American Educational Research Association (AERA) Annual Meeting
Theme: Leveraging Educational Research in a “Post-Truth” Era: Multimodal Narratives to Democratize Evidence
April 5-9, 2019
Title: Does a Frog-Pond Effect Explain Minority Underplacement in Special Education (Paper)
Event: Classroom, Tracks, and Programs; Curricular Locations and Their Consequence
Authors: George Farkas, Paul L. Morgan, Marianne Hillemeier
Abstract: We use regression decomposition with NAEP data to estimate the determinants of minority student underplacement in special education. The strongest determinants of the lower IEP rates for Blacks and Hispanics is the fact that, for a given test score, they have much lower placement rates than Whites. A frog-pond effect may occur because minority students are concentrated in low-income and therefore low performing schools, in which only the very lowest test scores will qualify for special education. Such frog pond and other contextual effects exist, but are relatively small. We conclude that pervasive minority under-representation is occurring due to forces acting within, not between, schools.