Date of Award
Culminating Project Type
Communication Sciences and Disorders: M.S.
Communication Sciences and Disorders
School of Health and Human Services
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.
Keywords and Subject Headings
Special education, Disproportionality, English language learners
Disproportionality of services to some groups of students in special education is a national problem in the United States due to the risk that students are missed for important intervention services, or students are being pulled from the general education curriculum when they are not in need of extra services. This study consisted of a statistical analysis of the Minnesota Automated Recording Student System data set to determine the extent of disproportionality amongst English-, Spanish-, Hmong-, Somali-, and “Other”- speaking students in each of the 14 special education categorical labels over the academic years 2006-07, 2009-10, and 2012-13. Prevalence rates, percentage change, risk ratios, analysis of variance, and Tukey’s Honest Significant Difference Test were used to determine if differences existed between home language groups in each special education category. Results indicate that, overall, English Language Learning (ELL) students in Minnesota were at risk for underrepresentation compared to English Primary Language students in special education, although there were also instances of overrepresentation in some special education categories for some language groups. There were significant differences in enrollment in 9 of the 14 special education categories (Specific Learning Disability (SLD), Speech-Language Impairment (SLI), Emotional Behavioral Disorder, Other Health Impairment, Developmental Delay, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Developmental Cognitive Delay Mild, Deaf/Hard of Hearing (D/HH), and Deaf-Blind), with over- and underrepresentation related to interactions between language groups and special education categories. Because SLD, SLI, ASD, and D/HH are special education categories in which students are frequently served by speech-language pathologists (SLPs), these categories were further examined to determine which home language groups in particular were significantly different. The results of this research has implications for special education professionals, education policy makers, and SLPs when serving students from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. More research is needed to determine why disproportionality exists between language groups, if special education enrollment is beneficial for ELL students, and to determine prevalence rates of language groups in other states and within Minnesota school districts.
Zerfas, Hanna M., "Prevalence and Proportionality of English Language Learners in Minnesota Special Education" (2016). Culminating Projects in Communication Sciences and Disorders. 1.