Disproportionate placement of African American and Hispanic students into disability and special education categories may result from true behavioral and cognitive differences, bias in assessment and referral, or some combination of the two. Studies of commonly used ADHD rating scales suggest teacher bias may contribute to placement discrepancies. This investigation compared teacher ratings of ADHD symptoms on the Conner's Teacher Rating Scale-Revised Long Version (CTRS-R:L; Conners, 1997) and the ADHD-IV: School Version (DuPaul, Power, Anastopoulous, & Reid, 1998), with objective classroom observations from the Behavioral Observation of Students in Schools code (BOSS; Shapiro, 2003). Participants were first through fourth grade students (N = 172; 120 male) classified as Caucasian (n = 112) or ethnic minority (17 African American, 38 Hispanic, 5 African American and Hispanic). Contrary to hypothesis, results showed teacher ratings of ethnic minority students were more consistent with direct observation data than were ratings of Caucasian students. Findings suggest teacher ratings of ethnic minority students may more accurately reflect true behavioral levels.
- direct observations
- teacher ratings