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NASP Home NASP Publications School Psychology Review (SPR) Volume 17 Issue 1 (1988) Recent Placement Litigation, Part III...
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Volume 17, Issue 1 (1988)

Recent Placement Litigation, Part III: Analysis of Differences in Larry P., Marshall, and S-1 and Implications for Future Practices

pp. 39—50

ABSTRACT: The differences between recent placement litigation cases involving over representation of black students in educable mentally retarded (EMR) programs were discussed with emphasis on implications for future litigation and best professional practices. The contradictory decisions in Larry P. and Marshall, both now upheld on appeal in the Federal Appeals Courts, are analyzed. Specific differences were identified in how the issues surrounding over representation were framed and in the approaches of plaintiffs and defendants. Critical differences in the cases were the importance attached to IQ test bias, the use of authoritative sources, use of tangible evidence to augment expert witness testimony, and alleged benefits of EMR programs. Each of these differences contributed significantly to the contradictory outcomes. The need to correct the misconception of predictive validity as the primary criterion for individual IQ tests was discussed extensively. Finally, changing the role of expert witnesses from primary reliance on oral testimony to more emphasis on development of tangible evidence was advocated.

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