This study is an exploration of the aspects related to the disproportionate representation of minority students in special education. The investigation specifically focused on the relationship between teacher perceptions of Response to Intervention (RTI), teacher racial attitudes, and teacher self-efficacy with respect to their special education referral decisions. Teachers assigned to grades K-5 (n=51), from three Florida public school districts, completed an online survey. The survey included reading four vignettes each describing a fictitious 3rd grade, male, Black/African American student and rating the severity of the academic concern, the severity of the behavior concern, and the likelihood that they would refer the student for a special education evaluation. Participants also completed a revised RTI Survey, the Color-Blind Racial Attitudes Scale (CoBRAS), and the Teachers' Sense of Efficacy Scale (TSES). Spearman's correlation coefficients were calculated as well as an ordinal logistic regression. A statistically significant relationship was found between the Unawareness of Institutional Discrimination subscale score of the CoBRAS and the behavior concern for a student described as having mild behavior and academic concerns. A statistically significant relationship was found between the rating of the behavior concern and the Efficacy in Student Engagement and Efficacy in Classroom Management subscale scores on the TSES for the vignette describing a student with a severe reading concern and a mild behavior concern. The teachers' perceptions of RTI, racial attitudes, and sense of efficacy did not appear to have a statistically significant impact on their rating of the likelihood of referral for any of the students described in the vignettes.
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Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
College of Community Innovation and Education
Learning Sciences and Educational Research
Curriculum and Instruction
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Campus-only Access)
Cash, Kristine, "The Role of Teacher Perceptions of Response to Intervention, Racial/Ethnic Attitudes, and Self-Efficacy in Special Education Referral Decisions" (2019). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 6460.