The relationship between sex-role bias and the disproportionate percentage of males in special education classrooms
Date of Award
College of Education and Professional Development
Type of Degree
Jo Ann Hall
Ken M. Young
It was the purpose of this study to determine whether a bias toward female behaviors exists in the school environment that academically handicaps males and results in a higher ratio of males to females being placed in special education classrooms. In addition, the study examined the administrative implications related to sex-role bias and the ratio of males to females in special education classes.
A stratified random sample was used to select respondents from three subgroups, administrators, teachers, and special personnel, from four counties in West Virginia. The individuals in the study responded to the Chasen Diagnostic Sex-Role Bias Scale which measured sex-role attitudes of school personnel toward children.
The study found that females overall rated children in the survey in a more negative manner than males. Specifically, female teachers rated children in the survey in a more negative manner than male teachers rated them. It is important to note that all groups and all males and females rated the Active Girl and Active Boy as the unhealthiest children, as the highest priority for referral to a school psychologist, as needing more intensive treatment, and as having the unhealthiest prognosis in adolescence.
An important conclusion is that the consistent rating of the active children as unhealthy and as high priority for referral to a school psychologist supports the research that there are biases toward passive female behaviors within the schools. This finding also reveals that there is a strong likelihood that a relationship exist s between' children's aggressive behaviors, characteristic of males z and the high number of males referred and placed in special education classes.
Administrators at all levels of education, state department t county level, and school level should be cognizant of increasing enrollments in special education programs while overall enrollments are falling. Males make up the largest percentage of the rolls in the special education programs. Counties and schools with high percentages of males enrolled in special programs should be identified and investigated by administrators to determine if carefully documented, multidisciplinary data is used to place children or whether sex-role biases are handicapping males within the society of our schools.
The University of West Virginia College of Graduate Studies became the WV Graduate College in 1992 and was subsequently merged with Marshall University in 1997.
Problem children – Education.
Hyperactive children – Education.
Sex role in children.
Teachers of problem children.
Vickers, Melanie Brumfield, "The relationship between sex-role bias and the disproportionate percentage of males in special education classrooms" (1985). Theses, Dissertations and Capstones. 1519.