Case studies of minority student placement in special education have been conducted over the years, with varying levels of success. Historically, African American students have been disproportionately placed in special education programs at higher rates than their White peers. This has prompted concerns that this practice may result in a lack of access to appropriate educational services and opportunities for minorities. To better understand the factors that go into minority student placement in special education, researchers have looked closely at individual cases to determine what is happening and why it is occurring.
Case studies of minority student placement in special education.
One case study examined a school district’s pattern of referral for African-American students identified as having learning disabilities. The investigation found that the vast majority (90%) of the referrals were for students who had demonstrated average academic performance on standardized tests, but who performed below expectations based on their grade level proficiency scores. In addition, these students often showed signs of psychological distress or behavior problems which warranted further evaluation by school psychologists and other mental health professionals prior to referral for special education services. Although data suggested an environmental factor could be contributing to these patterns amongst African American students—such as poverty or inadequate resources—the overall conclusion was that there might be other factors contributing to this disproportionate rate of referral among this group of learners as well.
Another case study focused on a school district where Latino/a elementary school children were referred at a rate four times higher than their White peers despite similar academic achievement levels across racial groups when comparing proficiency test scores from kindergarten through second grade assessments. An examination revealed several issues related to language acquisition and cultural differences affecting interactions between Hispanic parents and teachers when discussing student progress leading up to requests for evaluations or referrals for Special Education services due to suspected learning disabilities or behavioral issues. Furthermore, interviews with teachers revealed beliefs about Hispanic culture being responsible for lower expectations among educators regarding parent involvement when working with underserved populations leading them away from attempting more comprehensive interventions before referring out-of-school supports such as those available through Special Education programs offered via the local public schools system
In another example – looks at enrollments within alternative schools specifically designed to serve students with intellectual disabilities – shows how African American enrollment was almost twice as high compared against whites enrolled even though their representation within the general population was only around forty percent . Further investigations showed that distinct assessment procedures led clinicians towards diagnosis’ suggesting Intellectual Disability far more frequently than what would occur if comparison groups were matched along similar socio-economic status’. An analysis concluded that cultural bias may be influencing practitioner decision making processes negatively impacting misidentification amongst certain ethnicities due potential misinterpretation’s stemming from limited understanding’s concerning values & practices held within marginalised communities outside mainstream norms
Overall , these case studies illustrate some systemic issues contributing towards disproportionality involving minority student placements within Special Education classroom settings . It appears clear greater attention needs devoted towards addressing any underlying causes such disparities exists – including exploration into evaluating whether implicit biases are driving decisions made during assessment & identification stages – before undertaking corrective measures aimed improving access quality intervention strategies targeted areas need most help