloyd Dunn (1968) was among the first to bring to the public's attention the

disproportional number of minorities in mental retardation classes (MR) in comparison to the student population found in their regular classrooms. Since the late 1960s many researchers have examined the causes of the disproportional numbers of minority students being placed in special education programs. Much of the research has focused on statistics indicating that the percentage of minority students enrolled in special education programs is significantly higher than the percentage of minority students enrolled in regular education classrooms. Evidence has shown that this problem is still prevalent today (U. S. Department of Education, 1999); and it is apparent that continuous dissecting of the numbers and lamenting will not solve this unfortunate dilemma (Appendix A).

Before a student is placed into a special education program, there is a specific, structured referral procedure that must occur to assure that the student receives due process. The special education referral process for a specific student is many times initiated by the child's classroom teacher. This is because the child's teacher is the professional educator who, on a daily basis, becomes keenly aware of a particular student's academic and/or behavior problems. The referral process includes several steps and procedures, all of which need to be examined (Agbenyega & Jiggets, 1999; Artiles & Trent, 1994).

The existing literature on disproportional representation of minority students in special education programs identifies a number of factors contributing to this serious educational concern. For example, five of these factors include (a) the education system's








inability to educate students from diverse backgrounds, (b) imbalance in the referral and placement process, (c) inadequate resources and underqualified teachers in lower SES settings, (d) the fact that most elementary teachers are Caucasian females, and (e) overemphasis on intelligence tests (National Alliance of Black School Educators [NABSE] & IDEA Implementation by Local Administrators Partnership [ILIAD] Project, 2002). Many student referrals for placement into special education programs are done while the student is in elementary school (J. Neal, personal communication, January 8, 2003).

Segregation and integration of races in our country have played a large role in the development of the United States' educational system. Contrary to the beliefs of many people, discrimination within the school system has not solely been based on the color of one's skin. In the 1920s, many schools placed ethnic (i.e., Italian, Polish) and racial (i.e., southern black) immigrant children into special classes to allow for "social adjustment" (Thomas, 1986). Placement into these social-adjustment programs existed because of fear, stereotypes, and prejudice toward these immigrant students (Thomas, 1986).

At a crucial time in the Civil Rights Movement, Dunn (1968) publicly voiced his belief that 60-80% of the students placed in mental retardation (MR) programs came from "low status" environments. Dunn believed that a better solution was needed for those students with mild learning problems. He felt that there was no medium ground for slower learners who were not mentally retarded. Dunn (as well as many other educators) believed that removing slower learning students from the regular classroom would allow these students a better opportunity to progress in their academic development. However, in Dunn's opinion, this was done more to relieve some of the pressures from the regular








education teachers rather than to educationally benefit these students. Dunn (1968) best

summed up this unfortunate situation in public education when he wrote

The conscience of special educators needs to rub up against morality. In large
measure we have been at the mercy of the general education establishment in that we accept problem pupils who have been referred out of the regular grades. In this way, we contribute to the delinquency of the general educations since we remove
the pupils that are problems for them and thus reduce their need to deal with individual differences. The entente of mutual decision between general and special education that special class placement will be advantageous to slow
learning children of poor parents can no longer be tolerated. We must face the
reality-we are asked to take children others cannot teach, and a large percentage
of these are from ethnically and/or economically disadvantaged backgrounds.
Thus much of special education will continue to be a sham of dreams unless we
immerse ourselves into the total environment of our children from inadequate
homes and backgrounds and insist on a comprehensive ecological push-with a
quality educational program as part of it. This is hardly compatible with our
prevalent practice of expediency in which we employ many untrained and less
than masters teachers to increase the number of special day classes in response to the pressures of waiting lists. Because of these pressures from the school system,
we have been guilty of fostering quantity with little regard for quality of special
education instruction. Our first responsibility is to have an abiding commitment to
the less fortunate children we aim to serve. Our honor, integrity, and honesty
should no longer be subverted and rationalized by what we hope and may believe
we are doing for these children-hopes and beliefs which have little basis in
reality (p. 20)

Later in the 1960's, in an effort to defend their stance on this issue, many

educators rejected the theory that placing minority and working class students in special

classes was racist and justified this practice by rephrasing it as "cultural deprivation"

(Artiles & Trent, 1994). Cultural deprivation theorized that minorities are not born

inferior, but are raised in an environment that puts them at a disadvantage in comparison

with Euro-Americans. Those who supported the idea of cultural deprivation justified

placing those who had not been exposed to the Euro-American lifestyle in a learning

environment that would allow them to get "caught up" to the norm. The timing of these

ideas was a major contributor to fueling the Civil Rights movement and War on Poverty








initiative. In 1975, eight years after Dunn's claims were publicized, PL 94-142 was passed.

When Congress passed PL 94-142 it quickly became known as "The Education for All Handicapped Children Act." It is now commonly referred to as IDEA. This law was meant to guarantee all children, regardless of ability, a free and appropriate public education (FAPE). It was passed into legislation for the following reasons: (a) the special educational needs of children with disabilities were not being fily met; (b) more than half of the children with disabilities in the United States would now be given suitable educational services that would enable them to have equality of opportunity; (c) 1,000,000 of the children with disabilities in the United States were being excluded from the public school system and did not go through educational development with students the same age as themselves; (d) there were many children participating in regular school programs whose disabilities prevented them from having a successful experience in school because their disabilities went unnoticed; and (e) due to the lack of sufficient services within the public school system, families were often forced to find services outside the public schools, often at great distance from their residence and at their own cost (IDEA, 1997). While PL 94-142 was a great first step in assisting students and monitoring the process in which students were identified, the problems of misplacement and disproportionality would continue (Artiles & Trent, 1994).

In 1977, the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) exposed cases in which students that had limited use of the English language were placed into special education programs without proper assessment. From 1975-1979, the OCR also made public the names of 148 school districts that had a disproportionate enrollment of minority students in special








education classes. Through their investigation, the OCR learned that many students labeled as EMR had never been screened for vision or auditory problems. Other students had been assigned to this classification even though they were being evaluated based upon old Intelligent Quotient (IQ) scores and several students were identified who had been placed in these classes even though their scores didn't qualify them for EMR placement.

The United State Department of Education (1992) reported that in regular

education programs in 1987, Caucasian students composed 70% of the student population while African-Americans made up 12% of the total school population. However, during that same school, Caucasians composed 65% of the special education enrollment while African-Americans composed 24% of the enrollment. As can be observed from this data, the disparity in African-American student enrollment in special education was completely out of proportion.

In 1997, the IDEA (Public Law 105-17) was amended by Congress and signed into law by President Clinton. The purpose of this act was to place more emphasis onto the curriculum and objectives for special education students. Historically, the goal of the IDEA was to provide equal opportunity for students covered under the IDEA in comparison with students assigned the regular curriculum. The 1997 IDEA set out to improve upon the educational outcomes for these students. Specifically, additional regulations of the 1997 IDEA include three main arguments that are described in more detail in the following section (IDEA Practices, 1999).

The initial strategy behind the changing of the IDEA concerned the Individual Education Program (IEP). The IEP was changed to now include the student's present








educational status and the current effect the individual student's disability has on his or her ability to achieve and develop academically in the general curriculum. The IEP must also document specific measurable goals to help assess the student's progress in the upcoming academic school year. Based upon the 1997 IDEA, the IEP also must include a declaration of the program modifications or supports for school employees that will be provided for the child to assist in attaining the annual goals set for him/her by the school.. In addition, the IEP should be written so as to allow him or her the opportunity to participate in the general curriculum when possible (IDEA Practices, 1999).

Secondly, the 1997 IDEA Amendments specifically require that, as a condition of State eligibility for funding under IDEA, children with disabilities are included in general State and district-wide assessment programs (IDEA Practices, 1999). Third, prior to 1997, the law did not include a regular education certified teacher as a mandatory member of the IEP team. As now dictated under the 1997 IDEA Amendments, the IEP team for each child with a disability now must include at least one of the student's regular education teachers, if the child is participating in the regular education environment. The new law also indicates that the regular education teachers must participate in the development, assessment and modification of the student's IEP (IDEA Practices, 1999).

Special Education Referral Process

Referring an elementary school student to special education is a process that

varies among school districts and states (Appendix D). In many cases, the referral may begin with the classroom teachers, as they are more frequently exposed to the student in the educational setting. For teachers to identify a student's problem (i.e., behavior or academic), a particular teacher should be able to clarify specifically what they are








observing. For example, an observation of "Mark is indolent" does not provide the type of information about Mark's behavior in comparison to the statement "Mark seldom turns his work in on time, when he does it is done carelessly. Mark does not make efficient use of his class time which could be used for working on is academics," (Addeb, D'Zamko, Venn, & Cain, 1985). In a time when research is providing evidence that there are many different types of emotional and learning disabilities, it is important to specifically identify the student's symptoms so the proper steps for an accurate diagnosis can be made (Doyle, 1990). In addition, Addeb et al. recommended that the teacher can consult with the school guidance counselors and/or other support services for assistance with these issues.

The influence teachers can have on the referral process is very strong (Giesbrecht & Routh, 1979; Ysseldyke, Algozzine, Richey, & Graden, 1982). In personal discussions with other professionals and based upon their first hand experiences, teachers may refer a specific student to begin the process so they can have the child removed from their classroom, even if it may be for two hours out of the school day. This is especially true if the teacher is having problems managing the student's classroom behavior. The reality of this issue is that 68% of students referred end up actually being placed in a special education program (Ysseldyke et al., 1997). It also needs to be emphasized that the referring teacher's attitude towards the student and the information that is reported by the teacher can have a considerable impact on the perspective referral team members (Ysseldyke, Algozzine, Ritchey, & Graden, 1982).








Teacher Attitudes and the Referral Process

Zucker and Prieto (1977) examined teacher bias in special education placement. Zucker and his colleague surveyed special education teachers ( = 280) after they read case studies involving an eight year old achieving below grade level. The case studies were developed to represent four groups (i.e., Caucasian male, Caucasian female, Mexican-American male, or Mexican-American female) and only differed in gender and race. After reading the case studies the teachers were asked to rate the appropriateness of placing the student in a class for educable mentally retarded (EMR) students. The researchers reported that they found a main effect for race and that teachers identified the Mexican-American students as more appropriate for special class placement than Caucasian students. However, Zucker and Prieto found no significant effect in regard to gender or interaction of gender and race.

A study published by Kelly, Bullock, and Dykes (1977) focused on teachers

perceptions of the behavior levels of their students. The subjects in this study (N[ = 2,664) were asked to rate the behavioral levels of the students in their classroom. Teachers had the option of rating each student as having: (a) no behavior disorders, (b) mild behavior disorders, (c) moderate behavior disorders, or (d) severe behavior disorders. In this study, the authors defined each behavior option to clarify each choice for the participants. As a result of this study Kelly et al. found that: (a) 20.4% of the students identified were thought to have a behavior disorder, (b) from kindergarten through fifth grade the percentage of behavior disorders increased 19.4% to 25.1% while the percentages decreased from sixth grade (22%) to twelfth grade (8.8%), (c) for every two males identified as having a behavior disorder one female was identified, and (d) approximately








two African-American students for every one Caucasian student were identified as having a behavior disorder from kindergarten through seventh grade. In conclusion, Kelly et al. found that teachers believed 20% of their students had behavior disorders, males and African-Americans were twice as likely to be identified with a behavior disorder in comparison with females and Caucasians respectively.

From a random sample of students (N = 355), Tomlinson, Acker, Canter, and

Lindborg (1977) examined the gender and race of each student in relationship to referral, type of problem, and subsequent psychological services. They found that significantly more minority students and males were referred for psychological services than nonminorities and females. The authors also found that males were referred twice as many times as females, and the parents of females and majority students were contacted more often as well as presented with more options in regard to their child's status than minority parents. Tomlinson and his colleagues concluded that schools refer a higher percentage of males and minorities for psychological services and additional investigations are needed.

Giesbrecht and Routh (1979) assembled eight bogus cumulative folders and facilitated feedback from elementary school teachers (N = 104) after they had the opportunity to evaluate the eight folders given to them. Each folder consisted ofa 4 grade boy's standardized test scores, scholastic records from grades first through third, and Slosson Test scores ranging from 96 to 105 to simulate some realism determined by a random numbering system. The eight folders accommodated for the following combinations of variables: (a) previous teacher comments (no comments or negative comments), (b) race (i.e., African-American or Caucasian), and (c) parent's educational level (i.e., some high school or post high school education). The teacher's being surveyed








were asked to rate: (a) if the student should be placed in a special education classroom,

(b) if the student should spend the school day in the regular classroom, the resource room for part of the day, or the full day in the resource room; (c) which professional could best help this student (i.e., Special Education teacher, reading teacher, Behavior specialist, or School Psychologist); (d) which nonprofessional could best help the student (i.e., volunteer tutor (adult), volunteer tutor (student), or teacher aide); (e) which materials could help the student (i.e., high interest/low ability texts, programmed materials, modified texts, and criterion referenced tests), and (f) what grade level the student would be reading at when they reach eighth grade (i.e., assuming no retention). The results of this study revealed that the folders containing negative teacher comments were more likely to need special education assistance.

Giesbrecht and Routh (1979) also found that students with less educated parents were also recommended for more special education assistance than the students with more educated parents. The researchers found that teachers felt African-American students with less educated parents were more likely to need special education help then African-American students with educated parents. Lastly, the researchers identified that teachers felt African-American students were more likely to make progress in reading than Caucasian students and more progress was expected from students whose parents that had little education in comparison with students whose parents were well educated.

Many times students are referred for possible special education placement by their teachers due to behavior problems they display in the classroom. Kaufman, Swan, and Wood (1980) examined educators perceptions (N = 194) of emotionally disturbed children who had been accepted for treatment at a psychoeducational treatment center.








The students' ages ranged from 3 to 13 years old and included Caucasian boys (n=96), Caucasian girls (n=33), African-American boys (n=47), and African-American girls (n7l 8). During the intake assessment of every student, the parent, referring teacher, a psychologist, and educational diagnostician are individually asked to complete a checklist of their perception of the referred student's behavior, communication ability, socialization, and academics. Kaufman and his colleagues suggested that there was a significantly greater consensus of perceptions in regard to the Caucasian student's behaviors then the African-American student's behaviors. The authors reported that the medium family income for the white students was almost 55% higher then the AfricanAmerican students. The authors suggested that the results of this study may be due to the idea that appropriate behaviors can vary between cultures, but that the differences in this study may be a result of SES and not race disparities.

Referring to Appendix D, it can be observed that one of the major steps in the special education referral process is a team meeting of educators, parents, and administrators. This may be called a "Child Study Team", an "Educational Planning Team", or a variety of other names. The purpose of these teams is to collectively clarify the problem and develop interventions to assist the teacher in an effort to prevent unwarranted referrals to the special education program. If these interventions do not work this team may meet again to determine eligibility for a special education program. Ysseldyke, Algozzine, Richey, and Graden (1982) videotaped 20 meetings in which eligibility decisions were made for special education placement. As a result of examining these tapes and analyzing the statements that were made during these meetings the authors made the following assertions. First, the more student information that was








provided at the meeting increased the likelihood of special education eligibility. Most notably, the authors found that 83% of the statements made at eligibility meetings were extraneous. In summary, Ysseldyke and his colleagues felt that the eligibility decisions were made independently of the data and that the data were manipulated to justify the decision, and that time and money is being wasted on processes in evaluation that are not given much weight in the decisions of these teams.

In another study by Ysseldyke, along with Algozzine, Shinn, and McGue (1982) the differences between students who were classified as learning disabled (LD) and low achievers were examined. The sample of LD students (h = 50) and low achieving students (N = 49) used in this study were from the same school district and both groups had been tested within the previous six months of the study. For this study, both groups were put through the same battery of tests (i.e., Weschler Intelligence Scale for Children Revised [WISC-R] and Peabody Individual Achievement Test [PAT]). The results indicated that 96% of both groups' scores were within a common range, and that the two groups scored similarly on many of the subtests. The authors concluded that schools were either over identifying LD students or not identifying enough. The researchers believed that 40% of the LD students in this study may have been misidentified and misplaced. The authors recommended that future evaluation of whose needs and agendas are being served by identifying certain students for LD programs when other students that have almost identical aptitudes are not being evaluated.

Tobias, Cole, Zibrin, and Bodlakova (1982) examined the influence of the

student's race and the teacher's race had on referrals for special education placement. The participants of this study (N = 199) were elementary, high school, and adult education








teachers. These participants all responded to a case study about a 16-year old male who was achieving below his grade level and exhibiting behavior problems in the classroom. The only variable that differed in the case studies was the race of the boy (i.e., AfricanAmerican, Caucasian, Hispanic, or race not identified). The participants were asked to rate the student's intelligence and emotional health, and also determine whether or not the student should stay in the regular classroom or be referred to special education. Tobias et al. (1982) reported that no evidence existed in their study that referrals differed by race or ethnicity. However, the researchers did find that the teachers recommended students with a different ethnicity than theirs more frequently then students of their ethnicity. For example, a Caucasian teacher is more likely to refer a Hispanic student for special education then a Caucasian student

In an effort to replicate the previous study, Tobias, Zibrin, and Mennel (1983) focused on how a student's referral to special education is influenced by the student's gender and race as well as the teacher's gender, race, and teaching level. The researchers surveyed students enrolled in graduate level Education courses Q___ 362); and each participant received a case study of a fifth grade student who was having behavior problems and achieving academically on a third grade level. The case studies varied included female (N = 4) and male (N = 4), and within these two groups the student was identified as Hispanic, Caucasian, African-American, or the race wasn't identified. Some of the items the participants were asked to rate included whether the student would remain in the regular classroom and require special education services. The results of this study showed that student referrals to Special Education were influenced by teacher ethnicity and teaching level, but not by the race or gender of the student. Tobias et al. also








found that African-American and Caucasian teachers were more likely to refer male students while Hispanic teachers were more likely to refer female students.

In 1983, Wright and Santa Cruz published a study examining different Special Education Local Planning Areas (SELPAs) (N = 96) during 1981-82 in California. The authors collected data from the California Department of Education. Wright and her colleague examined the percentages of ethnic groups (i.e., Native Americans, Asians, African-Americans, Hispanics, and Caucasians) in the special education areas of mental retardation (MR), speech, Severely Emotionally Disturbed (SED), and Specific Learning Disabled (SLD). They found that African-American students were overrepresented in one-fourth of the SELPAS in MR and speech. In the SLD programs African American students were overrepresented in approximately two-thirds of the SELPAS. Concluding their research, the authors felt that future research in the form of case studies is needed to provide insight into the policies and procedures that lead to these disproportions.

By creating bogus cumulative folders, Pernell (1984) sought to investigate the

influence that social behavior and race has on teachers' referrals to special education. The bogus cumulative folders varied in behavior (i.e., respected authority or disregarded authority) and ethnicity (i.e., Black, White, Brown). The variables that remained constant in Pemell's study were achievement (i.e., low), aptitude scores, age (i.e., 12), parent's education, and extramural activities. The participants (N = 275) ranged from certified elementary to high school teachers and each received one bogus cumulative folder. Each participant was asked to make recommendations for special education referral based upon the folder that they received. The results indicated that teachers were less likely to refer students to special education who were of their ethnicity compared to other ethnicities.








Pemell also showed that there was no interaction between behavior problems and race of the student when referring for special education services. Pemell concluded his study by observing that future research was needed in this area using different data collection and that research in these areas should be used in teacher education programs to alert future teachers of these problems.

Shinn, Tindal, and Spira (1987) examined the accuracy of teacher's referrals for students to the mildly handicapped special education program. Shinn et al. examined all of the students referred from grades 2 through 6 during an eight month period in a city school district. The researchers found that 66% of the students referred were male, while 46% were Caucasian, 42% were African American, and the other 11% was represented by Native Americans, Hispanics, and other ethnicities. Every student was assessed in reading ability using the Curriculum-Based Assessment (CBA). While the results showed that teachers were accurate in assessing the student's achievement levels, the researchers also found that teachers were biased towards gender and ethnicity when comparing the percentages referred to the percentages of all students who had academic difficulties. The authors found that the bias was profound for male and African-American students. Shinn and his colleagues recommended that future research be conducted on this issue using different methodologies and the accuracy of teacher referrals is still overshadowed by bias.

Bahr, Fuchs, Stecker, and Fuchs (1991) examined teacher's perceptions towards difficult-to-teach (DTI') students. The authors asked general education teachers (N = 48) to nominate a regular education student that was the most DTT student and at risk for referral and special education placement. Of the 48 teachers, 40 identified a male student.








Through interviewing the teachers and having the teachers complete rating scales, Bahr and his colleagues discovered that African American and Caucasian teachers identified African American students significantly more appropriate for referral then Caucasian students. The authors pointed out that one potential explanation for these findings may be that the African American students in the sample had lower levels of academic achievement.

MacMillan, Gresham, Lopez, and Bocian (1996) researched the differences

between students who had been referred for pre-referral interventions. The researchers examined students from five school districts who had been referred to Student Study teams (SST's) for pre-referral intervention (N = 150). Results indicated that Caucasian children referred had significantly higher Verbal IQ's and African American students referred were more likely to have a higher occurrence of behavior problems then Hispanic students. Overall, MacMillan and his colleagues concluded that their study failed to show that the referral of students for academic or behavior problems was biased towards male or ethnic minorities.

The purpose of a study conducted by Oswald, Coutinho, Best, and Singh (1999) was to examine the influence that economic and demographic variables have on identifying minority students for special education. In their study, the authors analyzed the data (i.e., financial, demographic, & educational) that was collected from 4,455 school districts for the Elementary and Secondary School Civil Rights Compliance Report (U. S. Department of Education, 1994). The results showed that African American students were 2.4 times more likely to be identified as mildly mentally retarded (MMR) and 1.5 times more likely to be identified for seriously emotionally disturbed (SED) than








non African American students. Oswald and his colleagues concluded that economic and demographic variables were significant predictors of disproportionate representation for MMR and SED placement.

In surveying classroom teachers who had recently referred students to special

education (N = 55), Cullen and Shaw (2000) sought to identify the accuracy of teacher's predictions when compared to psycho-educational assessment tests performed by school psychologists. The results showed that the regular classroom teachers were able to accurately predict the standardized test performance of the students they referred by identifying the standard score and percentile rank quantifications that are commonly used in assessments. Cullen and Shaw recommended that assessments should focus on information that may not be obvious to teachers, but rather fresh and valuable.

The overrepresentation of minorities in special education has also been justified by the fact that minorities are more entrenched in low-income conditions (Agbenyega & Jiggets, 1999). Blair and Scott (2002) sought to quantify this argument. The researchers examined the affect of low SES on LD placements. In their study, Blair and Scott grouped all birth records from 1979-1980 (___ 254,666) with all Florida public school children in the 1992-1993 database born in 1979 and 1980 (N = 294,274). The researchers were able to link 67.7 % of the birth records with 57.9 % of the school records. The final data set used was composed of all students who had matched birth records and were enrolled in the regular classroom, gifted program, or special education program (LI = 144,412). The researchers examined the risk factors (e.g., low birthweight and low maternal education) associated with low SES. Blair and Scott found that students who had: (a) a mother with less then 12 years of education at the time of their birth, (b)








an unmarried mother at the time of their birth, (c) a mother that received prenatal care initiation after the first trimester of pregnancy, or (d) a low birthweight were 1.2 to 3.4 times more likely to have a LD placement by the age of 12-14. The researchers found that 30% of boys and 39% of girls who had low SES indicators at birth were placed in LD programs.

Summary

The professional literature covered in this chapter consisted of studies that examined teachers' and other educational professionals' attitudes and beliefs when referring a student to a special education program. Methodologies and results varied from one study to the next. Results of these studies revealed that biases may or may not exist in regard to a student's race, gender, and behavioral level. Very few, if any, recent studies examine biases towards race, gender, behavioral level, and SES. Studies seeking to answer the question of disproportionality in special education have existed for nearly thirty years, yet the problem has not subsided (see Appendix A). This study has examined the influence that teachers' attitudes and beliefs have on student referral to education and whether or not these viewpoints are contributing to the disproportion of minorities enrolled in special education programs.













CHAPTER 3
METHODOLOGY

The disproportionate population percentages of minorities and males in special education in comparison with their population percentages in the regular education curriculum have been well documented in the literature (OSEP, 2001). Speculation continues to exist on the cause of this long standing problem. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to determine if the variables of race, gender, socio-economic status, and classroom behavior are systematically associated with elementary school teachers' attitudes when referring students for special education. With this information, school counselors and other appropriate school personnel will be more informed of the attitudes that teachers have when referring a student for possible placement in special education. This study's framework is a reflection of a similar 28 year old research study conducted by James Lanier (1975).

Population

The population of subjects used for this study was comprised of elementary school teachers who were teaching in the State of Florida. The subjects in this study completed a survey on voluntary basis only after permission was granted by their respective school districts and building principals.

The sample was limited to elementary school teachers. The reason for this is that a majority of students are referred to be tested for a special education program during their elementary school years (Tobias, Zibrin, & Menell, 1983). In corresponding with








administrators in charge of the special education services at various school districts in Florida, the researcher has learned that the source for a large percentage of these referrals are elementary school level educators (J. Neal, personal communication, January 8, 2003). One school district administrator in Florida reported that during the 2001-2002 school year 79% of Exceptional Student Education (ESE) referrals in her district came from those children currently enrolled in elementary schools.

Sampling Procedure

This study was conducted under the guidelines and protocol consistent with the Internal Review Board (IRB) at the University of Florida. This study was approved by the IRB on March 12, 2003 and given the approval to continue until February 24, 2004. The IRB protocol number for this study is 2003-U-182 (Appendix E).

The bogus student profile vignettes developed for this study were given to

elementary school teachers (and collected the same day) during Spring of 2003 semester.. Teachers were given a single one page bogus student profile and were asked to respond to the four statements given and return it as soon as possible. Conceptually, this would have helped to minimize participating teachers from discussing the similarities and differences found in the student vignettes with other study participants. Each teacher participating received: (a) two letters of informed consent letter of informed consent, a copy for their file (white) and a copy to return (blue) (Appendix F), (b) teacher instructions (Appendix G), (c) demographic information form (Appendix H), (d) one student vignette with rating scale (yellow) (Appendix I), and (e) a hand written thank-you note from the researcher. Teachers participating in this study were asked not to place








their name, school where employed, social security number, or any other information that might identify them or their school on any manner whatsoever.

Research has shown that low rates of returns by subjects indicate that the sample is biased as the characteristics of respondents versus non-respondents have significant difference (Summers & Price, 1997). This was a limitation of this study and considered when evaluating the data. Research also suggests that personalized, hand written thank you notes increase subject response rates (Maheux, Legault, & Lambert, 1989) and that colored paper, letterhead, hand signatures, and self-addressed stamped envelopes increase response rates of subjects who are being asked to respond to a survey (Ransdell, 1996).

Two procedures were followed to determine the sample size for the current study. First, based on the guidelines of Cohen (1969) and Schultz & Gessaroli, (1987), at least 10 participants per cell are needed, with 15 participants per cell needed to achieve normality (see Table 3.1). Second, the sample size of elementary school teachers will be determined based upon an alpha of .05, power of .80, and moderate effect size (Cohen, 1969; Schutz & Gessaroli, 1987). Thus, a minimum of 160 study participants were needed to achieve sufficient power.

The basic research questions addressed in this study were: Did the race, SES, gender, or classroom behavior of a student relate to the manner in which teachers: a) referred the specific student to the school counselor for individual or group counseling to focus on the child's academic and/or classroom behavior, b) made no referral, allowing the student to continue as is, c) referred the student to the "Child Study Team" or other appropriate school personnel to begin the process for evaluation by a school psychologist







Table 3.1


Cell Properties for the Study Variables to Determine Sample Size


Variables Sex R SES Behoaor N Male Female Caucasian African Low High Not Acting Acting
Cell # American Out Out

1 X X X X 10 2 X X X X 10 3 X X X X 10 4 X X x X 10 5 X X X X 10 6 X X X X 10 7 X x x X 10 8 X X X X 10
9 X X X X 10 10 X X X X 10 11 x x x x 10 12 X X X X 10 13 X X X X 10 14 X X X X 10 15 x x x X 10 16 X X X X 10

Not. N = 160; N = number of participants; SES = socioeconomic status; X = variable per cell. Minimum of N = 160 is needed to achieve power. Minimum of N = 240 to assume normality.








to determine possible special education placement, and/or d) requested a formal conference with the parents to discuss the student's academic and/or classroom behavior.

Developing the Student Vignettes

Student vignettes used in this study were developed by the researcher to provide each teacher subject with a specific student situation he/she might encounter in their classroom. The student vignettes were based on the previously mentioned work of Lanier (1975), the researcher's experience as a former elementary school counselor, and feedback given by professional educators. Each case vignette was critiqued by appropriate professionals in the field to determine content validity. Each bogus student vignette contained the following standard variables: grade level (2w), age (8 years old), and Kauffman Brief Intelligence Test (KBIT) scores (IQ= 81) and did not vary on any of the 16 vignettes. That is, these student variables were held constant across each bogus profile. The following student variables varied across each bogus student profile: a) race (African-American or Caucasian), b) gender (male or female), c) socioeconomic status (low or high), and d) student behavior (acting out or not acting out). The different combination of variables led to sixteen different bogus profile student vignettes being developed and used in this study. Each subject received one student vignette and was asked to assume that the child described in the profile was currently in their classroom.

The teacher participants were asked to respond to the four statements found on the bogus student profile vignette given them. Each of the four possible action statements was responded to using a Likert scale with 5 representing an action the teacher would be very likely to take and 1 being an action they would not be likely to take concerning the student described in the profile. The possible actions the teachers might take concerning








the student described on the profile will be to respond to each of the following action statements: (a) refer the student to the "Child Study Team" or other appropriate school personnel to begin the process for evaluation by a school psychologist to determine possible special education placement, (b) request a formal conference with the parents to discuss the student's academic and/or classroom behavior, (c) refer the student to the school counselor for individual or group counseling to focus on the child's academic and/or classroom behavior, and d) make no referral, allow the student to continue on as is. The order in which the choices were given in the student profiles were rotated equally through the 16 different vignettes for counterbalancing. Determining the Use of the KBIT Score

The Kauffman Brief Intelligence Test (KBIT) is a brief screener of verbal and nonverbal intelligence that can be given to anyone ranging from the age of 4 to 90. The mean of the KBIT is a standard score of 100 with the Standard Deviation equaling 15. The KBIT is based upon norms of a national sample selected to match the 1988 census data of the United States. The KBIT has a .94 internal consistency for the overall IQ Composite and a testes-retest reliability score of .92-.95 (American Guidance Services, 2002). Recent studies have shown a Pearson correlation of .83 when using the KBIT to predict the scores of students ages 6-15 on the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children Third Edition (WISC-III), a popular IQ measurement tool used in the school systems (Boyd, 2003). The KBIT is a brief assessment tool that may be used as a screener for IQ by school counselors. The IQ score of 81 indicates that the student is four points below the range for average students (85-115) and was the IQ score chosen as one of the noninterchangeable variables in this study. Elementary teachers in Florida are familiar with








the KBIT as it is also a popular assessment screening tool used in Florida schools (Boyd, 2003).

Determining Socioeconomic Status

Determining the levels of low and high SES for the bogus student vignettes was based upon the work done by Nakao and Treas (1999). Nakao and Treas developed an occupational prestige and SES scale based upon data from the 1989 National Opinion Research Center (NORC) General Social Survey. In this study it was concluded that prestige and SES continue to be linked by the social standing of one's occupation and scores were given to all occupations that were categorized in the 1989 U.S. Census (Nakao and Treas, 1994).

The Socioeconomic Indices are scored on a scale ranging from 0-100. For

example, postmasters and mail superintendents scored 55 on the SEI while Veterinarians scored a 90. Applying this research for the student vignettes used in this study, the researcher will use Pharmacist (SEI = 89) and Accountant (SEI=65) as the parent's occupations for the high SES student. The low SES student's parents will have occupations of Machine Attendant in a Factory (SEI = 28) and Town Road Maintenance Worker (SEI=25) (Nakao and Treas, 1994). Determining Classroom Behavior

The student vignettes used in this study also profiled a student who either had acting out behaviors or non-acting out behaviors in the classroom setting. In order to determine the appropriate characteristics of these behaviors, experienced elementary school educators were asked to define the difference between these two different behavioral types. Along with the teachers' feedback and the researcher's personal








experience, two behavioral profiles were constructed. After constructing the acting out and non-acting behaviors, the researcher called upon different experienced educators to validate these categorizations.

At the conclusion of the student behavior validation, the researcher characterized the student vignettes in the following ways. The acting out student described on the bogus profile was characterized as consistently: a) disrupting the classroom learning environment, b) being physically aggressive towards his or her classmates, c) refuses to follow classroom routines, and d) questions the teacher's authority. The non-acting out student was characterized as: a) being well liked by his or her classmates, b) follows all classroom rules, and c) cooperates with all others, including the teacher. Determining the Use of Names

The student profiles in this study were given a name that has a correspondence

with the race and gender of that student. The basis for which names to be associated with the profiles was derived from a recent study (Daniel & Daniel, 1998). The authors of this study wanted to simulate the famous doll study (Clark & Clark, 1939), in which the researchers measured children's preferences for black and white dolls. In this recent study, the researchers measured preschooler's preferences to names. The authors selected names based upon statistics by the Department of Health from 1990-1993 that showed the frequency of names given to Caucasian and African-American males and females. The names chosen were used most often only in each of the four categories. For example, while Michael was frequently used in naming Caucasian males in this time period, it was also found to be used frequently when naming African-American males, hence the name was discarded since it was not exclusive to one of these four groups. Based upon the








Department of Health statistics, the study identified nine names for each of the four

groups. For this dissertation, one name per group of bogus student profiles were chosen.

The following names were given on the corresponding student profiles: a) AfricanAmerican female (Monique), Caucasian female (Hannah), African-American male

(Jalen), and Caucasian male (Kyle). In summary, the above mentioned names, Hannah,

Monique, Kyle and Jalen each appeared on 4 bogus profiles as follows (see Table 3.2).

Statistical Hypotheses

This study contained five major null hypotheses. Each null hypothesis had a

subset of minor hypotheses that were examined as well. The null hypotheses were:

Hypothesis 1: In regard to the overall means of each response:
(a) There is a significant difference between the teachers' taking no action and
taking action (i.e., referral to special education, school counselor, or
requesting a formal conference with student's parent).
(b) There is no significant difference among the teachers' responses to: (1)
referring the student to begin the special education process, (2) referring the
student to meet with the school counselor, and (3) requesting a formal
conference with the student's parent.

Hypothesis 2: There is no significant difference in the teachers' responses to the student vignettes in regard to the student being referred to begin the special education process.
(a) There is no significant difference in teachers' responses to the student
vignettes on the basis of the race of the student given in the vignette.
(b) There is no significant difference in teachers' responses to the student
vignettes on the basis of the socio-economic status of the student given in the
vignette.
(c) There is no significant difference in teachers' responses to the student
vignettes on the basis of the gender of the student given in the vignette.
(d) There is no significant difference in teachers' responses to the student
vignettes on the basis of the classroom behavior of the student given in the
vignette.
(e) There are no statistically significant interactions for these variables.

Hypothesis 3: There is no significant difference in the teachers' responses to the student vignettes in regard to the teacher requesting a formal conference with the parents of the student.
(a) There is no significant difference in teachers' responses to the student
vignettes on the basis of the race of the student given in the vignette.








(b) There is no significant difference in teachers' responses to the student
vignettes on the basis of the socio-economic status of the student given in the
vignette.
(c) There is no significant difference in teachers' responses to the student
vignettes on the basis of the gender of the student given in the vignette.
(d) There is no significant difference in teachers' responses to the student
vignettes on the basis of the classroom behavior of the student given in the
vignette.
(e) There are no statistically significant interactions for these variables.

Hypothesis 4: There is no significant difference in the teachers' responses to the student vignettes in regard to the teacher referring the student to meet with the school counselor for individual or group counseling.
(a) There is no significant difference in teachers' responses to the student
vignettes on the basis of the race of the student given in the vignette.
(b) There is no significant difference in teachers' responses to the student
vignettes on the basis of the socio-economic status of the student given in the
vignette.
(c) There is no significant difference in teachers' responses to the student
vignettes on the basis of the gender of the student given in the vignette.
(d) There is no significant difference in teachers' responses to the student
vignettes on the basis of the classroom behavior of the student in the vignette.
(e) There are no statistically significant interactions for these variables.

Hypothesis #5: There is no significant difference in the teachers' responses to the student vignettes in regard to the teacher making no referrals, allowing the student to continue as is.
(a) There is no significant difference in teachers' responses to the student
vignettes on the basis of the race of the student in the vignette.
(b) There is no significant difference in teachers' responses to the student
vignettes on the basis of the socio-economic status of the student given in the
vignette.
(c) There is no significant difference in teachers' responses to the student
vignettes on the basis of the gender of the student given in the vignette.
(d) There is no significant difference in teachers' responses to the student
vignettes on the basis of the classroom behavior of the student given in the
vignette.
(e) There are no statistically significant interactions for these variables.

Data Analysis

The data obtained for this study were analyzed with the statistical software SPSS,

version 11. The data were collected and entered from the completed student profiles








Table 3.2

Names Associated with the 16 Bogus Student Profiles
Student's Descriptive Student's Name Male, Caucasian, Low SES, Non-Acting out Kyle Male, Caucasian, Low SES, Acting out Kyle Male, Caucasian, High SES, Non-Acting out Kyle Male, Caucasian, High SES, Acting out Kyle Male, African-American, Low SES, Non-Acting out Jalen Male, African-American, Low SES, Acting out Jalen Male, African-American, High SES, Non-Acting out Jalen Male, African-American, High SES, Acting out Jalen Female, Caucasian, Low SES, Non-Acting out Hannah Female, Caucasian, Low SES, Acting out Hannah Female, Caucasian, High SES, Non-Acting out Hannah Female, Caucasian, High SES, Acting out Hannah Female, African-American, Low SES, Non-Acting out Monique Female, African-American, Low SES, Acting out Monique Female, African-American, High SES, Non-Acting out Monique Female, African-American, High SES, Acting out Monique Note. Each participating teacher will be random assigned only one student profile; SES = Socioeconomic status.

obtained after teachers' responded to the Likert Scale for each of the four statements found on the student vignettes (Appendix C).

Descriptive statistics were used to describe the participants. Because multiple

comparison tests were employed, Bonferroni correction (p = .05/4 = .013) was applied to the alpha levels to control for the possibility of a Type I error. To test the first hypothesis, paired sample t-tests were used to compare the means of the four response items on each survey. To test the four remaining proposed hypotheses, four separate univariate








analyses of variance procedures were undertaken. The dependent variables were: (a) refer the student to the school counselor, (b) refer the student to appropriate school personnel to begin the process for evaluation by a school psychologist to determine possible special education placement, (c) request a formal conference with the student's parents, and (d) take no action. The independent variables were: (a) race (African American, Caucasian American); (b) sex (male, female); (c) socioeconomic status (low, high); and (d) behavior (acting out, not acting out). Eta squared (112) was calculated to determine the meaningfulness of the results with .20, .50, and .80 representing small, moderate, and large effects, respectively (Cohen, 1969, 1992).













CHAPTER 4
RESULTS

Participants

This surveys used in this study were distributed to 302 elementary school teachers of which 175 responded, yielding a response rate of 59%. From the 175 public elementary school teachers that responded, 158 were female, 11 were male, 6 participants did not reveal their gender. The mean age of the participants was 40.82 years (SD = 11.72), and the majority of the teachers were Caucasian (84.0%) followed by AfricanAmerican (8.0%), Hispanic (2.3%), Asian (1.1%), Other (1.1%), and 3.4% did not provide their race. Teacher experience ranged from 1 year to 40 years with an average of 13.25 years ( = 9.99). The school grade taught by the participants included: kindergarten (16.6%), first (15.4%), second (17.1%), third (14.9%), forth (19.4%), fifth (13.7%), and 2.9% did not report the grade they taught (see Table 4.1 for a detailed list of the participants' characteristics).

Hypothesis 1
For hypothesis #1a (i.e., there is a significant difference between teachers' taking no action and taking action) significant differences were found when comparing the no action response (i.e., making no referral; M = 1.10, SD = 0.49) with the following action responses: (a) refer to special education (M = 4.63, SD = 0.76), (b) refer to the school counselor (_M = 4.05, SD = 1.20), and (c) request parent conference (_M = 4.88, SD = 0.52), p's <.001. Similarly, for Hypothesis lb (i.e., there is no significant difference








among the teachers' action responses, significant differences were found when

comparing each of the action responses (i.e., refer to special education-refer to school

counselor, refer to special education-request parent conference, and refer to school

counselor-request parent conference), p's < .001. Refer to table 4.2 for the t-test

comparison findings.

Table 4.1

Descriptive Statistics for the Study Participants (N 175)

Variable N % M SD

Age 167 40.82 11.72 22 through 36 69 41.3 37 through 51 56 33.5 52 through 65 42 25.1

Race 175 African-American 14 8.0 Asian 2 1.1 Caucasian . 147 84.0 Hispanic 4 2.3 Other 2 1.1 Not available 6 3.4

Gender 175 Male 11 6.3 Female 158 90.3 Not available 6 3.4

Years of teaching experience 169 13.25 9.99

Current grade teaching 175 Kindergarten 29 16.6 First 27 15.4 Second 30 17.1 Third 26 14.9 Fourth 34 19.4 Fifth 24 13.7 Not available 6 2.9

Note. N = number of participants, % = percent, M = mean, SD = standard deviation.








Table 4.2

Paired sample t-tests for responses to student vignettes Pair N t df p Refer to special education- 175 5.58 174 .000 .15 Refer to school counselor

Refer to special education- 175 4.04 174 .000 .09 Request parent conference

Refer to special education- 175 51.89 174 .000 .94 Make no referrals, take no action

Refer to school counselor- 175 8.82 174 .000 .31 Request parent conference

Refer to school counselor- 175 28.66 174 .000 .81 Make no referrals, take no action

Request parent conference- 175 71.29 174 .000 .97 Make no referrals, take no action

Note. N = number of participants, t = observed t value, df= degrees of freedom, p = significance level, 12 = eta squared.

special education. [See Table 4.3 for the Mean and Standard Deviation values, and Table

4.4 for the univariate analysis results.]

Hypothesis 2

For Hypothesis 2 (i.e., there is no significant difference in teachers' referrals for special education across race, SES, gender, classroom behavior or interaction of these variables), no significant main effects for race, SES, gender, or classroom behavior, and no significant interactions among these variables were observed in teachers' referrals for Hypothesis 3

For Hypothesis 3 (i.e., there is no significant difference in teachers' requests for a parent conference across race, SES, gender, classroom behavior or interaction of these








variables), no significant main effects for race, SES, gender, or classroom behavior, and no significant interactions among these variables were observed in teachers' referrals for special education. [See Table 4.5 for the Mean and Standard Deviation values, and Table

4.6 for the univariate analysis results.]

Table 4.3

Number (N). Mean (M) and Standard Deviation (SD) Scores for the Dependent Variable "Referring to Special Education"

Gender Race SES Behavior N M SD Male Caucasian Low Act out 10 4.50 0.71


African-American


Female Caucasian


African-American


High Low High Low High Low High


No act out Act out No act out Act out No act out Act out No act out Act out No act out Act out No act out Act out No act out Act out No act out


4.64 4.50 5.00 4.73 4.80 4.45 4.55 5.00 4.45 4.67 4.90 4.18 4.50 4.73 4.60


0.93

0.90 0.00 0.65
0.42 1.21 0.93 0.00 0.82 0.65 0.32 1.25
0.71 0.47 0.70


Hypothesis 4

For Hypothesis 4 (i.e., there is no significant difference in teachers' referral to the school counselor across race, SES, gender, classroom behavior or interaction of these








variables) no significant main effects were found for gender, race, and SES. A significant behavior effect was found, F (1,159) = 36.61, p < .001,112 = 0.19, with acting out students more likely to be referred to the school counselor compared to non-acting out students. In addition, a significant gender x race x behavior interaction was also observed, F (1,159) = 6.57, p = .01,112 = 0.40, with Caucasian female acting out students being most likely to be referred to the school counselor, and Caucasian female non-acting out students being least likely to be referred to the school counselor. No other significant interactions were found. [See table 4.7 for the Mean and Standard Deviation values, and Table 4.8 for the univariate analysis results.

Hypothesis 5

For hypothesis #5 (i.e., there is no significant difference in teachers' responses to taking no action across race, SES, gender, or interaction of these variables) no significant main effects were found for gender, race, and SES. A significant behavior effect was found, F (1,159) = 7.01, p = < .01, -q2 = .04, with teachers more likely to take no action with non acting out students compared to acting out students. No significant interaction effects were observed for gender, race, SES, and behavior. [See Table 4.9 for the Mean and Standard Deviation values, and Table 4.10 for the univariate analysis results.]

Teacher Suggestions and Comments

After completing the four responses to the student vignette, teachers were given the option to provide additional comments and suggestions. Some of the teachers (37.1%, N = 65) provided comments or suggestions which were then analyzed using a four-step








Table 4.4

Analysis of Variance for the Dependent Variable "Referring to Special Education"

Source df F p12 R Gender 1 0.02 0.00 0.88 Race 1 1.48 0.01 0.23 SES 1 0.40 0.01 0.53 Behavior 1 0.55 0.01 0.46 Gender x Race 1 0.93 0.01 0.34 Gender x SES 1 0.10 0.01 0.32 Race x SES 1 0.14 0.01 0.71 Gender x Race x SES 1 2.33 0.01 0.13 Gender x Behavior 1 0.10 0.01 0.32 Race x Behavior 1 0.01 0.00 0.98 Gender x Race x Behavior 1 1.12 0.01 0.29 SES x Behavior 1 .058 0.01 0.45 Gender x SES x Behavior 1 0.01 0.00 0.10 Race x SES x Behavior 1 2.84 0.02 0.10 Gender x Race x SES x Behavior 1 0.91 0.01 0.34 Error 159

Note. i1" = Eta Squared, p = .0 13.


procedure following the recommendations of previous researchers (Creswell, 1992; Patton, 1980; & Tesch, 1990). First, raw data themes were identified from the teacher

comments and suggestions. Second, these raw data themes were organized into higherorder themes based on inductive and deductive procedures (Patton, 1990). Third a content

analysis (i.e., frequency count) was conducted with the higher-order and raw data themes to determine the most frequent responses and higher-order themes. The raw data and higher-order themes are presented in Table 4.11. The most frequent teacher

comment/suggestion theme was implementing an academic intervention (27.7%),








Table 4.5

Number (N), Mean CM) and Standard Deviation (SD) Scores for the Dependent Variable "Requesting a Formal Conference with the Parent" Gender Race SES Behavior N M SD Male Caucasian Low Act out 10 4.80 0.63 No act out 14 4.79 0.58 High Act out 12 5.00 0.00 No act out 11 5.00 0.00 African-American Low Act out 11 4.55 1.21 No act out 10 4.80 0.42 High Act out 11 4.64 1.21 No act out 11 4.91 0.30 Female Caucasian Low Act out 10 5.00 0.00 No act out 11 5.00 0.00 High Act out 12 5.00 0.00 No act out 10 4.90 0.32 African-American Low Act out 11 4.91 0.30 No act out 10 4.80 0.42 High Act out 11 5.00 0.00 No act out 10 5.00 0.00


followed by parent training (21.5%), behavior modification (18.5%), other diagnosis


(16.9%6), and general comments (15.4%).








Table 4.6

Analysis of Variance for the Dependent Variable "Requesting a Formal Conference with the Parent"

Source df F p2

Gender 1 3.21 0.20 0.08 Race 1 1.96 0.01 0.16 SES 1 1.62 0.01 0.21 Behavior 1 0.23 0.01 0.63 Gender x Race 1 0.64 0.01 0.43 Gender x SES 1 0.45 0.01 0.50 Race x SES 1 0.08 0.00 0.78 Gender x Race x SES 1 0.92 0.01 0.34 Gender x Behavior 1 1.30 0.01 0.26 Race x Behavior 1 0.71 0.01 0.40 Gender x Race x Behavior 1 0.76 0.05 0.39 SES x Behavior 1 0.01 0.00 0.95 Gender x SES x Behavior 1 0.01 0.00 0.97 Race x SES x Behavior 1 0.11 0.01 0.74 Gender x Race x SES x Behavior 1 0.11 0.01 0.75 Error 159

Note. T12 = Eta Squared, p = .013.








Table 4.7

Number (N). Mean CM) and Standard Deviation (SD) Scores for the Dependent Variable "Referring, to the School Counselor"

Gender Race SES Behavior N M SD Male Caucasian Low Act out 10 4.50 0.85


High


African-American Low High


Female Caucasian


Low


High African-American Low High


No act out Act out No act out Act out No act out Act out No act out Act out No act out Act out No act out Act out No act out Act out No act out


14 3.71 12 4.08 11 3.45 11 4.55 10 3.10 11 4.73 11 3.82 10 4.90 11 3.36

12 4.75 10 2.90 11 4.27 10 4.10 11 4.64 10 3.90


1.38 1.16 1.13 0.82 1.66 0.65 1.17 0.32 1.57

0.45 1.45 0.90
0.74 0.67
1.45








Table 4.8

Analysis of Variance for the Dependent Variable "Referring to the School Counselor"

Source df F 112 p

Gender 1 0.44 0.01 0.51 Race 1 1.16 0.01 0.28 SES 1 0.03 0.00 0.87 Behavior 1 36.61 0.19 0.00 Gender x Race 1 0.17 0.01 0.68 Gender x SES 1 0.26 0.02 0.61 Race x SES 1 3.12 0.02 0.08 Gender x Race x SES 1 0.36 0.01 0.55 Gender x Behavior 1 0.16 0.01 0.69 Race x Behavior 1 1.33 0.01 0.25 Gender x Race x Behavior 1 6.57 0.40 0.01 SES x Behavior 1 0.02 0.00 0.89 Gender x SES x Behavior 1 1.39 0.01 0.24 Race x SES x Behavior 1 0.01 0.00 0.92 Gender x Race x SES x Behavior 1 0.22 0.01 0.64 Error 159

Note. 112 = Eta Squared, p = .013.








Table 4.9

Number (N), Mean (M) and Standard Deviation (SD) Scores for the Dependent Variable "Take No Action"

Gender Race SES Behavior N M SD Male Caucasian Low Act out 10 1.00 0.00


High African-American Low High


Female Caucasian Low High African-American Low High


No act out Act out No act out Act out No act out Act out No act out Act out No act out Act out No act out Act out No act out Act out No act out


1.29 1.07 1.00 0.00 1.00 0.00 1.00 0.00 1.50 1.27 1.00 0.00 1.00 0.00 1.00 0.00 1.18 0.40 1.00 0.00 1.20 0.63 1.00 0.00
1.20 0.42 1.00 0.00
1.20 0.42








Table 4.10


Analysis of Variance for the Dependent Variable "Take No Action"

Source df F n2 p

Gender 1 0.00 0.00 1.00 Race 1 0.15 0.01 0.70 SES 1 1.68 0.01 0.20 Behavior 1 7.01 0.04 0.01 Gender x Race 1 0.11 0.01 0.74 Gender x SES 1 1.84 0.01 0.18 Race x SES 1 0.15 0.01 0.70 Gender x Race x SES 1 0.11 0.01 0.74 Gender x Behavior 1 0.00 0.00 1.00 Race x Behavior 1 0.15 0.01 0.70 Gender x Race x Behavior 1 0.11 0.01 0.74 SES x Behavior 1 1.68 0.01 0.20 Gender x SES x Behavior 1 1.84 0.01 0.18 Race x SES x Behavior 1 0.15 0.01 0.70 Gender x Race x SES x Behavior 1 0.11 0.01 0.74 Error 159

Note. q2 = Eta Squared, p = .013.








Table 4.11

The Higher-order Themes and Raw Data Themes of Teacher Suggestions and Comments Higher-order Theme Raw Data Theme N % Academic Intervention 18 27.7 Tutoring 7 10.8 Other Academic Intervention 2 3.1 Smaller lessons, kinesthetic learning 2 3.1 More computer time 2 3.1 Reading Rescue 1 1.5 Jump Start 1 1.5 Small Group Tutoring 1 1.5 "Red Star" Program 1 1.5 Champ Volunteer 1 1.5 Parent Intervention 14 21.5 Parent Training 4 6.2 Invite parent to class 2 3.1 White Foundation to assist parents 2 3.1 Get parent to use positive 1 1.5 reinforcement

Get the family involved 1 1.5 Build relationship with parent 1 1.5 Discover parent's expectations 1 1.5 Inform parents about the benefits of 1 1.5 testing








Table 4.11 Continued

Higher-order Theme Raw Data Theme N % Train parents on helping to develop 1 1.5 student's study habits at home Behavior Modification 12 18.5 Build rapport, give student more 6 9.2 attention

Behavior logs 1 1.5 Behavior strategies 1 1.5 Anger management with counselor 1 1.5 Place child in leadership role 1 1.5 Develop behavior contracts 1 1.5 Other Diagnosis 11 16.9 Recommend retention 2 3.1 Have tested for LD 2 3.1 Look into vision and hearing 2 3.1 problems

ADHD 1 1.5 Pursue SLD 1 1.5 Suggest taking to pediatrician 1 1.5 Pursue Psycho-educational 1 1.5 evaluation






61


Table 4.11 Continued Higher-order Theme Raw Data Theme N % General Comments 10 15.4 Document everything you do 2 3.1 I had a child like this, he changed 1 1.5 between his second and third grade year and got a lot stronger academically

Contact school counselor regardless 1 1.5 of behavior so they are aware of the situation

Referral process is slow, teacher 1 1.5 rarely sees the results while they have the student

Sounds like this student will fall 1 1.5 between the cracks Student seems to be doing the best 1 1.5 they can

This should have been taken care of 1 1.5 by now!

I would do the same for and race or 1 1.5 SES

Only use counselor to communicate 1 1.5 with parents













CHAPTER 5
DISCUSSION

Over the past 50 years in the United States, tremendous efforts have been put

forth to establish greater equality of opportunity among people of all races. These efforts, however, are meaningless unless implemented within government and educational institutions and societal values. While considerable research has examined ethnic, socioeconomic, and gender differences within education, limited research has examined the relationships among these constructs and biases within special education. This is problematic because some people may be misplaced within special education due to their personal characteristics (e.g., race, SES, gender, classroom behavior) rather than their educational deficits; thus they may miss out on opportunities to reach their educational potential.

The purpose of this dissertation was to determine what role, if any, the constructs of students' race, gender, SES, and classroom behavior play in the process of teacher referral for special education evaluation. In general, it was found that teachers were not influenced by a student's race, gender, SES, or classroom behavior when making a referral for special education. The aim of this chapter is to: (a) summarize the main findings of the five hypotheses, (b) recognize the study limitations, (c) discuss the practical implications of this dissertation, (d) provide recommendations for future research, and (d) provide a general conclusion.








Study Hypotheses Main Findings

Five hypotheses were examined in this study, and the following paragraphs will discuss the main study findings. First, consistent with Hypothesis la, a significant difference was found between teachers taking no action (i.e., making no referral) and taking action (i.e., referring for special education, referring to the school counselor, or requesting a formal parent conference). That is, teachers were more likely to take some sort of action compared to taking no action at all. These findings demonstrate that when a student is struggling academically or behaviorally the teacher was active in pursuing an intervention or other source that may help the student. This is important because it highlights that the teachers in this study appear to play an active and caring role with helping their students.

Second, contrary to Hypothesis lb, there was a significant difference among the action responses given by the teachers. More specifically, requesting a formal conference with the students' parents was the action most likely to be taken, followed by referring the student to begin the special education process, and referring the student to the school counselor. These findings illustrate that teachers are most likely to get in touch with a student's parents to address his or her classroom-related problems. While teachers may have good intentions with contacting parents, the effectiveness of these communications were not examined.

Teachers were also likely to refer the student to begin the special education process which may include a "Child Study Team", "Educational Planning Team", or some other school resource. These teams may develop interventions (e.g., behavior contracts, peer tutoring, classroom proximity) for the teacher and/or parent for








implementation over 6-10 weeks. If the interventions prove to be successful, the teacher and/or parents may continue with their implementation. However, if the interventions do not work, the team may recommend that the student be evaluated by a school psychologist and potentially be placed in a special education program. It is important to understand the positive and negative implications of teachers using this resource for their students. For example, it may be difficult for some teachers to ask for help from these teams because they may be sensitive to the fact that they were not able to help the student on their own. Thus, it is possible that some teachers may avoid using these services, and thus, the child's well-being may suffer. On the other hand, many teachers may be too quick to call upon these teams without putting much effort into creating their own interventions. For example, this may happen if a teacher is looking to have a student removed from his or her classroom. This is problematic because these services are not used appropriately which may lead to other needy students not receiving these services.

It is important to note that referring a student with academic or behavioral

problems to the school counselor was the least likely action to be taken by the teachers surveyed in this study. One explanation for these findings is that some teachers may have felt that the school counselor was too busy to assist them with their classroom behavior problems. This is logical considering that the average case load for school counselors in the State of Florida for the 2000-01 school year was 438 students, when the recommended caseload by the American School Counselors Association is 250 students (ASCA, 1999; Florida Department of Education, 2001). Another explanation is that the school counselor may be viewed by some teachers as incompetent or improperly trained to help them with their troubled students. For example, Quarto (1999) examined 152








teachers' perceptions of school counselors and he found that teachers had different attitudes towards school counselors based upon their teaching experience. That is, teachers rated school counselors with teaching experience as more effective in their job compared to school counselors without teaching experience. Research has also shown that teachers are more likely to refer to other professionals when they have positive perceptions of that professional (Christenson, Ysseldyke, & Algozzine, 1982). It is also likely that some teachers may not understand the role of the school counselor, and thus, he or she may not think to ask for the counselor's help with a troubled student.

Third, consistent with Hypothesis 2, there were no significant differences in

teacher's referrals to the special education process across race, gender, SES, classroom behavior or interactions of these variables. That is, teachers in this study did not exhibit any biases toward students based on these personal characteristics when referring a student for a special education referral. These findings are similar to those of previous researchers' conclusions that a bias does not exist for teachers when referring students to special education (Pemell, 1984; Tobias, Cole, Zibrin, & Bodlakova, 1982). While these findings cannot generalize to the idea that teachers are absent of all biases, they do demonstrate that if these personal biases do exist, they do not appear to affect a teacher's professional view on referring a student for special education. These findings seem to be the results and ideals Lloyd Dunn (1968) was searching for when he wrote "a better education than special class placement is needed for socio-culturally deprived children (Dunn, 1968, p. 5)." These results reveal that students who come from lower SES backgrounds are no longer being referred more to special education in comparison with their more fortunate peers.








Fourth, consistent with Hypothesis 3, there were no significant differences in

teachers' willingness to contact the student's parents for a formal conference across race, gender, SES, classroom behavior or interactions of these variables. More specifically, the personal characteristics of the student did not influence the degree to which the teachers made contact with the student's parents. These findings demonstrate that the teachers in this study appeared to be more concerned about discussing the student's problems with the parents rather than letting their possible personal biases interfere with contacting the parents.

Fifth, partial support was found for Hypothesis 4. More specifically, consistent

with the hypothesis, there were no significant differences in teacher referrals to the school counselor across gender, race, or SES. Similar to Hypotheses #2 and #3, these findings demonstrate that the teachers in this study appear to be fairly objective across the personal characteristics of their students; thus, not letting these factors influence their professional conduct. However, in contrast to the hypothesis, a significant difference was found regarding a teacher's likelihood of referring a student to the school counselor based upon classroom behavior. When a student was having both classroom behavior and academic problems, a teacher was more likely to make a referral to the school counselor than when a student exhibited only academic problems. This finding suggests that teachers view counselors as relating more to personal/behavioral problems than to academic/learning problems. This may be problematic in that students without classroom behavior problems may have unrecognized personal or social problems that are affecting their academics. In such cases, referral to the school counselor may be beneficial for students because the counselor may be able to assist with unapparent personal and social








issues. While teachers cannot possibly be aware of every problem that students may have (e.g., academic, classroom behavior, social, personal), interacting with the school counselor on a more regular basis may help some teachers identify possible issues and rely on the school counselor for consultation.

Also in contrast to the Hypothesis, a significant gender x race x behavior

interaction was found. Examination of the mean scores revealed that Caucasian girls who acted out were most likely to be referred to the school counselor and that Caucasian girls who did not act out were least likely to be referred to the school counselor. These findings illustrate that the teachers in this study (i.e., 84% Caucasian) who have a Caucasian girl with a behavior problem may feel that this is out of character, and thus, may require the assistance of the school counselor. These results also suggest that the Western culture stereotype of a Caucasian schoolgirl being well-behaved and "made of sugar and spice and everything nice" may be a belief held by the teachers in this study (Grossman, 1991). That is, common perceptions profile Caucasian school girls as ideal students in the classroom. The Western culture perspective of Caucasian schoolchildren may also contribute to the findings that acting out Caucasian boys were least likely to be referred to the school counselor. Teachers may expect these behaviors and assume that "boys will be boys" (Kelly, Bullock, & Dykes, 1977). That is, misbehaving or acting out are characteristics of boys that are thought to be natural.

Results from this study show that girls were most likely to be referred to the school counselor, whether acting out or not acting out. From this study it seems that teacher's believe girls can benefit from or are more appropriate to refer to the school counselor. These beliefs may be supported by the following theoretical foundations. First,





68

teacher's beliefs about the school girls and boys may be attributed to Social Learning Theory. The perception and expectations of school girls and boys are different based upon what teachers have learned from parents, peers, media, and personal experience. These experiences have an impact in the way they shape beliefs about others before they have ever had a personal experience with that student. Second, attribution theory states that people attribute behaviors of others as internal (within that person's control) or external (outside that person's control) (Winkler and Taylor, 1979). Previous research has shown (Jackson, 2001), that it is easier for teachers to associate students who are different than they are as having problems that are internally controllable. That is, those who are not the same race, gender, or SES have internal control over their own problems in comparison with those who may have similar traits who can't control their problems. In this study, 90% of the participants were female. These teachers may have felt it was more appropriate for females (same gender) to see the school counselor then males (different gender) because the females couldn't control what was happening to them and the males could. Attributing problems as externally controllable may be a natural reaction to protect those with whom we have similarities. This would explain why out of all students with academic and behavior problems, Caucasian teachers (80% of sample) were most likely to seek help for the Caucasian females from the school counselor.

Finally, consistent with Hypothesis 5 no significant differences were found in teachers' choice to make no referral and take no action across race, gender, and SES. However, in contrast to the hypothesis, students who acted out were more likely to have their teacher take some action in comparison with students who did not act out. These findings demonstrate that a student with a behavior and academic problem is more likely








to receive assistance then a student who is only struggling academically. Frequently, students with academic problems but no behavior problems are referred to those who "fall between the cracks." They do not attract enough attention to be evaluated for psycho-educational evaluation because many more students have compound problems and are looked upon as higher priority, thus placing the needs of these students on the "back burner."

It is important to note that, while not directly related to the study's hypotheses, relevant information was obtained from the teacher comments. Examples of the comments by participants included recommendations of other interventions to be attempted with the student and the parents, personal experiences they had with students like the one portrayed in their vignette, and suggestions of other possible diagnoses. It is important to understand the depth of information that can be acquired through qualitative methodologies and to understand that future qualitative research may assist with better understanding teachers' perspectives during the referral process. Qualitative research methods may help to broaden teachers' perspectives in regard to the special education process, effectiveness and role of the school counselor and their thoughts and feelings when contacting parents to notify them of a problem.

The framework of this dissertation was based upon a study done by James Lanier in 1975. Results from Lanier's study demonstrated that: (a) teachers were more likely to refer African-American students in comparison with Caucasian students to an educable mentally retarded program, (b) teachers were more likely to contact parents of Caucasian students who didn't act out, (c) students who acted out are more likely to be referred to the school counselor, (d) teachers felt that some action needed to be taken for all students.








Similar to Lanier's results, teacher's felt that some action needed to be taken and that acting out students were more likely to be referred to the school counselor. Lanier's results vary from this study in that teachers had no biases towards race, gender, SES, or classroom behavior when referring a student for special education or contacting a parent. It should be considered that his study was conducted 28 years ago, at a time when integration and Civil Rights were controversial issues across this country.

Study Limitations

First, because of the difficulty with recruiting teachers to participate in this study, a controlled environment was not employed. Because the teachers completed the surveys in a non-laboratory setting, the impact of extraneous factors (e.g., other teachers' comments) on the teachers' responses could not be determined. Second, the teachers in this study were recruited from school districts in North-Central Florida. In addition, most of the teachers were Caucasian females. Thus, there is limited generalizability of the study findings to elementary school teachers in other parts of the country, teachers of other ethnicities, and male teachers. Future research is needed to examine the study hypotheses with a more representative sample of teachers across the United States before general conclusions can be made. Third, while an attempt was made to obtain a representative sample of teachers across North-Central Florida, teachers' perceptions of the referral process, school counselors, and parents were not examined due to participant burden (i.e., the self-report questionnaire was kept as short as possible to examine only the study purposes and to increase the response rate). Fourth, the teachers' responses were obtained with self-report measures, and there is an inherent bias in people's self-report because of socially desirable responses (Constantine & Ladany,








2000). Finally, the response rate of this study was 58%. While this is acceptable considering the difficulty with recruiting teachers as study participants, future research should employ additional methods (e.g., postcard reminder I week after the survey was delivered; a second questionnaire delivered 2 weeks later) to increase the response rate.

Practical Implications

One of the school counselor's many roles is to be a "student advocate who works cooperatively with other individuals and organizations to promote the academic, career, and personal/social development of children and youth" (ASCA, 1999). As a student advocate, the professional school counselor needs to be aware of any process that may undermine equal opportunity for any student. The purpose of this study was to determine whether or not teachers had biases that were affecting their professional duties and the educational development of students. This is especially important when examining the field of special education and the disproportionate enrollment of minorities in special education programs.

The results of this study demonstrated that teachers surveyed did not have bias

towards a student's gender, race, SES, or classroom behavior when referring a student to begin the special education process or contacting the student's parent's to request a formal conference. The results of this study did identify that the teachers surveyed held biases across students' race, gender, and behavior types when making a referral to the school counselor.

The implications of this study can be used to address referral issues from the

elementary school through higher education, and the study findings are applicable to all who have an interest in the field of education. The findings of this study are consistent








with a belief that diversity and multicultural education awareness programs are having an effect on educators' attitudes. The findings in this study also highlight that these training programs shall continue to be developed in future educator training programs and continuing education for practitioners. This is a continual process as our society continues to strive for equality.

The results of this study highlight the need for educators to be aware of biases and stereotypes they may have regarding behavior in the classroom. Educators should also be conscious of preconceived notions they may have of students' behavior based upon their gender, race or SES. When observing student behaviors educators should attempt to put that behavior within the framework of the student's culture and avoid standardizing all behavior upon what they may consider to be the "social norm." It is important to understand that what may be normal behavior in one culture is far different from normal in another, and because that culture may be different it should not be associated with being inferior. This can be essential to educators who work with students in primary schools and may help them to take more time getting acclimated to the boundaries and structures that exist within the school culture (which may be very different from the culture in which they have spent most of their development).

Future Research

Despite the growth and advancement in education over the past 30 years, many

questions remain regarding how to achieve equality for all students. While this finding of this dissertation revealed that in general teachers did not have biases towards race, gender, socioeconomic status, and classroom behavior, several areas of further research are worthy of discussion. Specifically, the following section will highlight areas of future








research within the following categories: (a) special education process, (b) teacher's communication with parents, (c) perceptions of school counselors, and (d) the norming of student behavior.

Special Education Process

Research is needed examining teachers' beliefs (e.g., positives and negatives)

about referring students to special education as well as their willingness to use resources such as a Child Study Team. Studies should examine if teachers' perceptions of the prereferral process, and whether or not they are using it effectively. For example, some teachers might see the pre-referral process as a means to get a student they clash with out of their classroom, and others may not use it at all because they feel it is too much work on their part. Results of this study indicated that teachers do not have biases when referring students to begin the special education process, and thus, more research is needed to examine other reasons (e.g., learning styles, parental educational support, and environmental factors) that minorities continue to be overrepresented in special education programs.

Future research should examine the national norms of students being referred for special education placement by gender, race, behavior, and SES and how they compare with specific school districts. This would be helpful for schools to identify if they are an atypical or typical school. It would also be beneficial to determine if there has been any impact on schools, teachers, and districts that have participated in diversity training in regard to the type of students being referred for special education








Teacher's Communication with Parents

Future research is also needed examining teachers' communications with parents. More specifically, because communications between teachers and parents are many times related to a negative report about their child, it is important to examine how parents react to teachers contacting them about their child's school-related problems. For example, would parents be more receptive to the negative reports if the teacher also contacted the parent when something positive occurred? Also, studies are needed examining how teachers feel about contacting a student's parents before conclusions can be made regarding how, if at all, their personal biases influence their actual conversations with a student's parents.

Perceptions of the School Counselor

Examination of how teachers feel about school counselors' competency,

knowledge, and ability to assist them and their students is an important topic that may influence the referral process. Based on the findings of this dissertation, research is needed examining why contacting the school counselor may be the least likely action taken by teachers in this study. Research should also examine the perspectives of people enrolled in teacher education programs regarding the school counselor and his or her role in the school setting. Also, it is important to examine how these training programs address the collaboration and consultation process with the school counselor. For example, how might the perceptions of the school counselor differ between a teacher education program that integrates the school counselor into some part of the curriculum and one that does not? More research is warranted examining these issues. Furthermore, more research is needed to examine the extent to which teachers can identify less obvious








student issues (e.g., loss of a loved one, peer conflict) and changes in behavior (loss of affect, isolating oneself) to determine if teachers would benefit from more regular consultation and/or collaboration with the school counselor. Finally, research is warranted to examine what competencies counselors should have to best serve the students. Do teachers, administrators, and counselor educators believe school counselors should be behavioral experts as well proficient in curriculum and academic adaptation? Would this be a realistic application in the school setting? Norming of Student Behavior

Due to the methodological and conceptual difficulties with defining classroom behaviors, future research is needed examining the operational definitions for "acting out" and "behavior problem". One may characterize these behaviors as those outside the norm. However, the normative behavior has historically been defined by white middleupper class America. As the diversity of our society continues to grow, consideration must be given to justify why students are viewed as having behavior problems. For example, are students disciplined more often or being referred to special education due to the fact they are not acting like a normal child? Examination of the perception of norm behavior and theories (i.e. social learning theory, attribution theory) that may guide its development are warranted. These theories should also be examined in examining teacher's academic and behavioral perceptions and expectations of students and how they may impact teacher's actions. Finally, due to the impact of cultural sensitivity within education, research is needed examining diversity and multicultural training addressing a variety of students' behaviors in the classroom to possibly "redefine" what is normative behavior across different cultures and ethnicities types is warranted.








Summary

The purpose of this study was to examine whether or not teachers' had biases when referring students to the special education selection process. The results of this study have demonstrated a few main points. First, from examining the results of this study in comparison with similar studies conducted years ago it is evident that the perceptions and beliefs teachers have towards diversity have changed. Second, this study demonstrated that teachers would rather pursue other options for their students before referring the student to see the school counselor. Third, teachers are not willing to sit by and allow one of their students to struggle without taking some sort of action.

Future research is needed to examine the factors that contribute to the disproportionate number of minorities in special education, the perceptions and competencies of school counselors, and how student behaviors are normed.













APPENDIX A


Percentage of Students Ages 6 to 21 Served Under the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) in the 2000-2001 School Year

Table A.I

Percentage of Students Served by Disability and Ethnicity in the United States

American
Indian/ Black White Alaska Asian/Pacific (non- (nonDisability Native Islander Hispanic) Hispanic Hispanic)

Specific Learning 1.4 1.6 18.4 16.6 62.1
Disabilities
Speech/Language 12 2.4 16.1 12.7 67.6
Impairments
Mental Retardation 1.1 1.8 34.2 9.1 53.8

Emotional 1.1 1.8 34.2 9.1 53.8
Disturbance
Multiple 1.5 2.3 20.0 11.5 64.8
Disabilities
Hearing 1.3 4.6 16.4 17.9 59.8
Impairments
Orthopedic 0.8 3.0 14.7 14.8 66.8
Impairments
Other Health 1.1 1.4 14.9 8.0 74.7
Impairments
Visual Impairments 1.1 3.5 18.6 14.0 62.9

Autism 0.7 4.8 20.5 9.2 64.9

Deaf-Blindness 2.0 7.5 24.7 11.2 54.6

Traumatic Brain 1.6 2.4 16.9 10.5 68.5
Injury








Table A.1 Continued


American
Indian/ Black White Alaska Asian/Pacific (non- (nonDisability Native Islander Hispanic) Hispanic Hispanic)

Developmental 0.9 0.8 30.5 4.1 63.7 Delay
All Disabilities 1.3 1.8 20.3 13.7 62.9

Resident 1.0 3.8 14.5 16.2 64.5 Population








Percentage of Students Served by Disability and Ethnicity in the State of Florida

Table A.2

Exceptional White Black Education Program Non-Hispanic Non-Hispanic Hispanic Emotionally Handicapped 50.8 38.3 9.4 Severely Emotionally Disturbed 44.8 41.3 12.3 Specific Learning Disabled 56.3 24.7 12.3 Educable Mentally Handicapped 33.0 54.0 11.8 Speech Impaired 68.9 17.9 10.1 Deaf/Hard of Hearing 50.2 25.5 21.5 Traumatic Brain Injury 54.2 28.0 15.4 Orthopedically Impaired 60.7 21.0 16.1 School Population 52.5 24.8 19.0













APPENDIX B
REFERRAL PROCESSES IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS BY SCHOOL
DISTRICT, YEAR, AND REFERRAL PROCEDURES





Table B. I


Referral Process for Spring Branch Independent School District Houston TX

Year Referral Procedures

2002 The child-centered process begins with a referral from a student's home campus through the Student-Teacher Assistance Team (STAT). Anyone involved with the child's education may initiate the referral: parents/guardians, teachers, other school
personnel who work with the student, or professionals in related fields such as medicine, psychology and social services.
With parental consent, a comprehensive individual assessment (CIA) is completed, and an Admission, Review and
Dismissal/ Individual Educational Plan (ARD/IEP) Committee determines eligibility for special education. If tihe student is
eligible, an individual educational plan of instruction and related services is developed. The ARD/IEP Committee also
addresses an Individual Transition 'Plan (ITP) when it becomes appropriate. The EMP and ITP are reviewed a minimum of
once a year.


Table B.2

Referral Process for Fort Bend Independent School District Sugar Land, TX

Year Referral Procedures

2002 A referral for a Comprehensive Individual Assessment (CIA) may be initiated by school personnel, parents, legal guardians, or another person involved in the education or care of the student. All support services available through General Education
should be made available prior to a referral to Special Education.
Following the referral committee meeting at the school, these steps occur:
1. White copies of the referral forms are sent to the Special Education Department at the administration building.
2. A notice is sent to the appropriate assessment professional(s).
3. The assessment professional will contact the parent and review the Notice for Comprehensive Assessment,
Explanation of Procedural Safeguards, and Consent for Comprehensive Individual Assessment.
4. The parent signs and returns the Receipt for Explanation of Procedural Safeguards and Consent for Assessment.
5. The completed report will be dated within 60 calendar days of the date of the referral.
6. An ARD meeting will be held within 30 calendar days of the date of the comprehensive individual assessment report.




Table B.3


Referral Process for Stamford Public Schools: Stamford, CT

Year Referral Procedures

2002 Step 1 - Child Study Team (CST)
The parent or school staff members may make a request for a Child Study Team (CST) to discuss their concerns. A Child
Study Team is located in each school and meets regularly to discuss and plan for children in that building. The members of the
Child Study Team may include:_parent, psychologist, special education teacher, speech language pathologist, social worker,
administrator, and a facilitator. Together the CSrmembers may recommend strategies that could be utilized in the regular
education setting.
After alternative strategies have been used, CST members evaluate the child's school performance and determine whether the
alternative strategies have been successful and should continue. Very often, many problems are resolved at this level.
Step 2 - Referral to the Planning and Placement (PPT) Team
If the child's difficulties persist after the strategies have been implemented, a parent or staff member may make a referral from
the CST to the PPT Team. This referral "starts the clock" with mandated timelines. Parents should receive written notice of a
referral for special education evaluation made by school personnel within 5 days after the referral is made.
A parent may also initiate a referral that will "start the clock" running. The initial referral that begins this 45?day period can
take place at any time during the year, even if there are not 45 days left before the end of the school year. The state requirement
are that the entire process, from referral through identification, writing the IEP and implementing the LEP take place with 45 school days of the date of the referral. If a child is referred at the end of the school year, the district will make every effort to
complete the process before school begins in the fall.


Table B.4

Referral Process for Alachua Count Schools: Gainesville, FL

Year Referral Procedures

2002 Pre-referral
1. Teacher/Parent/Other: Conferences at school site.
2. Review of Records and Collection of Relevant Data.
3. School-based Educational Planning Team (EPT) Meeting Development of Appropriate Interventions and Monitoring




Table B.4 continued

Year Referral Procedures

2002 4. Procedures for follow-up.
5. EPT Follow-up Meeting: "To Refer or Not to Refer."
6. Referral Process Initiated: Gathering of all relevant updated data.
7. Referral Process Completed: Fill out all necessary forms and send to Psychoeducational Services.
Post-referral
8. Testing:
- Intellectual Functioning
-Achievement (Academic achievement, or pre-academic achievement, or developmental scales)
- Adaptive Behavior
- "Learning Process" Areas (e.g., auditory processing, visual processing, visual-motor integration, language processing,
etc.)
- Social-Emotional (e.g., personality, attitudes, self-concept, behavioral observations & scales, interviews, projectives,
etc.)
9. Scoring and Interpretation.
10. Report to Exceptional Student Education (ESE).
11. Staffing.


Table B.5

Referral Process for South Sannete School District: Miami. UT

Year Referral Procedures

2002 Referrals for special education evaluation may be initiated by school personnel, students, parents, physicians, or outside agencies through the principal of the neighborhood school or directly to the South Sanpete District Director of Special
Education. A call from a parent or outside agency will initiate the mailing of a referral form or information on the appropriate
school personnel to contact.
At the school these steps are followed:
1. At least two interventions are made and documented by the regular classroom teacher to improve the student's performance.




Table B.5 continued

Year Referral Procedures

2002 These should include I or more contacts with parents, and any other methods, which may help. Special education personnel may suggest strategies for dealing with specific learning difficulties.
2. If all classroom interventions fail, the classroom teacher: a) contacts the parents to say a referral for special education
services is being made, b) obtains a referral from special education personnel, c) teacher completes referral (including
documentation of the unsuccessful interventions), and d) gives it to the principal. The principal reviews and signs the referral
and passes it on to the special education teacher.*
*If the parent is referring the student, the form is completed and signed by the parent. No classroom interventions are required;
however, every effort must be made to implement interventions in the classroom.
*If a student is making a self-referral to special education personnel, the referral is given to the special education teacher who
will then contact the teacher(s) in whose class the student is having difficulty. If they agree the referral is appropriate, the
regular education teacher or student completes the referral.
3. The special education teacher provides the parents with Written Prior Notice of the intended evaluations, and a Permission
to Evaluate form (with types of tests and their purposes indicated), and a copy of the Procedural Safeguards.
4. The evaluation is initiated within 30 days of the receipt of the Permission to Evaluate. Upon completing the administration of tests and other evaluation materials, a group of qualified professional and the parent of the student must determine whether
the student is a "student with a disability" as defined in Part B of the IDEA and the Utah Special Education Rules.
5. The teacher sets up an IEP (Individualized Educational Program) meeting with the parents, classroom teacher, principal or
principal designated LEA, and other team members as appropriate. Written Prior Notice to parents is sent indicating IEP
development and placement decision will be accomplished at the meeting.
6. The multidisciplinary assessment team and the IEP team, including parents discuss procedural Safeguards, assessment, classification and eligibility decisions. The student's present level of functioning, including strengths and weaknesses, are
considered and a set of goals and objectives developed. Services needed to implement theIEP and placement are determined
and agreed on, as documented by signatures on the IEP.





Table B.6


Referral Process for Charlotte County Public Schools: Port Charlotte FL

Year Referral Procedures

2002 1. Referral/Data Collection Process
a. A team approach is used in gathering information and developing in-school interventions for a student, based upon
classroom observations and parent conferences.
b. This multi-disciplinary team (Intervention Assistance Team) may include the class-room teacher, counselor,
speech/language pathologists, school psychologists and other persons who might have important information to share.
c. Information collected includes the student's academic levels, work habits school behaviors, social skills, vision,
hearing, speech/language screening results, and intervention outcomes. Tiis information will be used when
determming the most appropriate educational placement.
d. Should these interventions prove ineffective in meeting the student's needs, a referral to the psychologist for
evaluation may be requested.
2. Referral Process
a. The Psychological Referral is completed by school personnel.
b. Parent/Guardian must provide written consent for testing before a formal individual evaluation can be given by the
school psychologist, etc.
3. Psychological Evaluation Process
The school psychologist will review all the information gathered, request additional information from the school if
necessary, and then schedule the student for testing.
a. The school psychologist will evaluate the student as soon as possible. Since referrals are processed in order of receipt,
sometimes there are testing delays, depending on the psychologist's schedule and the number of students referred.
b. After testing, the psychologist will write a formal report, including recommendations which are based upon test
findings and information submitted.
c. Eligibility for special education services is not determined at this time. The psychological evaluation process is only
one of the pieces of information used in determining eligibility.
4. Exceptional Student Education (ESE) Review
a. The ESE Department reviews all referral information to ensure accuracy and completion.
b. If information is not complete, the appropriate school personnel is notified by the ESE Department.
c. Once the necessary information is received, a staffing meeting will be scheduled. The parent will receive written
notification approximately two weeks prior to the stalfing date.





Table B.6 continued

Year Referral Procedures

2002 5. Staffing Meeting
a. The staffing meeting is designed to review the collected information and discuss the student's educational needs.
b. Exceptional Student Education eligibility or ineligibility is determined by the multidisciplinary team (evaluation team) at
this time.
c. If eligibility into ESE programs is determined an Individual Education Plan (IEP) will be written based upon findings
and an appropriate educational placement wilt be recommended.
d. Written parental permission is required before initial special education placement can be made.
e. Placement occurs.




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APPENDIX C
IRB APPROVAL OF PROTOCOL









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DATE: 12-Mar-2003
TM Mr. 3on M. Downs
1730 Brstol Avenue Apt 325 .
State Coe, PA 16801 ,j10 FROM: C. Michael Levy, PhD, OirG
University of Forida
Institutional Review Board 02

SUBJECT: Approval of Proo #0031-182 TITLE: Teacher Attitudes When Refering Students for Special Education
SPONSOR: Unhunded


I am pleased to advise you that the Universty of Florkia Institutional Review Board has recommended approval of this protocl. Based on its review, the UFIRB determined that thls research vrtiots no more than minimal risk to participants. Given your prtcol, It Is essential that you obtain signed douenrtation Informed corsent from each participant Encdosed is the dabd, IRS-approved ,nmned conse to be used when rein ng participants or the rmeanl.

It Is rtlal that each o your participants sign a cW of your app d irdorred
consent tat bers the IRS stm and a dat

If you wish to make any changes to this protrcnl, Induing the need to Ioease the number of participants authorized, you must disdose yYom plans before you Implemen thmn so that te Board can asstheir Impact on your protocol. In addition, you must report to the Board any unepxud complications that affect you participants.

If you hew not Completed this protocol by 24-February-2o4, Please telephone our alnke (392-0433), and we will discuss the renewal process with you. It Is Important that you keep your Department Oar Informed about the status of this research protocol.

(MIL:dl


-IP Mbm..,AM.eMO dad














APPENDIX D
INFORMED CONSENT








Department of Counselor Education
PO Box 12345
University of Florida
Gainesville, FL 32600-0000


Dear Educator:

I am a doctoral student at the University of Florida. As part of my degree requirements I am conducting a survey, the purpose of which is to learn about how educators feel about: a) referring a student to the school counselor, b) referring students to begin the special education process, and c) making contact with the student's parent. I am asking you to participate in this survey because you have experience as a teacher in an elementary school setting. If you agree to participate, you will be asked to read one student profile and answer four questions taking no longer than four minutes total. The student profile and questions are enclosed with this letter. You will not have to answer any question you do not wish to answer. Your identity will be kept confidential to the extent provided by law and your identity will not be revealed in the final manuscript.

There are no anticipated risks, compensation or other direct benefits to you as a participant in this study. You are free to withdraw your consent to participate and may discontinue your participation in the interview at any time without consequence.

If you have any questions about this research protocol, please contact me at (814) 8617835 or my faculty supervisor, Dr. James Pitts, at (352) 392-0731. Questions or concerns about your rights as a research participant rights may be directed to the UFIRB office, University of Florida, Box 112250, Gainesville, FL 32611; ph (352) 392-0433.

Please sign and return this copy of the letter in the enclosed envelope. A second copy is provided for your records. By signing this letter, you give me permission to report your responses anonymously in the final manuscript to be submitted to my faculty supervisor as part of my degree work.

Thank you for your time,

Jon M. Downs



I have read the procedure described above. I voluntarily agree to participate in the study and I have received a copy of this description.


Signature of participant Date




Full Text

PAGE 1

TEACHERS' ATTITUDES AND BELIEFS DURING THE SPECIAL EDUCATION REFERRAL PROCESS By JON MICHAEL DOWNS A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE DEPARTMENT OF COUNSELOR EDUCATION OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2003

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Copyright © 2003 By Jon Michael Downs

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This dissertation is dedicated to Danielle. I am nothing without you.

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I would like to take this opportunity to extend my immeasurable appreciation and thanks to the people who helped me throughout my journey through graduate school and this dissertation. First, I would like to thank the person who was my guide for most of this trip before moving on to greener pastures (retirement) and many golf greens. Dr. Joe Wittmer. From the time I began the journey for my M.Ed, and Ed.S., Dr. Wittmer always had his door and ears open and he was generous with his time, wisdom, and honesty. Without his encouragement and research ideas, this dissertation would not have been possible. When I make the transition into Counselor Education, his daily professionalism will serve as a template to what I hope to become. Second, I would like to thank Dr. James Pitts, who was brave and generous enough from the day that I decided to go for the Ph.D. to step in as my committee chair after Dr. Wittmer retired. He has helped to make this transition seamless and smooth; and for this I am very thankful. I would like to thank him for his patience, support, and guidance. Third, I would like to thank the rest of my committee members: Dr. Sondra Smith, Dr. Holly Lane, and Dr. Larry Loesch. They have been very helpful, supportive, and flexible along my journey, especially when I was writing from 1,100 miles away. Their xmderstanding and accommodating ways were crucial to finishing this project. Fourth, I would like to thank all of those who provided professional opinions, assisted me iv

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in the collection of my data, and lent a helping hand. This would include Rob Ice, Amy Archino, Dr. Diane Thompson, Linda Durrance, Emily Guenther, Debbie Guenther, Sandy Pipkin, Amy Stafford, Katie Culver, Jennifer VanValkenburg, Natalie Arce, the Gardner Family, and Joe and Doris Corbin. Fifth, I would like to thank my family for supporting me in my educational endeavors. Specifically, I would like to thank John and Susan Downs, Kelly Downs, Robert and Sandra Symons, Buck and Kathy Reid, Beverly Repka, and Johnstone Reid. Finally, I would like to thank someone who is first, my best fiiend, and second my wife, Danielle. Without her motivation (see "nagging"), unconditional support, and professional advice, this dissertation would not have been possible. She sets the standard by which professional excellence is measured, and that I could only hope to live up to. I thank her for challenging me every day of my life! V

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TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS iv ABSTRACT x CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION 1 Education Referral for Exceptional Students 4 Rationale for Study 5 Purpose of the Study 7 Research Questions 8 Theoretical Overview 9 Definitions of Terms 10 Overview of Dissertation 15 2 REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE 16 Disproportionate Representation of Minorities in Special Education: A Brief History 17 Special Education Referral Process 22 Teacher Attitudes and the Referral Process 24 Summary 34 3 METHODOLOGY 35 Population 35 Sampling Procedure 36 Developing the Student Vignettes 39 Determining the Use of the K-BIT Score 40 Determining Socioeconomic Status 41 Determining Classroom Behavior 41 Determining the Use of Names 42 Statistical Hypotheses 43 Data Analysis 44 4 RESULTS 47 Participants 47 Hypothesis #1 47 vi

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Hypothesis #2 49 Hypothesis #3 49 Hypothesis #4 50 Hypothesis #5 51 Teacher Suggestions and Comments 51 5 DISCUSSION 62 Study Hypotheses Main Findings 63 Study Limitations 70 Practical Implications 71 Future Research 72 Special Education Process 73 Teacher's Commimication with Parents 74 Perceptions of the School Coimselor 74 Norming of Student Behavior 75 Summary 76 APPENDIX A PERCENTAGE OF STUDENTS AGES 6 TO 21 SERVED UNDER THE INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITES EDUCATION ACT (IDEA) IN THE 2000-2001 SCHOOL YEAR 77 B REFERRAL PROCESSES IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS BY SCHOOL DISTRICT, YEAR, AND REFERRAL PROCEDURES 80 C IRB APPROVAL OF PROTOCOL 87 D INFORMED CONSENT 88 E TEACHER INSTRUCTIONS 90 F DEMOGRAPHIC INFORMATION 91 G STUDENT PROFILES USED IN THIS STUDY 92 REFERENCES 109 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH 117 vii

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LIST OF TABLES Table page 3.1 Cell properties for the study variables to determine sample size 38 3 .2 Names associated with the 1 6 bogus student profiles 45 4.1 Descriptive statistics for the study participants 48 4.2 Paired sampled t-tests for responses to student vignettes 49 4.3 Number (N), mean (M), and standard deviation scores for the dependent variable "Referring to Special Education" 50 4.4 Analysis of variance for the dependent variable "Referring to Special Education" 52 4.5 Number (N), mean (M), and standard deviation scores for the dependent variable "Requesting a Formal Conference with the Parent " 53 4.6 Analysis of Variance for the dependent variable "Requesting a Formal Conference with the Parent" 54 4.7 Nimaber (N), mean (M), and standard deviation scores for the dependent variable "Referring to the School Counselor" 55 4.8 Analysis of Variance for the dependent variable "Referring to the School Counselor" 56 4.9 Number (N), mean (M), and standard deviation scores for the dependent variable "Take no Action" 57 4. 1 0 Analysis of variance for the dependent variable "Take no Action" 58 4. 1 1 Higher-order themes and raw-data themes of teacher comments and suggestions 59 A. 1 Percentage of students served by disability and ethnicity in the United States 77 viii

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A. 2 Percentage of students served by disability and ethnicity in the State of Florida 79 B. l Referral process for Spring Branch hidependent School; Houston, TX 81 B.2 Referral process for Fort bend Independent School District; Sugar Land, TX 81 B.3 Referral process for Stamford public schools; Stamford, CT 82 B,4 Referral process for Alachua county schools; Gainesville, FL 82 B.5 Referral process for South Sanpete school district; Miami, UT 83 B,6 Referral process for Charlotte county public schools; Port Charlotte, FL 85 ix

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Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfilment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy TEACHERS' ATTITUDES AND BELIEFS DURING THE SPECIAL EDUCATION REFERRAL PROCESS By Jon Michael Downs December 2003 Chairperson: James Pitts Major Department: Counselor Education Overrepresentation of minorities in special education programs has been an issue for many years (Dunn, 1 968) and it continues to this day. Consequently, there is a need for research examining the root of this issue. The general objective of this dissertation was to identify if a student's gender, race, socioeconomic status (SES), or classroom behavior played a significant role when the teacher referred the student to begin the special education process. Also, these variables were examined in this study to identify what impact they had on teachers requesting a formal conference with the student's parent, referring the student to the school counselor, and taking no action. The findings of this study found no significant differences in teachers' attitudes toward a student's race, gender, SES, or classroom behavior when referring the student to special education, requesting a formal conference with the parent, or taking no action with the student A significant main effect for behavior was found when the teacher was

PAGE 11

referring a student to the school counselor. That is, students were more likely to be referred to the school counselor when they had acting-out behaviors versus non-actingout behaviors. A significant interaction of gender, race, and classroom behavior was also found when a teacher referred a student to the school counselor. Caucasian girls, when acting out were most likely to be referred to the school counselor; vsdien not acting out they were least likely to be referred to the school counselor. Afirican American girls, not acting out were most likely to be referred to the school counselor. Although future research is warranted in the special-education process, this study implies that teacher referral practices are not a factor in the overrepresentation of minorities in specialeducation programs. Implications of the results are discussed, as well as future research considerations. xi

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CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION The field of Special Education in the United States has grown tremendously over the past 30 years. The impetus began in 1975 when President Gerald Ford signed "The Education for All Handicapped Children Act" also known as Public Law 94-142 (PL 94-142). This law guarantees children, regardless of ability, a free and appropriate public education (FAPE). In 1 997, President William Clinton signed the Individuals with DisabiUties Education Act (IDEA). The objectives of IDEA are to (a) guarantee the rights of children and parents, (b) appraise and ensure the effectiveness of efforts to educate children with disabilities, (c) ensure that every child continues to receive a FAPE, and (d) meet every child's imique needs (IDEA Practices, 1999). These laws and regulations are vitally important because of the number of children affected by special education processes today. According to the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP, 2001), there were 5.76 million children ages 6-21 being served under IDEA during the 2000-01 school year in the 50 United States and the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. These numbers account for approximately 8.75 % of the children ages 6-21 residing in the United States. The tremendous growth in the number of students in special education and Exceptional Education Student (ESE) programs has had a major impact on the role of the school counselor. Unfortunately, biases toward exceptional students may exist within a school setting. Such biases not only affect the ESE referral process, but can also 1

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2 influence the classroom, student-teacher relationships, the relationship a school has with the community, and the overall school atmosphere. While the American School Counselors Association (ASCA) believes a school counselor's role in the ESE referral process should be limited, ASCA also strongly urges school counselors to be advocates for all students (ASCA, 1999). In a circumstance v^rhere biases exist that adversely affect students, it may be the school counselor who can assist in identifying those biases and thus be the professional expected to develop and implement interventions in an effort to rid the specific school of that problem. In particular, racial imbalance in special education has long been a concern of professional educators (Dunn, 1968). The early writings of Dunn and others concerning racial imbalance are viewed as the original battle cries for legislation that so profoundly affect special education today. Dvmn (1 968) argued that there was disproportionate representation of minority and economically disadvantaged students being placed in classes for the educable mentally retarded. Importantly, Lanier (1975) found that the race of a student was a significant determinant of teacher referrals for students to educable mentally retarded (EMR) programs. In addition, he found that African American students were referred to EMR significantly more often than were Caucasian students. Considerable additional evidence exists indicating that a student's race plays a significant role in referral to special education programs (Bahr, Fuchs, Stecker, & Fuchs, 1991; Oswald, Coutinho, Best, «fe Singh, 1999; Lietz & Gregory, 1978; Shinn, Tindal, & Spira, 1987). According to the 2000 United States census, Afiican American students ages 6-21 are 2.75 times more likely to be in mental retardation programs and 1.8 times more likely

PAGE 14

3 to be in emotionally disturbed programs than Caucasian students. In addition, while African American students represented 20.3% of all students with disabilities, they only represented 14.5% of the student population (OSEP, 2001). Thus, a large discrepancy exists between the percentage of African American students classified as mentally retarded (34.2 %) and developmentally delayed (30.5 %), compared to the percentage of African American students in the general population (14.5 %) . No other race/ethnicity data given in the 2000 census revealed this discrepancy in disability enrollment; Caucasian, Hispanic, and Asian/Pacific islander students were all underrepresented in ESE programs (OSEP, 2001). Teachers often have been criticized for having biases in referring children for ESE programs (e.g., Bahr, Fuchs, Stecker, & Fuchs, 1991 ; Lanier, 1975; Shinn, Tindal, & Spira, 1987; Tobias, Cole, Zibrin, & Bodlakova, 1982). For example, researchers Shinn, Tindal, and Spira (1987) found ethnicity and gender to be causative factors, resulting in larger percentages of African American males being referred for special education. However, some researchers have found that teachers do not exhibit biases (Pemell, 1984; Tobias, Cole, Zibrin, & Bodlakova, 1982). In particular, Tobias, Cole, Zibrin, and Bodlakova (1982) foimd, after presenting constructed case studies to 199 teachers from diverse backgrounds, that there was no difference in teacher ESE program referrals based on student ethnicity. Other researchers also have foimd that teachers are accurate in their initial assessment when referring students for special education (Cullen, & Shaw, 2000; Gerber & Semmel, 1985; Shinn, Tindal, & Spira, 1987). : ) f ^ ,

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4 Exceptional Student Education Referral While in general the special education process is guided by the IDEA (IDEA Practices, 1999), specific features, names of programs, and steps in the process vary jfrom state to state and county to county. More detailed data concerning this process are presented in Chapter 2 and where the process specific to a school district are given. Following are the general steps in the procedure. The pre-referral process of a student to ESE programs is used by school districts as a screening process to decrease the number of inappropriate referrals that lead to formal testing, to give students all the opportunity to succeed in a least-restrictive environment (LRE), and to cut costs in special education services (Nelson, Smith, Taylor, Dodd, «& Reavis, 1992; Peca, 1989; Wood, Lazzari, Davis, Sugai, & Carter, 1990). Pre-referral systems are supported by most state-run educational agencies and exist to provide another option for teachers. The percentage of students referred for evaluation who are actually placed in ESE programs is approximately 68% (Y sseldyke, Vanderwood, & Shriner, 1997) A student is referred to the pre-referral team so ideas and perspectives can be used to develop interventions with the objective of increasing a student's classroom achievement without placement in a special education program. (Lieberman, 1982). After the interventions have been implemented, the pre-referral team determines if they were effective. If the interventions are determined to be effective, then the teacher continues the interventions. However, if the interventions are not successful, the student likely will be referred for further evaluation for possible placement in a special education program (Ortiz & Garcia, 1988).

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5 Once the pre-referral team recommends that the student be evaluated for placement in special education programs, parental consent is needed before a student can be evaluated by a school psychologist. After the parent gives consent for evaluation, a school psychologist will examine the history and problems the student is having and evaluate him or her accordingly. After the evaluation is completed, the school psychologist will write a report and make recommendations based on these findings. Another educational team will meet with the parent to go over the results of the evaluation. Once the results are interpreted and recommendations are offered, the student may be placed in a variety of settings (i.e., fiiU-time special education class, part-time resource room, self-contained classroom, fiiU-time regular education classroom). No placement can be made imless the parent signs off on it. If the parent and other team members agree on the student receiving some type of special education services, an Individual Education Plan (lEP) is drafted. This IE? will set individual and measurable curriculum goals to assist the student where he or she needs it the most. The IE? can be updated or changed anytime a teacher or parent feels it is necessary, as long as the parent consents to the changes. The IE? must be updated at least once every year. Rationale for Study Biases and stereotypes are evident concerning all races, genders, and income levels (James, 1975; Kohatsu et al., 2000; Kowalski & Lo, 2001; Mayovich, 1973; Zeligs, 1950). Data reveal that many people have biases of which they are unaware; and that such biases shape their decisions, actions, and language (Pattniak & Panigrahy, 1987). Further, many of the biases evident in society are perpetuated by cultural influences (Tan, Tan, Avdeyeva, Crandell, Fukushi, Nyandwd, Chin, & Wu, 2001)

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6 including exposure to various media representations of various cultural groups (Cothran, 1950; Gorham, 1999; James, 1975; Knight & Giuliano, 2001; Oliver, 2001). Data reveal that most people do not identify themselves as having intentional biases (Dovidio & Gaertner, 2001). Biases can be overcome by adapting to change; and by changing values, knowledge, and ethical standards through thoughtful reflection on arguments and facts (Ayres, 1973; Chang, 2001 ; Zeligs, 1950). Biases and stereotypes can exist against similar peoples and are equally unfair (Fischlmayr, 2002). However, most biases exist against people who are different, such as a different race, religion, or language of origin (Freeman, 1998). Unfortunately, biases found in the general population also appear to be evident within the teaching profession. Recent evidence suggests that Caucasian females continue to dominate the field of teaching in public schools (Department of Education [DOE], 1997). Nationally, during the 1993-1994 school year, women composed 73% of public school teachers. Further, 87% of all public school teachers were white (DOE, 1997). For example, in the State of Florida for the 2000-2001 school year, Caucasians composed 75% of all elementary school classroom teachers and 90% of all elementary school teachers were female (Florida Department of Education, 2001). Researchers have found that some teachers are more likely to identify children for special education who are not of the same ethnicity (e.g., Pemell, 1984; Tobias, Cole, Zibrin, & Bodlakova, 1982), view students who are different from themselves as abnormal, and assign stigmas to those students (Minow, 1 990). As a result, it has been suggested that larger percentages of males and Afiican Americans are referred for special education programs (Shinn, Tindal, & Spira, 1987).

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7 Researchers have found that some teachers are accurate in predicting special education placement for referred students (e.g., Cullen & Shaw, 2000). In addition, others have foimd that if a student is referred for special education testing and evaluation, there is a high probability that they will be placed in an ESE program (Ysseldyke, Vanderwood, & Shriner, 1997). While such problems exist, other researchers believe that the basis for overrepresentation of minorities in ESE programs is the result of standardized testing bias (e.g., Maheady, Jussim, & Eccles, 1997; Reilly, 1991). Others believe that some incentives to gain special education financing and increase a school's standardized test scores by being able to v^dthhold the special education student test results (Agbenyega & Jiggets, 1999) are the base for existing problems of overrepresentation of minorities in ESE programs. Purpose of the Study The overrepresentation of minorities in many special education programs in the United States is no longer subject to debate because evidence supports it as fact. Thus, the real issue is why is it occurring and what will be done as a result (Patton, 1998)? The purpose of this study was to determine what role, if any, the variables of students' race, gender, and socioeconomic status played in the process of teacher referral for special education evaluation. Poverty indicators and socioeconomic impact are correlated with special education placement (Agbenyega & Jiggets, 1999: Blair & Scott, 2002). When educators associate variables such as race (Barona, Santos de barona, & Faykus, 1993; Cecil, 1988), gender (Taylor, Gunter, & Slate, 2001) and socioeconomic status (Tauber, 1998) with

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8 low achievement, educational ability, and behavior problems, educators begin to play a role in the way students are spoken to and treated (Good, 1987). As noted, the special education referral process in many schools involves the school counselor (Carpenter, King-Sears, Keys, 1998; Fairchild, 1985; Quigney & Studer, 1998; Skinner, 1985). The school counselor's role in the referral process may be as a leadership or consultant (Carpenter, King-Sears, Keys, 1998; Quigney & Studer, 1998). However, regardless of the school counselor's role in the referral process, if existing bias affects the way teachers refer students for special education programs, school coimselors need to be aware of it because it profoundly also affects their role as student and parent advocate (ASCA, 1999; Van Hoose, 1975; Van Hoose & Pietrofesa, 1971). A properly trained counselor will be able to consult with the teachers and administration in identifying these biases and provide strategies to assist them with these issues (ASCA, 1 999; Fall, 1 995; Osterweil, 1 987; Schmidt, 1 999) For this study, a sample of elementary school teachers fi-om the State of Florida responded to surveys that included bogus profiles of students. These bogus profiles differed only in the variables of student race, gender, classroom behavior, and socioeconomic status. The teacher respondents were asked to indicate how likely he or she would have (a) referred the student to appropriate personnel to begin the process for evaluation by a school psychologist to determine special education placement, (b) referred the student to the school counselor, (c) requested a parent conference, or (d) take no action. Research Questions The following research questions were addressed in this study:

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9 1 . In general, what are teachers attitudes toward referring a student to the special education process or to the school counselor, toward requesting a formal parent conference; and taking no action or making no referral? 2. How is race, socioeconomic status, gender, or classroom behavior of students, associated with teacher judgments to refer students to the special education referral process? 3. How is race, socioeconomic status, gender, or classroom behavior of students, associated with teacher judgments to refer the students to school counselors? 4. How is race, socioeconomic status, gender, or classroom behavior of students, associated with teacher judgments to request parent/teacher conferences? 5. How is race, socioeconomic status, gender, or classroom behavior of students, associated with teacher judgments to take no action? Theoretical Overview These research questions were written to address the role that the variables of student race, gender, socioeconomic status, and classroom behavior played in pre-referral processes of children to ESE programs. The intent of this study was not to reveal whether or not teachers were intentionally racist, sexist, or biased in any shape or form. Rather, it was to discover to what extent, if any, some teachers possess these attitudes that may be explained by the Social Learning Theory (SLT) (Bandura, 1977). Albert Bandura (1977) developed SLT. He believed that himian behavior is "learned observationally through modeling: from observing others one forms an idea of how new behaviors are performed, and on later occasions this coded information serves as a guide for action" (p. 22). Bandura posited that behaviors may only be absorbed through modeling if the model is someone who commands attention, and is looked upon highly and frequently by the observer (Bandura, 1 977). For example, parents are important models in the development of behaviors and values for children. Bandura also believed that the

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10 modeling influence does not always have to be a person, but can be a strong model of behavior. In the mid-1970s, Bandura noted that "this is nowhere better illustrated than in televised modeling. The advent of television has greatly expanded the range of models available to children and adults alike" (Bandura, 1977, p. 24). This concept is essential to understanding how television and other media plays a large role in maintaining and portraying stereotypes of age, race, and gender (Coltraine & Messineo, 2000; Harwood, 2000; McCarthy & Jones, 2001; Ward, 2002). Teachers are no different from others in society in the ways that social learning influences their behaviors, thoughts, and actions. Teacher attitudes toward race, gender, and socioeconomic status may in turn influence grading procedures, classroom management, referral processes, and other procedures in a school setting. It is important to imderstand the role that SLT plays in the development of attitudes and behaviors; particularly as they manifest in recommehding children for placement in special education programs. Definitions of Terms The following definitions have been adapted from 1997 IDEA Final Regulations Glossary and Definitions. Exceptional Student Education (ESE), often referred to as special education, is specially designed instruction, provided at no additional cost to the parents, to meet the unique needs of a child. It includes instruction in the classroom, home, at school, and other settings. It also may include speech and language services, travel, training and vocational education. A child with a disability is a one evaluated as having mental retardation, a hearing impairment including deafness, a speech or language impairment, a visual impairment

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11 including blindness, serious emotional disturbance, an orthopedic impairment, autism, traumatic brain injury, another health impairment, a specific learning disability, deaf-blindness, or multiple disabilities, who by reason thereof, may need ESE services. An Individualized Education Plan (lEP) is the document developed at an IE? meeting that sets the standards by which subsequent ESE services are deemed appropriate. Consent means that a parent has been informed of all information relevant to the issues being questioned. Consent is to be given in the parent's native language to assure their imderstanding of the matter. Consent is given once the parent mderstands the process and agreed (in writing) to the activities that will take place. Parents are notified of their rights; and understand that consent is not mandatory, is only given when they feel it is appropriate, and can be revoked at any time. Placement defines the educational placement of a child with a disability. Placement also is a decision made by a group of people, most importantly the parents, who have knowledge of the student and understand evaluation outcomes. Placement is made by conforming to the guidelines of the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE), is determined annually, is based on the student's lEP, and if possible, allows the child to stay in the same school he or she would attend regularly. A Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) is the goal that to the greatest extent possible, children with disabilities are educated with children who are nondisabled; and that removal fi-om the regular education classroom is only done if services that the exceptional student needs cannot be offered in a regular education setting

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12 The Local Educational Agency (LEA) is the governing board in the county, town, city, or school district in which the school is located. LEA's vary in each state; however, the overall purpose of the LEA is to administer schools in its jurisdiction. The following definitions are for the thirteen disability categories in which students can be served in the IDEA. The most recent category added. Developmental Delays (DD), can only be applied to children ages 3 through 9. Using the DD category is optional for LEA's and states (OSEP, 2001) A Specific Learning Disability (SLD) is a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language (spoken or written) that may exhibit itself in a flawed ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, or to do mathematical calculations; including conditions such as perceptual disabilities, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia, and developmental aphasia. An SLD does not include learning problems that are the result of visual, hearing, or motor disabilities, mental retardation, emotional disturbance, or environmental, cultural, or economic disadvantage. A Speech or Language Impairment (SI or LI) is a communication disorder (such as stuttering, impaired articulation, a language unpaimient, or a voice impairment) that imfavorably affects a student's educational performance. Mental Retardation (MR) is defined as significantly subaverage general intellectual functioning, existing along with deficits in adaptive behavior; and manifested during a developmental period that affects a student's educational achievement harmfully. An Emotional Disturbance (ED) is a condition exhibiting one or more of the following characteristics over a long period of time, and to a marked degree that

PAGE 24

13 adversely affect a child's educational performance: (a) an inability to learn that cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory, or health factors; (b) an inabiUty to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers and teachers; (c) inappropriate types of behavior or feelings in normal circumstances; (d) a general pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression; or (e) a tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal or school problems. An ED can include schizophrenia. The term does not apply to children who are socially maladjusted, unless it is determined that they have an emotional disturbance. A student with Multiple Disabilities has concomitant impairments (such as mental retardation-blindness, or mental retardation-orthopedic impairment), the combination of which causes severe educational needs that cannot be accommodated in special education programs that address only one of the impairments. The term does not include deafblindness. A Hearing Impairment (HI) is a reduction in hearing (which may be permanent or irregular) that affects a child's educational performance, but is not included under the definition of dea&ess. A severe Orthopedic Impairment (01) adversely affects a child's educational performance and includes impairments caused by congenital anomaly, impairments caused by disease, and impairments fi-om other causes (e.g., cerebral palsy, amputations, and fiactures or bums that cause contractures). A student diagnosed as having an Other Health Impairment (OHl) has limited strength, vitality or alertness, including a heightened alertness to environmental stimuli, that results in lunited alertness with respect to the educational environment; and that

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14 affects the student's educational attainment negatively. It may include asthma, attention deficit disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, diabetes, epilepsy, a heart condition, hemophilia, lead poisoning, leukemia, nephritis, rheumatic fever, or sickle cell anemia. A Visual Impairment (VI), including blmdness, is a deficit in vision that even with correction, affects a child's educational performance adversely. A VI includes both partial sight and blindness. Autism is a developmental disability significantly affecting communication and social interaction and is generally evident before age 3. It affects a student's educational performance. Autism has characteristics including repetitive activity and stereotyped movements, resistance to environmental change or change in daily routines, and/or unusual responses to sensory experiences. Deaf-Blindness involves concurrent hearing and visual impairments, the combination of which causes such difficult communication and other developmental and educational needs that they cannot be accommodated in ESE programs solely for students with deafiiess or blindness alone. A Traumatic Brain Injury is an acquired injury to the brain caused by an external physical force, resulting in total or partial functional disability or psychosocial impairment (or both) that affects a student's educational performance adversely. The term applies to open or closed head injuries resulting in impairments in one or more areas, such as cognition; language; memory; attention; reasoning; abstract thinking; judgment; problem-solving; sensory, perceptual, and motor abilities; psychosocial behavior;

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15 physical functions; infonnation processing; and speech. The tenn does not apply to brain injuries that are congenital or degenerative, or to brain injuries induced by birth trauma. A student with Developmental Delays (DD) is between the ages 3 and 9. The student is experiencing developmental delays (as defined by the State and as measured by appropriate diagnostic instruments and procedures) in one or more of the following areas: physical development, cognitive development, communication development, social or emotional development, or adaptive development. Overview of the Dissertation The remainder of this dissertation was organized into four additional chapters and appendices. Chapter 2 contams a literature review of research relevant to this study. In Chapter 3 the methodology is presented. Chapter 4 contains the results of the investigation. Chapter 5 contains the sunmiary, conclusions, and recommendations.

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CHAPTER 2 REVffiW OF RELATED LITERATURE Introduction This chapter provides a brief overview of the study followed by a review of the related literature. The related literature section of this chapter consists of the following topics: a) brief overview of the study, b) review of related literature, c) special education referral process, and d) teacher attitudes and the referral process. Brief Overview of the Study One purpose of this study was to examine teachers' attitudes and beliefs when referring elementary school students for possible placement in special education programs. Another purpose of this study was to identify teachers' beliefs as either contributing to the problem of over-enrollment of minorities in special education programs; or to establish the fact that there is no relationship between teachers' beliefs and such disproportionality in America's schools. The study aimed to answer the foUoAving specific questions: "What would occur in a referral to special education placement process if the variables of student socioeconomic status (SES), race, gender, and classroom behaviors were held constant?" For example, would teachers' attitudes about referrals differ in regard to students who come from the same SES, have the same IQ, and behave the same in the classroom, but differ in only race and gender? By controlling for these variables, the study could attempt to determine if the students' SES, race, gender, and classroom behavior influence teacher's referral choices. 16

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17 Disproportionate Representation of Minorities in Special Education: A Brief History Lloyd Dunn (1968) was among the first to bring to the public's attention the disproportional number of minorities in mental retardation classes (MR) in comparison to the student population foimd in their regular classrooms. Since the late 1960s many researchers have examined the causes of the disproportional numbers of minority students being placed in special education programs. Much of the research has focused on statistics indicating that the percentage of minority students enrolled in special education programs is significantly higher than the percentage of minority students enrolled in regular education classrooms. Evidence has shown that this problem is still prevalent today (U. S. Department of Education, 1999); and it is apparent that continuous dissecting of the numbers and lamenting will not solve this imfortunate dilemma (Appendix A). Before a student is placed into a special education program, there is a specific, structured referral procedure that must occur to assure that the student receives due process. The special education referral process for a specific student is many times initiated by the child's classroom teacher. This is because the child's teacher is the professional educator who, on a daily basis, becomes keenly aware of a particular student's academic and/or behavior problems. The referral process includes several steps and procedures, all of which need to be examined (Agbenyega & Jiggets, 1999; Artiles & Trent, 1994). The existing literature on disproportional representation of minority students in special education programs identifies a number of factors contributing to this serious educational concem. For example, five of these factors include (a) the education system's

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18 inability to educate students from diverse backgrounds, (b) imbalance in the referral and placement process, (c) inadequate resoiirces and underqualified teachers in lower SES settmgs, (d) the fact that most elementary teachers are Caucasian females, and (e) overemphasis on intelligence tests (National AlUance of Black School Educators [NABSE] & IDEA Implementation by Local Administrators Partnership [ILIAD] Project, 2002) . Many student referrals for placement into special education programs are done while the student is in elementary school (J. Neal, personal communication, January 8, 2003) . Segregation and integration of races in our country have played a large role in the development of the United States' educational system. Contrary to the beliefs of many people, discrimination within the school system has not solely been based on the color of one's skin. In the 1920s, many schools placed ethnic (i.e., Italian, PoHsh) and racial (i.e., southem black) immigrant children into ^cial classes to allow for "social adjustment" (Thomas, 1986). Placement into these social-adjustment programs existed because of fear, stereotypes, and prejudice toward these immigrant students (Thomas, 1986). At a crucial time in the Civil Rights Movement, Dunn (1 968) publicly voiced his belief that 60-80% of the students placed in mental retardation (MR) programs came from "low status" environments. Dunn believed that a better solution was needed for those students with mild learning problems. He felt that there was no mediimi ground for slower learners who were not mentally retarded. Dunn (as well as many other educators) believed that removmg slower learning students from the regular classroom would allow these students a better opportunity to progress in their academic development. However, in Dunn's opinion, this was done more to relieve some of the pressures from the regular

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19 education teachers rather than to educationally benefit these students. Dunn (1968) best summed up this unfortunate situation in pubUc education when he wrote The conscience of special educators needs to rub up against morality. In large measure we have been at the mercy of the general education establishment in that we accept problem pupils who have been referred out of the regular grades. In this way, we contribute to the delinquency of the general educations since we remove the pupils that are problems for them and thus reduce their need to deal with individual differences. The entente of mutual decision between general and special education that special class placement will be advantageous to slow learning children of poor parents can no longer be tolerated. We must face the reality — we are asked to take children others cannot teach, and a large percentage of these are fi-om ethnically and/or economically disadvantaged backgrounds. Thus much of special education will continue to be a sham of dreams unless we immerse ourselves into the total environment of our children fi-om inadequate homes and backgrounds and insist on a comprehensive ecological push — ^with a quality educational program as part of it. This is hardly compatible with ovti prevalent practice of expediency in which we employ many untrained and less than masters teachers to increase the number of special day classes in response to the pressures of waiting lists. Because of these pressures from the school system, we have been guilty of fostering quantity with little regard for quality of special education instruction. Our first responsibility is to have an abiding commitment to the less fortunate children we aim to serve. Our honor, integrity, and honesty should no longer be subverted and rationalized by what we hope and may believe we are doing for these children — ^hopes and beliefs which have little basis in reality (p. 20) Later in the 1960's, in an effort to defend their stance on this issue, many educators rejected the theory that placing minority and working class students in special classes was racist and justified this practice by rephrasing it as "cultural deprivation" (Artiles & Trent, 1994). Cultural deprivation theorized that minorities are not bom inferior, but are raised in an environment that puts them at a disadvantage in comparison with EuroAmericans. Those who supported the idea of cultural deprivation justified placing those who had not been exposed to the Euro-American lifestyle in a learning environment that would allow them to get "caught up" to the norm. The timing of these ideas was a major contributor to fiieling the Civil Rights movement and War on Poverty

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20 initiative. In 1975, eight years after Dunn's claims were publicized, PL 94-142 was passed. When Congress passed PL 94-142 it quickly became known as "The Education for All Handicapped Children Act." It is now commonly referred to as IDEA. This law was meant to guarantee all children, regardless of ability, a free and appropriate public education (FAPE). It was passed into legislation for the following reasons: (a) the special educational needs of children with disabilities were not being fully met; (b) more than half of the children with disabilities in the United States would now be given suitable educational services that would enable them to have equality of opportunity; (c) 1,000,000 of the children with disabilities in the United States were being excluded from the public school system and did not go throu^ educational development with students the same age as themselves; (d) there were many children participating in regular school programs whose disabilities prevented them from having a successful experience in school because their disabilities went unnoticed; and (e) due to the lack of sufficient services within the public school system, families were often forced to find services outside the public schools, often at great distance from their residence and at their own cost (IDEA, 1997). While PL 94-142 was a great first step in assisting students and monitoring the process in which students were identified, the problems of misplacement and disproportionality would continue (Artiles & Trent, 1994). In 1977, the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) exposed cases in which students that had limited use of the English language were placed into special education programs without proper assessment. From 1975-1979, the OCR also made public the names of 148 school districts that had a disproportionate enrollment of minority students in special

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21 education classes. Through their investigation, the OCR learned that many students labeled as EMR had never been screened for vision or auditory problems. Other students had been assigned to this classification even though they were being evaluated based upon old Intelligent Quotient (IQ) scores and several students were identified who had been placed in these classes even though their scores didn't qualify them for EMR placement. The United State Department of Education (1992) reported that in regular education programs in 1987, Caucasian students composed 70% of the student population while AfricanAmericans made up 12% of the total school population. However, during that same school, Caucasians composed 65% of the special education enrollment while Afiican-Americans composed 24% of the enrollment. As can be observed firom this data, the disparity in Afiican-American student enrollment in special education was completely out of proportion. In 1997, the IDEA (Public Law 105-17) was amended by Congress and signed into law by President Clinton. The purpose of this act was to place more emphasis onto the curriculum and objectives for special education students. Historically, the goal of the IDEA was to provide equal opportunity for students covered under the IDEA in comparison with students assigned the regular curriculum. The 1997 IDEA set out to improve upon the educational outcomes for these students. Specifically, additional regulations of the 1997 IDEA include three main arguments that are described in more detail in the following section (IDEA Practices, 1999). The initial strategy behind the changing of the IDEA concerned the Individual Education Program (lEP). The lEP was changed to now include the student's present

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22 educational status and the current effect the individual student's disability has on his or her ability to achieve and develop academically in the general curriculum. The lEP must also document specific measurable goals to help assess the student's progress in the upcoming academic school year. Based upon the 1997 IDEA, the lEP also must include a declaration of the program modifications or supports for school employees that will be provided for the child to assist in attaining the annual goals set for him/her by the school.. In addition, the lEP should be written so as to allow him or her the opportunity to participate in the general curriculum when possible (IDEA Practices, 1999). Secondly, the 1997 IDEA Amendments specifically require that, as a condition of State eligibility for fimding under IDEA, children with disabilities are included in general State and districtwide assessment programs (IDEA Practices, 1999). Third, prior to 1 997, the law did not include a regular education certified teacher as a mandatory member of the lEP team. As now dictated under the 1997 IDEA Amendments, the lEP team for each child with a disability now must include at least one of the student's regular education teachers, if the child is participating in the regular education environment The new law also indicates that the regular education teachers must participate in the development, assessment and modification of the student's lEP (IDEA Practices, 1999). Special Education Referral Process Referring an elementary school student to special education is a process that varies among school districts and states (Appendix D). In many cases, the referral may begin with the classroom teachers, as they are more frequently exposed to the student in the educational setting. For teachers to identify a student's problem (i.e., behavior or academic), a particular teacher should be able to clarify specifically what they are

PAGE 34

23 observing. For example, an observation of "Marie is indolent" does not provide the type of information about Mark's behavior in comparison to the statement "Mark seldom turns his work in on time, when he does it is done carelessly. Mark does not make efficient use of his class time which could be used for working on is academics," (Addeb, D'Zamko, Venn, & Cain, 1985). In a time when research is providing evidence that there are many different types of emotional and learning disabilities, it is important to specifically identify the student's symptoms so the proper steps for an accurate diagnosis can be made (Doyle, 1990). In addition, Addeb et al. recommended that the teacher can consult with the school guidance counselors and/or other support services for assistance with these issues. The influence teachers can have on the referral process is very strong (Giesbrecht & Routh, 1979; Ysseldyke, Algozzine, Richey, & Graden, 1982). In personal discussions with other professionals and based upon their first hand experiences, teachers may refer a specific student to begin the process so they can have the child removed from their classroom, even if it may be for two hours out of the school day. This is especially true if the teacher is having problems managing the student's classroom behavior. The reality of this issue is that 68% of students referred end up actually being placed in a special education program (Ysseldyke et al., 1997). It also needs to be emphasized that the referring teacher's attitude towards the student and the information that is reported by the teacher can have a considerable impact on the perspective referral team members (Ysseldyke, Algozzine, Ritchey, & Graden, 1982).

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24 Teacher Attitudes and the Referral Process Zucker and Prieto (1977) examined teacher bias in special education placement. Zucker and his colleague surveyed special education teachers (N = 280) after they read case studies involving an eight year old achieving below grade level. The case studies were developed to represent four groups (i.e., Caucasian male, Caucasian female, MexicanAmerican male, or MexicanAmerican female) and only differed in gender and race. After reading the case studies the teachers were asked to rate the appropriateness of placing the student in a class for educable mentally retarded (EMR) students. The researchers reported that they found a main effect for race and that teachers identified the Mexican-American students as more appropriate for special class placement than Caucasian students. However, Zucker and Prieto found no significant effect in regard to gender or interaction of gender and race. A study published by Kelly, Bullock, and Dykes (1977) focused on teachers perceptions of the behavior levels of their students. The subjects in this study (N = 2,664) were asked to rate the behavioral levels of the students in their classroom. Teachers had the option of rating each student as having: (a) no behavior disorders, (b) mild behavior disorders, (c) moderate behavior disorders, or (d) severe behavior disorders. In this study, the authors defmed each behavior option to clarify each choice for the participants. As a result of this study Kelly et al. found that: (a) 20.4% of the students identified were thought to have a behavior disorder, (b) from kindergarten through fifth grade the percentage of behavior disorders increased 19.4% to 25.1% while the percentages decreased from sixth grade (22%) to twelfth grade (8.8%), (c) for every two males identified as having a behavior disorder one female was identified, and (d) approximately

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25 two African-American students for every one Caucasian student were identified as having a behavior disorder from kindergarten through seventh grade, hi conclusion, Kelly et al. found that teachers believed 20% of their students had behavior disorders, males and African-Americans were twice as likely to be identified with a behavior disorder in comparison with females and Caucasians respectively. From a random sample of students (N = 355), Tomlinson, Acker, Canter, and Lindborg (1977) examined the gender and race of each student in relationship to referral, type of problem, and subsequent psychological services. They found that significantly more minority students and males were referred for psychological services than nonminorities and females. The authors also found that males were referred twice as many times as females, and the parents of females and majority students were contacted more often as well as presented with more options in regard to their child's status than minority parents. Tomlinson and his colleagues concluded that schools refer a higher percentage of males and minorities for psychological services and additional investigations are needed. Giesbrecht and Routh (1979) assembled eight bogus cumulative folders and facilitated feedback from elementary school teachers (N = 104) after they had the opportunity to evaluate the eight folders given to them. Each folder consisted of a 4* grade boy's standardized test scores, scholastic records from grades first through third, and Slosson Test scores ranging from 96 to 105 to simulate some realism determined by a random numbering system. The eight folders accommodated for the following combinations of variables: (a) previous teacher comments (no conmients or negative comments), (b) race (i.e., African-American or Caucasian), and (c) parent's educational level (i.e., some high school or post high school education). The teacher's being surveyed

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26 were asked to rate: (a) if the student should be placed in a special education classroom, (b) if the student should spend the school day in the regular classroom, the resource room for part of the day, or the fiill day in the resource room; (c) which professional could best help this student (i.e., Special Education teacher, reading teacher. Behavior specialist, or School Psychologist); (d) which nonprofessional could best help the student (i.e., volunteer tutor (adult), volunteer tutor (student), or teacher aide); (e) which materials could help the student (i.e., high interest/low abiHty texts, progranmied materials, modified texts, and criterion referenced tests), and (f) what grade level the student would be readmg at when they reach eighth grade (i.e., assuming no retention). The results of this study revealed that the folders containing negative teacher comments were more likely to need special education assistance. Giesbrecht and Routh (1979) also found that students with less educated parents were also recommended for more special education assistance than the students with more educated parents. The researchers found that teachers felt Afiican-American students with less educated parents were more likely to need special education help then Afiican-American students with educated parents. Lastly, the researchers identified that teachers felt Afiican-American students were more likely to make progress in reading than Caucasian students and more progress was expected fi-om students whose parents that had little education in comparison with students whose parents were well educated. Many times students are referred for possible special education placement by their teachers due to behavior problems they display in the classroom. Kaufinan, Swan, and Wood (1980) examined educators perceptions (N = 194) of emotionally disturbed children who had been accepted for treatment at a psychoeducational treatment center.

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27 The students' ages ranged from 3 to 13 years old and included Caucasian boys (n=96), Caucasian girls (n=33), African-American boys (n=47), and African-American girls (n=18). During the intake assessment of every student, the parent, referring teacher, a psychologist, and educational diagnostician are individually asked to complete a checklist of their perception of the referred student's behavior, communication ability, socialization, and academics. Kaufrnan and his colleagues suggested that there was a significantly greater consensus of perceptions in regard to the Caucasian student's behaviors then the AfricanAmerican student's behaviors. The authors reported that the medium family income for the white students was almost 55% higher then the AfricanAmerican students. The authors suggested that the results of this study may be due to the idea that appropriate behaviors can vary between cultures, but that the differences in this study may be a result of SES and not race disparities. Referring to Appendix D, it can be observed that one of the major steps in the special education referral process is a team meeting of educators, parents, and administrators. This may be called a "Child Study Team", an "Educational Plaiming Team", or a variety of other names. The purpose of these teams is to collectively clarify the problem and develop interventions to assist the teacher in an effort to prevent unwarranted referrals to the special education program. If these interventions do not work this team may meet again to determine eligibility for a special education program. Ysseldyke, Algozzine, Richey, and Graden (1982) videotaped 20 meetings in which eligibility decisions were made for special education placement. As a result of examining these tapes and analyzing the statements that were made during these meetings the authors made the follov^ng assertions. First, the more student information that was

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28 provided at the meeting increased the likelihood of special education eligibility. Most notably, the authors found that 83% of the statements made at eligibility meetings were extraneous. In simimary, Ysseldyke and his colleagues felt that the eligibility decisions were made independently of the data and that the data were manipulated to justify the decision, and that time and money is being wasted on processes in evaluation that are not given much weight in the decisions of these teams. In another study by Ysseldyke, along with Algozzine, Shinn, and McGue (1982) the differences between students who were classified as learning disabled (LD) and low achievers were examined. The sample of LD students (N = 50) and low achieving students (N = 49) used in this study were fi-om the same school district and both groups had been tested within the previous six months of the study. For this study, both groups were put through the same battery of tests (i.e., Weschler Intelligence Scale for Children Revised [WISC-R] and Peabody Individual Achievement Test [PIAT]). The results indicated that 96% of both groups' scores were within a common range, and that the two groups scored similarly on many of the subtests. The authors concluded that schools were either over identifying LD students or not identifying enough. The researchers believed that 40% of the LD students in this study may have been misidentified and misplaced. The authors recommended that future evaluation of whose needs and agendas are being served by identifying certain students for LD programs when other students that have almost identical aptitudes are not being evaluated. Tobias, Cole, Zibrin, and Bodlakova (1982) examined the influence of the student's race and the teacher's race had on referrals for special education placement. The participants of this study (N 199) were elementary, high school, and aduh education

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29 teachers. These participants all responded to a case study about a 16-year old male who was achieving below his grade level and exhibiting behavior problems in the classroom. The only variable that differed in the case studies was the race of the boy (i.e., AfricanAmerican, Caucasian, Hispanic, or race not identified). The participants were asked to rate the student's intelligence and emotional health, and also determine whether or not the student should stay in the regular classroom or be referred to special education. Tobias et al. (1982) reported that no evidence existed in their study that referrals differed by race or ethnicity. However, the researchers did find that the teachers recommended students with a different ethnicity than theirs more frequently then students of their ethnicity. For example, a Caucasian teacher is more likely to refer a Hispanic student for special education then a Caucasian student In an effort to replicate the previous study, Tobias, Zibrin, and Mennel (1983) focused on how a student's referral to special education is influenced by the student's gender and race as well as the teacher's gender, race, and teaching level. The researchers surveyed students enrolled in graduate level Education courses (N = 362); and each participant received a case study of a fifth grade student who was having behavior problems and achieving academically on a third grade level. The case studies varied included female (N = 4) and male (N = 4), and within these two groups the student was identified as Hispanic, Caucasian, African-American, or the race wasn't identified. Some of the items the participants were asked to rate included whether the student would remain in the regular classroom and require special education services. The results of this study showed that student referrals to Special Education were influenced by teacher ethnicity and teaching level, but not by the race or gender of the student. Tobias et al. also

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30 forad that African-American and Caucasian teachers were more likely to refer male students while Hispanic teachers were more likely to refer female students. In 1983, Wright and Santa Cruz published a study examining different Special Education Local Planning Areas (SELPAs) (N 96) during 1981-82 in California. The authors collected data from the California Department of Education. Wright and her colleague examined the percentages of ethnic groups (i.e.. Native Americans, Asians, African-Americans, Hispanics, and Caucasians) in the special education areas of mental retardation (MR), speech. Severely Emotionally Disturbed (SED), and Specific Learning Disabled (SLD). They foimd that AfricanAmerican students were overrepresented in one-fourth of the SELPAS in MR and speech. In the SLD programs African American students were overrepresented in approximately two-thirds of the SELPAS. Concluding their research, the authors felt that future research in the form of case studies is needed to provide insight into the policies and procedures that lead to these disproportions. By creating bogus cumulative folders, Pemell (1984) sought to investigate the influence that social behavior and race has on teachers' referrals to special education. The bogus cumulative folders varied in behavior (i.e., respected authority or disregarded authority) and ethnicity (i.e.. Black, White, Brovra). The variables that remained constant in Pemell's study were achievement (i.e., low), aptitude scores, age (i.e., 12), parent's education, and extramural activities. The participants (N = 275) ranged from certified elementary to high school teachers and each received one bogus cumulative folder. Each participant was asked to make recommendations for special education referral based upon the folder that they received. The results indicated that teachers were less likely to refer students to special education who were of their ethnicity compared to other ethnicities.

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31 Pemell also showed that there was no interaction between behavior problems and race of the student when referring for special education services. Pemell concluded his study by observing that future research was needed in this area using different data collection and that research in these areas should be used in teacher education programs to alert future teachers of these problems. Shinn, Tindal, and Spira (1987) examined the accuracy of teacher's referrals for students to the mildly handicapped special education program. Shinn et al. examined all of the students referred from grades 2 through 6 during an eight month period in a city school district. The researchers found that 66% of the students referred were male, while 46% were Caucasian, 42% were African American, and the other 1 1% was represented by Native Americans, Hispanics, and other ethnicities. Every student was assessed in reading ability using the Curriculum-Based Assessment (CBA). While the results showed that teachers were accurate in assessing the student's achievement levels, the researchers also found that teachers were biased towards gender and ethnicity when comparing the percentages referred to the percentages of all students who had academic difficulties. The authors found that the bias was profound for male and AfricanAmerican students. Shmn and his colleagues recommended that fiiture research be conducted on this issue using different methodologies and the accuracy of teacher referrals is still overshadowed by bias. Bahr, Fuchs, Stecker, and Fuchs (1991) examined teacher's perceptions towards difificult-to-teach (DTT) students. The authors asked general education teachers (N = 48) to nominate a regular education student that was the most DTT student and at risk for referral and special education placement. Of the 48 teachers, 40 identified a male student.

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32 Through interviewing the teachers and having the teachers complete rating scales, Bahr and his colleagues discovered that African American and Caucasian teachers identified African American students significantly more appropriate for referral then Caucasian students. The authors pointed out that one potential explanation for these findings may be that the African American students in the sample had lower levels of academic achievement. MacMillan, Gresham, Lopez, and Bocian (1996) researched the differences between students who had been referred for pre-referral interventions. The researchers examined students from five school districts who had been referred to Student Study teams (SST's) for pre-referral intervention (N = 150). Results indicated that Caucasian children referred had significantiy higher Verbal IQ's and African American students referred were more likely to have a higher occurrence of behavior problems then Hispanic students. Overall, MacMillan and his colleagues concluded that their study failed to show that the referral of students for academic or behavior problems was biased towards male or ethnic minorities. The purpose of a study conducted by Oswald, Coutinho, Best, and Singh (1999) was to examine the influence that economic and demographic variables have on identifying minority students for special education, hi their study, the authors analyzed the data (i.e., financial, demographic, & educational) that was collected from 4,455 school districts for the Elementary and Secondary School Civil Rights Compliance Report (U. S. Department of Education, 1994). The results showed that African American students were 2.4 times more likely to be identified as mildly mentally retarded (MMR) and 1 .5 times more likely to be identified for seriously emotionally disturbed (SED) than

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33 non African American students. Oswald and his colleagues concluded that economic and demographic variables were significant predictors of disproportionate representation for MMR and SED placement. In surveying classroom teachers who had recently referred students to special education (N = 55), Cullen and Shaw (2000) sought to identify the accuracy of teacher's predictions when compared to psycho-educational assessment tests performed by school psychologists. The results showed that the regular classroom teachers were able to accurately predict the standardized test performance of the students they referred by identifying the standard score and percentile rank quantifications that are commonly used in assessments. Cullen and Shaw recommended that assessments should focus on information that may not be obvious to teachers, but rather fresh and valuable. The overrepresentation of minorities in special education has also been justified by the fact that minorities are more enfrenched in low-income conditions (Agbenyega & Jiggets, 1999). Blair and Scott (2002) sought to quantify this argument. The researchers examined the affect of low SES on LD placements. In their study, Blair and Scott grouped all birth records from 1979-1980 (N.= 254,666) with all Florida public school children in the 1992-1993 database bom in 1979 and 1980 (N = 294,274). The researchers were able to link 67.7 % of the birth records with 57.9 % of the school records. The final data set used was composed of all students who had matched birth records and were enrolled in the regular classroom, gifted program, or special education program (N = 144,412). The researchers examined the risk factors (e.g., low birthweight and low maternal education) associated v^th low SES. Blair and Scott found that students who had: (a) a mother v^ith less then 12 years of education at the time of their birth, (b)

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34 an unmarried mother at the time of their birth, (c) a mother that received prenatal care mitiation after the first trimester of pregnancy, or (d) a low birthweight were 1 .2 to 3.4 times more likely to have a LD placement by the age of 12-14. The researchers found that 30% of boys and 39% of girls who had low SES indicators at birth were placed in LD programs. Summary The professional literature covered in this chapter consisted of studies that examined teachers' and other educational professionals' attitudes and beliefs when referring a student to a special education program. Methodologies and results varied from one study to the next. Results of these studies revealed that biases may or may not exist in regard to a student's race, gender, and behavioral level. Very few, if any, recent studies examine biases towards race, gender, behavioral level, and SES. Studies seeking to answer the question of disproportionality in special education have existed for nearly thirty years, yet the problem has not subsided (see Appendix A). This study has examined the influence that teachers' attitudes and beliefs have on student referral to education and whether or not these viewpoints are contributing to the disproportion of minorities enrolled in special education programs.

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CHAPTERS METHODOLOGY The disproportionate population percentages of minorities and males in special education in comparison with their population percentages in the regular education curriculum have been well documented in the literature (OSEP, 2001). Speculation continues to exist on the cause of this long standing problem. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to determine if the variables of race, gender, socio-economic status, and classroom behavior are systematically associated with elementary school teachers' attitudes when referring students for special education. With this information, school counselors and other appropriate school personnel will be more informed of the attitudes that teachers have when referring a student for possible placement in special education. This study's framework is a reflection of a similar 28 year old research study conducted by James Lanier (1975). Population The population of subjects used for this study was comprised of elementary school teachers who were teaching in the State of Florida. The subjects in this study completed a survey on voluntary basis only after permission was granted by their respective school districts and building principals. The sample was limited to elementary school teachers. The reason for this is that a majority of students are referred to be tested for a special education program during their elementary school years (Tobias, Zibrin, & Menell, 1983). In corresponding with 35

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36 administrators in charge of the special education services at various school districts in Florida, the researcher has learned that the source for a large percentage of these referrals are elementary school level educators (J. Neal, personal communication, January 8, 2003). One school district administrator in Florida reported that during the 2001-2002 school year 79% of Exceptional Student Education (ESE) referrals in her district came from those children currently enrolled in elementary schools. Sampling Procedare This study was conducted under the guidelines and protocol consistent with the hitemal Review Board (BRB) at the University of Florida. This study was approved hy the IRB on March 12, 2003 and given the approval to continue until February 24, 2004. The IRB protocol number for this study is 2003-U-182 (Appendix E). The bogus student profile vignettes developed for this study were given to elementary school teachers (and collected the same day) during Spring of 2003 semester.. Teachers were given a single one page bogus student profile and were asked to respond to the four statements given and return it as soon as possible. Conceptually, this would have helped to minimize participating teachers from discussing the similarities and differences found in the student vignettes with other study participants. Each teacher participating received: (a) two letters of informed consent letter of informed consent, a copy for their file (white) and a copy to return (blue) (Appendix F), (b) teacher instructions (Appendix G), (c) demographic information form (Appendix H), (d) one student vignette with rating scale (yellow) (Appendix I), and (e) a hand vsoitten thank-you note from the researcher. Teachers participating in this study were asked not to place

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37 their name, school where employed, social security number, or any other information that might identify them or their school on any marmer whatsoever. Research has shown that low rates of returns by subjects indicate that the sample is biased as the characteristics of respondents versus non-respondents have significant difference (Summers & Price, 1997). This was a limitation of this study and considered when evaluating the data. Research also suggests that personalized, hand written thank you notes increase subject response rates (Maheux, Legault, & Lambert, 1989) and that colored paper, letterhead, hand signatures, and self-addressed stamped envelopes increase response rates of subjects wiio are being asked to respond to a survey (Ransdell, 1996). Two procedures were followed to determine the sample size for the current study. First, based on the guidelines of Cohen (1969) and Schultz & Gessaroli, (1987), at least 10 participants per cell are needed, with 15 participants per cell needed to achieve normality (see Table 3.1). Second, the sample size of elementary school teachers will be determined based upon an alpha of .05, power of .80, and moderate effect size (Cohen, 1969; Schutz & Gessaroli, 1987). Thus, a minimum of 160 study participants were needed to achieve sufficient power. The basic research questions addressed in this study were: Did the race, SES, gender, or classroom behavior of a student relate to the manner in which teachers: a) referred the specific student to the school counselor for individual or group counseling to focus on the child's academic and/or classroom behavior, b) made no referral, allowing the student to continue as is, c) referred the student to the "Child Study Team" or other appropriate school personnel to begin the process for evaluation by a school psychologist

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38 1 H 4> N I c Q o »-» X/i 2 C/3 s t-l to (1> I X GO I/) S oooooooooooooooo XXXXXXXX X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X xxxxxxxx xxxxxxxx O ^ ro Tjir> vo

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39 to determine possible special education placement, and/or d) requested a formal conference with the parents to discuss the student's academic and/or classroom behavior. Developing the Student Vignettes Student vignettes used in this study were developed by the researcher to provide each teacher subject with a specific student situation he/she might encounter in their classroom. The student vignettes were based on the previously mentioned work of Lanier (1975), the researcher's experience as a former elementary school counselor, and feedback given by professional educators. Each case vignette was critiqued by appropriate professionals in the field to determine content validity. Each bogus student vignette contained the following standard variables: grade level (2°*'), age (8 years old), and Kauffinan Brief Intelligence Test (KBIT) scores (IQ= 81) and did not vary on any of the 16 vignettes. That is, these student variables were held constant across each bogus profile. The following student variables varied across each bogus student profile: a) race (AfiicanAmerican or Caucasian), b) gender (male or female), c) socioeconomic status (low or high), and d) student behavior (acting out or not acting out). The different combination of variables led to sixteen different bogus profile student vignettes being developed and used in this study. Each subject received one student vignette and was asked to assume that the child described in the profile was currently in their classroom. The teacher participants were asked to respond to the four statements found on the bogus student profile vignette given them. Each of the four possible action statements was responded to using a Likert scale with 5 representing an action the teacher would be very likely to take and 1 being an action they would not be likely to take concerning the student described in the profile. The possible actions the teachers might take concerning

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40 the student described on the profile will be to respond to each of the following action statements: (a) refer the student to the "Child Study Team" or other appropriate school personnel to begin the process for evaluation by a school psychologist to determine possible special education placement, (b) request a formal conference with the parents to discuss the student's academic and/or classroom behavior, (c) refer the student to the school coimselor for individual or group counseling to focus on the child's academic and/or classroom behavior, and d) make no referral, allow the student to continue on as is. The order in which the choices were given in the student profiles were rotated equally through the 16 different vignettes for coimterbalancing. Determining the Use of the KBIT Score The Kauffinan Brief Intelligence Test (KBIT) is a brief screener of verbal and nonverbal intelligence that can be given to anyone ranging from the age of 4 to 90. The mean of the KBIT is a standard score of 100 with the Standard Deviation equaling 15. The KBIT is based upon norms of a national sample selected to match the 1988 census data of the United States. The KBIT has a .94 internal consistency for the overall IQ Composite and a testes-retest reliability score of .92-.95 (American Guidance Services, 2002). Recent studies have shown a Pearson correlation of .83 when using the KBIT to predict the scores of students ages 6-15 on the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children Third Edition (WISC-III), a popular IQ measurement tool used in the school systems (Boyd, 2003). The KBIT is a brief assessment tool that may be used as a screener for IQ by school counselors. The IQ score of 81 indicates that the student is four points below the range for average students (85-1 15) and was the IQ score chosen as one of the noninterchangeable variables in this study. Elementary teachers in Florida are familiar with

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41 the KBIT as it is also a popular assessment screening tool used in Florida schools (Boyd, 2003). Determining Socioeconomic Status Determining the levels of low and high SES for the bogus student vignettes was based upon the work done by Nakao and Treas (1999). Nakao and Treas developed an occupational prestige and SES scale based upon data from the 1989 National Opinion Research Center (NORC) General Social Survey. In this study it was concluded that prestige and SES continue to be linked by the social standing of one's occupation and scores were given to all occupations that were categorized in the 1989 U.S. Census (Nakao and Treas, 1994). The Socioeconomic Indices are scored on a scale ranging from 0-100. For example, postmasters and mail superintendents scored 55 on the SEI while Veterinarians scored a 90. Applying this research for the student vignettes used in this study, the researcher will use Pharmacist (SEI = 89) and Accountant (SEI=65) as the parent's occupations for the high SES student. The low SES student's parents will have occupations of Machine Attendant in a Factory (SEI = 28) and Town Road Maintenance Worker (SEI=25) (Nakao and Treas, 1994). Determining Classroom Behavior The student vignettes used in this study also profiled a student who either had acting out behaviors or non-acting out behaviors in the classroom setting. In order to determine the appropriate characteristics of these behaviors, experienced elementary school educators were asked to define the difference between these two different behavioral types. Along with the teachers' feedback and the researcher's personal

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42 experience, two behavioral profiles were constructed. After constructing the acting out and non-acting behaviors, the researcher called upon different experienced educators to validate these categorizations. At the conclusion of the student behavior validation, the researcher characterized the student vignettes in the following ways. The acting out student described on the bogus profile was characterized as consistently: a) disrupting the classroom learning environment, b) being physically aggressive towards his or her classmates, c) refuses to follow classroom routines, and d) questions the teacher's authority. The non-acting out student was characterized as: a) being well liked by his or her classmates, b) follows all classroom rules, and c) cooperates with all others, including the teacher. Determining the Use of Names The student profiles in this study were given a name that has a correspondence with the race and gender of that student. The basis for which names to be associated with the profiles was derived from a recent study (Daniel & Daniel, 1998). The authors of this study wanted to simulate the famous doll study (Clark & Clark, 1939), in which the researchers measured children's preferences for black and white dolls. In this recent study, the researchers measured preschooler's preferences to names. The authors selected names based upon statistics by the Department of Health fi-om 1990-1993 that showed the fi-equency of names given to Caucasian and African-American males and females. The names chosen were used most often only in each of the four categories. For example, while Michael was frequently used in naming Caucasian males in this time period, it was also found to be used frequently when naming AfricanAmerican males, hence the name was discarded since it was not exclusive to one of these four groups. Based upon the

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43 Department of Health statistics, the study identified nine names for each of the four groups. For this dissertation, one name per group of bogus student profiles were chosen. The following names were given on the corresponding student profiles: a) AfiicanAmerican female (Monique), Caucasian female (Hannah), AfiicanAmerican male (Jalen), and Caucasian male (Kyle). In sunmiary, ibe above mentioned names, Hannah, Monique, Kyle and Jalen each appeared on 4 bogus profiles as follows (see Table 3.2). Statistical Hypotheses This study contained five major null hypotheses. Each null hypothesis had a subset of minor hypotheses that were examined as well. The null hypotheses were: Hypothesis 1 : In regard to the overall means of each response: (a) There is a significant difference between the teachers' taking no action and taking action (i.e., referral to special education, school coimselor, or requesting a formal conference with student's parent). (b) There is no significant difference among the teachers' responses to: (1) referring the student to begin the special education process, (2) referring the student to meet with the school counselor, and (3) requesting a formal conference with the student's parent. Hypothesis 2: There is no significant difference in the teachers' responses to the student vignettes in regard to the student being referred to begin the special education process. (a) There is no significant difference in teachers' responses to the student vignettes on the basis of the race of the student given in the vignette. (b) There is no sigmficant difference in teachers' responses to the student vignettes on the basis of the socio-economic status of the student given in the vignette. (c) There is no significant difference in teachers' responses to the student vignettes on the basis of the gender of the student given in the vignette. (d) There is no significant difference in teachers' responses to the student vignettes on the basis of the classroom behavior of the student given in the vignette. (e) There are no statistically significant interactions for these variables. Hypothesis 3: There is no significant difference in the teachers' responses to the student vignettes in regard to the teacher requesting a formal conference with the parents of the student. (a) There is no significant difference in teachers' responses to the student vignettes on the basis of the race of the student given in the vignette.

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44 (b) There is no significant difference in teachers' responses to the student vignettes on the basis of the socio-economic status of the student given in the vignette. (c) There is no significant difference in teachers' responses to the student vignettes on the basis of the gender of the student given in the vignette. (d) There is no significant difference in teachers' responses to the student vignettes on the basis of the classroom behavior of the student given in the vignette. (e) There are no statistically significant interactions for these variables. Hypothesis 4: There is no significant difference in the teachers' responses to the student vignettes in regard to the teacher referring the student to meet with tiie school counselor for individual or group coimseling. (a) There is no significant difference in teachers' responses to the student vignettes on the basis of the race of the student given in the vignette. (b) There is no significant difference in teachers' responses to the student vignettes on the basis of the socio-economic status of the student given in the vignette. (c) There is no significant difference in teachers' responses to the student vignettes on the basis of the gender of the student given in the vignette. (d) There is no significant difference in teachers' responses to the student vignettes on the basis of the classroom behavior of the student in the vignette. (e) There are no statistically significant interactions for these variables. Hypothesis #5: There is no significant difference in the teachers' responses to the student vignettes in regard to the teacher making no referrals, allowing the student to continue as is. (a) There is no significant difference in teachers' responses to the student vignettes on the basis of the race of the student in the vignette. (b) There is no significant difference m teachers' responses to the student vignettes on the basis of the socio-economic status of the student given in the vignette. (c) There is no significant difference in teachers' responses to the student vignettes on the basis of the gender of the student given in the vignette. (d) There is no sigmficant difference in teachers' responses to the student vignettes on the basis of the classroom behavior of the student given in the vignette. (e) There are no statistically significant interactions for these variables. Data Analysis The data obtained for this study were analyzed vwth the statistical software SPSS, version 1 1. The data were collected and entered fi-om the completed student profiles

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45 Table 3.2 Names Associated with the 16 Bogus Student Profiles Student's Descriptive Student's Name Male, Caucasian, Low SES, Non-Acting out Kyle Male, Caucasian, Low SES, Acting out Kyle Male, Caucasian, High SES, Non-Acting out Kyle Male, Caucasian, High SES, Acting out Kyle Male, African-American, Low SES, Non-Acting out Jalen Male, African-American, Low SES, Acting out Jalen Male, African-American, High SES, Non-Acting out Jalen Male, African-American, High SES, Acting out Jalen Female, Caucasian, Low SES, NonActing out Hannah Female, Caucasian, Low SES, Acting out Hannah Female, Caucasian, High SES, Non-Acting out Hannah Female, Caucasian, High SES, Acting out Hannah Female, African-American, Low SES, Non-Acting out Monique Female, African-American, Low SES, Acting out Monique Female, African-American, High SES, NonActing out Monique Female, African-American, High SES, Acting out Monique Note. Each participating teacher will be random assigned only one student profile; SES = Socioeconomic status. obtained after teachers' responded to the Likert Scale for each of the four statements found on the student vignettes (Appendix C). Descriptive statistics were used to describe the participants. Because multiple comparison tests were employed, Bonferroni correction (p = .05/4 = .013) was applied to the alpha levels to control for the possibility of a Type I error. To test the first hypothesis, paired sample t-tests were used to compare the means of the four response items on each survey. To test the four remaining proposed hypotheses, four separate univariate

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46 analyses of variance procedures were undertaken. The dependent variables were: (a) refer the student to the school counselor, (b) refer the student to appropriate school personnel to begin the process for evaluation by a school psychologist to determine possible special education placement, (c) request a formal conference with the student's parents, and (d) take no action. The independent variables were: (a) race (African American, Caucasian American); (b) sex (male, female); (c) socioeconomic status (low, high); and (d) behavior (acting out, not acting out). Eta squared (r^) was calculated to determine the meaningfiilness of the results with .20, .50, and .80 representing small, moderate, and large effects, respectively (Cohen, 1969, 1992).

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CHAPTER 4 RESULTS Participants This surveys used in this study were distributed to 302 elementary school teachers of which 175 responded, yielding a response rate of 59%. From the 175 public elementary school teachers that responded, 1 58 were female, 1 1 were male, 6 participants did not reveal their gender. The mean age of the participants was 40.82 years (SD = 1 1 .72), and the majority of the teachers were Caucasian (84.0%) followed by AfricanAmerican (8.0%), Hispanic (2.3%), Asian (1.1%), Other (1.1%), and 3.4% did not provide their race. Teacher experience ranged from 1 year to 40 years vsdth an average of 13.25 years (SD = 9.99). The school grade taught by the participants included: kindergarten (16.6%), first (15.4%), second (17.1%), third (14.9%), forth (19.4%), fifth (13.7%), and 2.9% did not report the grade they taught (see Table 4.1 for a detailed Ust of the participants' characteristics). Hypothesis 1 For hypothesis #la (i.e., there is a significant difference between teachers' taking no action and taking action) significant differences were found when comparing the no action response (i.e., making no referral; M = 1.10, SD = 0.49) with the following action responses: (a) refer to special education (M = 4.63, SD = 0.76), (b) refer to the school counselor (M = 4.05, SD = 1 .20), and (c) request parent conference (M = 4.88, SD = 0.52), p's <.001. Similarly, for Hypothesis lb (i.e., there is no significant difference 47

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48 among the teachers' action responses, significant differences were foiind when comparing each of the action responses (i.e., refer to special education-refer to school counselor, refer to special education-request parent conference, and refer to school coxinselor-request parent conference), p's < .001. Refer to table 4.2 for the t-test comparison findings. Table 4.1 Descriptive Statistics for the Study Participants fN = 175) Variable Age 22 through 36 37 through 51 52 through 65 Race Afiican-American Asian Caucasian . Hispanic Other Not available Gender Male Female Not available Years of teaching experience Current grade teaching Kindergarten First Second Third Fourth Fifth Not available N % 167 69 41.3 56 33.5 42 25.1 175 14 8.0 2 1.1 147 84.0 4 2.3 2 1.1 6 3.4 175 11 158 6 169 175 29 16.6 27 15.4 30 17.1 26 14.9 34 19.4 24 13.7 6 2.9 M SD 40.82 11.72 6.3 90.3 3.4 13.25 9.99 Note. N = number of participants, % = percent, M = mean, SD = standard deviation.

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49 Table 4.2 Paired sample t-tests for responses to student vignettes Pair N t df E of Refer to special education175 5.58 174 .000 .15 Refer to school counselor Refer to special education175 4.04 174 .000 .09 Request parent conference Refer to special education175 51.89 174 .000 .94 Make no referrals, take no action Refer to school counselor175 8.82 174 .000 .31 Request parent conference Refer to school counselor175 28.66 174 .000 .81 Make no referrals, take no action Request parent conference175 71.29 174 .000 .97 Make no referrals, take no action Note. N = number of participants, t = observed t value, df = degrees of freedom, 2 = significance level, rf = eta squared. special education. [See Table 4.3 for the Mean and Standard Deviation values, and Table 4.4 for the univariate analysis results.] Hypothesis 2 For Hypothesis 2 (i.e., there is no significant difference in teachers' referrals for special education across race, SES, gender, classroom behavior or interaction of these variables), no significant main effects for race, SES, gender, or classroom behavior, and no significant interactions among these variables were observed in teachers' referrals for Hypothesis 3 For Hypothesis 3 (i.e., there is no significant difference in teachers' requests for a parent conference across race, SES, gender, classroom behavior or interaction of these

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50 variables), no significant main effects for race, SES, gender, or classroom behavior, and no significant interactions among these variables were observed in teachers' referrals for special education. [See Table 4.5 for the Mean and Standard Deviation values, and Table 4.6 for the univariate analysis results.] Table 4.3 Number (N). Mean (M) and Standard Eteviation (SD) Scores for the Dependent Variable "Referring to Special Education" Gender Race SES Behavior N M SD T i\w l-AJ W Apt Aiit No act out 10 14 4 50 4.64 0 71 0.93 Hieh Act out No act out 12 11 4.50 5.00 0.90 0.00 African-American Low Act out No act out 11 10 4.73 4.80 0.65 0.42 High Act out No act out 11 11 4.45 4.55 1.21 0.93 Female Caucasian Low Act out No act out 10 11 5.00 4.45 0.00 0.82 High Act out No act out 12 10 4.67 4.90 0.65 0.32 African-American Low Act out No act out 11 10 4.18 4.50 1.25 0.71 High Act out No act out 11 10 4.73 4.60 0.47 0.70 Hypothesis 4 For Hypothesis 4 (i.e., there is no significant difference in teachers' referral to the school counselor across race, SES, gender, classroom behavior or interaction of these

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51 variables) no significant main effects were found for gender, race, and SES. A significant behavior effect was found, F (1,159) 36.61, p < .001, = 0.19, with acting out students more likely to be referred to the school counselor compared to non-acting out students. In addition, a significant gender x race x behavior interaction was also observed, F (1,159) = 6.57, p = .01, Tf = 0.40, with Caucasian female acting out students being most likely to be referred to the school counselor, and Caucasian female non-acting out students being least likely to be referred to the school counselor. No other significant interactions were foxmd. [See table 4.7 for the Mean and Standard Deviation values, and Table 4.8 for the univariate analysis results. Hypothesis 5 For hypothesis #5 (i.e., there is no significant difference in teachers' responses to taking no action across race, SES, gender, or interaction of these variables) no significant main effects were found for gender, race, and SES. A significant behavior effect was found, F (1,159) = 7.01, p < .01, = .04, wath teachers more likely to take no action with non acting out students compared to acting out students. No significant interaction effects were observed for gender, race, SES, and behavior. [See Table 4.9 for the Mean and Standard Deviation values, and Table 4.10 for the imivariate analysis results.] Teacher Suggestions and Comments After completing the four responses to the student vignette, teachers were given the option to provide additional comments and suggestions. Some of the teachers (37.1%, N = 65) provided comments or suggestions which were then analyzed using a four-step

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52 Table 4.4 Analysis of Variance for the Dependent Variable "Referring to Special Education" Source df F Gender 0.02 0.00 0.88 Race 1.48 0.01 0.23 SES 0.40 0.01 0.53 Behavior 0.55 0.01 0.46 Gender x Race 0.93 0.01 0.34 Gender X SES 0.10 0.01 0.32 Race X SES 0.14 0.01 0.71 Gender x Race x SES 2.33 0.01 0.13 Gender x Behavior 0.10 0.01 0.32 Race x Behavior J 0.01 0.00 0.98 Gender x Race x Behavior 1.12 0.01 0.29 SES X Behavior .058 0.01 0.45 Gender x SES x Behavior 0.01 0.00 0.10 Race X SES x Behavior 2.84 0.02 0.10 Gender x Race x SES x Behavior 0.91 0.01 0.34 Error 159 Note. Ti^ = Eta Squared, p = .013. procedure following the recommendations of previous researchers (Creswell, 1992; Patton, 1980; & Tesch, 1990). First, raw data themes were identified from the teacher comments and suggestions. Second, these raw data themes were organized into higherorder themes based on inductive and deductive procedures (Patton, 1990). Third a content analysis (i.e., frequency count) was conducted with the higher-order and raw data themes to determine the most fi-equent responses and higher-order themes. The raw data and higher-order themes are presented in Table 4. 1 1 . The most frequent teacher comment/suggestion theme was implementing an academic intervention (27.7%),

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Table 4.5 Number (N). Mean (M) and Standard Deviation (SD) Scores for the Dependent Variable "Requesting a Formal Conference with the Parent" Gender Race SES Behavior N M SD Male Caucasian Low Act out No act out 10 14 4.80 4.79 0.63 0.58 High Act out No act out 12 11 5.00 5.00 0.00 0.00 African-American Low Act out No act out 11 10 4.55 4.80 1.21 0.42 High Act out No act out 11 11 4.64 4.91 1.21 0.30 Female Caucasian : . Low Act out No act out 10 11 5.00 5.00 0.00 0.00 High Act out No act out 12 10 5.00 4.90 0.00 0.32 African-American Low Act out No act out 11 10 4.91 4.80 0.30 0.42 High Act out No act out 11 10 5.00 5.00 0.00 0.00 followed by parent training (21.5%), behavior modification (18.5%), other diagnosis (16.9%), and general comments (15.4%).

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54 Table 4.6 Analysis of Variance for the Dependent Variable "Requesting a Fonnal Conference with the Parent" Source df F Gender 3.21 0.20 0.08 Race 1.96 0.01 0.16 SES 1.62 0.01 0.21 Behavior 0.23 0.01 0.63 Gender x Race 0.64 0.01 0.43 Gender X SES 0.45 0.01 0.50 Race X SES 0.08 0.00 0.78 Gender x Race x SES 0.92 0.01 0.34 Gender x Behavior 1.30 0.01 0.26 Race X Behavior 0.71 0.01 0.40 Gender x Race x Behavior 0.76 0.05 0.39 SES X Behavior 0.01 0.00 0.95 Gender x SES x Behavior 0.01 0.00 0.97 Race X SES x Behavior 0.11 0.01 0.74 Gender x Race x SES x Behavior 0.11 0.01 0.75 Error 159 Note, rf = Eta Squared, g = .013.

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55 Table 4.7 Number (N), Mean (M) and Standard Deviation (SD) Scores for the Dependent Variable "Referring to the School Coxinselor" Gender Race SES Behavior N M SD Male Caucasian Low Act out No act out 10 14 4.50 3.71 0.85 1.38 High Act out No act out 12 11 4.08 3.45 1.16 1.13 African-American Low Act out No act out 11 10 4.55 3.10 0.82 1.66 High Act out No act out 11 11 4.73 3.82 0.65 1.17 Female Caucasian Low Act out No act out 10 11 4.90 3.36 0.32 1.57 High Act out No act out 12 10 4.75 2.90 0.45 1.45 African-American Low Act out No act out 11 10 4.27 4.10 0.90 0.74 High Act out No act out 11 10 4.64 3.90 0.67 1.45

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56 Table 4.8 Analysis of Variance for the Dependent Variable "Referring to the School Counselor" Source df F Gender 0.44 0.01 0.51 Race 1.16 0.01 0.28 SES 0.03 0.00 0.87 Behavior 36.61 0.19 0.00 Gender x Race 0.17 0.01 0.68 Gender x SES 0.26 0.02 0.61 Race X SES 3.12 0.02 0.08 Gender x Race x SES 0.36 0.01 0.55 Gender x Behavior 0.16 0.01 0.69 Race X Behavior I 1.33 0.01 0.25 Gender x Race x Behavior 637 0.40 0.01 SES X Behavior 0.02 0.00 0.89 Gender x SES x Behavior 1.39 0.01 0.24 Race X SES x Behavior 0.01 0.00 0.92 Gender x Race x SES x Behavior 0.22 0.01 0.64 Error 159 Note. Ti=^ = Eta Squared, g = .013.

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57 Table 4.9 "Take No Action" Gender Race Behavior JN \M M OU Male Caucasian Low Act out 10 1.00 0.00 n/^^ ^^wt iNo act out it l.Vl High Act out 12 1.00 0.00 No act out 1 1 1 AA A AA u.ou African-American Low Act out 11 1.00 0.00 No act out w l.jy) 1 T7 i.ZI High Act out 11 1.00 0.00 No act out 1 1 1.00 A t\f\ 0.00 Female Caucasian Low Act out 10 1.00 0.00 No act out 1 1 1 1 o I.Jo 0.40 High Act out 12 1.00 0.00 No act out 10 1.20 0.63 African-American Low Act out 11 1.00 0.00 No act out 10 1.20 0.42 High Act out 11 1.00 0.00 No act out 10 1.20 0.42

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58 Table 4.10 Analysis of Variance for the Dependent Variable "Take No Action" Source df F Gender 1 0.00 0.00 t AA 1.00 Race 1 0.15 0.01 0.70 SES 1 1.68 0.01 0.20 Behavior 1 7.01 0.04 0.01 Gender X Race 1 0.11 0.01 0.74 Gender x SES 1 1.84 0.01 0.18 Race X SES « 1 0.15 0.01 0.70 Gender x Race x SES 1 0.11 0.01 0.74 Gender x Behavior 1 0.00 0.00 1.00 Race X Behavior 0.15 0.01 0.70 Gender x Race x Behavior .| N., 0.11 0.01 0.74 SES X Behavior ^ ^ 1.68 0.01 0.20 Gender x SES x Behavior " f / > 1.84 0.01 0.18 Race X SES x Behavior 1 0.15 0.01 0.70 Gender x Race x SES x Behavior 1 0.11 0.01 0.74 Error 159 Note. Ti^ = Eta Squared, £ = .013.

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59 Table 4. 11 The Higher-order Themes and Raw Data Themes of Teacher Suggestions and Comments Higher-order Theme Raw Data Theme N % Academiclntervention 18 27.7 Tutoring 7 10.8 Other Academic Intervention 2 3.1 Smaller lessons, kinesthetic learning 2 3.1 More computer time 2 3.1 Reading Rescue 1 1.5 Jump Start 1 1.5 Small Group Tutoring 1 1.5 "Red Star" Program 1 1.5 Champ Volunteer 1 1.5 Parent Intervention 14 21.5 Parent Training 4 6.2 Invite parent to class 2 3.1 White Foimdation to assist parents 2 3.1 Get parent to use positive 1 1.5 reinforcement Get the family involved 1 1 .5 Build relationship with parent 1 1.5 Discover parent's expectations 1 1.5 Inform parents about the benefits of 1 1 .5 testing

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60 Table 4.1 1 Continued X XI ^llVl v/l U VI X XXWXXlw Raw Data Theme N % Train parents on helping to develop «?tiident's studv habits at home 1 1.5 Rehavior Modification 12 18.5 Build rapport, give student more attention 6 9.2 Behavior logs 1.5 Behavior strategies 1.5 Anger management wdth counselor 1.5 Place child in leadership role 1.5 Develop behavior contracts 1.5 Other Diagnosis 11 16.9 Recommend retention 2 3.1 TTavp tp^itpfl fciv T xXdW IVOIWJ XV/X M^l^ ^ T problems 2 1 1 ADHD 1 1.5 Pursue SLD 1 1.5 Suggest taking to pediatrician 1 1.5 Pursue Psycho-educational evaluation 1 1.5

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61 Table 4.11 Continued Higher-order Theme Raw Data Theme General Comments Document everything you do I had a child like this, he changed between his second and third grade year and got a lot stronger academically Contact school counselor regardless of behavior so they are aware of the situation Referral process is slow, teacher rarely sees the results while they have the student Soimds like this student will fall between the cracks Student seems to be doing the best they can This should have been taken care of by now! 1 would do the same for and race or SES Only use counselor to communicate with parents

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CHAPTERS DISCUSSION Over the past 50 years in the United States, tremendous efforts have been put forth to establish greater equality of opportunity among people of all races. These efforts, however, are meaningless unless implemented within government and educational institutions and societal values. While considerable research has examined ethnic, socioeconomic, and gender differences vsdthin education, limited research has examined the relationships among these constructs and biases within special education. This is problematic because some people may be misplaced within special education due to their personal characteristics (e.g., race, SES, gender, classroom behavior) rather than their educational deficits; thus they may miss out on opportunities to reach their educational potential. The purpose of this dissertation was to determine what role, if any, the constructs of students' race, gender, SES, and classroom behavior play in the process of teacher referral for special education evaluation. In general, it was found that teachers were not influenced by a student's race, gender, SES, or classroom behavior when making a referral for special education. The aim of this chapter is to: (a) summarize the main findings of the five hypotheses, (b) recognize the study limitations, (c) discuss the practical implications of this dissertation, (d) provide recommendations for future research, and (d) provide a general conclusion. 62

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63 Study Hypotheses Main Findings Five hypotheses were examined in this study, and the following paragraphs will discuss the main study findings. First, consistent with Hypothesis la, a significant difference was found between teachers taking no action (i.e., making no referral) and taking action (i.e., referring for special education, referring to the school counselor, or requesting a formal parent conference). That is, teachers were more likely to take some sort of action compared to taking no action at all. These findings demonstrate that when a student is struggling academically or behaviorally the teacher was active in pursuing an intervention or other source that may help the student. This is important because it highlights that the teachers in this study appear to play an active and caring role with helping their students. Second, contrary to Hypothesis lb, there was a significant difference among the action responses given by the teachers. More specifically, requesting a formal conference with the students' parents was the action most likely to be taken, followed by referring the student to begin the special education process, and referring the student to the school counselor. These findings illustrate that teachers are most likely to get in touch with a student's parents to address his or her classroom-related problems. While teachers may have good intentions with contacting parents, the effectiveness of these communications were not examined. Teachers were also likely to refer the student to begin the special education process which may include a "Child Study Team", "Educational Planning Team", or some other school resource. These teams may develop interventions (e.g., behavior contracts, peer tutoring, classroom proximity) for the teacher and/or parent for

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64 implementation over 6-10 weeks. If the interventions prove to be successful, the teacher and/or parents may continue with their implementation. However, if the interventions do not work, the team may recommend that the student be evaluated by a school psychologist and potentially be placed in a special education program. It is important to understand the positive and negative implications of teachers using this resource for their students. For example, it may be difficult for some teachers to ask for help from these teams because they may be sensitive to the fact that they were not able to help the student on their own. Thus, it is possible that some teachers may avoid using these services, and thus, the child's well-being may suffer. On the other hand, many teachers may be too quick to call upon these teams without putting much effort into creating their own interventions. For example, this may happen if a teacher is looking to have a student removed from his or her classroom. This is problematic because these services are not used appropriately which may lead to other needy students not receiving these services. It is important to note that referring a student with academic or behavioral problems to the school counselor was the least likely action to be taken by the teachers surveyed in this study. One explanation for these findings is that some teachers may have felt that the school counselor was too busy to assist them with their classroom behavior problems. This is logical considering that the average case load for school counselors in the State of Florida for the 2000-01 school year was 438 students, when the recommended caseload by the American School Counselors Association is 250 students (ASCA, 1999; Florida Department of Education, 2001). Another explanation is that the school counselor may be viewed by some teachers as incompetent or improperly trained to help them with their troubled students. For example. Quarto (1999) examined 152

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65 teachers' perceptions of school counselors and he found that teachers had different attitudes towards school counselors based upon their teaching experience. That is, teachers rated school counselors with teaching experience as more effective in their job compared to school counselors without teaching experience. Research has also shown that teachers are more likely to refer to other professionals when they have positive perceptions of that professional (Christenson, Ysseldyke, & Algozzine, 1982). It is also likely that some teachers may not understand the role of the school counselor, and thus, he or she may not think to ask for the coimselor's help with a troubled student. Third, consistent with Hypothesis 2, there were no significant differences in teacher's referrals to the special education process across race, gender, SES, classroom behavior or interactions of these variables. That is, teachers m this study did not exhibit any biases toward students based on these personal characteristics when referring a student for a special education referral. These findings are similar to those of previous researchers' conclusions that a bias does not exist for teachers when referring students to special education (Pemell, 1984; Tobias, Cole, Zibrin, & Bodlakova, 1982). While these findings cannot generalize to the idea that teachers are absent of all biases, they do demonstrate that if these personal biases do exist, they do not appear to affect a teacher's professional view on referring a student for special education. These findings seem to be the results and ideals Lloyd Dunn (1968) was searching for when he wrote "a better education than special class placement is needed for socio-cuIturaJly deprived children (Dunn, 1968, p. 5)." These results reveal that students who come from lower SES backgrounds are no longer being referred more to special education in comparison with their more fortunate peers.

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66 Fourth, consistent with Hypothesis 3, there were no significant differences in teachers' willingness to contact the student's parents for a formal conference across race, gender, SES, classroom behavior or interactions of these variables. More specifically, the personal characteristics of the student did not influence the degree to which the teachers made contact with the student's parents. These findings demonstrate that the teachers in this study appeared to be more concerned about discussing the student's problems with the parents rather than letting their possible personal biases interfere with contacting the parents. Fifth, partial support was found for Hypothesis 4. More specifically, consistent with the hypothesis, there were no significant differences in teacher referrals to the school counselor across gender, race, or SES. Similar to Hypotheses #2 and #3, these findings demonstrate that the teachers in this study appear to be fairly objective across the personal characteristics of their students; thus, not letting these factors influence their professional conduct. However, in contrast to the hypothesis, a significant difference was foimd regarding a teacher's likelihood of referring a student to the school counselor based upon classroom behavior. When a student was having both classroom behavior and academic problems, a teacher was more likely to make a referral to the school coimselor than when a student exhibited only academic problems. This fmding suggests that teachers view counselors as relating more to personal/behavioral problems than to academic/learning problems. This may be problematic in that students without classroom behavior problems may have unrecognized personal or social problems that are affecting their academics. In such cases, referral to the school counselor may be beneficial for students because the counselor may be able to assist with unapparent personal and social

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67 issues. While teachers cannot possibly be aware of every problem that students may have (e.g., academic, classroom behavior, social, personal), interacting with the school counselor on a more regular basis may help some teachers identify possible issues and rely on the school counselor for consultation. Also in contrast to the Hypothesis, a significant gender x race x behavior interaction was foxmd. Examination of the mean scores revealed that Caucasian girls who acted out were most likely to be referred to the school counselor and that Caucasian girls who did not act out were least likely to be referred to the school counselor. These findings illustrate that the teachers in this study (i.e., 84% Caucasian) who have a Caucasian girl with a behavior problem may feel that this is out of character, and thus, may require the assistance of the school counselor. These results also suggest that the Western culture stereotype of a Caucasian schoolgirl being well-behaved and "made of sugar and spice and everything nice" may be a belief held by the teachers in this study (Grossman, 1991). That is, common perceptions profile Caucasian school girls as ideal students in the classroom. The Western culture perspective of Caucasian schoolchildren may also contribute to the findings that acting out Caucasian boys were least likely to be referred to the school counselor. Teachers may expect these behaviors and assume that "boys will be boys" (Kelly, Bullock, & Dykes, 1977). That is, misbehaving or acting out are characteristics of boys that are thought to be natural. Results fi-om this study show that girls were most likely to be referred to the school counselor, whether acting out or not acting out. From this study it seems that teacher's believe girls can benefit fi-om or are more appropriate to refer to the school counselor. These beliefs may be supported by the following tfieoretical foundations. First,

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68 teacher's beliefs about the school girls and boys may be attributed to Social Learning Theory. The perception and expectations of school girls and boys are different based upon what teachers have learned from parents, peers, media, and personal experience. These experiences have an impact in the way they shape beliefs about others before they have ever had a personal experience with that student. Second, attribution theory states that people attribute behaviors of others as internal (within that person's control) or external (outside that person's control) (Winkler and Taylor, 1979). Previous research has shown (Jackson, 2001), that it is easier for teachers to associate students who are different than they are as having problems that are internally controllable. That is, those who are not the same race, gender, or SES have intemal control over their own problems in comparison with those who may have similar traits who can't control their problems. In this study, 90% of the participants were female. These teachers may have felt it was more appropriate for females (same gender) to see the school counselor then males (different gender) because the females couldn't control what was happening to them and the males could. Attributing problems as externally controllable may be a natiiral reaction to protect those with whom we have similarities. This would explain why out of all students with academic and behavior problems, Caucasian teachers (80% of sample) were most likely to seek help for the Caucasian females from the school counselor. Finally, consistent with Hypothesis 5 no significant differences were found in teachers' choice to make no referral and take no action across race, gender, and SES. However, in contrast to the hypothesis, students who acted out were more likely to have their teacher take some action in comparison with students who did not act out. These findings demonstrate that a student with a behavior and academic problem is more likely

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69 to receive assistance then a student who is only struggling academically. Frequently, students with academic problems but no behavior problems are referred to those who "fall between the cracks." They do not attract enough attention to be evaluated for psycho-educational evaluation because many more students have compound problems and are looked upon as higher priority, thus placing the needs of these students on the "back burner." It is important to note that, while not directly related to the study's hypotheses, relevant information was obtained from the teacher comments. Examples of the comments by participants included recommendations of other interventions to be attempted with the student and the parents, personal experiences they had with students like the one portrayed in their vignette, and suggestions of other possible diagnoses. It is important to understand the depth of information that can be acquired through qualitative methodologies and to understand that future qualitative research may assist with better understanding teachers' perspectives during the referral process. Qualitative research methods may help to broaden teachers' perspectives in regard to the special education process, effectiveness and role of the school coimselor and their thoughts and feelings when contacting parents to notify them of a problem. The framework of this dissertation was based upon a study done by James Lanier in 1975. Results from Lanier's study demonstrated that: (a) teachers were more likely to refer AfricanAmerican students in comparison v^ath Caucasian students to an educable mentally retarded program, (b) teachers were more likely to contact parents of Caucasian students who didn't act out, (c) students who acted out are more likely to be referred to the school counselor, (d) teachers felt that some action needed to be taken for all students.

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70 Similar to Lanier's results, teacher's felt that some action needed to be taken and that acting out students were more likely to be referred to the school counselor. Lanier's results vary from this study in that teachers had no biases towards race, gender, SES, or classroom behavior when referring a student for special education or contacting a parent. It should be considered that his study was conducted 28 years ago, at a time when integration and Civil Rights were controversial issues across this coimtry. Study Limitations First, because of the difficulty with recruiting teachers to participate in this study, a controlled environment was not employed. Becavise the teachers completed the surveys in a non-laboratory setting, the impact of extraneous factors (e.g., other teachers' comments) on the teachers' responses could not be determined. Second, the teachers in this study were recruited from school districts in North-Central Florida. In addition, most of the teachers were Caucasian females. Thus, there is limited generalizability of the study findings to elementary school teachers in other parts of the country, teachers of other ethnicities, and male teachers. Future research is needed to examine the study hypotheses with a more representative sample of teachers across the United States before general conclusions can be made. Third, while an attempt was made to obtain a representative sample of teachers across North-Central Florida, teachers' perceptions of the referral process, school counselors, and parents were not examined due to participant burden (i.e., the self-report questionnaire was kept as short as possible to examine only the study purposes and to increase the response rate). Fourth, the teachers' responses were obtained with self-report measures, and there is an inherent bias in people's self-report because of socially desirable responses (Constantine & Ladany,

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71 2000). Finally, the response rate of this study was 58%. While this is acceptable considering the difficulty with recruiting teachers as study participants, future research should employ additional methods (e.g., postcard reminder 1 week after the survey was delivered; a second questionnaire delivered 2 weeks later) to increase the response rate. Practical Implications One of the school counselor's many roles is to be a "student advocate who works cooperatively with other individuals and organizations to promote the academic, career, and personal/social development of children and youth" (ASCA, 1999). As a student advocate, the professional school counselor needs to be aware of any process that may undermine equal opportunity for any student. The purpose of this study was to determine whether or not teachers had biases that were affecting their professional duties and the educational development of students. This is especially important when examining the field of special education and the disproportionate enrollment of minorities in special education programs. The results of this study demonstrated that teachers surveyed did not have bias towards a student's gender, race, SES, or classroom behavior when referring a student to begin the special education process or contacting the student's parent's to request a formal conference. The results of this study did identify that the teachers surveyed held biases across students' race, gender, and behavior types when making a referral to the school counselor. The implications of this study can be used to address referral issues from the elementary school through higher education, and the study fmdings are applicable to all who have an interest in the field of education. The findings of this study are consistent

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72 with a belief that diversity and multicultural education awareness programs are having an effect on educators' attitudes. The findings in this study also highlight that these training programs shall continue to be developed in future educator training programs and continuing education for practitioners. This is a continual process as our society continues to strive for equality. The results of this study highlight the need for educators to be aware of biases and stereotypes they may have regarding behavior in the classroom. Educators should also be conscious of preconceived notions they may have of students' behavior based upon their gender, race or SES. When observing student behaviors educators should attempt to put that behavior within the framework of the student's culture and avoid standardizing all behavior upon what they may consider to be the "social norm." It is important to imderstand that what may be normal behavior in one culture is far different fi-om normal in another, and because that culture may be different it should not be associated with being inferior. This can be essential to educators who work with students in primary schools and may help them to take more time getting acclimated to the boimdaries and structures that exist within the school culture (which may be very different from the culture in which they have spent most of their development). Future Research Despite the growth and advancement in education over the past 30 years, many questions remain regarding how to achieve equality for all students. While this finding of this dissertation revealed that in general teachers did not have biases towards race, gender, socioeconomic status, and classroom behavior, several areas of fiirther research are worthy of discussion. Specifically, the following section will highlight areas of future

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73 research within the following categories: (a) special education process, (b) teacher's communication with parents, (c) perceptions of school counselors, and (d) the norming of student behavior. Special Education Process Research is needed examining teachers' beliefs (e.g., positives and negatives) about referring students to special education as well as their willingness to use resources such as a Qiild Study Team. Studies should examine if teachers' perceptions of the prereferral process, and whether or not they are using it effectively. For example, some teachers might see the pre-referral process as a means to get a student they clash with out of their classroom, and others may not use it at all because they feel it is too much work on their part. Results of this study indicated that teachers do not have biases when referring students to begin the special education process, and thus, more research is needed to examine other reasons (e.g., learning styles, parental educational support, and environmental factors) that minorities continue to be overrepresented in special education programs. Future research should examine the national norms of students being referred for special education placement by gender, race, behavior, and SES and how they compare with specific school districts. This would be helpful for schools to identify if they are an atypical or typical school. It would also be beneficial to determine if there has been any impact on schools, teachers, and districts that have participated in diversity training in regard to the type of students being referred for special education

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74 Teacher's Communication with Parents Future research is also needed examining teachers' communications with parents. More specifically, because communications between teachers and parents are many times related to a negative report about their child, it is important to examine how parents react to teachers contacting them about their child's school-related problems. For example, would parents be more receptive to the negative reports if the teacher also contacted the parent when something positive occurred? Also, studies are needed examining how teachers feel about contacting a student's parents before conclusions can be made regarding how, if at all, their personal biases influence their actual conversations with a student's parents. Perceptions of the School Counselor Examination of how teachers feel about school counselors' competency, knowledge, and ability to assist them and their students is an important topic that may influence the referral process. Based on the findings of this dissertation, research is needed examining why contacting the school counselor may be the least likely action taken by teachers in this study. Research should also examine the perspectives of people enrolled in teacher education programs regarding the school counselor and his or her role in the school setting. Also, it is important to examine how these training programs address the collaboration and consultation process with the school counselor. For example, how might the perceptions of the school counselor differ between a teacher education program that integrates the school counselor into some part of the curriculum and one that does not? More research is warranted examining these issues. Furthermore, more research is needed to examme the extent to which teachers can identify less obvious

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75 student issues (e.g., loss of a loved one, peer conflict) and changes in behavior (loss of affect, isolating oneself) to determine if teachers would benefit from more regular consultation and/or collaboration with the school counselor. Finally, research is warranted to examine what competencies counselors should have to best serve the students. Do teachers, administrators, and counselor educators believe school counselors should be behavioral experts as well proficient in curriculum and academic adaptation? Would this be a realistic application in the school setting? Norming of Student Behavior Due to the methodological and conceptual difficulties vntii defining classroom behaviors, future research is needed examining the operational definitions for "acting out" and "behavior problem". One may characterize these behaviors as those outside the norm. However, the normative behavior has historically been defined by white middleupper class America. As the diversity of our society continues to grow, consideration must be given to justify why students are viewed as having behavior problems. For example, are students disciplined more often or being referred to special education due to the fact they are not acting like a normal child? Examination of the perception of norm behavior and theories (i.e. social learning theory, attribution theory) that may guide its development are warranted. These theories should also be examined in examining teacher's academic and behavioral perceptions and expectations of students and how they may impact teacher's actions. Finally, due to the impact of cultural sensitivity within education, research is needed examining diversity and multicultural training addressing a variety of students' behaviors in the classroom to possibly "redefine" what is normative behavior across different cultures and ethnicities types is warranted.

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76 Summary The piupose of this study was to examine whether or not teachers' had biases when referring students to the special education selection process. The results of this study have demonstrated a few main points. First, from examining the results of this study in comparison with similar studies conducted years ago it is evident that the perceptions and beliefs teachers have towards diversity have changed. Second, this study demonstrated that teachers would rather pursue other options for their students before referring the student to see the school counselor. Third, teachers are not willing to sit by and allow one of their students to struggle without taking some sort of action. Future research is needed to examine the factors that contribute to the disproportionate number of minorities in special education, the perceptions and competencies of school coimselors, and how student behaviors are normed.

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APPENDIX A Percentage of Students Ages 6 to 21 Served Under the Individxials with Disabilities Act ODEA) in the 2000-2001 School Year Table A.l Percentage of Students Served by Disability and Ethnicity in the United States American Indian/ Black White Alaska Asian/Pacific (non(nonF)i^V>i1itv TclanHpr L X10L7CUJUV 1 opeciiic i^eamuig 1 A 1 1.0 18/1 10.0 oz. i Disabilities Speech/Language 12 2.4 16.1 12.7 67.6 Impairments Mental Retardation 1.1 1.8 34.2 9.1 53.8 Emotional 1.1 1.8 34.2 9.1 53.8 Disturbance Multiple 1.5 2.3 20.0 11.5 64.8 Disabilities Hearing 1.3 4.6 16.4 17.9 59.8 Impairments Orthopedic 0.8 3.0 14.7 14.8 66.8 Impairments Other Health 1.1 1.4 14.9 8.0 74.7 Impairments Visual Impairments 1.1 3.5 18.6 14.0 62.9 Autism 0.7 4.8 20.5 9.2 64.9 Deaf-Blindness 2.0 7.5 24.7 11.2 54.6 Traimiatic Brain 1.6 2.4 16.9 10.5 68.5 Injury 77

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78 Table A. 1 Continued Disability American Indian/ Alaska Native Asian/Pacific Islander Black (nonHispanic) Hispanic White (nonHispanic) Developmental Delay 0.9 0.8 30.5 4.1 63.7 All Disabilities 13 1.8 20.3 13.7 62.9 Resident Population 1.0 3.8 14.5 16.2 64.5

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Percentage of Students Served by Disability and Ethnicity in the State of Florida Table A.2 Exceptional Education Program White Non-Hispanic Non-Hispanic Hispanic Emotionally Handicapped 50.8 38.3 9.4 Severely Emotionally Disturbed 44.8 41.3 12.3 Specific Learning Disabled 56.3 24.7 12.3 Educable Mentally Handicapped 33.0 54.0 11.8 Speech Impaired 68.9 17.9 10.1 Deafillard of Hearing 50.2 25.5 21.5 Traumatic Brain Injury 54.2 28.0 15.4 Orthopedically Impaired 60.7 21.0 16.1 School Population 52.5 24.8 19.0

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APPENDIX B REFERRAL PROCESSES IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS BY SCHOOL DISTRICT, YEAR, AND REFERRAL PROCEDURES

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to T3 a> o 2 Oh 13 fc! 0^ C O 3 CO a> S c o 3 ^ c g-a §^1 c2.2c3| OS -OH S " « s c CO o W O li S « °' j-'S O 4> « c a. 5/J o o .SU E S ^ o « n— o w c s w — '-s2 ^ life IJJJ ecu oP^ E^^ S o o o 2 , . — S3 c-^ «^ « 3 312 S-o.-S > sj C.5 « « 5 o g S ^pjo S ^ « i 2 S-5>5 8 42 _ HH a. t> C4 O O o (N PQ (1> o 2 Oh 13 o o 81

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82 •3 „ . C— • ^< §.2 « 6 8^ t_ t) « c 3 g Mia Q c 3^ His o . S 0* aj ^ O Me {3 3 O O l-< 'Si CO o s S Q 2 I o o JO a CO CO w u c c o O > I o 4> O s I I Q. c o & o. > Q bO 4> H w H (30 c «> i S t H CO O •O 3 s T3 4> to tS |i
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84 0> o cn i— CO 4> s of •T3 O s E S S 03 •0 -o S 60 ^ E §2 > D. If E "a "2 '3) .s a o J2 4> 00 60 3 lU '3 2 (1> C o *-*-» c u & o 9 <« ex's 2 S.So t> * o c o-g « <2 Sort ^ > o. §•§ Q D. E o CO o c 4> o 3 O CO 5 t O 4> *« « Sr > * "So ^ ^ CO 1 6 i2 « c o o r: o c o " S CO ^ ' — J)'^ 60 CO .S §1 CO 2 ti Q. ^ CO C o rt 'o -73 C C — — —1 +-» fli C *-* CO ^» o S 9> ^ -3 t> S 3 -2 H 3 to E E.2 S J* O ?Q " W c2J c 4> U w CO .a S g-S fc ^ C S-5 S o2 E 2^ p. 2 9>xii3^" c „ ij — CO CO ^ Si Cc^ O «9> C " > § 600 o.S c Q. S: o •-' ^ cj J*; ^ -«OCk3oS-s:S' 03 '*> — C o ta-O 3 ^ s «^ 5 P « c-5 3 w.s § S g CO » o to ?> « CO C (3 c E t3 CO [Tj 8 o.S » CO --J c CO o S3 3 a 2 o — E CO fl> *3 O ,p « to o o > Ego (O O . is T3 a, «i4>w Hco O." V O 4> S-o ^ a S " s fjs > b C U C A « ^ CO « 5j O » >.-^ s Pre"" 3 2 to o o CO ^ 3 0 C « 3 c § § 3 v 4> 9 (O T3 60 .2 o c ^ O t) « o o

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85

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T3-.1 C o u CQ (i> i o l-H •a fc:

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APPENDIX C IRB APPROVAL OF PROTOCOL UNIVERSITY OF ^FLORIDA lastitutioasl Review Board 9SA Psychology BIdg. POBox 112230 GaioovUk.n. 3261 1 -22 JO Phone: (352)392-0433 Fm; {352)392-9234 E-Diail: nti2@ifl.aiii ht4i://rgp.uO.c
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APPENDIX D INFORMED CONSENT

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Department of Counselor Education PO Box 12345 University of Florida Gainesville, FL 32600-0000 Dear Educator: I am a doctoral student at the University of Florida. As part of my degree requirements I am conducting a survey, the purpose of which is to learn about how educators feel about: a) referring a student to the school counselor, b) referring students to begin the special education process, and c) making contact with the student's parent. I am asking you to participate in this survey because you have experience as a teacher in an elementary school setting. If you agree to participate, you will be asked to read one student profile and answer four questions taking no longer than four minutes total. The student profile and questions are enclosed with this letter. You will not have to answer any question you do not wish to answer. Your identity will be kept confidential to the extent provided by law and yoxa identity will not be revealed in the final manuscript. There are no anticipated risks, compensation or other direct benefits to you as a participant in this study. You are free to withdraw your consent to participate and may discontinue your participation in the interview at any time without consequence. If you have any questions about this research protocol, please contact me at (814) 8617835 or my faculty supervisor. Dr. James Pitts, at (352) 392-0731 . Questions or concerns about your rights as a research participant rights may be directed to the UFIRB office. University of Florida, Box 1 12250, Gainesville, FL 3261 1; ph (352) 392-0433. Please sign and return this copy of the letter in the enclosed envelope. A second copy is provided for yoiurecords. By signing this letter, you give me permission to report your responses anonymously in the final manuscript to be submitted to my faculty supervisor as part of my degree work. Thank you for your time, Jon M. Downs I have read the procedure described above. I voluntarily agree to participate in the study and I have received a copy of this description. Signature of participant Date 89

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Dear Teacher: APPENDIX E TEACHER INSTRUCTIONS Your willingness to participate in this study is greatly appreciated. Once again, this survey is 100% confidential. On the next page is an anonymous student profile along with four statements. For the purpose of this study 1 would like for you to assume that the student described in the profile is in your class. Please read the student profile and corresponding questions carefully. When responding to the statements, remember that a (1) on the rating indicates an action you are not likely to take and a (5) indicates an action you are very likely to take. Treat each question individually. With this study I hope to strengthen the school coimseling profession and the manner in which school counselors work with classroom teachers. It is important that you answer each of the four items. Please do not leave any items blank. Also, please feel fi^ to add any information or suggestions regarding your decision process. Your assistance is appreciated, and without teachers like you willing to participate in research of this nature, my study could not be completed. Thank you once again for your cooperation. " . ' Sincerely, Jon M. Downs University of Florida Doctoral Student 90

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APPENDIX F DEMOGRAPHIC INFORMATION Part A Instructions. Please circle or write in your answer for the following questions. 1) Age: 2) Race: African-American Asian Caucasian Hispanic Other 3) Gender: Male Female 4) Years of Teaching Experience: 5) Grade Currently Teaching: Part B Instructions. On the other side of this form you will find a student profile. Assume that this is a student in your classroom. Read the profile and then respond to the four statements. Once again, thank you for your time. 91

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APPENDIX G STUDENT PROFILES

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Student Profile #1 Name: Kyle Kauf&nan Brief Intelligence Test IQ score: 8 1 Race: Caucasian Age: 8 years old Sex: Male Grade: 2"" This student's cumulative folder indicates that he has been experiencing difficulties academically and behaviorally in school since kindergarten. He constantly interferes with the activities of other children in your class and refuses to follow classroom routines. During classroom and individual instruction, he continues to struggle with basic concepts in reading and mathematics and is functioning below grade level in these core areas. As the teacher you have tried several behavioral and academic interventions, none of which seemed to work. This student is the youngest of six children. His femily is poor, and does the best they can for their children. The mother works as a machine attendant in the local factory and the father is the street-sweeper operatw for the town. The family has one car, and the mother takes the bus to woric. The yard of the house is occupied by a brokoi down car, and an old refrigerator. He has not missed a day of school in two years and is always punctual. The more time that is spent on academics, the more he seems to act out He will make sarcastic remarks in class that have become almost predictable. He has trouble respecting the other students in your class and is very aggressive towards them. Because of this, the other students are afraid to play with him. His first grade teacher recommended that he repeat the first grade, but his parents rejected and fought this recommendation, causing the building principal to promote him to second grade. Based on the profile that you have just read and the information provided, carefully examine each of the statements listed below. Assume you are the child's teacher. Circle the number which best indicates the likelihood of you making use of each of the following statements, with the number one (1) being not likely and the number (5) being very likely. Do this for each of the four statements below. It is important that you freat each statement individually, and respond to each statement. Please feel free to add additional suggestions or comments regarding your decision process. 1 . Refer the student to the school counselor for individual or group counseling to focus on the child's academic and/or classroom behaviw. 2. Make no referral, allow the student to continue as is. 3. Refer the student to the "Child Study Team" or other ap{Mx>priate school personnel to begin the process for evaluation by a school psychologist to determine possible special education placement. 4. Request a formal conference with the parents to 1 2 3 4 5 discuss the student's academic and/or classroom behavior. 5. Other suggestions/conunents: Not . ' ''r . V ] ;. Very Likely ' ' Likely 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 93

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student Profile #2 Name: Kyle Kaulfinan Brief Intelligence Test IQ score: 81 Race: Caucasian Age: 8 years old Sex: Male Grade: 2"* This student's cumulative folder indicates that he has beai experiencing academic difficulties since kindergarten. This student is a friendly child who is very willing to be an active member of the classroom. During classroom and individual instruction, he continues to struggle with basic concepts in reading and mathematics and is functioning below grade level in these core areas. As the teacher you have tried several academic interventions, none of which seemed to work. This student is the yoimgest of six children. His family is poor, and does the best they can for their children. The mother works as a machine attendant in the local factory and the father is the street-sweeper operator for the town. The family has one car, and the mother takes the bus to woric. The yard of the house is occupied by a broken down car, and an old refrigerator. He is a model student on a behavioral level, hasn't missed a day of school in two years, and is always punctual. However, the more time that is spent on academia, the more he seems to drift off. He plays nicely with the other students and is well liked. His first grade teacher reconunended that he repeat the first grade, but his parents rejected and fought this recommendation, causing the building principal to promote him to second grade. Based on the profile that you have just read and the information provided, carefully examine each of the statements listed below. Assume you are the child's teacher. Circle the number which best indicates the likelihood of you making use of each of the following statements, with the number one (1 ) being not likely and the number (5) being very likely. Do this for each of the four statements below. It is important that you treat each statement individually, and respond to each statement Please feel fi^e to add additional suggestions or comments regarding your decision process. Not Very Likely Likely 1 . Make no referral, allow the student to continue as is. 1 2 3 4 5 2. Refer the student to the "Child Study Team" or other 1 2 3 4 5 appropriate school personnel to begin the process for evaluation by a school psychologist to determine possible special education placement. 3. Request a formal conference with the parents to discuss the 1 2 3 4 5 student's academic difficulties. 4. Refer the student to the school counselor for individual 1 2 3 4 5 or group counseling to focus on the child's academic and/or classroom behavior. 5. Other suggestions/comments: 94

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Student Profile #3 Name: Kyle Kauffinan Brief Intelligence Test IQ score: 81 Race: Caucasian Age: 8 years old Sex: Male Grade: 2"* This student's cumulative folder indicates that he has been experiencing academic difficulties since kindergarten. This student is a friendly child who is very willing to be an active member of the classroom. During classroom and individual instruction, he continues to struggle with basic concepts in reading and mathematics and is functioning below grade level in these core areas. As the teachCT you have tried several academic interventions, none of which seemed to work. This student is the youngest of three children. His father is a pharmacist in town and his mother is an accountant. Their house has five bedrooms and is surrounded by 25 acres of land. Both parents drive expensive cars and are prominent in the community. He is a model student on a behavioral level, hasn't missed a day of school in two years, and is always punctual. However, the more time that is spent on academia, the more he seems to drift off. He plays nicely with the other students and is well liked. His first grade teacher recommended that he repeat the first grade, but his parents rejected and fought this recommendation, causing the building principal to promote him to second grade. Based on the profile that you have just read and the information provided, carefully examine each of the statements listed below. Assume you are the child's teacher. Circle the number which best indicates the likelihood of you making use of each of the following statements, with the number one (1) being not likely and the number (5) being very likely. Do this for each of the four statements below. It is important that you treat each statement individually, and respond to each statement. Please feel fiw to add additional suggestions or comments regarding your decision process. Not Very Likely Likely 1. Refer the student to the "Child Study Team" or other 1 2 3 4 5 appropriate school personnel to begin the process for evaluation by a school psychologist to determine possible special education placement. 2. Request a formal conference with the parents to discuss the 1 2 3 4 5 student's academic difficulties. 3. Refer the student to the school counselor for individual 1 2 3 4 5 or group counseling to focus on the child's academic and/or classroom behavior. 4. Make no referral, allow the student to continue as is. 1 2 3 4 5 5. Other suggestions/comments: 95

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Student Profile #4 Name: Kyle Kauffinan Brief Intelligence Test IQ score: 81 Race: Caucasian Age: 8 years old Sex: Male Grade: 2"* This student's cumulative folder indicates that he has been experiencing difficulties academically and behaviorally in school since kindergarten. He constantly interferes with the activities of other children in your class and refuses to follow classroom routines. During classroom and individual instruction, he continues to struggle with basic concepts in reading and mathematics and is functioning below grade level in these core areas. As the teacher you have tried several behavioral and academic interventions, none of which seemed to work. This student is the youngest of diree children. His father is a pharmacist in town and his mothor is an accomitant Their house has five bedrooms and is surrounded by 25 acres of land. Both parents drive expensive cars and are prominent in the community. He has not missed a day of school in two years and is always pimctual. The more time that is spent on academics, the more he seems to act out. He will make sarcastic remarics in class that have become almost predictable. He has trouble respecting the other students in your class and is very aggressive towards them. Because of this, the other students are afi:aid to play with him. His first grade teacher reconmiended that he repeat the first grade, but his parents rejected and fought this recommendation, causing the building principal to promote him to second grade. Based on the profile that you have just read and the information provided, carefully examine each of the statements listed below. Assimie you are the child's teacher. Circle the number which best indicates the likelihood of you making use of each of the following statements, with the number one (1) being not likely and the number (S) being very likely. £>o this for each of the four statements below. It is important that you treat each statement individually, and respond to each statement. Please feel fi^e to add additional suggestions or comments regarding your decision process. Not Very Likely Likely 1. Request a formal conference with the parents to discuss the 1 2 3 4 5 student's academic and/or classroom behavior. 2. Refer the student to the school counselor for individual 1 2 3 4 5 or group counseling to focus on the child's academic and/or classroom behavior. 3. Make no referral, allow the student to continue as is. 1 2 3 4 5 4. Refer the student to the "Child Study Team" or other 1 2 3 4 5 appropriate school persoimel to begin the process for evaluation by a school psychologist to determine possible special education placement. 5. Other suggestions/comments: 96

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Student Profile #5 Name: Jalen Kauffinan Brief Intelligence Test IQ score: 8 1 Race: African American Age: 8 years old Sex: Male Grade: 2"* This student's cumulative folder indicates that he has been experiencing difficulties academically and behavi(»ally in school since kindergarten. He constantly interferes with the activities of other children in your class and refuses to follow classroom routines. During classroom and individual instruction, he continues to struggle with basic concepts in reading and mathematics and is functioning below grade level in these core areas. As the teacher you have tried several behavioral and academic interventions, none of \^iiich seemed to work. This student is the youngest of six children. His family is poor, and does the best they can for their children. The mother works as a machine attendant in the local factory and the father is the street-sweeper operatw for the town. The family has one car, and the mother takes the bus to work. The yard of the house is occupied by a broken down car, and an old refrigaBtcw. He has not missed a day of school in two years and is always punctual. The more time that is spent on academics, the more he seems to act out He will make sarcastic remarks in class that have bec(Hne almost predictable. He has trouble respecting the other students in your class and is very aggressive towards them. Because of this, the other students are afraid to play with him. His first grade teacher recommended that he repeat the first grade, but his parents rejected and fought this recommendation, causing the building principal to promote him to second grade. Based on the profile that you have just read and the information provided, carefully examine each of the statements listed below. Assimie you are the child's teacher. Circle the number which best indicates the likelihood of you making use of each of the following statements, with the number one (1) being not likely and the number (5) being very likely. Do this for each of the four statements below. It is important that you treat each statement individually, and respond to each statement. Please feel free to add additional suggestions or comments regarding your decision process. 1 . Refer the student to the school coimselor for individual or group counseling to focus on the child's academic and/or classroom behavior. 2. Make no referral, allow the student to continue as is. 3. Refer the student to the "Child Study Team" or other appropriate school personnel to begin the process for evaluation by a school psychologist to determine possible special education placement. 4. Request a formal conference with the parents to discuss the 1 2 3 4 5 student's academic and/or classroom behavior. 5. Other suggestions/comments: Not Very Likely Likely 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 97

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student Profile #6 Name: Jalen Kauffinan Brief Intelligence Test IQ score: 8 1 Race: African American Age: 8 years old Sex: Male Grade: 2°^ This student's cumulative folder indicates that he has been experiencing academic difficulties since kindergarten. This student is a friendly child who is very willing to be an active membCT of the classroom. I>uring classroom and individual instruction, he continues to struggle with basic concepts in reading and mathematics and is functioning below grade level in these core areas. As the teacher you have tried several academic interventions, none of which seemed to woric. This student is the youngest of six children. His femily is poor, and does the best they can for their childiai. The mother works as a machine attendant in the local factory and the father is the street-sweeper opemtor for the town. The femily has one car, and the mother takes the bus to work. The yard of tfie house is occupied by a broken down car, and an old refrigerator. He is a model student on a behavioral level, hasn't missed a day of school in two years, and is always pimctual. However, the more time that is spent on academia, the more he seems to drift off. He plays nicely with the other students and is well liked. His first grade teacher recommended that he repeat the fu^ grade, but his parents rejected and fought this recommendation, causing the building fnincipal to promote him to second grade. Based on the profile that you have just read and the information provided, carefiilly examine each of the statements listed below. Assimie you are the child's teacher. Circle the number which best indicates the likelihood of you making use of each of the following statements, with the number one (1) being not likely and the number (5) being very likely. Do this for each of the four statements below. It is unportant that you treat each statement individually, and respond to each statement. Please feel free to add additional suggestions or comments regarding your decision process. Not Very • ,/ X' ; : . ./ Likely • .' Likely 1. Make no referral, allow the student to continue as is. < -1,2 3 4 5 2. Refer the student to the "Child Study Team" or other 1 2 3 4 5 appropriate school persoimel to begin the process for .' . . ' : evaluation by a school psychologist to determine possible special education placement. 3. Request a formal conference with the parents to discuss the 1 2 3 4 5 student's academic difficulties. 4. Refer the student to the school counselor for individual 1 2 3 4 5 or group counseling to focus on the child's academic and/or classroom behavior. 5. Other suggestions/comments: 98

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Student Profile #7 Name: Jalen Kauffinan Brief Intelligence Test IQ score: 8 1 Race: African American Age: 8 years old Sex: Male Grade: 2"* This student's cumulative folder indicates that he has been experiencing academic difficulties since kindergarten. This student is a fiiendly child who is very willing to be an active member of the classroom. During classroom and individiial instruction, he continues to struggle with basic concepts in reading and mathematics and is fimctioning below grade level in these core areas. As the teacher you have tried several academic interventions, none of which seemed to work. This student is the youngest of three children. His fathois a pharmacist in town and his mother is an accountant Their house has five bedrooms and is surrounded by 25 acres of land. Both parents drive expensive cars and are prominent in the conamunity. He is a model student on a behavioral level, hasn't missed a day of school in two years, and is always punctual. However, the more time that is spent on academia, the more he seems to drift off. He plays nicely with the other students and is well liked. His first grade teacher recommended that he repeat the first grade, but his parents rejected and fought this recommendation, causing the building principal to promote him to second grade. Based on the profile that you have just read and the information provided, carefiilly examine each of the statements listed below. Assume you are the child's teacher. Circle the number which best indicates the likelihood of you making use of each of the following statements, with the number one (1) being not likely and the number (5) being very likely. Do this for each of the four statements below. It is important that you treat each statement individually, and respond to each statement. Please feel fi^e to add additional suggestions or comments regarding your decision process. Not Very Likely Likely 1. Refer the student to the "Child Study Team" or other 1 2 3 4 5 appropriate school personnel to begin the process for evaluation by a school psychologist to determine possible special education placement. 2. Request a formal conference with the parents to discuss the 1 2 3 4 5 student's academic difBculties. 3. Refer the student to the school counselor for individual 12 3 4 5 or group counseluig to focus on the child's academic and/or classroom behavior. 4. Make no referral, allow the student to continue as is. 1 2 3 4 5 5. Other suggestions/comments: 99

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Student Profile #8 Name: Jalen Kauffinan Brief Intelligence Test IQ score: 8 1 Race: African American Age: 8 years old Sex: Male Grade: 2"* This student's cumulative folder indicates diat he has been experiencing difficulties academically and behaviorally in school since kindergarten. He constantly interferes with the activities of other children in your class and refuses to follow classroom routines. Ehning classroom and individual instruction, he continues to struggle with basic concepts in reading and mathematics and is fimctioning below grade level in these core areas. As the teacher you have tried several behavioral and academic interventicHis, none of which seemed to work. This student is the youngest of three children. His fether is a pharmacist in town and his mother is an accountant Their bouse has five bedrooms and is surrounded by 25 acres of land. Both parents drive expensive cars and are prominent in the community. He has not missed a day of school in two years and is always punctual. The more time that is spent on academics, the more he seems to act out. He will make sarcastic remarks in class that have become ahnost predictable. He has trouble respecting the other students in your class and is very aggressive towards them. Because of this, the other students are afiaid to play with him. His first grade teacher recommended that he repeat the first grade, but his parents rejected and fought this recommendation, causing the building principal to promote him to second grade. Based on the profile that you have just read and the information provided, carefiilly examine each of the statements listed below. Assume you are the child's teacher. Circle the number which best indicates the likelihood of you making use of each of the following statements, with the number one (1) being not likely and the number (5) being very likely. Do this for each of the four statements below. It is important that you treat each statement individually, and respond to each statement. Please feel Srce to add additional suggestions or comments regarding your decision process. Not Very Likely Likely 1. Request a formal conference with the parents to discuss the 1 2 3 4 5 student's academic and/or classroom behavior. 2. Refer the student to the school counselor for individual 1 2 3 4 5 or group coimseling to focus on the child's academic and/or classroom behavior. 3. Make no referral, allow the student to continue as is. 1 2 3 4 5 4. Refer the student to the "Child Study Team" or other 1 2 3 4 5 api»'opriate school personnel to begin the process for evaluation by a school psychologist to determine possible special education placement. 5. Other suggestions/comments: 100

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Student Profile #9 Name: Hannah Kauffinan Brief Intelligence Test IQ score: 81 Race: Caucasian Age: 8 years old Sex: Female Grade: 2"^ This student's cumulative folder indicates that she has been experiencing diflBculties academically and behaviorally in school since kindergarten. She constantly interferes with the activities of other children in your class and refuses to follow classroom routines. During classroom and individual instructicm, she continues to struggle with basic concepts in reading and mathematics and is functioning below grade level in these core areas. As the teacher you have tried several behavioral and academic interventions, none of which seemed to work. This student is the youngest of six children. Her family is poor, and does the best they can for their children. The mother works as a machine attendant in the local fectory and the father is the street-sweeper operator for the town. The family has one car, and the mother takes the bus to work. The yard of the house is occupied by a broken down car, and an old refrigerator. She has not missed a day of school in two years and is always punctual. The more time that is spent on academics, the more she seems to act out She will make sarcastic remarks in class that have become almost predictable. She has trouble respecting the other students in your class and is very aggressive towards them. Because of this, the other students are afraid to play with her. Her first grade teacher recommended that she repeat the first grade, but her parents rejected and fought this recommendation, causing the building principal to fH°omote her to second grade. Based on the profile that you have just read and the information provided, carefiilly examine each of the statements listed below. Assume you are the child's teacher. Circle the number which best indicates the likelihood of you making use of each of the following statements, with the number one (1) being not likely and the number (5) being very likely. Do this for each of the four statements below. It is important that you treat each statement individually, and respond to each statement Please fee! free to add additional suggestions or comments regarding your decision process. 1. Refer the student to the school counselor for individual or group counseling to focus on the child's academic and/or classroom behavior. 2. Make no referral, allow the student to continue as is. 3. Refer the student to the "Child Study Team" or other appropriate school personnel to begin the process for evaluation by a school psychologist to determine possible special education placement. 4. Request a formal conference with the parents to discuss the 1 2 3 4 5 student's academic and/or classroom behavior. 5. Other suggestions/comments: Not Very Likely Likely 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 101

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Student Profile #10 Name: Hannah Kauffinan Brief Intelligence Test IQ score: 8 1 Race: Caucasian Age: 8 years old Sex: Female Grade: 2"* This student's cumulative folder indicates that she has been experiencing academic difficulties since kindergarten. This student is a friendly child who is very willing to be an active member of die classroom. During classroom and individual instruction, she continues to struggle with basic concepts in reading and mathematics and is fimctioning below grade level in these core areas. As the teacher you have tried several academic interventions, none of which seemed to work. This student is the youngest of sbc children. Her family is pocNr, and does the best they can for their children. The mother works as a machine attendant in the local factOTy and the Mber is the street-sweeper operator for the town. The femily has one car, and the mother takes the bus to work. The yard of the house is occupied by a broken down car, and an old refrigerator. She is a model student on a behavioral level, hasn't missed a day of school in two years, and is always punctual. However, the more time that is spent on academia, the more she seems to drift off. She plays nicely with the other students and is well liked. Her first grade teacher recommended that she repeat the first grade, but her parents rejected and fought this recommendation, causing the building principal to promote her to second grade. Based on the profile that you have just read and the information provided, carefully examine each of the statements listed below. Assume you are the child's teacher. Circle the number which best indicates the likelihood of you making use of each of the following statements, with the number one (1) being not likely and the number (5) being very likely. Do this for each of the four statements below. It is important that you treat each statement individually, and respond to each statement. Please feel free to add additional suggestions or comments regarding your decision process. Not Very Likely Likely 1 . Make no referral, allow the student to continue as is. 1 2 3 4 5 2. Refer the student to the "Child Study Team" or other 1 2 3 4 5 appropriate school personnel to begin the process for evaluation by a school psychologist to determine possible special education placement. 3. Request a formal conference with the parents to discuss the 1 2 3 4 5 student's academic difficuhies. 4. Refer the student to the school coimselor for individual 1 2 3 4 5 or group counseling to focus on the child's academic and/or classroom behavior. 5. Other suggestions/comments: 102

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Student Profile #11 Name: Hannah Kauffinan Brief Intelligence Test IQ score: 81 Race: Caucasian Age: 8 years old Sex: Female Grade: 2"** This student's cumulative folder indicates that she has been experiencing academic difficulties since kindergarten. This student is a friendly child who is very willing to be an active member of the classxwm. Ehiring classroom and individual instruction, she continues to struggle with basic concepts in reading and mathematics and is functioning below grade level in these core areas. As the teacher you have tried several academic interventions, none of which seemed to work. This student is the youngest of diree children. Her father is a pharmacist m town and her modier is an accountant. Their house has five bedrooms and is surrounded by 25 acres of land. Both parents drive expensive cars and are prominent in the community. She is a model student on a behaviwal level, hasn't missed a day of school in two years, and is always punctual. However, the more time that is spent on academia, the more she seems to drift off. She plays nicely with the other students and is well liked. Her first grade teacher recommended that she repeat the first grade, but her parents rejected and fought this recommendation, earning the building principal to promote her to second grade. Based on the profile that you have just read and the information provided, carefully examine each of the statements listed below. Assiune you are the child's teacher. Circle the number which best indicates the likelihood of you making use of each of the following statements, with the number one (1) being not likely and the number (S) being very likely. Do this for each of the four statements below. It is important that you treat each statement individually, and respond to each statement. Please feel free to add additional suggestions or comments regarding your decision process. Not Very Likely Likely 1 . Refer the student to the "Child Study Team" or other appropriate school personnel to begin the process for evaluation by a school psychologist to determine possible special education placement. 2. Request a formal conference with the parents to discuss the 1 2 3 4 5 student's academic difficulties. 3. Refer the student to the school counselor for individual 1 2 3 4 5 or group counseling to focus on the child's academic and/or classroom behaviw. 4. Make no referral, allow the student to continue as is. 1 2 3 4 5 5. Other suggestions/conmients: 103

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Student Profile #12 Name: Hannah Kauffinan Brief Intelligence Test IQ score: 81 Race: Caucasian Age: 8 years old Sex: Female Grade: 2°^ This student's cumulative folder indicates that she has been experiencing difficulties academically and behaviorally in school since kindergarten. She c
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Student Profile #13 Name: Monique Kauffinan Brief Intelligence Test IQ score: 81 Race: African American Age: 8 years old Sex: Female Grade: 2"" This student's cumulative folder indicates that she has been experiencing difficulties academically and behaviorally in school since kindergarten. She constantly interferes with the activities of other children in your class and refuses to follow classroom routines. During classroom and individual instructi(A, she continues to struggle with basic concepts in reading and mathematics and is fimctioning below grade level in these core areas. As the teacher you have tried several behavioral and academic interventions, none of which seemed to work. This student is the yoimgest of six children. Her family is poor, and does the best they can for their children. The mother works as a machine attendant in the local factory and the father is the street-sweeper operator for the town. The family has oae car, and the mother takes the bus to woric The yard of the house is occupied by a broken down car, and an old refrigerator. She has not missed a day of school in two years and is always punctual. The more time that is spent on academics, the more she seems to act out. She will make sarcastic remarks in class that have become almost predictable. She has trouble respecting the other students in your class and is very aggressive towards them. Because of this, the other students are afraid to play with her. Her first grade teacher recommended that she repeat the first grade, but her parents rejected and fought this recommendation, causing the building principal to promote her to second grade. Based on the profile that you have just read and the information provided, carefiilly examine each of the statements listed below. Assume you are the child's teacher. Circle the number which best indicates the likelihood of you making use of each of the following statements, with the number one (1) being not likely and the number (5) being very likely. Do this for each of the four statements below. It is important that you treat each statement individually, and respond to each statement. Please feel free to add additional suggestions or comments regarding your decision process. 1 . Refer the student to the school counselor for individual or group counseling to focus on the child's academic and/or classroom behavior. 2. Make no referral, allow the student to continue as is. 3. Refer the student to the "Child Study Team" or other appropriate school personnel to begin the process for evaluation by a school psychologist to determine possible special education placement. 4. Request a formal conference with the parents to discuss the 1 2 3 4 5 student's academic and/or classroom behavior. 5. Other suggestions/comments: Not Very Likely Likely 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 105

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Student Profile #14 Name: Monique Kauffinan Brief Intelligence Test IQ score: 81 Race: Afiican American Age: 8 years old Sex: Female Grade: 2™* This student's cumulative folder indicates that she has been experiencing academic difficulties since kindergarten. This student is a firiendly child who is very willing to be an active member of the classroontL During classroom and individual instruction, she continues to struggle with basic concepts in reading and mathematics and is functioning below grade level in these core areas. As the teacher you have tried several academic interventions, none of which seemed to work. This student is the youngest of six children. Her family is poor, and does the best Aey can fcx* dieir children. The modier works as a machine attendant in the local fectory and the father is the street-sweeper operator for the town. The femily has one car, and the mother takes the bus to work. The yard of the house is occupied by a broken down car, and an old refrigerator. She is a model student on a behavioral level, hasn't missed a day of school in two years, and is always punctual. However, the more time that is spent on academia, the more she seems to drift off. She plays nicely with the other students and is well liked. Her first grade teacher recoounended that she repeat the first grade, but her parents rejected and fought this recommendation, causing the building principal to promote her to second grade. Based on the profile that you have just read and the information provided, carefiilly examine each of the statements listed below. Assume you are the child's teacher. Circle the mmiber which best indicates the likelihood of you making use of each of the following statements, with the number one (1) being not likely and the number (5) being very likely. Do this for each of the four statements below. It is important that you treat each statement individually, and respond to each statement. Please feel free to add additional suggestions or comments regarding your decision process. Not Very Likely Likely 1 . Make no referral, allow the student to continue as is. 1 2 3 4 5 2. Refer the student to the "Child Study Team" or other 1 2 3 4 5 appropriate school persoimel to begin the process for evaluation by a school psychologist to detennine possible special education placement. 3. Request a formal conference with the parents to discuss the 12 3 4 5 student's academic difficulties. 4. Refer the student to the school counselor for individual 1 2 3 4 5 or group coimseling to focus on the child's academic and/or classroom behavior. 5. Other suggestions/comments: 106

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Student Profile #15 Name: Monique Kauffinan Brief Intelligence Test IQ score: 8 1 Race: African American Age: 8 years old Sex: Female Grade: 2°* This student's cumulative folder indicates that she has been experiencing academic difficulties since kindergarten. This student is a friendly child who is very willing to be an active member of the classroom. During classroom and individual instruction, she continues to struggle with basic concepts in reading and mathematics and is functioning below grade level in these core areas. As the teacher you have tried several academic interventions, none of which seemed to work. This student is the youngest of three children. Her father is a pharmacist in town and her mother is an accountant Their house has five bedrooms and is surrounded by 25 acres of land. Bofli parents drive expensive cars and are prominent in the commimity. She is a model student on a behavioral level, hasn't missed a day of school in two years, and is always punctual. However, the more time that is spent on academia, the more she seems to drift off. She plays nicely with the other students and is well liked. Her first grade teacher recommended that she repeat the first grade, but her parents rejected and fought this recommendation, causing the building principal to promote her to second grade. Based on the profile that you have just read and the information provided, carefully examine each of the statements listed below. Assume you are the child's teacher. Circle the number which best indicates the likelihood of you making use of each of the following statements, with the number one (1) being not likely and the munber (5) being very likely. Do this for each of the four statements below. It is important that you treat each statement individually, and respond to each statement. Please feel fi-ee to add additional suggestions or comments regarding your decision process. Not Very Likely Likely 1. Refer the student to the "Child Study Team" or other 1 2 3 4 5 appropriate school personnel to begin the process for evaluation by a school psychologist to determine possible special education placement. 2. Request a formal conference with the parents to discuss the 1 2 3 4 5 student's academic difficulties. 3. Refer the student to the school counselor for individual 1 2 3 4 5 or group counseling to focus on the child's academic and/or classroom behavior. 4. Make no referral, allow the student to continue as is. 1 2 3 4 5 5. Other suggestions/comments: 107

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Student Profile #16 Name: Monique KaufBnan Brief Intelligence Test IQ score: 81 Race: African American Age: 8 years old Sex: Female Grade: 2"^ This student's cumulative folder indicates that she has been experiencing difficulties academically and behavioraUy in school since kindergarten. She constantly int^eres with the activities of other children in your class and refiises to follow classroom routines. During classroom and individual instruction, she continues to struggle with basic concepts in reading and mathematics and is fimctioning below grade level in these core areas. As the teacher you have tried several behavioral and academic interventions, none of which seemed to work. This student is the youngest of three children. Her father is a pharmacist in town and her mother is an accountant. Their house has five bedrooms and is surrounded by 25 acres of land. Both parents drive expensive cars and are prominent in the community. She has not missed a day of school in two years and is always punctual. The more time that is spent on academics, the more she seems to act out. She will make sarcastic remarks in class that have become ahnost predictable. She has trouble respecting the other students in your class and is very aggressive towards them. Because of this, the other students are afraid to play with her. Her first grade teacher recommended that she repeat the first grade, but her parents rejected and fought this recommendation, causing the building principal to promote her to second grade. Based on the profile that you have just read and the information provided, carefully examine each of the statements listed below. Assume you are the child's teacher. Circle the number which best indicates the likelihood of you making use of each of the following statements, with the nimiber one (1) being not likely and the number (5) being very likely. Do this for each of the four statements below. It is important that you treat each statement individually, and respond to each statement. Please feel free to add additional suggestions or comments regarding your decision process. Not Very Likely Likely 1 . Request a formal conference with the parents to discuss the 1 2 3 4 5 student's academic and/or classroom behavior. 2. Refer the student to the school counselor for individual 1 2 3 4 5 or group counseling to focus on the child's academic and/or classroom behavior. j . : 3. Make no referral, allow the student to continue as is. 1 2 3 4 5 4. Refer the student to the "Child Study Team" or other 1 2 3 4 5 appropriate school personnel to begin the process for evaluation by a school psychologist to determine possible special education placement. 5. Other suggestions/comments: 108

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REFERENCES Addeb, P., D'Zamko, M. E., Venn, J., & Cain, V. (1985). What's a teacher to do? A referral process for special education services. Paper presented at the Annual Convention of the Council for Exceptional Children. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED258438) Agbenyega, S., & Jiggets, J. (1999). Minority children and their overrepresentation in special education. Education, 119. 619-632. American Guidance Services (2002). K-BIT: Kaufinan brief intelligence test Retrieved November 16, 2002, from http://vyvvw.agsnet.com/Group.asp?nMarketInfoII>=3 1 &nCategorvInfoID=2626& nGroupInfolD=a3350 American School Counselor Association (ASCA) (1999a). Position statement: Special needs students. Retrieved November 13, 2002, from http://wrww.schoolcounselor.org/content.cfin7L 1 = 1 00Q&L2=32 American School Counselor Association (ASCA) (1999b). The role of the professional school counselor. Retrieved November 1, 2002, from http://wwvy.schoolcounselor.org/content.cfin7L 1 = 1 000«feL2=69 Artiles, A. J., & Trent, S. C. (1994). Overrepresentation of minority students in special education: A continuing debate. Journal of Special Education. 27. 410-438. Ayres, M. (1973). Counteracting racial stereotypes in pre-school children. Graduate research in Education and Related Disciplines. 6. 55-74. Bahr, M. W., Fuchs, D., Stecker, P. M., & Fuchs, L. S. (1991). Are teachers' perceptions of difificult-to-teach students racially biased? School Psvchologv Review. 20. 599608. Bandura, A. (1977). Social Learning Theorv. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: PrenticeHall. Barona, A., Santos de Barona, M., Faykus, S. (1993). The simultaneous effects of sociocultural variables and WISC-R factors on MR, LD, and non placement of ethnic minorities in special education. Education a nd Trainin g in Mental Retardation. 28. 66-74. 109

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110 Blair, C, & Scott K. G. (2002). Proportion of LD placements associated with low socioeconomic status: Evidence for gradient? The Journal of Special Education, 36, 14-22. Boyd, C. L. (2003). A correlational study of the K-BIT and the WISC-III. Retrieved November 3, 2002, from http://vyww.agsnet.com/assessments/kbit wisc.asp . Carpenter, S. L., King-Sears, M. E., Keys, S. G. (1998). Counselors + educators + families as a traditional team = More effective inclusion for students with disabilities. Professional School Counseling. 2, 1-9. Cecil, N. L. (1988). Black dialect and academic success: A study of teacher expectations. Reading Improvement 25. 34-38. Chang, M. J. (2001). Is it more that about getting along? The broader educational relevance of reducing students' racial biases. Journal of College Student Development 42. 93-105. Christenson, S., Ysseldyke, J., & Algozzine, B. (1982). Institutional constraints and external pressures influencing referral decisions. Psychology in the Schools. 19. 341-345. Cohen, J. (1969). Statistical power analysis for the behavioral sciences . New Yoric: Academic. Cohen, J. (1 992). A power primer. Psychological Bulletm. 112. 115-119. Coltraine, S, & Messineo, M. (2000). The perpetuation of subtle prejudice: Race and gender in 1990's television advertising. Sex Roles. 42, 363-389. Constantine, M. G., & Ladany, N. (2000). Self-report multicultural counseling competence scales: Their relation to social desirability attitudes and multicultural case conceptualization ability. Journal of Counseling Psychology. 47. 155-164. Creswell, J. W. (1992). Research design: Qualitative and quantitative approaches. Thousand Oaks, CA; Sage. Cullen, J., & Shaw, S. (2000). The accuracy of teacher prediction of student test performance for students referred to special education. University of Connecticut. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED439548) Daniel, J. E., & Daniel, J. L. (1998). Preschool children's selection of race-related personal names. Journal of Black Studies. 28. 471-490. Dovidio, J. F., & Gaertner, S. L. (2001). Affirmative action, unintentional racial biases, and intergroup relations. In M. A., Hogg, & D. Abrams (Eds.). Intergroup

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112 Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Practices (1999). The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Amendments of 1 997 Public Law 105-17. Retrieved December 8, 2002, from http://www.ideapractices.org/law/index.php . Jackson, S. A. (2001). A study of teachers' referral to the school coimselor . Texas A&MCorpus Christi. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 462 661) James, N. (1975). To catch a honkie (or get caught). Transactional Analysis Journal, 5. 57-59. Kaufinan, A. S., Swan, W. W., & Wood, M. W. (1980). Do parents, teachers, and psychoeducational evaluators agree in their perceptions of the problems of black and white emotionally disturbed children? Psychology in the Schools, 17. 1 85191. Kelly, T. J., Bullock, L. M., & Dykes, M. K. (1977). Behavioral disorders: Teachers' perceptions. Exceptional Children, 43. 316-318. Knight, J. L., & Giuliano, T. A. (2001). He's a laker; She's a "looker": The consequences of gender-stereotypical portrayals of male and female athletes by the print media. Sex Roles. 45. 217-229. Kohatsu, E. L., Dulay, M., Lam, C, Concepcion, W., Perez, P., Lopez, C, & Euler, J. (2000). Using racial identity theory to explore racial mistrust and interracial contact among Asian Americans. Journal of Counseling and Development 78. 334-342. Kowalski, K., & Lo, Y. F. (2001). The influence of perceptual features, ethnic labels, and sociocultural information on the development of ethnic/racial bias in young children. Journal of Cross Cultural Psychology, 32. 444-455. Lanier, J. E. (1975). Teachers' attitudes toward student's race, socio-economic status, sex, and classroom behavior on their referral to an educable mentally retarded program (EMR). Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Florida. Lieberman, L. M. (1982). Special education's safety net. Journal of Learning Disabihties. 15, 439-440. Lietz, J. J., & Gregory, M. K. (1978). Pupil race and sex determinants of office and exceptional educational referrals. Educational Research Quarterly. 3. 63-66. MacMillan D. L., Gresham, F. L., Lopez, M. F., & Bocian, K. M. (1996). Comparison of students nominated for pre-referral interventions by ethnicity and gender. The Journal of Special Education. 30. 133-151.

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113 Maheux, B., Legault, C, & Lambert J. (1989). Increasing response rates in physicians' mail surveys. An experimental study. American Journal of Public Health, 79, 638-639. Mayovich, K. M. (1973). Stereotypes and racial images: White, black, and yellow. International Journal of Social Psychiatry, 1 8, 239-253. McCarthy, D., & Jones, R. L. (2001). Speed, aggression, strength, and tactical naivete. The portrayal of the Black soccer player on television. In Yiannakis, A, & Melnick, M. J., Contemporary Issues in Sociology of Sport. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics. Minow, M. (1990). Making all the difference: Inclusion, exclusion, and American law. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. Nakao, K., & Treas, J. (1994). Updating occupational prestige and socioeconomic scores: How the new measures measure up. Sociological Methodology, 24, 1-72. National Alliance of Black School Educators (NABSE) & ILIAD Project (2002). Addressing over-representation of AfricanAmerican students in special education: The pre-referral intervention process-An administrator's guide. Arlington, VA: Coimcil for Exceptional Children, and Washington D.C.: National Alliance of Black School Educators. Nelson, J. R., Smith, D. J., Taylor, L., Dodd, J. M., & Reavis K. (1992). A statewide survey of special education administrators regarding mandated pre-referral interventions. Remedial and Special Education. 13. 34-39. Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) (2001). 23"* Annual Report to Congress on the Implementation of the Individuals vyith Disabilities Education Act. Oliver, W. (2001). Cultural racism and structural violence: Implications for African Americans. Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment 4. 1-26. Ortiz, A. A., & Garcia, S. B. (1988). A pre-referral process for preventing inappropriate referrals of Hispanic students to special education. In Schools and the Culturally Diverse Exceptional Student: Promising Practices and Future Directions. Dallas, TX. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED298701) Osterweil, Z. O. (1987). A structured process of problem definition in school consultation. School Counselor. 34, 345-352. Oswald, D. P., Coutinho, M. J., & Best, A. M., Singh N. N. (1999). Ethnic representation in special education: The influence of school-related economic and demographic variables. The Journal of Special Education. 32. 194-206.

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114 Patton, J. M. (1998). The disproportionate representation of african americans in special education: Looking behind the curtain for understanding and solutions. The Journal of Special Education, 32, 25-31. Patton, M. Q. (1990). Qualitative evaluation and research methods (2"** edition). Newbury Park, CA: Sage Pattniak, B, & Panigrahy, N. (1987). Verbal fluency of high and low achievers in school. Perspectives in Psychological Researches. 1 1, 1-27. Peca, K. (1989). The pre-referral process: A positive intervention. New Mexico. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED3 34779) Pemell, E. (1984). The influence of race and social behavior in teacher recommendation for special education. East Lansing, Ml. (ERIC Dociunent Reproduction Service No. ED254032) Quarto, C. J. (1999). Teachers' perceptions of school covmselors with and without teaching experience. Professional School Counseling, 2, 378-383. Quigney, T. A., & Struder, R. (1998). Touching strands of the educational web: The professional school coimselor's role in inclusion. Professional School Counseling. 2,77-81. Ransdell, L. B. (1996). Maximizing response rate in questionnaire research. American Journal of Health Behavior. 20. 50-56. Reilly, T. F. (1991). Cultural bias: The albatross of assessing behavior-disordered children and youth. Preventing School Failure. 36. 50-53. Schmidt, J. J. (1999). Coimseling in schools: Essential services and comprehensive programs (3'** Ed). (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED424496) Schutz, R. W., & Gessaroli, M. E. (1987). The analysis of repeated measure designs involving multiple dependent variables. Research Chiarterly for Exercise and Sport. 58. 132-149. Shinn, M. R., Tindal, G. A., & Spira, D. A. (1987). Special education referrals as an index of teacher tolerance: Are teachers imperfect tests? Exceptional Children. 54. 32-40. Skinner, M. E. (1985). Counseling and special education: An essential relationship. School Counselor. 33. 131-135. Summers, J., & Price, J. H. (1997). Increasmg return rates to a mail survey among health educators. Psychological Reports. 81. 551-554.

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115 Tan, A., Tan, G., Avdeyeva, T., Crandall, H., Fukushi, Y., Nyandwi, A., Chin, H. Y., Wu, W. G. (2001). Changing negative racial stereotypes: The influence of normative peer information. Howard Journal of Commimications, 12, 171-180. Tauber, R. T. (1998). Good or Bad, What Teachers Expect from Students They Generally Get! ERIC Digest Taylor, P. B., Gunter, P. L., & Slate, J. R. (2001). Teachers' perceptions of inappropriate student behavior as a fimction of teachers' and students' gender and ethnic backgroimd. Behavioral Disorders, 26, 146-51. Tesch, R. (1990). Qualitative research: Analysis types and softvyare tools. New Yoric: Palmer. Thomas, W. B. (1986). Mental testing and tracking for the social adjustment of an urban underclass: 1920-1930. Journal of Education. 168. 9-30 Tobias, S., Cole, C, Zibrin, M., & Bodlakova, V. (1982). Teacher-student ethnicity and recommendations for special education referrals. Joximal of Educational Psychology. 74. 72-76. Tobias, S., Zibrin, M. & Menell, C. (1983). Special education referrals: Failure to replicate student-teacher ethnicity interaction. Journal of Education Psychology. 75, 705-707. Tomlinson, J. R., Acker, N., Conter, A., & Lindborg, S. (1977). Minority status and school psychological services. Psychology in the Schools, 14. 456-460. United States Department of Education. (1999). Twenty-first annual report to Congress on the implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Washington, DC: Author. United States Department of Education. (1992). Fourteenth annual report to Congress on the implementation of the Individuals with DisabiHties Education Act. Washington, D.C.: Author. United States Department of Education (1997). National Center for Education Statistics, Schools and Staffing Survey, 1993-94. Van Hoose, W., & Pietrofesa, J. (1971). The elementary school counselor: An advocate for pupils. National Catholic Guidance Conference Journal. 15. 126-130. Van Hoose, W. H. (1975). Children's rights and the school counselor. Elementary School Guidance and Counseling. 9. 279-286.

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116 Ward, L. M. (2002). Does television exposure affect emerging adults' attitudes and assumptions about sexual relationships? Correlational and experimental confirmation. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 31, 1-15. Winkler, J., & Taylor, S. E. (1979). Preference, expectations, and attributional bias: Two field experiments. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 2, 183-197. Wood, J. W., Lazarri, A., Dayis, E. H., Sugai, G., & Carter J. (1990). National status on the pre-referral process: An issue for regular education. Action in Teacher Education, 12, 50-56. Wright, P., & Santa Cruz, R. (1983). Ethnic composition of special education programs in California Learning Disability Quarterly, 6, 387-394. Ysseldyke, J. E., Algozzine, B., Ridley, L., & Graden, J. (1982). Declaring students eligible for learning disability services: Why bother with the data? Learning Disability Quarterly, 5, 37-44. Ysseldyke, J. E., Algozziine, B., Shinn, M. R., & McGue, M. (1982). Similarities and differences between low achievers and students classified learning disabled. The Journal of Special Education, 16, 73-85. Ysseldyke, J., Vanderwood, M., & Shriner, J. (1997). Changes over the past decade in special education referral to placement probabihty: An incredible reliable practice. Diagnostique, 23, 193-201. Zeligs, R. (1950). Children's concepts and stereotypes of Polish, Irish, Finn, Hungarian, Bulgarian, Dane, Czecho-Slovakian, Hindu, and Filipino. Journal of Genetic Psychology. 77. 73-83. Zucker, S. H., & Prieto, A. G. (1977). Ethnicity and teacher bias in educational decisions. Instructional Psychology. 4. 2-5.

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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH I, Jon Michael Downs, was bom on June 24, 1975, in Rochester, New York. I received my Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology from the University of Buffalo, in Buifalo, New York. In the Spring of 1998 1 was accepted into the school counseling and guidance M.EdTEd.S. program at the University of Florida. Upon completion of that program in August of 2000 1 immediately took an elementary school counselor position at Chiefland Elementary School in Chiefland, Florida. Upon completion of my first year in the public school system, I decided to go back to graduate school lull-time to pursue my Doctor of Philosophy degree. Upon completion of my coursework and qualifying exams, I moved with my wife to State College, Pennsylvania where my wife is on a tenure-track appointment at the Pennsylvania State University. I recently accepted a position as a high-school counselor at Indian Valley High School in Mifflm County, Pennsylvania. Although we miss the Florida sunshine, my wife and I are happy where we are in our lives and are currently in the process of building a house, hoping to stay in Happy Valley for many years. 117

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I certify that 1 have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. Pitts, Chair ate Professor of Counselor Education I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. .any ^?Xoesch Professor of Counselor Education I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. Sondra L. Smith Assistant Professor of Counselor Education I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy iessor of Special Education This dissertation was submitted to the Graduate Faculty of the College of Education and to the Graduate School and was accepted as partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. December, 2003 Dean, Graduate School