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NASP Home NASP Publications School Psychology Review (SPR) Volume 20 Issue 4 (1991) Are Teachers' Perceptions of Difficul...
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Volume 20, Issue 4 (1991)

Are Teachers' Perceptions of Difficult-to-Teach Students Racially Biased?

pp. 599—608

Abstract: This study explored whether classroom teachers’ perceptions of difficult-to-teach students are racially biased. Participants included 40 classroom teachers each of whom nominated a difficult-to-teach (D’IT) pupil most likely to be referred for psychological evaluation and placement in special education.Half the DTI’ students were white, half were black A multi-method, multi-source approach was employed; information was obtained from teacher interviews,teacher ratings, student performance on academic measures, and observations of pupils’ classroom behavior. Results indicate black and white teachers rated black DTI’ pupils significantly more appropriate for referral than white students.Evidence suggests that this may be due to the black students’ poorer academic achievement. Implications for the notion of “teacher-as-test” are discussed.

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