Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Executive Leadership

First Supervisor

Michael Wischnowski

Second Supervisor

Bruce Blaine


This mixed-method study investigated the impact of student race in the determination of eligibility of emotional disturbance as recommended by school psychologists. The results of this study looked at the implications that the evaluation component of the referral to the Committee on Special Education (CSE) has on the disproportionate representation of African-American males classified with an emotional disturbance. The quantitative component was completed during an experiment involving school psychologists who reviewed student profiles of an African-American male student and a White male student with the same profile. The analysis looked to determine the frequency that the African-American student was classified with an emotional disturbance compared to the White student. The written responses from the school psychologists were analyzed using qualitative data analysis. This analysis looked to determine the rationale school psychologists used in determining eligibility for the classification of emotional disturbance. The data was also analyzed to determine if there was a difference in the rationales provided by the school psychologists based on the race of the student.

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