Are hispanic, asian, native american, or language-minority children overrepresented in special education?

Paul L. Morgan, George Farkas, Michael Cook, Natasha M. Strassfeld, Marianne M. Hillemeier, Wik Hung Pun, Yangyang Wang, Deborah L. Schussler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Scopus citations

Abstract

We conducted a best-evidence synthesis of 22 studies to examine whether systemic bias explained minority disproportionate overrepresentation in special education. Of the total regression model estimates, only 7/168 (4.2%), 14/208 (6.7%), 2/37 (5.4%), and 6/91 (6.6%) indicated statistically significant overrepresentation for Hispanic, Asian, Native American, and English language learner (ELL) or language-minority children, respectively. Among studies with the strongest internal and external validity, none of the 90 estimates (i.e., 0%) indicated overrepresentation attributable to racial or ethnic bias. Of the 18 estimates for languageminority and ELL children combined, only 3 (16.7%) indicated overrepresentation attributable to language use. Two of the 4 ELL-specific estimates (50%) indicated that children receiving English-as-a-second-language services may be overrepresented in special education. Overall, and replicating findings from a prior best-evidence synthesis, this synthesis indicated that children are underidentified as having disabilities based on their race or ethnicity and language use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)261-279
Number of pages19
JournalExceptional Children
Volume84
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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