Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Miranda, Wilma

Degree Name

M.S. Ed. (Master of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Leadership and Educational Policy Studies


Special education--Illinois


State regulations require that school districts shall be responsible for actively seeking out and identifying all exceptional children in the district between the ages of 3 and 21. In order to accomplish this, many districts have established school-based pre-referral teams. These teams were developed to improve attitudes, increase tolerance, and enhance skills of classroom teachers and other school personnel so that the academic and behavioral needs of referred students can be met. The pre-referral teams not only make local decisions regarding appropriate responses to the academic/behavioral problems, they must also determine whether or not a case study should be required. The purpose of this research was to analyze a local school district’s pre-referral system titled the Child Assistance Team. This team consisted of at least four staff members, each with different backgrounds and job descriptions. A questionnaire was distributed to 60 of the district’s teachers to examine the intended and unintended consequences of their pre-referral system. Interviews with selected subjects were also conducted to further probe the staffs’ reactions and attitudes toward the Child Assistant Team. It was found that the perceptions of the system differed greatly between the special and regular educators, although both groups were generally dissatisfied with the process. In order for pre-referral systems to be successful, research has indicated several crucial components. These included support from the administration, adequate training for the members, and having one or more regular education teachers on the team (excluding the referring teacher). This particular district, at the time of this study, had not implemented these important factors. Recently, they have revamped the whole pre-referral process in an effort to increase the satisfaction of all members involved.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [57]-60)


iv, 69 pages




Northern Illinois University

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