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ERIC Number: ED525274
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 116
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1244-8181-4
Factors that Influence School Psychologists' Special Education Eligibility Decisions
Bachoe, Mikaela
ProQuest LLC, Psy.D. Dissertation, Rutgers The State University of New Jersey, Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology
School psychologists constantly make decisions that affect the lives of children and their families. One of the most significant decisions they make is determining a child's eligibility for Special Education and related services. Despite the importance of eligibility decisions there is little research examining the decision making practices of school psychologists. Thus, this study was designed to examine the effect of three factors, the race of the child (Caucasian vs. African American), the socioeconomic status (SES) of the child (low vs. middle) and the referral source (parent versus teacher referral) on school psychologists' decisions and judgments. Eight versions of a hypothetical case of a child potentially eligible for special education were developed, representing the factorial combinations of the three variables. Participants who agreed to complete the online survey were randomly assigned to one of the versions of the case materials (which included the case vignette, referral information and test scores). Other than the differences on the three independent variables, the versions of the materials were identical. Participants (N=158) were asked to indicate if they believed the child was classifiable and to rate their confidence in their decision and the difficulty of the classification decision. A 2x2x2 ANOVA was conducted to evaluate the effects of the race of the child, the SES of the child and the referral source on school psychologists' classification decision. Results indicate that the race of the child and the referral source did not affect school psychologists' decisions to classify the hypothetical student. However, results yielded a marginally significant main effect for SES on eligibility decisions, with lower SES students being more likely to be classified. An additional analysis evaluated the effects of the aforementioned factors on participants' level of confidence in their decision. The three-way interaction between race, referral source, and SES was significant. Also, the interaction between race and SES was marginally significant. The main effects of race, SES, and referral source were not significant. Finally, a 2x2x2 ANOVA of the "difficulty" ratings yielded a marginally significant threeway interaction between race, referral source and SES. Results are discussed and implications for school psychologists are suggested. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A