Document Type



Doctor of Education (EdD)


Exceptional Student Education

First Advisor's Name

Elizabeth Cramer

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Andy Pham

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member

Third Advisor's Name

Michelle Cumming

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member

Fourth Advisor's Name

Joanne Sanders-Reio

Fourth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member


Cultural intelligence, culturally diverse students, special education, educational decision-making

Date of Defense



The purpose of the present study was to explore the cultural intelligence of educational decision-makers and their perceptions of the importance of factors that relate to pre-referral/referral and eligibility determination processes for culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) students who may have disabilities. Participants (n=120) included teachers, school psychologists, and local education agents. The results revealed that individual-level factors predicted the cultural intelligence of educational decision-makers. Participants perceived factors related to pre-referral/referral processes to be more important in decision making when compared to factors related to eligibility determination; yet, participants self reported feeling more confident in making decisions involving eligibility determination. Finally, cultural intelligence was found to be a significant predictor of participants’ reported confidence for making such decisions. In closing, the findings from this study may serve to inform special education policies and practice and improve educational decision-making regarding CLD students with diverse educational needs.



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