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Selected Resources: Identification and Assessment of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students with Disabilities, 1993-1996

This 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.

The ERIC Clearinghouse on Disabilities and Gifted Education (ERIC EC)
E-mail: webmaster@hoagiesgifted.org
Internet: http://eric.hoagiesgifted.org
ERIC EC Minibib EB3
August 1997

Citations with an ED (ERIC Document; for example, ED123456) number are available in microfiche collections at more than 1,000 locations worldwide; to find the ERIC Resource Collection nearest you, point your web browser to: http://ericae.net/derc.htm. Documents can also be ordered for a fee through the ERIC Document Reproduction Service (EDRS): http://edrs.com/, service@edrs.com, or 1-800-443-ERIC.

Journal articles (for example, EJ999999) are available for a fee from the originating journal (check your local college or public library), through interlibrary loan services, or from article reproduction services: Carl Uncover, now at Ingenta: http://www.ingenta.com/, uncover@carl.org, 1-800-787-7979; or ISI: tga@isinet.com, 1-800-523-1850.


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 prereferral.

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 offered.

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 districts.

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 highlighted.

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