current process is biased in terms of race or ethnicity?” In Chapter 6 we focus on the legal context and the referral process. In Chapter 7 we discuss current assessment regulations and practices in the categories of learning disabilities, mental retardation, and emotional disturbance and assessment for gifted and talented students. In Chapter 8 we consider the major challenges to existing practices and alternative approaches to assessment.

In Part IV we look at improving student outcomes. In Chapter 9 we address our fourth questions: “Is placement in special or gifted and talented education a benefit or a risk? Does the outcome differ by racial/ethnic group?”

Throughout the report we present recommendations in context. Recommendations regarding data collection appear in Chapter 2, and those regarding early childhood intervention appear in Chapter 4. In Chapter 5 our recommendations focus on improving teacher quality, and in Chapter 8 we propose an alternative approach to special education identification, and research to support improved assessment and intervention in gifted and talented programs. Recommendations for additional research and development appear in Chapter 9.

The report covers a great deal of territory. In Chapter 10 we bring together the conclusions and recommendations as an integrated presentation of an approach to special and gifted education that begins early and focuses on continual efforts to identify and respond to children’s needs as they arise. A central element of our proposal for change is the ongoing capacity building required to use the best of the existing knowledge base to support the achievement of children from all racial/ethnic groups, as well as continued research and development to extend the knowledge base in ways that are directly useful to educational practice.

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