Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




F. Douglas Prillaman


Both prior to and since the passage of 94-142 in 1975, researchers and policy analysts have raised consistent concerns about the overrepresentation of black males in EMR and ED programs, especially in view of an often noted disproportion of white males in LD programs.;All of the empirical research on overrepresentation since 1975 has been characterized by one or more of the following limitations: (a) Small sample populations were drawn from one school district or state, (b) Larger samples, when studied, were analyzed at one specific point in time rather than over a period of time, (c) The power of the statistic used to analyze the data was so limited that few, if any, valid conclusions could be reached.;The present study was undertaken with the specific objective of compensating for these earlier limitations. The primary research question examined was "To what degree are race and gender related to the actual versus expected prevalence of students placed in programs for the educable mentally retarded, learning disabled, and emotionally disturbed nationally from 1976 through 1984?" A dataset was drawn from a secondary database compiled by the U.S. office for Civil Rights from a biennial national survey of elementary and secondary schools. The data were analyzed by means of a log-linear statistic selected because of its ability to generate both a probability ratio and a reliable measure of association.;Results of the study indicated that black students continue to be significantly overrepresented in EMR programs, both nationally and regionally, as are blacks and males in ED programs. Males are significantly more likely to be placed in LD programs than are females, as they are to a lesser degree in EMR programs. White students are not disproportionately classified as learning disabled, however, and a trend towards black student disproportion in LD programs appears to be emerging.;The author concluded that, despite specific procedural safeguards enacted in 1975, factors other than educational and behavioral data (such as race and gender) continue to influence significantly the classification process in special education. The need for meaningful and valid classification was seen as critical as long as a categorical model of special education continues to pervade the field.



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