Taming the testing monster: A study of factors related to inappropriate referral practices
The goal of this descriptive study was to present information describing the problem of inappropriate and disproportionate referral practices. The research method used for the study was a quantitative analysis of data collected from prereferral intervention team chairs/coordinators in elementary and middle schools from one Georgia county. Results were used to address hypotheses regarding teacher-related factors in inappropriate referral practices. Disproportionate and inappropriate referrals to special education have been a concern since the birth of special education. Many students, especially those of minority backgrounds, have historically been placed in special education, even though they did not belong in such settings. Placements are often made for reasons other than student deficiencies. Other factors may include a lack of opportunity to learn, whether by entering school without many skills that teachers expect students to possess, or by inappropriate instructional strategies and methodologies. Oftentimes, the difficulties that students experience arise from their home lives or from incongruence related to the expectations between home and school. Other instances that can inhibit students' ability to learn include internal characteristics, such as resistance to learning, learning differences, and cultural or linguistic differences. Motivation has always been an issue that teachers bemoan regularly. Finally, parental involvement has often been an area of weakness that should be bolstered and enhanced by the school. All schools should identify and remediate areas in which the curriculum is weak. Furthermore, curriculum should be sharply aligned with mandated assessments to ensure that learners are taught the appropriate course material.
0525: Educational psychology
0529: Special education