Exploring the K-5 special education referral process in one Midwest suburban school district
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Studies have shown referrals for special education evaluations and the evaluation process itself is marred by teacher subjectivity and a lack of quantitative data (Dunn, 2006; Mamlin and Harris, 1998; and Ysseldyke et al.,1982). Consequently, this behavior leads to over identification of students from minority cultures due to their struggle to assimilate into the school environment (Deninger, 2008; Klingner and Harry, 2006; Parette, 2005; Poon-McBrayer and Garcia, 1994; Skiba et al., 2008; Wehmeyer and Schwartz, 2001). This study seeks to better understand the special education referral process in one Midwestern school district. Specifically, this qualitative study employed focus groups, interviews, and artifact collection to engage K-5 regular education teachers in conversations about common behaviors that prompt a referral for special education evaluation. The research was conducted in three elementary schools in a metropolitan school district.