Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Open Access Thesis


Children with mental disabilities--Education; Children with mental disabilities--Psychological testing;


In the delivery of special education services to handicapped children, a requirement to certify the nature and severity of each child's handicap was built into PL 94-142, The Education of All Handicapped Children Act (Reynolds, Gutkin, Elliott, & Witt, 1984). In the aftermath of that legislation has arisen a serious question as to whether or not the process of providing such services on a categorical (by nature of the handicapped) basis has led to an unanticipated social harm (stigma) of such a magnitude that the assessment process needs to be re-evaluated (Guskin, Bartel, & MacMillan, 1975). Part of the social implications argument of the handicap identification process has centered around the use of standardized tests in the diagnosis of the handicap (Gerken, 1985). Since school psychologists have spent as much as 75% of their time in the handicap certification process (Farling & Hoedt, 1971), it is obvious the profession maintains a major concern about the nature, scientific basis for, and social implications of the handicap certification process (Gerken, 1985; Maher & Kruger, 1985).

The purpose of this study was to investigate whether any significant differences in standardized tests scores emerged over time between two groups of children. Both of these groups were originally diagnosed as needing special education services; at a later date they diverged with one group moving to regular education and another staying in special education.

From an original sample of 200 children at the preschool level, 42 children remained when they had reached junior high school or beyond. Of these 42 children, 17 were in regular class placement and 23 were in special class placement. Each child had either an I.Q. or standardized achievement test score in their cumulative school record for both preschool and junior high or later. All scores were transformed to normalized scores and the normalized scores were submitted to statistical analyses.

It was found that the groups did not differ significantly at the preschool level but did at the junior high or later level, that the posttest difference was not attributable to differences in the preschool measures, and that the regular education group was found at the higher percentile ranks in the preschool data while the special education group was found in the lower percentile ranks in the preschool data. Correlations between preschool data and the junior high or later data ranged from .29 to .74 with the special education data having the larger correlations magnitude.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Specialist in Education


Department of Educational Psychology, Foundations, and Leadership Studies


Department of Educational Psychology and Foundations

First Advisor

Donald Schmits


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Date Original


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