Date of Award

Spring 5-10-2021

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Special Education - General Curriculum (Ed.D)



Committee Chair

Dr. Kate Zimmer

Committee Chair/First Advisor

Dr. Melissa Driver

Second Committee Member

Dr. James Gambrell


Disproportionality is the overrepresentation and/or underrepresentation of a specific population or demographic group including gender, race/ethnicity, or socioeconomic class in special education programs relative to the group’s presence in the overall student body. Research suggested that the overrepresentation of Black male students in special education is the result of subjective testing practices and eligibility processes that stem from societal beliefs and staff biases rather than objective measures used to diagnose the presence of specific disabilities. While Black male students are historically overrepresented in special education, the concern is that the inappropriate placement of Black male students is a form of segregation, as these students may be moved into smaller classes, receive less rigorous instruction, and held to lower academic performance standards compared to their general education peers. The label of special education compounded with reduced access to general education peers and coursework is detrimental to Black Male students. Considering the Black Male students' overrepresentation in special education, the Critical Race Theory, credited to Bell (1995), comprised the conceptual framework of this study. Since there is little literature on how multidisciplinary team members perceive the implementation or outcomes of Positive Behavior Intervention Support, Response-to-Intervention, and Multi-tiered Systems of Supports, it was essential to explore the case of Black male students’ overrepresentation in special education through ascertaining the perceptions of team members that determine placement and re-evaluate the appropriateness of the placement and supports provided.

Included in

Education Commons