Special Education M.A.

Year Approved


First Advisor

Strand, Charles


The gender distribution in special education is skewed heavily toward boys, who outnumber girls at an overall rate of 2 to 1. The decision to place a student in special education programming has severe implications, whether it be positive or negative. In order to better understand why this ratio exists, it is necessary to determine the reasons behind the disproportion. Some of the main causative factors for gender disproportion in special education fall under the umbrella of genetics, physiology, and school structure. It appears that boys are overrepresented in special education, conversely it appears that girls are underrepresented, both of which are excruciatingly difficult to measure. Though the reasons for it are complex, both boys and girls stand to benefit from reducing gender disproportion. Boys may benefit most from reducing overrepresentation, while girls may benefit most from reducing underrepresentation. Because there are multiple reasons that factor into the disproportion, the solutions to address the issue are multiple as well. Through concerted effort in applying multiple solutions to address genetics, physiological differences, and school structure, it is possible for gender disproportion in special education to be reduced, thus benefiting all students.

Degree Name

Special Education M.A.

Document Type

Masterʼs thesis