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Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Special Education

First Advisor

Hugh McBride

First Committee Member

Robert Morrow

Second Committee Member

Thomas Young

Third Committee Member

Kathleen Sadao


The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between teacher ethnicity and student ethnicity as it might affect teacher decisions to refer the student for suspension, expulsion, or special education. One hundred, thirty-seven elementary and secondary school teachers read a case history vignette in which student ethnicity was varied. Teachers were asked to respond to a series of questions. Responses were grouped into three subscales, measuring the respondent's tendency to refer the student for suspension, expulsion, or special education, respectively. Data were analyzed with three sets of one-way analyses of variance, one for each of the three subscales. In each set of analyses, student ethnicity was held constant, with teacher ethnicity constituting the grouping variable. Tukey post-hoc comparisons were used to detect mean differences when overall F's were significant. The analyses indicated a trend (p =.08) for white teachers to refer for suspension. Post hoc analyses revealed that white teachers were more likely to refer white students for suspension than were African-American teachers. Significant main effects were also found for the expulsion variable in Asian students (p =.02) and the special education variable in Hispanic students (p =.04). White teachers were more likely than Asian teachers to refer Asian students for expulsion, and less likely than African-American teachers to refer Hispanic students to special education. Subsidiary analyses in which teacher ethnicity was held constant with student ethnicity constituting the grouping variable revealed that African-American teachers were more likely to refer Hispanic students to special education than African-American students. Asian teachers were more likely to refer Hispanic students for expulsion than Asian students. A trend (p =.06) emerged in the tendency of white teachers to refer white students more often than Asian students for special education. Hypothesis 1, hypothesis 2, and hypothesis 3 were only partially supported. The study did not reveal bias toward African American male students. However, there appears to be some relationship among teacher ethnicity bias, student ethnicity, suspension, expulsion, and special education.




9780591727487 , 059172748X

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