Who Benefits? An Analysis of Academic Growth and Disproportionality in Special Education
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CitationMorgan-Dunbar, Anika. 2020. Who Benefits? An Analysis of Academic Growth and Disproportionality in Special Education. Master's thesis, Harvard Extension School.
AbstractThe overrepresentation of historically-underserved racial-ethnic minority groups in special education is a frequently-discussed issue affecting the U.S. education system. At the national level, Black/African American, Native American, and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander children have significantly higher risks of receiving special education services, compared to their peers. In recent years, accountability data has demonstrated that students with disabilities continue to lag behind their peers at meeting grade level-proficiency standards, despite recent alterations to federal law that refocused the objectives of special education programs on improving students' academic skills. As a result, the overrepresentation of Black/African-American and Native American children in special education has increased the risk of these groups encountering inadequate interventions for academic deficits. The present study examined disproportionality in the state of Massachusetts to determine (a) whether racial-ethnic minority children were at greater risk of receiving special education services and (b) whether the effect of special education services disparately affected students' academic growth. Results from bivariate analyses indicated that Black/African-American and Hispanic/Latino children were significantly overrepresented in high-incidence disability categories and in educational settings where students spent more than 60% of the day outside of the general classroom. Furthermore, the race/ethnicity and academic setting of students with disabilities had a significant effect on their reading and math growth percentiles.
Citable link to this pagehttps://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HUL.INSTREPOS:37364873