Date of Award


Degree Type


University or Center

Clark Atlanta University(CAU)

Degree Name



Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Moses Norman


This study examines the relationship between the special education identification, referral, and placement process and African-American males’ overrepresentation in high incidence programs in an urban school system. This study relied on perceptions of educators and parents regarding the special education process. This study was based on the premise that the special education placement phenomenon is influenced by teachers’ perceptions of behavior and teachers ‘perceptions that many African-American. male students lack fundamental academic capabilities. A qualitative approach which utilized focus groups and interviews was implemented. Data were analyzed literally, interpretively, and reflectively in order to address each of the four study domains. The researcher found that the overrepresentation of African-American males in high incidence programs was not a function of race, in the study district, but rather more related to gender and gender based issues. The conclusions drawn from the findings suggest that gender related issues impact the number of African-American males in high incidence programs. Additionally, teacher tolerance and teacher expectations dictate how each teacher will implement the process.

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