Disproportionate Identification

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Disproportionate Identification


The research paper explores the Issues of Assessment process in special education in a holistic context. This paper focuses specifically on the issue of Disproportionate Identification of minorities in special education and what are the consequences of disproportional representation of minorities. This study examines the issues and then states the best practices in the assessment process that must be adopted by the schools all over the United States. Further, it examines the effect of 'No Child Left Behind' Act on the assessment in special education.

Table of Content



Issues in Assessment Process2

Disproportionate Identification of Minorities in Special Education3

Consequences of Disproportional Representation5

Best Practices in Assessment6

NCLB's Effect on Assessment in Special Education7


Disproportionate Identification


Assessment can simply be defined as a process where data is collected so that the decision can made about the students. As Boud, D (1995) says in his book 'Enhancing Learning through Self Assessment', “Self assessment, while commonly portrayed as a technique to enhance learning, is more transformative, elusive and confronting to conventional teaching than it is normally expedient to recognize”.

In United States, one of the big businesses in the schools is conducting assessment. Especially the assessment of special education is relatively large than any other country. The special children; who are diagnosed with any disability are then categorized accordingly then their assessments are conducted to place on the right education system. A survey was conducted by the US department of Commerce (1994); in 1992 it was reported to have 4.9millioin people below the age of 22 who were eligible for the special education.(Source: Education week analysis of data from the US department of Education 2002-03)


Issues in Assessment Process

As the population of United States in increasing, the biasness in the assessment of special education is becoming controversial too. This has become the large parts of the debate about the intelligence, ethnicity, inequality and race in the society (Herrnstein & Murray, 1994).

Assessment techniques, such as IQ score may prove to be successful tool to assess the mental retardation but they are irrelevant for the students who are diagnosed with disabilities. Such students with learning disabilities may lack in the areas that are usually tested by the IQ. The controversy has been going on in the past over the differences in race, language background, ethnicity, etc. Determining the use of IQ tests for placing the students in special education is valid or not, has become a debatable issue. However, in spite of all the criticisms, IQ tests are still being used for the classification of the students for the special education. It carries a great portion of weight in classifying the students with learning disabilities. In such cases, IQ tests will provide inaccurate results, as they measure knowledge of facts, expressive language abilities and short term memory along with other additional skills. Children having learning disability lack in these specific areas so scoring low in them would be totally false. It may also be assumed that the students scoring low in the IQ do not have good reading ...
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