Dissertation

A Quantitative Analysis of How a Teacher's Perceptions and Lack of Professional Development Affects the Disproportionality of Black Males in Special Education

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The disproportionality of Black male students is one of the most critical problems in special education within the U.S. (Skiba et al., 2006). This quantitative study aimed to examine how teachers' perceptions of classroom norms and professional development affect how they refer Black males to special education. The issue of disproportionality among Blacks in special education has been discussed in educational literature since the 1960s and continues to be a concern today. This study examined how teachers' perceptions of Black students' language, family history, behavior, cultural differences, and biases affect who they refer to as special education. Data were collected from kindergarten to high school teachers in a small suburban school district. Participants in the survey took the Gresham survey, which is divided into two sections. Part one's purpose was to gather information from teachers about the overrepresentation of Black males that are ultimately referred to special education, while section two's purpose was to collect demographic information on the survey participants. Their responses were then analyzed to determine the extent to which a teacher's perception of classroom norms and professional development affects who they refer to special education. This research provides an overall view of how teachers' perceptions and lack of professional development contribute to how they refer Black students to special education. In addition, this study highlighted the importance of professional development to ensure that teachers are aware of how their personal beliefs may affect their classroom decisions.

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