Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Brenda T. Williams


The purpose of this study was to determine the extent to which practices to address disproportionality suggested by the professional literature are being implemented in Virginia public schools. It also sought to understand the perceptions of special education directors regarding the effectiveness of these practices in addressing disproportionality. Mixed methods were employed through the use of a survey instrument which was developed for this study and a content analysis of school division action plans.;There were two overarching research focus questions as well as six corresponding sub-questions investigated in this study. This study included 111 directors of special education who represent each of the eight regional study groups.;The findings from this study indicate that practices suggested in the professional literature are being widely used in Virginia public schools. as well, all of the practices stated in the survey are largely perceived to be effective in addressing the issue of disproportionality.;Through the content analysis of eleven school division actions plans and the analysis of the open-ended survey question, additional practices being used to address disproportionality emerged. The results of the study also indicated a significant positive relationship between division size, proportion of African American students enrolled, and proportion of African American students with disabilities and implementation of the practices and perceived effectiveness. Recommendations for future research as well as implications for general and special education leaders are discussed.



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