DISPROPORTIONALITY. VIVIAN STITH-WILLIAMS, PH.D. VIRGINIA DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION. WHAT IS IT AND WHY DOES IT MATTER? March 31, 2010. TOPICS for DISCUSSION. Definition of terms Data overview Facing the Issues Virginia’s data Why does it matter? Causes of Disproportionality
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VIVIAN STITH-WILLIAMS, PH.D.
VIRGINIA DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
WHAT IS IT AND WHY DOES IT MATTER?
March 31, 2010
Definition of terms
Facing the Issues
Why does it matter?
Causes of Disproportionality
Strategies to Address the Problem
Technical Assistance Emphasis
What is disproportionality?Disproportionate representation is defined as the extent to which membership in a given group affects the probability of being placed in a specific education category (Oswald, et. al. 1999).Disproportionality or disproportionate representation refers to the over and/or under representation of minority students in receiving special education services in numbers greater than their percentage in the general population. Simply defined, disproportionate representation encompasses both “overrepresentation” in high incidence disabilities and “under representation” in programs for gifted and talented (NCCRESt, 2003). Additionally, disproportionate representation is found in school based discipline practices (Losen & Orfield, 2002).
The United States Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights
(OCR) has documented the patterns of disproportionate representation
of minority students in special education programs for over 30 years.
With each OCR survey, the following pattern has emerged:
underrepresented in the gifted/talented category.
special education enrollments in the ID category, yet represent
17% of elementary and secondary student enrollments. African
American students are 2.4 times more likely to be labeled ID than
white students and 26.4 percent of African American students are
classified as ED, but are only 17 % of the overall student population.
No other groups are overrepresented in the high incidence categories
of intellectual disability and emotional disability. African Americans,
especially males who engage in certain behaviors that represent
artifacts of their culture – such as language (Ebonics), movement
patterns (verve), and a certain “ethnic “ appearance have been found to
be over referred for special education placement (Neal, McCray, &
Disproportionality has been shown to cause harm to many
minority students by:
effective methods, intervention and instructional strategies
that are grounded in research. Prereferral interventions
have been recognized as a response and/or approach to
reduce the number of inappropriate referrals to special
The defining features of the prereferral model include a
preventive process, a team-based problem-solving
approach, action-research orientation, and an intervention
process that is centered upon the enhanced success of all
students and teachers within the general education setting
(Buck, Polloway, Cook, 2003).
TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE EMPHASISOperational definitions for Inappropriate IdentificationFramework for Indicator 9Framework for Indicator 10Record Review ProcessRecord Review Form/Scoring RubricSuggested Practices:Examination of local school division dataNCCRESt Rubric for self-assessment of division policies, procedures and practicesProtocol to document self-assessment for disproportionalitySpecial Education Identification Process SurveyStudent Academic Intervention ChecklistAction Plan to Reduce Disproportionality