Perspectives regarding disproportionate representation of culturally and linguistically diverse students in high-incidence special education programs in the United States
More details
Hide details
Online publication date: 2014-02-04
Health Psychology Report 2013;1(1):42-51
The number of culturally and linguistically diverse students in the U.S. is growing, and research shows they are often underassessed, misdiagnosed, and placed into special education unnecessarily. This problem mainly concerns high-incidence, or judgmental, disabilities such as learning disability, emotional disturbance, or mental retardation.

Participants and procedure
In this study, the author examines how some educators perceive and address culturally and linguistically diverse students in the U.S. A survey developed by the author was used to examine how educators perceive culturally and linguistically diverse student populations and how one Midwestern school system in the United States dealt with culturally and linguistically diverse students’ needs versus expected ideal practices.

Results indicated that most participants recognized that the issue of disproportionate representation is nationwide, but did not believe that their district shared that problem.

Participants indicated that best practices were not being followed maximally to reduce and avoid the problem of disproportionate representation of culturally and linguistically diverse students in special education programs. Difficulties in meeting students’ needs may be related to cultural differences that school personnel are unable to assess or address. Recommendations include suggestions for further studies and for applying the survey in other school systems to increase the understanding and improve their practice in working with culturally and linguistically diverse students.
Artiles, A.J., Kozleski, E., Trent, S., Osher, D. & Ortiz, A. (2010). Justifying and explaining disproportionality, 1968-2008: A critique of underlying views of culture. Exceptional Children, 76, 279-299.
Artiles, A.J. & Ortiz, A.A. (2002). English language learners with special education needs: Identification, assessment, and instruction. Washington, DC, and McHenry, IL: Center for Applied Linguistics and Delta System.
Artiles, A.J. & Rueda, R. (2002, March-April). General guidelines for monitoring minority overrepresentation in special education. CASE Newsletter, 43, 5-6. Retrieved from http://www.nccrest.org/PDFs/Ar....
Artiles, A.J., Rueda, R., Salazar, J. & Higareda, I. (2005). Within-group diversity in minority disproportionate representation: English language learners in urban school districts. Exceptional Children, 71, 283-300.
Aud, S., Hussar, W., Kena, G., Bianco, K., Frohlich, L., Kemp, J. & Tahan, K. (2011). The Condition of Education 2011 (NCES 2011-033). U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.
Brown, M. (2007). Educating all students: Creating culturally responsive teachers, classrooms, and schools. Intervention in School & Clinic, 43, 57-62.
Burnette, J. (1998). Reducing the disproportionate representation of minority students in special education. ERIC/OSEP Digest, #E566, ERIC Clearinghouse on Disabilities and Gifted Education, Council for Exceptional Children. Retrieved from http://eric.ed.gov/ERICDocs/da....
CensusViewer (2010). Census 2010 and 2000 Interactive Map, Demographics, Statistics, Quick Facts. Retrieved November 7, 2012, from http://censusviewer.com/city/I....
DataCenter (2012). Kids count. Retrieved November 10, 2012 from http://datacenter.kidscount.or....
ePodunk.com (2008). Cook County, IL, ancestry and family history. Retrieved from http://www.epodunk.com/cgi-bin....
Garson, D. (2007). Survey research. Retrieved from http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/....
Illinois State Board of Education (2007). Annual state report on special education performance (2006-2007). Retrieved from http://www.isbe.net/SPEC-ED/pd....
National Association of State Directors of Special Education, Inc [NASDSE] (n.d.). Response to intervention, policy considerations and implementations. Retrieved from http://www.nasdse.org/Portals/....
National Association of State Directors of Special Education (NASDSE) & Council of Administrators of Special Education (CASE) (2006, May). Response to intervention. Council for Exceptional Children. Retrieved from http://www.nasdse.org/Portals/....
National Education Association (NEA) & National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) (2007). Truth in labeling: Disproportionality in special education, and disproportionality policy statement. Retrieved from http://www.nea.org/assets/docs....
Nieto, S. & Bode, P. (2008). Affirming diversity: The sociopolitical context of multicultural education (5th ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.
Obringer, S.J. (1998, November). An improved model for evaluating minority and non-minority students with learning disabilities. Annual Meeting of Mid-South Educational Research Association, New Orleans, LA.
Ortiz, A. (1992, August). Assessing appropriate and inappropriate referral systems for LEP special education students. Focus on evaluation and measurement. Vol. 1-2. Proceedings of the National Research Symposium on Limited English Proficient Student Issues. Washington, DC (September 4-6, 1991).
Park, Y. & Thomas, R. (2012). Educating English-Language learners with special needs: Beyond cultural and linguistic considerations. Journal of Education and Practice, 3, 52-58.
Perez, B. (1998). Sociocultural contexts of language and literacy. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Rueda, R. & Windmueller, M. (2006). English language learners, LD, and overrepresentation: A multiple-level analysis. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 39, 99-107.
Samson, J.F. & Lesaux, N.K. (2009). Language minority learners in special education: Rates and predictors of identification for services. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 42, 148-162. doi: 10.1177 /0022219408326221.
Schon, J., Shaftel, J. & Markham, P. (2008). Contemporary issues in the assessment of culturally and linguistically diverse learners. Journal of Applied School Psychology, 24, 163-189. DOI:10.1080/15377900802089395.
Shifrer, D., Muller, C. & Callahan, R. (2011). Disproportionality and learning disabilities: Parsing apart race, socioeconomic status, and language. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 44, 246-257. DOI: 10.1177/0022219410374236.
Shepherd, T.L., Linn, D. & Brown, R.D. (2005, Spring). The disproportionate representation of English Language Learners for special education services along the border. Journal of Social and Ecological Boundaries, 1.1, 104-116.
Shin, H.B. & Kominski, R.A. (2010). Language usage in the United States: 2007, American Community Survey Reports, ASC-12. Washington, DC: U.S. Census Bureau.
Skiba, R., Poloni-Staudinger, L., Gallini, S., Simmons, A. & Feggins-Azziz, R. (2006). Disparate access: The disproportionality of African American students with disabilities across educational environments. Exceptional Children, 72, 411-424.
Sullivan, A. (2011). Disproportionality in Special Education identification and placement of English Language learners. Exceptional Children, 77, 317-334.
Warger, C. & Burnette, J. (2000). Five strategies to reduce overrepresentation of culturally and linguistically diverse students in special education. Retrieved from ERIC/OSEP Digest #E596, ERIC Clearinghouse on Disabilities and Gifted Education http://www.ericdigests.org/200....
Copyright: © Institute of Psychology, University of Gdansk This is an Open Access journal, all articles are distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/), allowing third parties to copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format and to remix, transform, and build upon the material, provided the original work is properly cited and states its license.
Journals System - logo
Scroll to top