Date Approved

6-26-2019

Embargo Period

8-5-2019

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A. Learning Disabilities

Department

Interdisciplinary and Inclusive Education

College

College of Education

First Advisor

Shuff, Margaret

Second Advisor

Kuder, Sydney J.

Third Advisor

Accardo, Amy

Subject(s)

Response to intervention (Learning disabled children); African American children--Education

Disciplines

Educational Methods | Special Education and Teaching

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to determine if states that have implemented Response to Intervention (RTI) programs had a reduction in the numbers of African American students receiving Special Education. Historically, there has been an overrepresentation of minorities, particularly African Americans, receiving special education in America's schools. In 2004, the federal government amended the Individual with Disabilities Act (IDEA) to include RTI. The RTI initiative has the possibility to reduce special education referrals through the use of research-based interventions, progress monitoring, and data collection. The premise behind RTI is to identify students at-risk for academic difficulties and provide the needed interventions using a three-tier model. In addition, IDEA also stated that a discrepancy model was no longer needed to determine if a student has a Specific Learning Disability. Instead, RTI models and data could be utilized for Specific Learning Disability classifications (Building the Legacy: IDEA 2004, 2004).

This study examined three states, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. The methods in which RTI were implemented within each state were analyzed. In addition, the number of African American students receiving special education was calculated over a period of time after RTI was initiated. The data was then examined to determine if the numbers of African American students declined after RTI implementation.

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