weekly forum response discussion

Need a 250 word response for the case/discussion post below debating/discussion of how IQ tests were handled and incorporated in these court cases.

I chose the case of Larry p. vs. Riles (1979) to review. This particular case occurred in the San Francisco School Unified District in 1979. At the time, students in the district were experiencing academic difficulty. They were assessed by a school psychologist via an IQ test (“Larry P. v. Riles 1979,” n.d.). The psychologist judged the students by their score on the IQ test, which determined whether or not each student would be placed in special education, a program called EMR or educable mental retardation at the time. These particular classes taught functional skills and did not place a huge emphasis on academics. Larry P., an African-American student was among those tested. In his school, the EMR classes were 27% Black, despite the school having a population of 9% Black.

Two years prior to the court ruling, a lawsuit was filed against the California Board of Education, the San Francisco Board of Education, and Superintendent Riles. It challenged the use of IQ tests to place students in EMR classes. According to our text, IQ test do not necessarily serve well in this role. Both Basic Education tests and Achievement Test would serve to more accurately determine a student’s comprehension and intelligence when it comes to standardized testing (Aiken, et. al, 2006).

The lawsuit brought up several concerns in reference to if IQ tests were valid enough to place students in special education courses (“Larry P. v. Riles 1979,” n.d.). Next ,the lawsuit challenged whether Black students were disproportionately labeled as needing to be placed in such classes. If the latter was the case, then Black students were stigmatized and discriminated against based on IQ tests scores.

Attorneys representing Larry P. alleged the IQ tests were biased and that they discriminated against African-Americans. They also argued that the IQ tests resulted in an overwhelming amount of Black students being classified and subsequently placed in EMR courses. As a result, their education was in fact limited (“Larry P. v. Riles 1979,” n.d.).

Riles’ and his defending lawyers argued the complete opposite, stating that the IQ tests were not discriminatory and were valid and approved for use when it came to placing students in EMR courses (“Larry P. v. Riles 1979,” n.d.). The defendants also claimed the increased percentage of African-Americans placed in such courses was not a result of the IQ tests, but other societal, environmental and genetic factors.

In 1979, the court ruled that the use of IQ tests were discriminatory and resulted in disproportionate EMR placement when it came to African-American students. The tests were viewed as being culturally biased, and the judge found behavioral observations, diagnostic tests and developmental health histories to be all relevant when determining whether a child should be placed in EMR classes ( “Larry P. v. Riles 1979,” n.d.). Ultimately, the court concluded that EMR classes were a dead end for students, as they are not designed to assist children in learning how to succeed in returning to general education. The court also ruled that all Black students in EMR classes be reassessed as well.

What a very interesting case. Not only were racial biases implemented when placing students in EMR classes, but the case is a fine example of how necessary it is to make sure that you are using the correct test to measure the effectiveness, intelligence, comprehension, etc. of a person to determine the correct information. Interesting case and very informative.

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