Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Daniel Reschly


Relative to other areas of special education, much less attention has been paid to the first step that initiates special education consideration: the referral itself. The intent of this study was to investigate actual referrals submitted to a child guidance clinic during an entire school year, and associated student and teacher characteristics;Referral results indicated that about 4% of the total student population was referred during the year, and most referrals were school-based. Twice as many boys were referred as girls. The majority of referrals (73%) occurred at the elementary level, and learning problems were the most frequently cited referral reason. Referrals also clustered around three distinct times of the school year: October/November, January, and March/April;Of the teacher variables investigated as potentially contributing to a teacher's tendency to refer, only teacher's tolerance limits and sex of the teacher showed consistent relationships. Less tolerant teachers tended to make more referrals. Conversely, male teachers referred proportionately fewer students than did female teachers. Thus, two sources of bias may exist which influence the probability that a child will be referred. This has important implications for clinicians responding to referrals made by teachers;The average annual referral rate was 2.02 referrals for referring teachers who completed surveys. However, the overall annual teacher referral rate was only.95 referrals when teachers who completed surveys and did not refer were also included. Clearly, statements made about teacher referral rates can be misleading when based on samples of referring teachers only.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Susan Laurie Graham-Clay



Proquest ID


File Format


File Size

102 pages