Date Approved


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

MA School Psychology




College of Science & Mathematics

First Advisor

Dihoff, Roberta


Race discrimination; Special education


Disability and Equity in Education | Special Education and Teaching


Students throughout the United States are promised that individuals who enter the U.S. educational system are placed on an even playing field and that each student will be given equitable treatment within the school they attend. Furthermore, students are assured that studying and learning class material will determine not only their placement within school but the success they will have in life. Despite this long held belief, research and demographic breakdowns of special education placement within the U.S. suggests minorities are disproportionately placed into special education (de Valenzuela, Copeland, & Qi, 2006). This finding is in concert with the already suggested premise that race influences referrals for assessment (Gravois & Rosenfield, 2006), in which individuals are screened to see if special education is the best option for that student, and that the instruments used to assess if an individual should be placed into special education are culturally biased (Gravois & Rosenfield, 2006). The present correlational study was designed to determine if minorities are disproportionately represented in special education and if race influences placement into special education. Disproportionality within special education was assessed by using public archival data from the official website of the State of New Jersey Department of Education (NJ Department of Education).