Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

SRI International



First Page


Last Page



Demography, Elementary Secondary Education, Exceptional Child Research, Handicapped Children, Identification, Prediction, Racial Factors, Referral, Socioeconomic Influences, Student Characteristics


Disability and Equity in Education | Education | Special Education and Teaching


Presented is a two-volume study of the characteristics of students identified as handicapped from educational, clinical, and psychological evaluations. The first volume describes an analysis (based on surveys collected by the National Center for Health Statistics) of the affects on identification of 14,185 6- to 17-year old students of family income, race, population size of place of residence, and geographic location. Among six primary findings reviewed are that all three types of teacher-identified handicaps (physical, mental, and speech) were significantly concentrated in the low income elementary school population, and that teachers identified both mental and speech handicaps at a significantly more frequent rate for Black than White elementary students. The second volume explores variations in rates and the characteristics of over 7,000 students (6-11 years old) selected by teacher recommendations, medical examination findings, school behaviors, test scores, developmental histories, and parent responses as possibly needing special education resources. Findings are detailed for eight types of handicapping conditions, including hearing and visual impairments, speech handicaps, and mental retardation. Among findings noted are the small overlap and lack of agreement in children identified by sets of selected indicators, although there was a consistent pattern of identification found across socioeconomic groups for many handicapping conditions. It is explained that the studies have implications for emphasizing the importance of the federal requirement for multiply assessment of children prior to special education placement. (CL)


This report was originally published in SRI International, 1978. ©1978 SRI International