Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Melissa Pearrow

Second Advisor

Brian Daniels

Third Advisor

Jill Battal


Universal screeners are being used as a more systematic tool of identifying students in need of academic and behavioral supports (Raines, et al., 2012). Given that majority of teachers are white, it is essential to explore whether Black students are being scored differently on the universal screener given the school racial make-up. Implicit bias and ecological context influence the relative normality of how behaviors are perceived (Greenwald & Banaji, 1995; Dasgupta & Greenwald, 2001; Morris, 2005). The current study examined the validity of the use of the BIMAS-2 universal screener within a large urban school district considering the racial demographics of teachers and students. Schools were separated into four groups based on above or below average percentage of Black teachers and students in the buildings. Differences in Black student’s scores based on school groupings were examined, as well as Black student’s scores compared to scores of students who are not Black. Results suggest teacher rate Black students more unfavorably compared to other students who are not Black and the amount of Black teachers impacts average scores. These findings suggest that universal screening may be perpetuating disproportionate identification of need for supports for Black students in urban schools, but future research is needed. Implications for practice and future directions for research are included.


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