Larry P. V. Riles

Report
Presented by Breanna Dailey
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What is causing a seemingly “major disparity”
between African American students and
Caucasian students assessment scores?
Is it the test, nature, nurture, or something
else?
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Brown v. Board of Education (1954) –
◦ made school desegregation mandatory. (Bersoff,
1980; Bersoff, 1981; Fagan & Wise, 2007; Menacker
& Morris, 1985; Prasse & Reschly, 1986)
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Desegregation process was not instantaneous
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Found that through heavy usage of
standardized tests, a disproportionate
number of African American students were
put in the “mildly retarded” track. (Bersoff,
1980; Menacker & Morris, 1985; Prasse &
Reschly, 1986)
◦ Specifically, looked at group ability tests
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Therefore, it was ruled that putting students
into tracks solely on the basis of standardized
tests was unconstitutional and discriminatory.
(Prasse & Reschly, 1986)
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Plaintiffs – 5 African American children in
programs for the Educable Mentally Retarded
(EMR) in San Francisco (Jacob, Decker, &
Hartshorne, 2010, pp. 79-124; Menacker &
Morris, 1985; Prasse & Morris, 1986)
Allegation – Discrimination on the basis of
being placed in EMR classes solely from
intelligence tests which are biased
◦ This included the Stanford-Binet and WISC-R
70.00%
60.00%
50.00%
40.00%
Total
30.00%
EMR
20.00%
10.00%
0.00%
San Francisco Schools
California
(Prasse & Reschly, 1986)
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Requested reevaluation of all African
American EMR and provide additional
interventions and programs for those eligible
to return to regular classes. (Prasse &
Reschly, 1986)
Also requested a quota based on the
information in the previous slide
Courts decided that there was “undue
emphasis and reliance on [the tests]” (Prasse
& Reschly, 1986) and allowed the injunction
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
Expanded to all of California
Stopped using intelligence tests to place a
child in EMR classes on all children regardless
of race.
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Case took a half a year, more than 50
witnesses resulting in a transcript more than
10,000 pages
Main issues (Prasse & Reschly, 1986)
◦
◦
◦
◦
Racial bias in tests
Nature versus Nurture
Disproportionate nature of the tests
Policies and procedures of the Department of
Education in California
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Plaintiffs stated that the tests were biased
against African Americans and the tests were
the only thing that led to placement in EMR
classes
The state argued that any bias was due to
socioeconomic status and that the tests were
the best means to measure IQ at the time
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Title VI of the Civil Rights of 1964
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act 1973
Education for All Handicapped Children Act
1975 (Public Law 94-142)
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Ruled in favor of the plaintiff
Judge ruled the discrimination was on
purpose and was to separate minority
children into special education classes that
were a “dead end”. (Bersoff, 1981; Jacob,
Decker, & Hartshorne, 2010, pp. 79-124;
Prasse & Reschly, 1986)
Assessments used in a racially and culturally
biased manner
◦ Not standardized for African American children –
meant for mainstream (Menacker & Morris, 1985;
Prasse & Reschly, 1986)
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State of California cannot use tests that are
not standardized until they are approved by
the courts
These tests must be administered fairly
Each school district must correct an
imbalance if the rate of African American EMR
students is one standard deviation above that
of Caucasian EMR students. (Prasse & Reschly,
1986)

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Determine placement of African American
children in Educationally Mentally Handicapped
(EMH) classes by IQ tests (Menacker & Morris,
1985)
IQ tests were ruled as not completely biased
(although some items can be) when used with
multifactored assessment (Bersoff, 1981; Jacob,
Decker, & Hartshorne, 2010, pp. 79-124;
Menacker & Morris, 1985; Prasse & Reschly,
1986)
◦ Ruled that the tests are more biased on the basis of
poverty than race (Bersoff, 1981)
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Warner et al (2002) found that African
American scored at 1 standard deviation
lower than European Americans when looking
at college IQ and achievement scores
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bIYeFNaly
J4
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What is causing a seemingly “major disparity”
assessment scores and why?
Are there any comparisons between an IQ test
3.5 decades ago and a student taking the SAT
today?
Who needs to care about the results of this
case?
What is the most important thing to take
away from this case?
What can we do to eliminate bias or
understand bias in test situations?
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Mandated under IDEA (Jacob, Decker, &
Hartshorne, 2010, pp. 139-162)
Acknowledge that the tests are not perfect
(Ortiz, 2008)
Use more than one thing to base a decision
on
◦ Remember writing our reports
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Diagnostic Interview with multiple people
Review of Records
Behavioral Observations
Test
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Bersoff, D. N. (1980). P. V. Riles: Legal perspective. School
Psychology Review, 9, pp. 112-122.
Bersoff, D. N. (1981). Test bias: The judicial report card. New
York University Education Quarterly, 13, pp. 2-8.
CNN. (2011). Is the SAT biased? Retrieved from
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bIYeFNalyJ4.
Fagan, T.K. & Wise, P.S. (2007). Roles and functions of school
psychologists, 105-156. School Psychology: Past, present, and
future Third Edition. National Association of School
Psychologists. Bethesda, MD.
Jacob, S., Decker, D., & Hartshorne, T. S. (2010). Ethical and legal
issues in the education of students with disabilities under IDEA.
79-124. Ethics and Law for School Psychologists 6th Edition. John
Wiley and Sons. Hoboken, New Jersey.
Jacob, S., Decker, D., & Hartshorne, T. S. (2010). Ethical and legal
issues in psychoeducational assessment, 139-162. Ethics and
Law for School Psychologists 6th Edition. John Wiley and Sons.
Hoboken, New Jersey.
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Menacker, J., & Morris, V. C. (1985). Intelligence
testing, civil rights, and the federal courts. The
Educational Forum, 49(3), pp. 285-296.
Prasse, D. P., & Reschly, D. J. (1986). Larry P.: A case
of segregation, testing, or program efficacy?
Exceptional Children, 54(4), pp. 333-346.
Ortiz, S. O. (2008). Best practices in
nondiscriminatory assessment. 661-679. Best
Practices in School Psychology 5th Edition. National
Association of School Psychologists. Bethesda, MD.
Warner, T. D., Dede, D. E., Garvan, C. W., & Conway,
T. W. (2002). One size still does not fit all in specific
learning disability assessment across ethnic groups.
Journal of Learning Disabilities, 35(6), pp. 501-509.

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