Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

A Closer Look at Larry P. and Legal Interpretations: A Review of Recent Special Education Administrative Hearing Decisions
by Hill, Brianna A., Ed.Sp., California State University, Long Beach, 2019, 121; 13857209
Abstract (Summary)

Almost 40 years have passed since the Larry P. v. Riles decision prohibiting the use of standardized intelligence quotient tests to assess African American children in California for special education, specifically for eligibility under intellectual disability and placement in classrooms for the Educable Mentally Retarded. Subsequent to Crawford v. Honig, there have been no California district court cases interpreting Larry P. or approving the use of any intelligence quotient tests for African American students; however, California’s administrative agency for special education due process hearings, the Office of Administrative Hearings, Special Education Division, has issued numerous hearing decisions addressing disputes relating to Larry P. This study examines 31 recent administrative decisions issued between July 2005 and August 2018 that interpreted or otherwise discussed Larry P. to identify common findings or trends and provide guidance on factors considered by administrative law judges interpreting Larry P.

Overall, the results of this study indicate that the issue of Larry P. represents just a small fraction of the many cases heard and decided by the Office of Administrative Hearings since 2005. In only one case where Larry P. was cited, the student alleged that a prohibited intelligence quotient test was used to determine student’s eligibility under intellectual disability, and subsequently to segregate him in a special day class—allegations that align with the original concerns in Larry P. In general, the limited explanation of Larry P. in many of the decisions, and the many cases where it was not at issue, indicate that concerns over intelligence quotient testing for African American children are not often raised in due process hearings in California. Further, in some cases, families sought to have their children assessed with an intelligence quotient test, introduced evidence of intelligence quotient testing completed through independent assessors, or alleged that additional standardized testing should have been conducted. In cases where it was raised as an issue, administrative decisions were inconsistent.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Powers, Kristin
Commitee: Hagans, Kristi, Kinsey, Meagan
School: California State University, Long Beach
Department: Advanced Studies in Education and Counseling
School Location: United States -- California
Source: MAI 81/1(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational psychology
Keywords: African American, Assessment, Eligibility, IQ testing, Larry P., Special education
Publication Number: 13857209
ISBN: 9781085552226
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