Author(s)

Shannon Kemp

Date Approved

8-9-2011

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A. School Psychology-Professional School Psychology

Department

Psychology

College

College of Science & Mathematics

First Advisor

Dihoff, Roberta

Subject(s)

Minority students;Education--New Jersey;Special education

Disciplines

Child Psychology | Student Counseling and Personnel Services

Abstract

This study sought to examine whether New Jersey districts exhibited minority disproportionality, or the overrepresentation of minority students in special education eligibility categories and placements. A dataset with a random sample of 200 school districts was compiled with special education data from the New Jersey Department of Education. Through analyses of four ethnicities, White, Black, Hispanic, and Asian, it was discovered that Black and Hispanic students were significantly more likely to be placed in special education as compared to their peers. Asian students were significantly less likely to be represented in special education in comparison to their non-Asian counterparts. Black and Hispanic students were also overrepresented in the more restrictive settings in special education and Asian students were underrepresented in these same placements. Other district level variables including: per pupil expenditures, number of suspensions, the percentage of students who are limited English proficient, graduation rate, dropout rate, average class size, and level of faculty credentials were also analyzed in order to determine if they were correlated with the degree of disproportionality. Based on these findings, it is clear that school districts in New Jersey should strive to avoid bias when referring and placing students in special education.

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