IMPLICIT BIAS AS A CONTRIBUTING FACTOR TO DISPROPORTIONALITY OF AFRICAN AMERICANS IN SPECIAL EDUCATION: THE PROMISE OF A BIAS LITERACY INTERVENTION
With the extensive research on disproportionality of African Americans in special education, the researcher explored implicit bias as a contributing factor. The purpose of this study was to determine to what extent Bias Literacy Intervention impacts pre- and posttest results of the Teacher Expectations Scale and Personal Objectivity Scale, thus increasing personal awareness of teacher implicit bias towards African American students and the awareness of the how implicit bias potentially influences teacher decisions to refer African American students to special education. The results indicated that the mean comparison of the pre- and posttest of the Teacher Expectations Scale and Personal Objectivity Scale suggest that teachers’ expectations of the last student referred to special education increased and the objectivity mean increased. The results also suggest that the interactive effect of using the IAT-Race as a conscious-raising tool and the Bias Literacy Workshop as a habit-breaking intervention to address implicit bias promoted a sense of awareness among participants regarding their personal bias against African Americans, while providing the participants with strategies to reduce implicit bias. Therefore, the evidence is suggestive and promising in that the IAT-Race and the Bias Literacy Workshop provide baseline data suggesting these methods can reduce implicit bias, thereby promoting awareness of teachers and administrators’ bias and the impact of their personal bias on the referral of African Americans to special education, resulting in disproportionality. Based on the mixed results, the researcher assumes that changes occurred by exposing participants to the Bias Literacy Intervention and the Implicit Associations Test. However, the specifics or the degree to which exposure to the intervention had on participants is unknown.
Whatley, Jillian Katri