Date of Award


Degree Name

School Psychology


College of Education and Professional Development

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Dr. Lanai Jennings, Committee Chairperson

Second Advisor

Dr. Conrae Lucas-Adkins

Third Advisor

Dr. Sandra Stroebel


Students of color and those with disabilities have been disproportionally identified, placed, and disciplined in education. As a result, IDEA 2004 requires states to have policies and procedures in effect to prevent and reduce disproportionate representation by race and ethnicity in the areas of identification, discipline, and placement of children with disabilities. Despite the policies, black students are still 1) suspended or expelled at a rate two-to-three times higher than white students; 2) 2.8 times more likely to be identified as having a high-incidence disability; 3) more likely to be placed in a more restrictive environment. Because these disparities continue to persist, it is critical that both school psychologists and special educators have a thorough understanding of disproportionality and are informed about innovative intervention and prevention strategies for overrepresentation. Literature regarding disproportionality is important for guiding practitioners to address the root causes of disproportionality and develop potential solutions to the problem. For these reasons, the present study was conducted to examine how frequently ten Special Education and School Psychology journals covered the topic of disproportionality. The study revealed that very few articles within the selected journals outlets explicitly focused on racial and ethnic disproportionality, particularly in the area of least restrictive environment. However, discipline was the most widely discussed disproportionality topic, although only one of 3,088 articles discussed Significant Disproportionality. Results suggest an increased focus on disproportionality among the scholarly outlets is warranted, particularly in the areas of least restrictive environment and Significant Disproportionality.


School psychology.

Educational equalization -- United States.

Discrimination in education -- United States.