Home Articles Reader Opinion Editorial Book Reviews Discussion Writers Guide About TCRecord
transparent 13
Topics
Discussion
Announcements

Examining Racial Disparities in Teacher Perceptions of Student Disabilities


by North Cooc — 2017

Background/Context: The overrepresentation of some minority groups in special education in the United States raises concerns about racial inequality and stratification within schools. While many actors and mechanisms within the school system may contribute to racial disparities in special education, the role of teachers is particularly important given that teachers are often the first ones to refer students for services. Previous studies examining biases in teacher perception of student disability have used simulations and vignettes that lack information on how teachers may perceive their own students.

Purpose of the Study: This study examined whether teachers disproportionately perceive minority students as having a disability based on survey information from teachers about their students. The study provides additional insight into teacher perception of student disability by accounting for student background, teacher traits, and school characteristics.

Research Design: The study used data on a nationally representative sample of high school sophomores from the Education Longitudinal Study of 2002 (ELS:2002). The dataset included surveys that asked teachers about their students, including whether they perceived them to have a disability. Logistic regression models were used to model the relationship between teacher perception of student disability and student race, controlling for background factors relevant to identification for a disability.

Results: The findings show that while teachers were more likely to perceive Black, Hispanic, and Native American students as having a disability compared to White students, controlling for individual background characteristics and school contextual factors often resulted in underidentification. The exception is Asian Americans, who were consistently less likely to be perceived to have a disability.

Conclusions/Recommendations: Since teachers were less likely to perceive certain racial minority students as having a disability when accounting for student background characteristics, the finding provides a different perspective on how teachers may contribute to disproportionality in special education. The results also raise concerns about whether racial minority students are appropriately identified for services, especially Asian Americans who were consistently less likely to be perceived to have a disability, even when their achievement and behavior were similar to those of other students. Policies and practices should focus on using culturally and linguistically appropriate methods to identify students who may have disabilities.



To view the full-text for this article you must be signed-in with the appropropriate membership. Please review your options below:

Sign-in
Email:
Password:
Store a cookie on my computer that will allow me to skip this sign-in in the future.
Send me my password -- I can't remember it
 
Purchase this Article
Purchase Examining Racial Disparities in Teacher Perceptions of Student Disabilities
Individual-Resource passes allow you to purchase access to resources one resource at a time. There are no recurring fees.
$12
Become a Member
Online Access
With this membership you receive online access to all of TCRecord's content. The introductory rate of $25 is available for a limited time.
$25
Print and Online Access
With this membership you receive the print journal and free online access to all of TCRecord's content.
$210


Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 119 Number 8, 2017, p. -
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 21755, Date Accessed: 3/23/2017 2:20:14 PM

Purchase Reprint Rights for this article or review
Article Tools
Related Articles

Related Discussion
 
Post a Comment | Read All

About the Author
  • North Cooc
    University of Texas at Austin
    E-mail Author
    North Cooc is an assistant professor of special education and a core faculty member in the Center for Asian American Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. His research focuses on racial disparities in the identification and academic outcomes of children with disabilities at different developmental phases. Some of his recent work has been published in Journal of Adolescence and Educational Researcher
Member Center
In Print
This Month's Issue

Submit
EMAIL

Twitter

RSS