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Psychol Rep. 1996 Dec;79(3 Pt 2):1431-8.

Effects of teacher assistance teams on special education referrals in elementary schools.

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  • 1University of Missouri, Columbia 65211, USA.


School-based problem-solving teams recently have received much attention as a possible support for children who are at risk for school failure and for over-referral to special education. However, no controlled studies of the effects of such teams on numbers of referrals for special education or for proportion of appropriate referrals for special education have been conducted. The lack of adequate research concerning school-based problem-solving teams, coupled with the widespread promotion of their use, suggests that further study of such teams is important. In this study, we investigated the effect of one team model, Teacher Assistance Teams, on special education referrals in elementary schools of a large urban district. To address limitations of previous research, schools with such teams were compared with those without across several years of implementation. Analysis yielded a significant decrease in referrals in both groups of schools but no significant differences between groups. These findings may be explained by the context in which both groups of schools functioned.

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