Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Dissertation (UNI Access Only)


Children with disabilities--Iowa--Psychology; Children with disabilities--Education--Iowa; Children with disabilities--Iowa--Attitudes; Special education teachers--Iowa--Attitudes;


It is important for educational leaders and classroom teachers to understand the effects of labeling children for special programming and the manner in which these labels impact the students’ educational development. This study examined two components: student perspective on being labeled and the preparation of teachers who label and educate students with special needs. The purpose of this study is to understand how such labeling of children affected their educational process and self-esteem. This is done by capturing the students’ perspective of education and how they were able/unable to participate in the decision making process concerning their own educational journey. The study examines procedures used to identify students for special programs, the deep-rooted belief and faith in testing including intelligence testing, and the practices and preparation of teachers who are responsible for this process. This qualitative case study examined such factors that led to labeling of students and the consequential impact on the education of these children. This study is interpretive in nature with the main source of information being collected through personal interviews with students and teachers. The methodology used for this purpose was a case study approach in which three students and three teachers were interviewed. Five research questions framed this study: (1) Do socio-economics play a role in the labeling of special students in schools? (2) Are there differences in the qualifications that professional educators use to label students? (3) How do special students perceive their special classes? (4) Are there any social or emotional benefits or limitations for students or teachers, in the labeling process? and (5) What changes need to be incorporated, if any, to prevent mislabeling of children? Data was analyzed using the Constant Comparative Method as outlined by Lincoln and Guba (1985) in their text Naturalistic Inquiry. The results from this study will provide teachers, school leaders, and school organizations insight on current labeling practices and gain an understanding of how they influence the education of identified children.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Department of Educational Leadership and Postsecondary Education

First Advisor

Robert Decker

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (vii, 294 pages)



File Format


Off-Campus Download