Date of Award

Fall 1-18-2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)


Education and Human Development

First Advisor

Lee Ann Townsend


The special education population in schools in the United States shows a significant disproportionality between male and female students. Often special education referrals are made due, in part, to student underperformance in reading and basic literacy skills. Using past studies regarding best practices for literacy instruction, gender studies, and special education, the current study looks to understand what teachers can do to eliminate the inequality in special education referrals between genders in school-aged children. Results suggest that female students begin school with a head start to their male counterparts, and because of this, typically do well in the earlier grades in which literacy skills are emphasized. However, further research suggests differences in behavioral and societal ideals create this differentiation.