A prospective study was conducted in which we collected prereferral baseline data on low-functioning students in grades K-3, from 9 schools in 2 districts, and compared those who were referred for special education (N = 32) with those who were not (N = 25) in terms of teachers' academic ratings, standardized test scores, and social and behavioral indicators that may have been responsible for the referrals. We found that one-eighth of the teachers made two-thirds of all referrals, and that students who were referred scored lower on standardized reading tests and misbehaved more than those who were not referred. We also found differences on 2 social indicators that could be considered a consequence of a difficult set of family circumstances: family mobility or transience, and lateness to school. Ramifications of findings are discussed.
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