The Repository @ St. Cloud State

Open Access Knowledge and Scholarship

Date of Award


Culminating Project Type

Starred Paper

Degree Name

Special Education: M.S.


Special Education


School of Education

First Advisor

Bradley Kaffar

Second Advisor

Jerry Wellik

Third Advisor

Christine Jazwinski

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Keywords and Subject Headings

Overrepresentation, Special Education, Minority, Implicit Bias, Explicit Bias


The disproportionality of minority students referred to or qualifying for special education exceeds the number of minority students in the total school population. Many minority students will receive special education services in a secluded program or classroom. It can prevent students from receiving the appropriate education guaranteed to them. A teacher’s explicit or implicit bias could be a factor in determining the reason why disproportionality of minority students is referred to or qualify for special education services. The research indicated a trend on the over-representation of minority students being referred to or receiving special education services. However, the research on biases as a factor in determining the overrepresentation of minority students in special education services remains mixed due to the limited amount of research. Because racial bias is the current problem surrounding this country, further research should be done to learn more. Culturally responsive pedagogy should be used to train a teacher to become more multicultural in different perspectives and sociocultural conscious. Teachers have the power to engage all students in learning, and instead of accentuating deficits, they should be stressing a student's instruction culturally and responsively, together in school and out of school.


I would like to convey my very great gratitude to Dr. Bradley Kaffar for his continual help during the formation and writing of this research. His willingness to give his time is greatly appreciated.

I would also like to express my gratitude to Dr. Jerry Wellik and his positive encouragement and feedback given to me during my graduate studies.

A special thanks should be given to Dr. Jazwinski who took her personal time to guide me on the statistic portions of the paper. I am grateful for her beneficial suggestions for the research.

Finally, I wish to thank my husband, Butch, and my daughters, Ashley and Cathy, for their support and encouragement throughout my study.



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