Date of Conferral

2017

Degree

Ph.D.

School

Human Services

Advisor

Jacqueline Cook-Jones

Abstract

Past research has revealed that African American/Black boys are referred for special education evaluation at disproportionately higher rates than boys of other racial/ethnic groups. This correlational study used survey methodology to examine whether student and teacher demographic variables predicted how likely a teacher would refer boy students for special education evaluation. The following questions guided this research: 1) To what degree does student race/ethnicity, teacher gender, teacher race/ethnicity, and teacher attitude toward inclusion predict how likely a teacher would refer boys' to special education after controlling for teacher's years of experience in general and special education? 2) What are the differences in teacher ratings regarding the severity of classroom behaviors based on the students' race/ethnicity? Cultural theory and social exclusion theory were used to guide this research. Data were collected through the researcher developed Teacher Rating Form from 110 teachers. Results from a multiple linear regression revealed that years of teaching experience, race of teacher, race the student, and teacher attitude toward inclusion were statistically significant predictors of teacher referral to special education. However, the effect size was small. Results from the ANOVA procedure revealed no statistically significant differences in teacher ratings for severity of described classroom behaviors based on the students' race/ethnicity. Findings form this study could be used to promote social change by increasing teacher awareness of how certain teacher demographics affect teacher referral of boys to special education. Findings can be used to advocate for training and seminars that could promote cultural understanding among teachers that may lead to and reduce the number of referrals.