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Selected Resources: Identification and Assessment of
Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students with Disabilities,
1993-1996This document has been retired from the active collection
of the ERIC Clearinghouse
on Disabilities and Gifted Education.
It contains references or resources that may
no longer be valid or up to date.
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Disproportionate Participation of Students from Ethnic and
Cultural Minorities in Special Education Classes and Programs:
Forum to Examine Current Policy. 1993. Project FORUM. Report of a
Policy Forum (Alexandria, Virginia, June 3-4, 1993). 30pp. ERIC Document Reproduction Service (EDRS), ED361983.
A policy forum was convened on the disproportionate
participation of students from ethnic and cultural minorities in
special education classes and programs, to promote a constructive
national dialogue. The charge to participants was to identify the
issues underlying the problem of disproportionate participation of
minorities and to identify strategies for promoting systemic State
and federal policy alternatives and ensure equitable referral,
assessment, and eligibility determination for all students. The
policy forum resulted in identification of 76 issues which were
arranged within eight clusters, including: cultural sensitivity and
family participation; referral, assessment, and identification;
preservice and inservice training; policy, regulation, and funding;
diversity in schools and communities; social and community
issues; marketing and public relations; and outcomes,
effectiveness, and data. Twenty-five strategies were
recommended, with the following themes: teacher and
professional support for meeting the needs of minority students;
more input from policy and influence of minority parents and
professionals; procedures that encourage integration; elimination
of arbitrary and stigmatizing labels; monitoring of State and local
practices by federal government; and research needs. Appendixes
contain a participants list, communications with participants, an
agenda, output from the policy forum, the issues identified by
participants, and the recommendations for action.
Disproportionate Representation of Students from Minority
Ethnic/Racial Groups in Special Education: A Policy Forum To
Develop Action Plans for High Priority Recommendations. 1994. Final
Report. Project FORUM. Proceedings of a Policy Forum in
Disproportionate Representation (Pentagon City, VA, August
25-26, 1994). 27pp. ERIC Document Reproduction Service (EDRS), ED378716.
This paper reports on the design, purpose, implementation,
and outcomes of a policy forum on disproportionate representation
of students from minority ethnic/racial groups in special education.
The purpose of this policy forum was to develop an action agenda
for implementation of two recommendations assigned a high
priority by a group of stakeholders: (1) prereferral strategies
should be an integral part of the educational process and should
be made available to service providers prior to the initiation of a
formal assessment, and training should be provided in this area;
and (2) training should be provided to address the diverse learning
strengths and needs of an increasing heterogeneous student
population, including training in the area of parent/professional
collaboration, and family members from different ethnic/racial
backgrounds should be used as resources. Two speakers offered
remarks: Robert Solomon on prereferral strategies and Beth Harry
on home-school collaboration. Forum participants then identified
compelling reasons to implement the recommendations, barriers
to implementation, and critical components of an implementation
plan. Appendixes contain a participant list, a list of background
materials for the forum, an agenda, and tips for successful
Disproportionate Representation of Culturally and
Linguistically Diverse Students in Special Education: A
Comprehensive Examination. (1995). Prepared by Project FORUM. 76pp. ERIC Document Reproduction Service (EDRS), ED379812.
This document was developed as a result of 1993 and 1994
policy forums on strategies to address disproportionate
representation of minority students in special education. Part 1 is
a synthesis of major themes and recommendations resulting from
the first forum. Part 2 is a prioritization of 35 recommendations
arising from that forum. The following were the top-ranked
recommendations: (1) prereferral strategies should be an integral
part of the educational process and should precede a formal
assessment; and (2) training should be provided to address
learning needs and strengths of an increasing heterogeneous
student population, including training in home-school collaboration.
Part 3 is a summary of the second meeting which developed action
plans for the high priority recommendations. Part 4 is a summary
that notes continuing involvement of the Office of Special
Education Programs. Appendices include listings of participants
in the prioritization process and the forum, instruments used to
prioritize recommendations, agenda of the 1994 forum, and a list
of tips for effective prereferral.
Gutierrez-Clellen, V. F. et al. (1995). Accommodating Cultural
Differences in Narrative Style: A Multicultural Perspective. Topics
in Language Disorders, 15(4), 54-67.
Narratives of children from different Spanish-speaking
backgrounds illustrate that children's atypical narrative
performance may reflect individual or cultural differences. It is
suggested that static assessments may not differentiate narrative
differences from disorders. A dynamic assessment model to
predict the child's true language learning potential is presented.
Harry, B. (1994). The Disproportionate Representation of Minority
Students in Special Education: Theories and Recommendations.
Project FORUM. Final Report. 88pp. ERIC Document Reproduction Service (EDRS), ED374637.
This report synthesisizes the current knowledge and
theoretical positions concerning the disproportionate
representation of minorities in special education in five broad
sections: (1) an introduction which clarifies the terminology and
purpose of the report; (2) an overview of the position of minority
students in the nation's education system; (3) a description of the
pervasiveness and patterns of disproportionate placement,
including an analysis of data from the Office for Civil Rights and
the National Longitudinal Transition Study of Special Education
Students; (4) an outline and discussion of the various explanations
or interpretations that have been offered for this phenomenon
(including characteristics of the students, biases in the assessment
process, and characteristics of students' homes and communities);
and (5) recommendations. The report finds no single reason for
disproportionate representation but does find that continuing
educational and social inequities combine to place poor minority
students at particular disadvantage. Recommendations address:
the collection and use of data on disproportionate representation;
disbanding the classification system; restructuring for a unified
system of special and regular education; restructuring for
prevention of failure and the redress of disadvantage; assessment
in context, for the purpose of modifying and improving services;
curriculum and instruction in context; grouping students in schools;
and schools as community resources.
Lequerica, M. (1995). A Culturally Sensitive Approach to Serving
Low-Income Latino Preschoolers. Infant-Toddler Intervention: The
Transdisciplinary Journal, 5(2), 193-205.
This article describes a pediatrically based, culturally
sensitive, interagency screening program for developmental delays
among Latino low-income preschoolers (N=52). Children with
severe to moderate delays and age-eligible children were referred
to preschool programs.
Leung, B. P. (1996). Quality Assessment Practices in a Diverse
Society. Teaching Exceptional Children, 28(3), 42-45.
This article proposes six "quality" indicators of assessment
practices with culturally and linguistically diverse students,
including: (1) examination of opportunity to learn; (2) involvement
of parents or caretakers; (3) use of trained interpreters; (4)
nonreliance on psychometrics; (5) use of a multidisciplinary team;
and (6) use of informed clinical judgment.
Lidz, C. S., & Pena, E. D. (1996). Dynamic Assessment: The
Model, Its Relevance as a Nonbiased Approach, and Its
Application to Latino American Preschool Children. Language,
Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 27(4), 367-72.
This article discusses the use of dynamic assessment for
determining language delays in Latino American preschool
children and compares dynamic with traditional assessment. Two
case studies of Latino American preschool children (ages 3 and 4)
are described to illustrate the increased accuracy in student
assessment by using dynamic assessment.
Lim, L. & Browder, D. M. (1994). Multicultural Life Skills
Assessment of Individuals with Severe Disabilities. Journal of the
Association for Persons with Severe Handicaps, 19(2), 130-38.
This article addresses the need for a multicultural perspective
on life skills assessment for students with severe disabilities.
Guidelines for making a life skills assessment process more
multicultural are offered.
Luft, P. (1995). Addressing Minority Overrepresentation in Special
Education: Cultural Barriers to Effective Collaboration. Paper
presented at the 73rd Annual International Convention of the
Council for Exceptional Children (Indianapolis, IN, April 5-9, 1995).
41pp. ERIC Document Reproduction Service (EDRS), ED385093.
This paper examines the cultural differences that arise
because of disability, ethnicity, and social status and their impact
on assessment practices, programming, goal setting, and the
special education processes established by legislation, especially
in light of the overrepresentation of minorities in special education.
Suggestions for resolving existing cultural barriers include
encouraging parent groups to become involved and providing
professionals with culturally competent information and suggested
practices. The paper considers the conceptual discrepancies and
cultural barriers that exist between minority families and the special
education system. Overrepresentation of minorities in special
education is discussed in terms of historical patterns, assessment
procedures, and legal suits and legislation. A section on
definitions and stratifications considers minority classifications,
disability categories, and class and status categories. Parental
rights in special education as documented by court litigation and
legislation are reviewed. Existing cultural differences are identified
through consideration of typically American cultural values,
contrasting values of identity, contrasting views of disability, and
contrasting views of relationships. Implications of cultural
differences for parental involvement in the schools are discussed.
Specific recommendations to increase parental involvement are
Markowitz, J. (1996). Disproportionate Representation: A Critique
of State and Local Strategies. Final Report. Policy Forum Report
(Washington, DC, September 14-15, 1995). Prepared by Project
FORUM. 25pp. ERIC Document Reproduction Service (EDRS), ED392195.
This document reports on the purpose, implementation, and
outcomes of a policy forum on strategies used to address the
disproportionate number of students from minority ethnic/racial
groups receiving special education. Participants included
representatives of state education agencies, local education
agencies, the university/research community, general education,
the Office for Civil Rights, and advocacy groups. The purpose
was to critique preliminary findings of a case-study investigation in
three states and to identify specific strategies for addressing the
disproportionate representation problem. Strategies were
identified for the following six areas: (1) the importance of school
staff trained to work with culturally, racially, and linguistically
diverse students and recruitment of staff reflecting this diversity; (2)
the need for ongoing professional development opportunities for
school personnel in such areas as positive classroom
management, effective instructional practices, and nonbiased
assessment; (3) the need to inform and involve communities in
addressing issues of disproportionality; (4) the need for involving
parents early in the child's school career; (5) the need for closer
collaboration between general and special educators; and (6) the
need for special education data, disaggregated by race/ethnic
group, to understand disproportionality and focus strategies. A
list of forum participants and the agenda are attached.
Markowitz, J. (1996). Strategies That Address the Disproportionate
Number of Students from Racial/Ethnic Minority Groups Receiving
Special Education Services: Case Studies of Selected States and
School Districts. Final Report. Prepared by Project FORUM. 104pp. ERIC Document Reproduction Service (EDRS), ED396473.
This final report describes strategies identified from
interviews with educators in eight school districts in Arkansas, New
Mexico, and Pennsylvania concerning the disproportionate number
of students from racial/ethnic minority groups receiving special
education services. The first section describes the methodology
of the case study examination. Sections 2 and 3 present the three
state case studies and the eight school district reports, followed by
Section 4, which summarizes challenges faced by school districts
when addressing disproportionality. The fifth section summarizes
recurring themes across states and districts. These include: (1)
having a school staff trained to work with racially/ethnically diverse
students; (2) ongoing professional development in such areas as
positive classroom management, identifying learning strengths,
effective instructional practices for diverse learners, and nonbiased
assessment; (3) the need for general and special educators to
work together; (4) the importance of encouraging parent/family
input at all educational levels; (5) the need for special education
data to be disaggregated by race/ethnic group; and (6) the
importance of school districts monitoring referral and
evaluation/assessment processes and exploring ways to address
disproportionality. Appended are ratings of state level initiatives,
data collection guidelines, and plans from three of the school
Robinson-Zanartu, C. (1996). Serving Native American Children
and Families: Considering Cultural Variables. Language, Speech,
and Hearing Services in Schools, 27(4), 373-84.
This article examines the different world views and belief
systems, acculturation stress, school-home discontinuity, learning
styles, communication patterns, and parent participation of Native
American students. The assessment and evaluation of Native
American students and culturally compatible service delivery
models are also discussed.
Williams, L. et al. (1995). Minority Assessment of ADD: Issues in
the Development of New Assessment Techniques. Attention, (2)1, 9-15.
This article addresses issues concerning prevalence rates
and evaluation methods for diagnosing attention deficit disorder
(ADD) in minority populations. Various evaluation measures are
discussed, including the Diagnostic Interview Schedule for
Children, the System of Multicultural Pluralistic Assessment, and
the Scales of Independent Behavior. Efforts to develop culturally,
ethnically, and economically sensitive evaluation procedures are
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