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Placing Children in Special Education: A Strategy for equity Kirby A. Heller, Wayne H. Holtzman, and Samuel Messick, Editors Panel on Selection and Placement of Students in Programs for the Mentally Retarded Committee on Child Development Research and Public Policy Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education National Research Council NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS Washington, D.C. 1982

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NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the Councils of the Na- tional Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This report has been reviewed by a group other than the authors according to procedures approved by a Report Review Committee consisting of members of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was established by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's pur- poses of furthering knowledge and of advising the federal government. The Council operates in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy under the authority of its congressional charter of 1863, which establishes the Academy as a private, nonprofit, self- governing membership corporation. The Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in the conduct of their services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. It is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. The National Academy of Engineering and the Institute of Medicine were established in 1964 and 1970, respectively, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences. This project was supported by a contract from the Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education. The contents do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the agency. Library of Congress Cataloging In Publication Data National Research Council (U.S.). Panel on Selection and Placement of Students in Programs for the Mentally Retarded. Placing children in special education. 1. Mentally handicapped children-Education-Congresses. 2. Students, Rating of-Congresses. 3. Educational tests and measurements-Congresses. I. Heller, Kirby A. II. Holtzman, Wayne H. III. Messick, Samuel. IV. National Research Council (U.S.). Committee on Child Development Research and Public Policy. V. National Research Council (U.S.). Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education. VI. Title. [DNLM: 1. Education of mentally retarded. 2. Educational measurement. LC 4602 P698] LC4602.N35 1982 371.92 '8 82-3635 ISBN 0-309-03247-4 AACR2 Available from NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20418 Printed in the United States of America

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PANEL ON SELECTION AND PLACEMENT OF STUDENTS IN PROGRAMS FOR THE MENTALLY RETARDED WAYNE H. Ho~TzMAN (Chair), Hogg Foundation for Mental Health, University of Texas, Austin SAMuE~ MEss~cK (Vice Chair), Educational Testing Service, Princeton, N.J. DoNA~D N. BERSOFF, Ennis, Friedman, Bersoff, and Ewing and Univer- sity of Maryland School of Law IAN CAN~No, Department of Pediatric Psychiatry, Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center, New York C. KEITH CONNERS, Department of Psychiatry, Children s Hospital, Wash- ington, D.C. AroNzo A. CRIM, Superintendent, Atlanta Public Schools JAMES J. GALLAGHER, Frank Porter Graham Child Development Center, University of North Carolina THOMAS H. Godhood, Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia ASA GRANT HILLIARD, College of Education, Georgia State University REGINALD B. JONES, Department of Education and Department of Afro- American Studies, University of California, Berkeley JANE R. MERGER, Department of Sociology, University of California, Riverside JOHN U. OGBU, Department of Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley AMADO M. PADILLA, Department of Psychology, University of California, Los Angeles LAUREN B. REsN~cK, Learning Research and Development Center, Uni versity of Pittsburgh ROBERT J. SERFLING, Department of Mathematical Sciences, The Johns Hopkins University KIRBY A. HELLER, Study Director JEFFREY R. TRAVERS, Senior Consultant JEREMY D. FINN, Senior Research Associate SUZANNE S. MAGNErr~, Research Associate WILLIAM E. BICKEL, Consultant ANN M. Davis, Administrative Secretary . ~

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COMMITTEE ON CHILD DEVELOPMENT RESEARCH AND PUBLIC POLICY ALFRED J. KAHN (Chair), School of Social Work, Columbia University ELEANOR E. MACCOBY (Vice Chair), Department of Psychology, Stan- ford University URIE BRONFENBRENNER, Department of Human Development and Fam- ily Studies, Cornell University FRANK F. FURSTENBERG, Department of Sociology, University of Penn- sylvania JOEL F. HANDLER, School of Law, University of Wisconsin JOHN H. KENNELL, School of Medicine, Case Western Reserve University and Rainbow Babies' and Children's Hospital WILLIAM KESSEN, Department of Psychology, Yale University FRANK LEVY, The Urban Institute, Washington, D.C. RICHARD J. LIGHT, Graduate School of Education, Harvard University LAURENCE E. LYNN, JR., John F. Kennedy School of Government, Har- vard University ROBERT H. MNOOKIN, Law School, Stanford University JOHN Modern, Department of History, University of Minnesota WILLIAM A. MoRn~r, Mathematica Policy Research, Inc., Princeton, N.J. RICHARD R. NELSON, Department of Economics, Yale University CONSTANCE B. NEWMAN, Newman and Hermanson Co., Washington, D.C. JOHN U. OGBU, Department of Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley LAUREL B. RESNICK, Learning Research and Development Center, Uni- versity of Pittsburgh HAROLD A. RICHMAN, School of Social Services Administration, Univer- sity of Chicago JACK L. WALKER, Institute of Public Policy Studies, University of Michigan Rosin M. Wars, JR., Department of Sociology, Cornell University WAYNE H. Ho~TzMAN (ex officio), Chair, Panel on Selection and Place- ment of Students in Programs for the Mentally Retarded; Hogg Foun- dation for Mental Health, University of Texas, Austin SHEILA B. KAMERMAN (ex officio), Chair, Panel on Work, Family, and Community; School of Social Work, Columbia University v

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Contents PREFACE REPORT OF THE PANEL 1 Introduction: Disproportion in Special Education Placement in Special Education: Historical Developments and Current Procedures 3 Assessment: Issues and Methods 4 Effective Instruction for Mildly Mentally Retarded Children New Approaches to Assessment and Instruction References BACKGROUND PAPERS Biological and Social Factors Contributing to Mild Mental Retardation Jack P. Shonkoff . . V11 IX 3 23 45 74 92 118 133

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V111 Contents Classifying Mentally Retarded Students: A Review of Placement Practices in Special Education William E. Bickel Testing in Educational Placement: Issues and Evidence Jeffrey R. Travers Effects of Special Education Placement on Educable Mentally Retarded Children Kirby A. Heller Some Potential Incentives of Special Education Funding Practices Suzanne S. Magnetti . Patterns in Special Education Placement as Revealed by the OCR Surveys Jeremy D. Finn 182 230 262 300 322

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Preface For the past 12 years, national surveys by the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) of the U.S. Department of Education have revealed an overrepre- sentation of minority children and males in special education programs for mentally retarded students. The 1978 survey, for example, indicated that across the nation black children constituted 38 percent of the stu- dents in classes for educable mentally retarded students, although black students constitute only about 16 percent of all elementary and secondary students. Charged with ensuring the compliance of local school districts with prohibitions of discrimination against minority students, OCR turned to the National Research Council for help in understanding the nature of this disproportion and in formulating sound policies for carrying out its mandate. The Panel on Selection and Placement of Students in Programs for the Mentally Retarded was established in 1979 under the auspices of the Com- mittee on Child Development Research and Public Policy of the National Research Council. The panel's mission was twofold: (1) to determine the factors that account for disproportionate representation of minority stu- dents and males in special education programs, especially programs for mentally retarded students and (2) to identify placement criteria or prac- tices that do not affect minority students and males disproportionately. The task confronting the panel required balance, objectivity, and dispas- sion in an area marked by emotion and controversy in the courts, in the schools, and in society at large. Comprised of 15 individuals representing a wide range of viewpoints, 1X

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x Preface the panel included some members closely identified with the specific issue of disproportion in special education and some who were known for their expertise in related fields education of the handicapped, testing, and school administration. Most of the panel members, however, were se- lected because they were not closely allied with the questions at issue or current debates. These members represented such fields as law, psychi- atry, statistics, and clinical psychology. All have changed their views in some way during the course of the panel's work. All agree on the panel's primary message and recommendations. We began our work by commissioning several preliminary studies, a series of background papers, and an extensive analysis of recent survey data from the OCR. Additional papers provided a basis for debating the major questions and issues involved in the disproportion of minorities and males in classes for mentally retarded students. From the outset we recognized the difficulties facing us, but, perhaps naively, we did not recognize how difficult they would prove to be. To un- derstand why minority students, and to a lesser extent males, are dispro- portionately represented in programs for educable mentally retarded children, we felt obliged to examine a wide range of topics- the role of IQ testing; the appropriateness of placing special education students in regu- lar classes; the meaning, causes, and proper assessment of mental retar- dation in schools; and racial discrimination in educational practices. Each of these obviously demands a report of its own. Each of these disturbed us, divided us, and many times distracted us from our original mandate. Our ultimate message is a strikingly simple one. The purpose of the en- tire process" from referral for assessment to eventual placement in special education-is to improve instruction for children. The focus on educa- tional benefits for children became our unifying theme, cutting across dis- ciplinary boundaries and sharply divergent points of view. With this goal in mind we recast many of the original questions that had been asked. Our initial question "What are the causes of disproportionate representation of minorities and males in special education" became "Why is disproportionate representation of minorities and males a prob- lem?" This change in focus altered both the assumptions on which our work was based and the goals toward which we strived. Our reformulated question is premised on the belief that disproportion per se is not a prob- lem; unequal numbers do not by themselves constitute an inequity. In- stead, disproportion signals that certain underlying conditions may be problematic, and the task becomes one of identifying these conditions. The reformulated question also changed the outcomes of our study. Rather than suggest procedures that eliminate or reduce disproportion,

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Preface x :i we recommend practices that directly redress the inequitable conditions underlying it. Two key issues are at the heart of the debate about disproportion. First, disproportion is a problem when children are invalidly assessed for place- ment in programs for educable mentally retarded children. Second, dis- proportion is a problem when children receive low-quality instruction. This problem may arise in the regular classroom, where opportunities for academic success may be restricted, or in the special education classroom, where a child's educational progress may falter due to lowered or inappro- priate expectations and goals. These two themes the validity of assessment and the quality of instruc- tion are the subject of this report. Valid assessment, in our view, is marked by its relevance to and usefulness for instruction. These criteria move the debate away from the traditional questions raised by IQ testing to concern with the educational implications of assessment. This narrow- ing of the purpose of assessment is accompanied by a broadening of its focus. To understand a child's learning problems, one must assess not only intellectual functioning and other aspects of the individual outside the intellectual domain but also the contribution of the child's educational environment to his or her performance in school. Individual failures in school must be understood within this broadened context. Valid assess- ment of the learning environment is as critical as valid assessment of the individual. Our views about labeling children and determining the setting in which special education services are best provided were similarly guided by an emphasis on their relevance for instruction. Again, arguments that have traditionally dominated the field e.g., those for and against "main- streaming"- were viewed as less critical than evidence for and against the utility of certain instructional practices for helping children with academic difficulties. This report is primarily concerned with racial and ethnic disproportion; less attention has been paid to sex disproportion. Much of the scientific literature we reviewed as well as the public debates concerning dispropor- tion in special education have neglected the phenomenon of sex dispropor- tion or subordinated it to the more visible and controversial issue of racial and ethnic disproportion. Although we did not examine sex disproportion in isolation or in detail, the recommendations of this report are as equally valid for males as they are for minority children. More important, the analysis we offer applies to all children who have been invalidly assessed or have become the victims of poor instruction, regardless of their racial or ethnic identification or sex.

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xii Preface Our recommendations are consistent with current law and educational theory and best practice. Some critics will no doubt point out that what we recommend is already taking place and that our suggestions are not rele- vant to current practices, at least as they exist in some school districts. Others may consider the recommendations idealistic and perhaps far- fetched. The recommendations are offered in the spirit of adhering faithfully to principles of sound educational practice. We hope they will be useful in guiding practice. We know they will stimulate debate. If such debate is moved onto a new and productive level of discourse that even- tually moves children into better educational settings, we will consider the report successful. This volume comprises two parts. The first is the panel's report and represents the consensus of the panel members. The second is a series of background papers that were prepared by staff and consultants to inform the panel, to aid its deliberations, and to provide comprehensive reviews of literature that support the conclusions of the report. While each paper represents the views of its author, all papers were carefully reviewed by the panel and relevant outside experts. Although the report closely follows the work of the panel as a group, at some point it becomes necessary for individuals to transform panel discus- sions and agreement into a written document. Chapter 1 was principally drafted by Samuel Messick, Kirby A. Heller, and Jeremy D. Finn. Chap- ter 2 was drafted by Kirby A. Heller and Suzanne S. Magnetti. The prepa- ration of Chapters 3 and 4 was guided by subgroups of the panel: Jeffrey R. Travers drafted Chapter 3 primarily in consultation with Donald N. Bersoff, C. Keith Conners, Reginald B. Jones, Jane R. Mercer, and Samuel Messick. Lauren B. Resnick drafted Chapter 4 primarily in con- sultation with James J. Gallagher and Asa Grant Hilliard. Chapter 5 was drafted by Kirby A. Heller, Samuel Messick, Jeffrey R. Travers, and Jeremy D. Finn. The final consensus and report endorsed by this diverse, hard-working panel would not have been achieved without the able assistance of Kirby A. Heller, study director, and her colleagues, Jeremy D. Finn and Su- zanne S. Magnetti. Special thanks also go to Jeffrey R. Travers, who helped the panel in the initial stages of its work as study director and con- tinued to work closely with the panel as a consultant and writer. The ma- jor contributions of Kirby A. Heller, Jeremy D. Finn, Suzanne S. Mag- netti, and Jeffrey R. Travers, and special consultants William E. Bickel and Jack P. Shonkoff, are also evident in the background papers they wrote for this volume. Dorothy Gilford prepared important background materials and helped with the analysis of the survey data. Christine L. McShane edited the report and prepared it for publication. Ann M.

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Preface . . . x~ Davis, administrative secretary, typed the many drafts of this report and helped with the countless administrative details that were essential to the panel's functioning. While at the OCR, Rebecca Fitch helped launch the project, and she maintained her interest throughout. In the Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education, David A. Goslin, executive director, gave support and encouragement when they were crucial for maintaining the enthusiastic involvement of panel members. Discussions with mem- bers of the parent Committee on Child Development Research and Public Policy stimulated and guided the panel throughout the course of its work. The committee's executive officer, Cheryl D. Hayes, was a source of inval- uable advice to the panel and its staff. The report was critically reviewed at various stages in its development by a number of specialists too numer- ous to mention by name but nonetheless of great value to the panel. Finally, my personal thanks go to my fellow panel members, especially the vice chair, Samuel Messick, for their unfailing support and willingness to close ranks around a central theme and set of recommendations despite divergent viewpoints. WAYNE H. HOLTZMAN, Chair Panel on Selection and Placement of Students in Programs for the Mentally Retarded