Causes

We assume the over-identification of special education pupils has causes.

Dillon (2007): “The increase in students identified as having disabilities is a reflection of a variety of factors, including an increased acceptance of the “disabled” label among parents and students, a better understanding of disabilities, and changes in the definition of what qualifies as a disability.

But some researchers have argued that the increased prevalence of students with disabilities, particularly in the broad “specific learning disabilities” category is also a result of over-identification. Here, schools may improperly identify low-performing students as learning disabled for a variety of reasons: to get additional state funding for special education, to avoid accountability for these students because the special education label has historically exempted these students from such measures, or more simply, because the vague definition of a disorder leads to misidentification or because teachers are trying to get additional help for struggling students. Added flexibility to NCLB’s accountability for the performance of special education students could mean that many of these misidentified students will not be required to reach grade-level standards” (Education Sector).”

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